Greece 6000 BC. “Bird Goddess” or “Beak Creature”
Credit: Marija Gimbutas presentation in attached video
Our recent Post 154 addressed Sir Colin Renfrew’s November 2017 presentation at the Oriental Institute, in which he conceded his long-standing Anatolian Hypothesis was incompatible with recent DNA studies indicating Europe was overrun by horsemen from the Steppes speaking Proto-Indo-European. The DNA conclusion supports Marija Gimbutas’ Kurgan Hypothesis that the Indo-European language developed within the Eurasian Steppes and spread into Europe, destroying an “Old Europe” matriarchal culture.
Gimbutas advocated two controversial theories: The Kurgan Hypothesis and the Old Europe Hypothesis.
She pioneered the Kurgan Hypothesis because she was allowed the privilege to excavate in Russia and the Steppes behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. This is no longer controversial (facing major opposition) and is the current theory until it is contradicted by new facts.
The other Gimbutas theory is perhaps more contentious and fraught with cultural tension: the theory that Old Europe was a matriarchal mother goddess-centered culture, often related to Gaia. Regardless of the subject’s intense emotional baggage, Gimbutas backed these claims with evocative artifactual evidence.
Long before I heard of Gimbutas or her theories, I picked up Mary Renault’s novel The King Must Die and awoke to the concept of a prehistoric earth mother goddess and its implications. Having captured my interest, I read two more of her novels before Renault’s predilections turned me off.
Marija Gimbutas’ Old Europe hypothesis and her insights into Mother Goddess worship and supporting archaeological artifacts represent new data to me. This might connect some loose dots which are important to my understanding those Ophidian Ubaid figurines—which could prove crucial research for the novel I’m working on. So, as I’ve been doing, we’ll look at this together.
If you want to know Gimbutas’ scholarship and point-of-view, I offer a comprehensive 1 hour, 45 min. video presentation by Gimbutas explaining her work on the Old Europe hypothesis.
She takes you through a long succession of selected figurines and decorations dating from the Paleolithic to the Bronze Age. These illustrate feminine-oriented art which she suggests is representative of their cultures. In the Q&A at the end, she reveals her semi-religious fixation on her concept of a peaceful, well-fed matriarchy in Old Europe that was destroyed by the patriarchal Indo-European warriors between 4300 and 2300 BC. Some of her interpretations of artifacts seemed a bit strained—but you decide for yourself.
The quality of the video is quite adequate, given it was produced at least 25 years ago, Dr. Gimbutas died in 1994. I suggest if the stream of artifacts for and hour and a half gets overwhelming, you skip to the Q&A at the end.
I was struck immediately by the evocative similarity between the first bird figurines Gimbutas presents in the video and the Ubaid madonnas in Post 58. My question is: were the Ubaid worshipping a mother goddess before the 5.9KYA event, the “bad guys” showed up, the locals guys took over, or never? They certainly were not in the following Uruk period, as the Sumerian pantheon took form.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke