The Roos Carr figures were discovered in 1836 by some labourers who were cleaning out a ditch.
There were five figures in total plus a ‘serpent headed’ boat and other wooden items. The figures are carved from yew and the stone eyes are made from quartzite.
The figures were donated to the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society and eventually became part of the collections of Hull Museums.
Originally, all of the wooden items, that were found with the figures, were glued onto the figures . The Victorian glue was eventually removed and the small pieces of wood that were originally interpreted as arms were found to fit perfectly into the sockets in the front of the figures, creating detachable genitalia.
The figures have been dated to around 600 BCE, they are not unique, similar figures, also with detachable genitalia, have been found in Britain, Ireland and Europe. No one knows what they mean, they remind me of Scandinavian rock carvings such as this one from Bohusian in Sweden. The carvings depict boats with possible serpent heads, figures with large penises and weapons.
These strange and beautiful figures are on display in the Hull & East Riding Museum