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Old Europe 7000–1700 BC

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Postby Aquatank » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:17 am

Here's a piece of history that is generally forgotten, a civilization that had a gynocentric religion (this gynocentric religion may have lasted 15000+ years) that existed in Europe before the Indo Europeans. I'm sure many of you who have done research will recognize survivials of many things from it from history and today if you read The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe-Gimbutas, Marija 1991. There are also plenty of pictures of artifacts including things like clearly recognizable drinking mugs and a childs toy farm house with toy animals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_Pottery_Culture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_European_culture
http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/7-5-20 ... viewPage=2
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/ap ... ts.germany
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Postby Aquatank » Thu May 14, 2009 6:26 am

Recent news is a "Venus" statue some 60mm from Germany has been dated to 35000 years old (around the year 32991 BC, Homo Neanderthalensis was still around.). If we take a look at this and and set Sumerias beginning of pantheistic worship at 5300 BC the worship of the Goddess lasted a minimum of 27691 years. This is without taking into account her incorporation into the new pantheons and eventual devaluement in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology.

The worship of this religious figure is among the oldest and most enduring religion in the world and very little is actually known about it or the civilizations that engaged in it. This is truly lost history, and cultural reconstructions aren't alaways accurate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/science/14venus.html
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Postby Percival » Tue May 19, 2009 10:26 am

I've always found pre-history more interesting than history, 150000+ years of homo sapiens, and only 5000 years or so of recorded history. So many unknowns, when you think of what has happened in such a short historical period of humanity's existence, I've always wondered what may have happened in the rest of our time on this planet.

The whole 'mother goddess' thing is interesting. Are these artifacts really spiritual? Or just art? I think sometimes think that archaeologists are too quick to equate artifacts with spirituality, and sometimes I wonder if prehistoric european men were simply just obsessed with women, and pregnant women in particular. They used to make a lot of practical tools, but perhaps just occasionally they turned their skill to creating items without practicality, just to reflect what was on their mind. I'm not convinced that at this stage there would necessarily have been any spirituality attached to it. I think spirituality evolved as society evolved.

Hunter-gatherers had a harsh lifestyle, and had to work very hard to acquire food for survival. Would they really see the world around them as a motherly environment to worship? Perhaps the idea of the world as a female spirit evolved with development of agriculture, when humanity could take control of its food supply through respect for nature and learning to work with it. Maybe then the idea of the world as a maternal provider to respect perhaps took off.

This idea would have begun in the middle-east, and spread to europe around 6000-5000 BC as agricultural practice spread, and so Gimbutas' Old-Europeans, the Vasconic and/or Atlantic cultures, would definitely have inherited these ideas.

I guess it all depends as to whether there is a continuity between the kind of artifacts found before and after the arrival of agriculture to a region, or whether the arrival of agriculture causes a pronounced change in the style and distribution of these kind of artifacts.
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Postby Aquatank » Tue May 19, 2009 10:19 pm

Things might not have been as harsh as they seem to have been. When we look at modern foragers such the !kung we find a rather relaxed lifestyle with generally less than 20 hours per week spent on work involving survival like foraging. Further complicating this is rise of domestication around 10000 to 12000 years ago with some traces going back further.

The goddess statue situation is unique, probably more religious than art because much of the same occurs over a huge amount of time. Not that there are nnot different ones but many are very much similar in context. If it is more of an art piece it is the most successful barbie doll in human existence.

I'm not too big on the whole goddess worshipper were non-warlike thing though, but I do believe war as we know did not start occuring until Old Europe was coming to a close and animal domestication and dietary changes led to human aggression as a result.
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Postby Percival » Wed May 20, 2009 11:27 pm

I agree regarding war and aggression and that population density is the key factor, but as you say, conflict could arise between groups at any period, it's in our nature whether we worship a mother goddess or not.

Something I find intriguing is why in upper-Paleolithic art there are plenty of female figurines, but no such likenesses in their cave art, whilst cave art is full of hunting scenes but there are relatively few carved animals. Its almost as if one medium reflected one aspect of their culture, and another medium reflects another. Still, all these voluptuous females and scenes of hunting action could just be the fantasies of pre-historic young men :)
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Postby Aquatank » Thu May 21, 2009 8:20 pm

I'll agree violent aggression is inevitable in that it happens, but I no longer believe it is in our nature. I believe it is something we are taught and that our diets can affect this behavoir.

