Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-cnmwb Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-21T02:37:50.289Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Goddesses, Gimbutas and New Age archaeology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Lynn Meskell*
Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambrisdge CB2 3DZ, England


For a century a notion of a prehistoric Mother Goddess has infused some perceptions of ancient Europe, whatever the realities of developing archaeological knowledge. With the reverent respect now being given to Marija Gimbutas, and her special vision of a perfect matriarchy in Old Europe, a daughter-goddess is now being made, bearer of a holy spirit in our own time, to be set alongside the wise mother of old.

Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd. 1995 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Anthony, D.W. In press. Nazi and ecofeminist prehistories: ideology and empiricism in Indo–European archaeology, in Kohl, P. & Fawcett, C. (ed.), Nationalism, politics and the practice of archaeology: 132. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Bacus, E.A. et al. 1993. A gendered past: a critical review of gender in archaeology. Ann Arbor (MI): University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Brown, S. 1993. Feminist research in archaeology. What does it mean? Why is it taking so long?, in Rabinowitz, & Richlin, (ed.): 238–71.Google Scholar
Chapman, J. 1991. The creation of social arenas in the Neolithic and copper age of SE Europe: the case of Varna, in Garwood, P. et al. (ed.), Sacred and profane: 152–71. Oxford: Oxford University Committee for Archaeology. Monograph 32.Google Scholar
Chapman, J. 1994. Destruction of a common heritage: the archaeology of war in Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Antiquity 68: 120–26.Google Scholar
Childe, V.G. 1927. The dawn of European civilization. 2nd edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.Google Scholar
Childe, V.G. 1951. Social evolution. London: Watts.Google Scholar
Conkey, M.W. 1992. Mobilising ideologies: the archaeologies of Paleolithic ‘art’. Paper delivered to the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Conkey, M.W. & Tringham, R.E.. In press. Archaeology and the Goddess: exploring the contours of feminist archaeology, in Stewart, A. & Stanton, D. (ed.), Feminisms in the academy: rethinking the disciplines. Ann Arbor (MI): University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Crawford, O.G.S. 1957. The eye goddess. London: Phoenix House.Google Scholar
Davis, W. 1992. Masking the blow: the scene of representation in late prehistoric Egyptian art. Berkeley (CA): University of California Press.Google Scholar
Demoule, J.-P. & Perles, C.. 1993. The Greek Neolithic: a new review, Journal of World Prehistory 7(4): 355416.Google Scholar
Dobres, M.-A. 1992a. Re–presentations of Palaeolithic visual imagery: simulacra and their alternatives, Kroeher Anthropological Society Papers 73–4: 125.Google Scholar
Dobres, M.-A. 1992b. Re-considering Venus figurines: a feminist-inspired re-analysis, in Goldsmith, A.S. et al. (ed.), Ancient images, ancient thought: the archaeology of ideology. Proceedings of the 1990 Chacmool conference: 245–62. Alberta: University of Calgary.Google Scholar
Ehrenberg, M. 1989. Women in prehistory. London: British Museum Publications.Google Scholar
Elsler, R. 1987. The chalice and the blade: our history, our future. San Francisco (CA): Harper Row.Google Scholar
Fagan, D.M. 1992. A sexist view of prehistory, Archaeology 45(2): 1416, 18,66.Google Scholar
Frymer-Kensky, T. 1992. In the wake of the goddess: women, culture and the biblical transformation of pagan myth. New York (NY): Ballantine.Google Scholar
Gero, J.M. & Conkey, M.W.. 1991. Tensions, pluralities and engendering archaeology: an introduction to women and prehistory, in Gero, & Conkey, (ed.): 229.Google Scholar
