Ancient figurines were toys not mother goddess statues, say experts as 9,000-year-old artefacts are discovered
Made by Neolithic farmers thousands of years before the creation of the pyramids or Stonehenge, they depict tiny cattle, crude sheep and flabby people.
In the 1960s, some researchers claimed the more rotund figures were of a mysterious large breasted and big bellied "mother goddess", prompting a feminist tourism industry that thrives today.
But modern day experts disagree.
They say the "mother goddess" figures - which were buried among the rubbish of the Stone Age town - are unlikely to be have been religious icons.
Many of the figures thought to have been women in the 1960s, are just as likely to be men.
Archaeologist Prof Lynn Meskell, of Stanford University, said: "The majority are cattle or sheep and goats. They could be representatives of animals they were dealing with - and they could have been teaching aides.
"All were found in the trash - and they were not in niches or platforms or placed in burials."
Out of the 2,000 figurines dug up at the site, less than five per cent are female, she told the British science Festival in Surrey University, Guildford.
"These are things that were made and used on a daily basis," she said. "People carried them around and discarded them."