When it was discovered in 1902 in the 4th sub-basement of the Acropolis in Greece, it seemed obvious to the archaeologists of the day that it represented an σπεαρφλινγερ, one who competed in the Olympic event of javelin-throwing, minus his σπεαρ. The token was properly tagged and filed in the Greek National College of Anthropology, where it lay until 1986, when an observant janitor realized that the piece dated from five thousand years before the first Olympic games were organized.
He also pointed out that no σπεαρφλινγερ in his right mind would throw an σπεαρfrom that absurd position, and that the implied skeletal position of the figure implied a ritual dancer, perhaps a member of the cult of Terpsichore, Muse of the dance. He also mentioned that charm bracelets did not become popular in Greece until after the failed Kylonian revolt of 632 BCE.
Archaeologists immediately hurried back to the Acropolis on the cross-town jitney to look for confirming evidence of the janitor's claim. After waiting simply forever for Callicrates' Elevator of Descent (489 BCE) to arrive and elbowing the tourists aside, they punched the button for the 4th sub-basement, only to discover that, since 1902, 16 additional sub-basements had been found. Fortunately they were stopping at the 5th, because from there on down it was stairs all the way.
Sifting the earth for clues, after several weeks they found a stela engraved with minuscule demotic Greek script, plus hundreds of ostracons apparently belonging to a great vessel or urn, which they neatly packed up and brought back to the College, entrusting their find to specialists in ancient Greek pottery. Over the following moths the linguistic team and the pottery team labored away, and at the end of 1987 they presented a groundbreaking paper at the annual conference.
The writing on the stela was indeed connected to the figurine, and it really was a poem in praise of Terpsichore as the janitor had observed. The words were, roughly, (it was a third stela and the typing was barely legible):
Title: [The] Elevated Body Temperature of the Week's End Darkness
(tentative, meaning uncertain) Line numbers are arbitrary.
1 Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk,
2 I'm a woman-man, no time for [idle?] talk.
[Remainder of verse not recovered]
3 Maintaining existence,
4 Maintaining existence
5 Ah, ha, ha, ha,
6 Maintaining existeeeeeeeeeeeeence!
7 Well now, I get low and I get high
8 And if I can't get either I really try.
9 Got the wings of heaven on my shoes
10 I'm a dancin' man and I just can't lose.
11 You know it's all right, it's OK,
12 I'll live to see another day.
13 We can try to understand
14 The New (Nude?) (Stork? Yoke?) Times effect on man.
15 Whether you're a brother
16 Or whether you're a mother,
17 You're maintaining existence,
18 Maintaining existence.
19 Feel the city breakin'
20 And ev'rybody shakin'
21 And we're maintaining existence.
[Maintaining existence?] Lacuna. Possible typo?
22 Ah, ha, ha, ha,
23 Maintaining existence
24 Maintaining existence
25 Ah, ha, ha, ha,
26 Maintaining existeeeeeeeeeeeeence!
1-2. This is tantalizing evidence that the speaker or singer is indeed a eunuch, probably a temple prostitute as implied by the obvious soliciting tone— a "working male," as it were. See 5-6.
5-6. Apparently the lyrics were intended for a eunuch or falsetto singer, as they are characteristically drawn out on the high notes. See 1-2.
7. Meaning unclear. May refer to the ascent and descent of the steep hill where the pre-Acropalyptic temple was once located.
8. Meaning unclear. See Kravitz, Expressions of Aspiration Among 6th Millennial Proto-Greek Dancers.
9. Unmistakable reference to the symbolic attire of Hermes, messenger of the gods.
10. Implying a contest?
11. Meaning uncertain. See Loftsbury, Transactional Analysis Among the Votive Caste in the Cult of Terpsichore.
12. Veiled reference to Egyptian reincarnation?
15-16. Incest may be implied, a frequent practice among the Egyptian Priestly Caste. Cf. H Humbert, Greek Household Life: The Family That Lays Together, Stays Together.
19-20. Pinpoints creation of the figurine to after the 5,755 BCE earthquake in the region
An even greater surprise awaited the spellbound archaeological audience when the pottery specialists took the floor. The myriad shapes that had been recovered were not only not ostracons, they were not pottery at all! The fragments were highly polished glass, apparently indicating an active trade with Egypt, where the best glasswork was done in that era. Another shock was the apparent shape of the vessel, a near-perfect sphere. Its use can only be guessed at, although the mirror-like tessae and the shape would suggest dedication to the Sun-god Phoebus Apollo.
Pre-Acropolyptic Dancing Figurine
Worked copper ingot~ 5,760 BCE
(Reassigned from Javelin-hurler Charm Bracelet Figurine, 1988)
H 50.8mm W 9.5mm D 4.3mm