A crude carving that archaeologists feared was graffiti vandalism has turned out to be an ancient work of art.
The giant phallus was found carved in rock along with 15,000 other images.
Experts initially thought the massive male member was the work of modern troublemakers.
But they now estimate the carving is around 5,000 years old.
The prominent penis is part of the Marra Wonga site in Australia.
Thousands of carvings in an outback rock shelter are the work of ancient indigenous artists.
Many of the images tell the Star Dreaming story of the Seven Sisters, in which a shapeshifter transforms into a boomerang-throwing phallus.
Professor Paul Tacon of Griffith University cataloged the art.
He said: “Throughout the story, the sisters are pursued by a powerful ancestor known as Wattanuri, often associated with the Orion constellation.
“Eventually he goes underground and reappears as a giant penis and throws boomerangs at the sisters, which we see depicted quite clearly in this panel.”
Other artwork in the cave, such as six-toed feet, shows it was used to tell Dreaming stories.
Experts used lasers and drones to document the site and say it may have been a teaching room.
Prof Tacon told the Australian Archeology Journal: “There is no other site in Australia that displays artwork like this, telling the story from one end of the shelter to the other.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6292396/crude-carving-australia-art-work/ Rough carvings “by jokers” turn out to be 5,000-year-old works of art