In the Ria de Vigo, a river estuary in the southern part of the Spanish autonomous state Galicia, archaeologists have discovered a six-inch stone penis that dates to the 15th century that may have been used as a tool for sharpening weapons, according to the archaeologist group Arbore S.Coop.Galega.
In 1476, Galicia was embroiled in the Irmandiño revolts, during which peasants tried to assert their freedom from the state’s nobility. Roughly 130 castles and forts were destroyed during the conflict, among them the Tower of Meira, where the phallic whetstone was found.
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Phallic symbols and penis shapes recur in artifacts from ancient civilizations, such as the Roman Empire and the Celts. These artifacts were rarely sexual but were instead symbols of power. They were believed to protect people from “potential evils and dangers,” according to Arbore.
However, phallic symbols and tools are rarely seen during the Medieval period, which the archaeologists say speaks to the “symbolic association between masculinity, violence, and weapons…in different cultures,” both in the past and today.
The excavation began three years ago, according to Darío Peña, one of the archaeologists on the Arbore team. During the first year, Arbore excavated and restored the tower. Last year, the focus was on the structure’s surrounding wall, and this year, the team excavated the main building, where, on May 19, the stone penis was found.
Further excavation depends on the owners of the land and the municipality of Moaña, where the site is located.