After years of boggling the minds of Greek archaeologists, a 7,000-year-old bird-like statue has been put on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens as part of ‘The Unseen Museum’ exhibition.

Referred to as the ‘7,000-year-old enigma’, the statue from the late Neolithic period is very unique. Standing at 36 centimetres, it is bigger than statues from the period which have rarely been found exceed 35 centimetres, and is carved out of hard rock, despite metal tools not being available at the time, rather than the more common soft stone.

What also continues to puzzle archaeologists is the sex of the figure.

“It could depict a human-like figure with a bird-like face, or a bird-like entity,” museum archaeologist Katya Manteli told Reuters.

“The enigma has to do with [the fact] that we cannot identify with clarity its sex. It could be a pregnant figure but there are no breasts. On the other hand it lacks male organs so it is presented as an asexual figure.”

Also unsure of its exact origins in Greece, experts have narrowed it down to the region of either Macedonia or Thessaly.

The enigma has been put on display as part of a monthly exhibition showcasing artefacts from the museum’s closed storerooms each month, which has close to 200,000 antiquities hidden from public view on any given day.