GODDESSES MUSEUM MIRROR The alabaster figurine above is about 2000 years old. It was found in what is now Iran, which 2000 years ago was Parthia, and is now in The Met.

Steps toward understanding

Ancient symbols decoded
Renowned archaeologist's final years were aimed toward describing symbols she found on ceramics at many ancient sites.

So what happened?

Marija Gimbutas writes about the invasion into Old Europe of a culture that was its antithesis, the "Kurgan" Culture, named after the style of the burial mounds of their culture's chieftans.

“The Old European and the Kurgan cultures were completely opposite," Marija explains. She then examines how the two cultures were opposites.

Old Europe: sedentary-horticultural, dwelling in large agglomerations

Kurgan: mobile, living in small villages

Old Europe: matrilinear, egalitarian, peaceful

Kurgan: patriarchal, ranked, and warlike

"The respective ideologies produced different sets of gods and symbols, Marija continued."

Old European ideology: focused on the eternal aspects of birth, death, and regeneration, symbolized by a goddess, no emphasis on dangerous weapons

Kurgan ideology (like all historically-known Indo-Europeans): glorified the sharp blade


Gimbutas concludes, “The domesticated horse, it seems, was the prime cause, as well as the means, for the emergence of power from the wooded steppe zone north of the Caspian and the Black Seas."

Lost Goddesses Writing Found
by Dean Adams Curtis

Was prehistoric Europe a place of peace for thousands of years? We've just excavated amazing words from the last writings of a renowned archaeologist whose life's work addressed that question. We reveal the words here for the first time on the web, quoted exactly as they were discovered:

“By 4500 BC, the European continent hosted a flourishing group of Goddess worshipping cultures. Over the preceding two millennia, from about 6500 BC to 4500 BC, these cultures had undergone a peaceful evolution, and by the end of this time achieved what could properly be called a Golden Age of Old European civilization. They produced arts and crafts of remarkable quality. Communities achieved populations of many thousands and were laid out in a planned manner. Towns were located at consistently even distances from each other, with larger cities acting as religious and trade centers.”

The paragraph above reveals the work of an archaeologist whose entire career had been spent digging into warrior cultures in ancient Europe. Then, the archaeologist dug deeper and discovered consistently peaceful cultures that had thrived for thousands of years. Thus, these assertions are backed by a lifetime of archaeological excavation and analysis.

Another paragraph by the archaeologist reveals that during the peaceful milleniums in east-central Europe, "Artisans produced copper and gold, tools, jewelry and symbols that display a complete mastery of these media. Old European ceramicists produced pottery so refined in execution that it would not be matched for thousands of years. They developed a form of writing which shows the ability to deal with a high level of abstraction."
The little goddess-shaped bead above was discovered in 2008 at the now famous 9000 year old settlement at Çatalhöyük in Turkey, one of the first cities. Share more about this site with your children by clicking the "Kids" dialog balloon at the top of this page.

“The focus of life for these peoples was religion: the perpetual functioning of the cycle of life, death, and regeneration embodied by a central feminine force – the Goddess.

“The tens of thousands of figurines and sculptures, the burial rites, the rich religious symbolism, all attest the ideology of these peoples. The most advanced architecture - two-story buildings - were reserved for temples. Religion pervaded every aspect of life, and even weaving and the baking of bread were included as sacred activities in the temples."

Then the renowned archaeologist reveals the following stunning facts...

“The achievements of these ancient civilizations were attained without the use of force. Nowhere in Old Europe is there evidence of warfare. Heavy fortifications are absent, and settlements are located for their proximity to fields and water sources, not for protection from attack...Evidence of pitched battle and violent invasions is nonexistent. Nowhere are there buried warriors, with limbs hacked off or spearheads embedded in bones, and nowhere are there signs of glorification of war heroes."

“The family clan was structured around the clan's women; the older women were especially revered as creators of the clan. In this way, the central role of the women in the family clan reflected the central role of the Goddess in religion."

This clear statement about what was happening during three thousand year periods of Europe's prehistory was found in a place that may seem prehistoric to some who have grown accustomed to blazing fast Internet access to information and entertainment. It was on a high shelf in a library.