Gero, J.M. & Conkey, M.W. (ed.). 1991. Engendering archaeology: women and prehistory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Gill, D.W.J. & Chippindale, C.. 1993. Material and intellectual consequences of esteem for Cycladic figures, American Journal of Archaeology 97: 601–59.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1965. The Bronze Age cultures in central and eastern Europe. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1970. Proto-Indo-European culture: the Kurgan culture during the 5th, 4th and 3rd millennium DC in Cardona, G. et al. (ed.), Indo-European and Indo-Euro-peans: 155–97. Philadelphia (PA): University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1971a. The Slavs. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1971b (ed.). Neolithic Macedonia: as reflected by excavations at Anza, southeast Yugoslavia. Los Angeles (CA): UCLA Institute of Archaeology. Monumenta Archaeologica 1.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1973. The beginning of the Bronze Age in Europe and the Indo-Europeans — 3500–2500 BC, Journal of Indo-European Studies 1(2): 163214.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1974. Gods and goddesses of old Europe. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1981. Vulvas, breasts and buttocks of the Goddess Creatress: commentary on the origins of art, in Buccellati, G. & Speroni, C. (ed.), The shape of the past. Studies in honour of Franklin D. Murphy: 1940. Los Angeles (CA): UCLA Institute of Archaeology.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1986. Mythical imagery of Sitagroi society, in Renfrew, et al. (ed.): 225301.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1989a. The language of the Goddess: unearthing hidden symbols of western civilisation. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1989b. Women and culture in Goddess-oriented Old Europe, in Plaskow, J. & Christ, C.C. (ed.), Weaving the visions: 6371. San Francisco (CA): Harpers.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1991. The civilization of the Goddess: the world of Old Europe. San Francisco (CA): Harpers.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M. 1992. The age of the Goddess: ancient roots of the emerging feminine consciousness. Boulder (CO): Sounds True Recordings. Audio tape #A192.Google Scholar
Gimbutas, M., Winn, S. & Shimabuku, D.. 1989. Achilleion: a Neolithic settlement in Thessaly, Greece 6400–5600 BC. Los Angeles (CA): UCLA Institute of Archaeol.Google Scholar
Hallett, J.P. 1993. Feminist theory, historical periods, literary canons, and the study of Greco-Roman antiquity’ in Rabinowitz, & Richlin, (ed.): 4472.Google Scholar
Handsman, R.G. 1991. Whose art was found at Lepinski Vir?: gender relations and power in archaeology, in Gero, & Conkey, (ed.): 329–65.Google Scholar
Hayden, B. 1986. Old Europe: sacred matriarchy or complimentary opposition, in Bonanno, A. (ed.), Archaeology and fertility cult in the Mediterranean: 1741. Amsterdam: B.R. Grunner.Google Scholar
Hays, K.A. 1993. When is a symbol archaeologically meaningful?: meaning, function and prehistoric visual arts, in Yoffee, N. & Sherratt, A. (ed.), Archaeological theory: who sets the agenda?: 8192. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hodder, I.R. 1987. Contextual archaeology: an interpretation of Catal Hüyük and a discussion of the origins of agriculture, University of London Institute of Archaeology Bulletin 24: 4356.Google Scholar
Hodder, I.R. 1990. The domestication of Europe: structure and contingency in Neolithic societies. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Humphreys, S.C. 1983. The family, women and death: comparative studies. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Johnson, H.. & Olsen, B.. 1992. Hermeneutics and archaeology: on the philosophy of contextual archaeology, American Antiquity 57(3): 419–36.Google Scholar
Mcpherron, A. 1991. Review of Gimbutas et al. (1989), American Antiquity 56(3): 567–8.Google Scholar
Mallory, J.P. 1989. In search of the Indo-Europeans. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
Malone, C., Bonanno, A., Gouder, T., Stoddart, S. & Trump, D.. 1993. The death cults of prehistoric Malta, Scientific American (December): 7683.Google Scholar
