April 9, 2009
Some global stuff in the neolithic
5000BP Dominican Republic
http://www.laht.com/article.asp?Article ... ategoryId=
7000 BP Kurdistan
http://www.time.com/time/travel/article ... 82,00.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100724/ap_ ... ient_woman
14100-14600 BP Switzerland
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic ... og_debated
http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/A-sec ... 6426346.jp
April 9, 2009
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.
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.
April 9, 2009
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.
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 🙂
April 9, 2009
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.