It was found bound between brown library-supplied covers, wedged between big, thick books. It may be the last essay by famed UCLA archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. It is collected together with other essays by her in a little book that offers both the concise summary of her life's discoveries we have been quoting, and essays documenting some of those discoveries during 1952 and 1953.

Here's an example from one of her other essays in the little book titled: "Old Europe c. 7000 - 3500 BC: The Earliest European Civilization before the Infiltration of the Indo-European Peoples."

Marija Gimbutas states that, "A time period around 3500 BC forms a caesura (break/interruption) between Old Europe and Indo-European Europe. It is a time when life in the large villages and townships either stops or is markedly changed. It is at this time...that the first eruption into the Danubian and northern European plains of the Kurgan or Proto-Indo-European peoples...is dated. The degenerative changes in the settlements of the Old European Civilization may be assumed to indicate the beginning of the Indo-European presence."

Gimbutas continues, "In my own view, the Old European, Old Anatolian, and Indian Harappan Neolithic civilizations stand in oposition to the patriarchal, patrilinear, and warlike culture of the Indo-Europeans."

Because of it's clarity about several nearly lost millenia of human prehistory, Goddesses has cited very liberally above from the important Gimbutas essay “The fall and transformation of Old Europe: Recapitulation 1993” pp. 351-372 in The Kurgan Culture and the Indo-Europeanization of Europe: Selected articles from 1952 to 1953 by Marija Gimbutas, edited by Miriam Robbins Dexter and Karlene Jones-Bley (Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man, 1997). The quotations are from p. 351, the first page of the essay. Goddesses editors thank Richard Buchen of the Reference and Special Collections Library of the Pacifica Graduate Institute for providing the above citation.

Goddesses editors encourage you to explore more about what Marija discovered by excavating your own local library. Or shop at the Goddesses Sunday Book Review.


Snippets from...

Letters to Goddesses
Subject: 'Lost Goddesses Writing Found'

Dear Editor,

I was interested in the article featuring Marija Gimbutas' undiscovered paper...I have written a book,
In Praise of Bees: a Cabinet of Curiosities (to read an excerpt click below), on the place of bees in human culture and briefly touch on early goddess myths and their connections with the Artemis cult and virgin bee priestesses in ancient Greece.

Elizabeth Birchall, PhD


May 19, 2015, President Obama's interagency task force on the plight of pollinators issued a 65 page National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators (click strategy below).

Goddesses editors referred author Elizabeth Birchall to the Pacifica Institute's Opus Archives, which is home to the complete collections of writings by Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas, who is pictured below in a photo from the archives.

Dear Editor,

Please have a look at my short film
Patriarchy explained by reproduction theory shown below. It covers a subject overlooked by feminism - although crucial to it. You may be particularly interested in the latter portion, which touches on goddess times. My book covers that subject extensively.

Thanks, Julia

goddessesblog goddesses blog

Goddesses editor Dean Adams Curtis shares his thoughts and would like to know your thoughts.

Goddesses Editor Celebrates Site's 25 Years

Dean Adams Curtis

"We feature the words of UCLA archaeologist Marija Gimbutas on the Goddesses home page as a constant reminder of our editorial priority," notes Goddesses owner/editor Dean Adams Curtis. "That is to promote understanding that humans lived for thousands of years at peace with one another prior to the onset of persistent war for the last five thousand years. If it was once so, we can strive to make it so again"

As Goddesses celebrates a quarter century on the web, Dean hopes to keep the site up for another twenty-five years. "We will keep Goddesses from the porn purveyers," Dean commits, "while offering easy access to research into Prehistory, to goddess-oriented mythologies, and to the 'ground-truth' of archaeologists." He adds, "It will help greatly if you buy books from the site, as the small commissions we receive on sales fund Goddesses' continued operation."

A click above takes you to the door of 3D touring through the archaeological museum of Sofia, Bulgaria in search of bird goddesses and more. Tip: Go up the stairs.

Goddesses recommends the web series "Pastel Party".

Archaeologist Maria Demeter falls deep into her dig site in "Into Eden."


New Goddesses Associate Editor

Skye Macrae Curtis

Watch as Skye offers her perspectives on what's happening in feminist pornography.

Female figure Archaeologist found her when digging in Ur.
You can see her and others at U Penn by clicking her image.