Marinescu-Bîlcu, . 1981. Tìrpesti: from prehistory to history in eastern Romania. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. International series 107.Google Scholar
Milojkovic, J. 1990. The anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, in Tringham, & Krstic, (ed.): 397436.Google Scholar
Murray, J. 1970. The first European agriculture, a study of the osteological and botanical evidence untii 2000 BC. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
Orenstein, G.F. 1990. The refloweringof the Goddess. New York (NY): Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
Pavlovic, M.. 1990. The aesthetics of Neolithic figurines, in Vinca and its world: international symposium. The Danubian region from 6000 to 3000 HC. Belgrade, Smederevska Palanka, October 1988: 33–4. Belgrade: Academy of Arts and Sciences.Google Scholar
Passman, T. 1993. Out of the closet and into the field: matriculture, lesbian perspective and feminist classics, in Rabinowitz, & Richlin, (ed.): 181208.Google Scholar
Pogozheva, A.P. 1983. Antropomorfnaya plastika Tripol’ya. Novosibirsk: Akademiia Nauk, Sibirskoe Otdolenie.Google Scholar
Rabinowitz, N.S. & Richlin, A. (ed.). 1993. Feminist theory and the Classics. New York (NY): Routledge.Google Scholar
Renfrew, C. 1987. Archaeology and language: the puzzle of Indo-European origins. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
Renfrew, C., Gimbutas, M. & Elster, E.S.. 1986. Excavations at Sitagroi 1: a prehistoric village in northeast Greece. Los Angeles (CA): UCLA Institute of Archaeology. Monumenta Archaeologica 13.Google Scholar
Renfrew, C., Peebles, C., Hodder, I., Bender, B., Flannery, K.V. & Margus, J.. 1993. What is cognitive archaeology? Cambridge Archaeological Journal 3(2): 247–70.Google Scholar
Renfrew, C. & Zubrow, E.B. (ed.). 1994. The ancient mind: elements of cognitive archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Robins, G. 1993. Women in ancient Egypt. London: British Museum Press.Google Scholar
Runnels, C. 1990. Review of Gimbutas et al. (1989), Journal of Field Archaeology 17: 341–5.Google Scholar
Shanks, M. & Tilley, C.. 1987. Re-constructing archaeology: theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Spretnak, C. 1992. Lost goddesses of early Greece. Boston (MA): Beacon Press.Google Scholar
Starhawk, . 1982. Dreaming the dark: magic, sex and politics. Boston (MA): Beacon Press.Google Scholar
Talalay, L.E. 1987. Rethinking the function of clay figurine legs from Neolithic Greece: an argument by analogy, American Journal of Archaeology 91: 161–9.Google Scholar
Talalay, L.E. 1991. Body imagery of the ancient Aegean, Archaeology 44(4): 46–9.Google Scholar
Talalay, L.E. 1993. Dolls, deities and devices. Neolithic figurines from Franthchi cave, Greece. Bloomington (IN): Indiana University Press. Excavations at Franchthi Cave, Greece 9.Google Scholar
Tringham, R.E. 1991. Households with faces: the challenge of gender in prehistoric architectural remains, in Gero, & Conkey, (ed.): 93131.Google Scholar
Tringham, R.E. 1993. Review of Gimbutas (1991), American Anthropologist 95: 196–7.Google Scholar
Tringham, R.E. & Krstic, D. (ed.). 1990. Selevac: a Neolithic village in Yugoslavia. Los Angeles (CA): UCLA Institute of Archaeology. Monumenta Archaeologica 15.Google Scholar
Ucko, P.J. 1968. Anthropomorphic figures of predynastic Egypt and Neolithic Crete with comparative material from the prehistoric Near East and Mainland Greece. London: Andrew Szmidla.Google Scholar
Van Leuven, J. 1993. Review of Gimbutas (1991), Journal of Prehistoric Religion 7: 83–4.Google Scholar
Vermeule, E. 1964. Greece in the Bronze Age. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Wall, S.M., Musgrave, J.H. & Warren, P.M.. 1986. Human bones from a late Minoan lb house at Knossos, Annual of the British School at Athens 81: 333–88.Google Scholar
Wylie, M.A. 1991. Gender theory and the archaeological record: why is there no archaeology of gender?, in Gero, & Conkey, (ed.): 3147.Google Scholar