Currently there are 25 peaceful societies on our globe with a variety of solutions ( http://peacefulsocieties.org/ ). This indicate violence is taught. The fact that the goddess religion lasted so long infers somekind of very strong social stability, and while we do find walled citys they could be an indication of defense against animals such a stampeding bison. One of the early things that I found interesting about finds in Dresden was the digging of circular ditches around the cities, not always the same depth but the same amount of dirt was ritualistically removed. I've been wondering if it was a vestige of a "spell/enchantment" an earlier shaman had come up. The reason is simple elephants can't cross ditches so mammoths would not be able to cross ditches thusly a "circle of protection" came into being to defend against elephants and their relatives and was passed through so many generations that its meaning was lost but religiously kept to.

The weapons trauma is a different story, but we have no idea how frequent that was to call it warfare.
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Postby sandra » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:08 am

hmm percival was fairly insistent that this venus statue and the likes are more prehistoric pornography. :? How would times back then be perceived as less spiritual? There are relatively few carved animals from that time compared to female figurines? If that is the truth, alot more time was dedicated to thinking of women....no harm in that. :P
Aquatank I see your reference to the circular ditches again. There was an article I came accross the other day that I now cannot find- have you ever heard that people slept in those ditches?
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
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— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby Aquatank » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:46 am

I wouldn't be surprised if people slept in ditches, in fact it might make sense in area s prone to high winds, or tornados. But that hypothesis doesn't make sense for it to be in a circle that wide unless it had ceremonial implications. I'd have to see the articles your reffering to to get a idea of what the the uthor is talking about.

as for the venuses being prehistoric porn, from our times perspective maybe, from theirs maybe not. What is considered pornographic varies from place to place and time to time. A few hundred years back it used to be fine for a womans breasts to be exposed but not her shoulders, and it used to be indecent for a woman to to show any leg above her ankle. If we look at Burqas we see an even more extreme example of what is considered indecent. One thing you will see in proto-indo-european cultural artifacts is quite a bit of what we would consider sexual overtones. I might even say there is an almost survival of this in atleast Cathedral floor plans and entrances which are designed very vaginal: A vulva fulvum shaped entrance surrounded by men/saints, followed by uterus where the congregation is, the alter is placed where pooling occurs and generally two rooms of center to the back like ovaries, not to mention the phallic pillars holding the space open for all to enter and be "reborn" and the flying butresses that could represent fluid exchange.

Porn seems to be to modern a concept when compared to veneration.
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Postby sandra » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:06 am

Yes I still am looking for that article, how frustrating.
Although I remember you saying that the new Turkish temple found which predates agriculture, housings, etc reminded you of the finds in Dresden.

I know in Ancient Egypt they used sleeping Temples for curing the ill
which were thought to have led into Greece during times everything was still centered around the gods and rituals at Temples where people bathed and slept along with if they were cured, they were to bring the largest stones back to the temple as they could for an offering. However the Turkish Temple obviously predates all of this, and I'm guessing maybe not as much was centered around religious or spiritual rituals concerning health or otherwise maybe, but more for protection and safety. I'm guessing wet weather would not be great for sleeping in ditches, but because I'm guessing at that time there were not many enclosed structures besides caves?, it would have been a wise place to rest under the protection of the Gods possibly....if they had been on travel, kind of like a man made cave away from home. Possibly how we put up tents today. ok maybe not LOL Because I do know around 11,000 bp I think, they built tent like structures on the plains and more open land out of hides and large bones (tusks and such from mammoths)

But around 11,500bp there were known to be alot of movement of peoples and was known as a time of portable art as well from what I have read. Maybe the Turkish temple was used by a shaman on a hunting vision quest. Will we ever know? :mrgreen:
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby Aquatank » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:19 am

Considering most peoples in the 8000BP and prior were nomadic foragers, I'm guessing they had some kind of portable shelter of some kind. Tents or teepees. If I was in charge I'd have favored teepees because the poles can be used as dual purpose travois, stretcher, and in a pinch maybe a lance against charging megafauna (atleast mine could have been they had the diameter of a popcan). The problem with such technology is skins and wood don't last long in so unless there are fixed settlements you aren't going to find post holes or anything generally.
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