big breasted statue
Palaeolithic-era statue with large breasts and buttocks found in France.AFP

A statue of a woman with large breasts and buttocks dating back over 20,000 years has been discovered in France.

The limestone statuette was found during a dig in Amiens over the summer by archaeologists, who have dubbed the discovery as "exceptional", AFP reports.

It is the first Palaeolithic-era statue to be found in 50 years and carbon dating showed it is 23,000 years old.

Nicole Phoyu-Yedid, the head of cultural affairs in the area, said: "The discovery of this masterpiece is exceptional and internationally significant."

big breasted statue
Carbon dating shows the statue dates back 23,000 years.AFP

The statue is 12cm high and is of a buxom woman – the head and arms are less detailed than her curvaceous figure, suggesting it was to do with fertility.

Fertility statues from this era have mostly been found in Europe, but some have been found as far as Siberia.

They are normally carved from soft stone, bone, or ivory and are known as some of the earliest examples of prehistoric art. Normally they have small heads and exaggerated breasts, abdomen, hips, bottoms, and thighs.

Archaeologist Clemant Paris said: "The fact that the sculpture is not totally realistic shows the intent was to produce a symbolic image of a woman linked to fecundity."

Researchers found the statue on their second day of field work. It was among a pile of limestone that included fragments that did not seem natural.

"We were expecting to find classical vestiges such as tooled flint or bones," Paris said. "That same night we carefully pieced together the 20-odd fragments and realised it was a female statuette."