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Encyclopedia > Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas by Kerbstone 52, at the back of Newgrange, Co. Meath, Ireland, in September 1989.
Marija Gimbutas by Kerbstone 52, at the back of Newgrange, Co. Meath, Ireland, in September 1989.

Marija Gimbutas (Lithuanian: Marija Gimbutienė, born Marija Birutė Alseikaitė) (Vilnius, Lithuania January 23, 1921 – Los Angeles, United States February 2, 1994) a Lithuanian-American archeologist, researched the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological interpretation. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x709, 140 KB) Summary Photograph of Marija Gimbutas at the back of Newgrange, Co. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x709, 140 KB) Summary Photograph of Marija Gimbutas at the back of Newgrange, Co. ... Newgrange, which is located at , is one of the passage tombs of the Brú na Bóinne complex in County Meath, and the most famous of all Irish prehistoric sites. ... Meath (An Mhí in Irish) is a county in the Republic of Ireland, often informally called The Royal County. ... Location Ethnographic region AukÅ¡taitija County Vilnius County Municipality Vilnius city municipality Coordinates Number of elderates 20 General Information Capital of Lithuania Vilnius County Vilnius city municipality Vilnius district municipality Population About 600,000 in 2006 (1st) First mentioned 1323 Granted city rights 1387 Not to be confused with Vilnius... Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... Some archaeologists and ethnographers use the term Old Europe to characterize the autochthonous (aboriginal) peoples who were living in Neolithic southeastern Europe before the immigration of Indo-European peoples (for this reason also called Pre-Indo-European). ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... The word mythology (from the Greek μυολογία mythología, from μυολογείν mythologein to relate myths, from μύος mythos, meaning a narrative, and λόγος logos, meaning speech or argument) literally means the (oral) retelling of myths – stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use the supernatural to interpret natural events and...

Contents

Life

Gimbutas lived through great turmoil during the war years in her native Lithuania, and had to flee to Germany in 1944 due to the Soviet re-occupation of her homeland. She arrived in the United States from Germany in 1949 after earning a PhD in archaeology in 1946 at Tübingen University, though she never forgot her Lithuanian heritage. She began immediately at Harvard University, translating Eastern European archaeological texts, and became a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology. In 1955 she was made a Fellow of Harvard's Peabody Museum. Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek: αρχαίος, archaios, combining form in Latin archae-, ancient; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (German: Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen) is a state-supported university located on the Neckar river, in the city of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. ... The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is a museum affiliated with Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ...


In 1956 Gimbutas introduced her "Kurgan hypothesis", which combined archaeological study of the distinctive "Kurgan" burial mounds with linguistics to unravel some problems in the study of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) speaking peoples, whom she dubbed the "Kurgans"; namely, to account for their origin and to trace their migrations into Europe. This hypothesis, and the act of bridging the disciplines, has had a significant impact on Indo-European studies. The Kurgan hypothesis was introduced by Marija Gimbutas in 1956 in order to combine archaeology with linguistics in locating the origins of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) speaking peoples. ... Sarmatian Kurgan 4th c. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... Look up Hypothesis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics, dealing with the Indo-European languages. ...


A professor of archaeology at UCLA from 1963 to 1989, Gimbutas directed major excavations of Neolithic sites in southeast Europe between 1967 and 1980. Digging through layers of earth representing a period of time before contemporary estimates for Neolithic habitation in Europe, where other archaeologists would not have expected further finds, she unearthed a great number of objects of daily life and of religious cult, which she researched and documented throughout her career. Her books and papers are housed at the Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas Library at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek: αρχαίος, archaios, combining form in Latin archae-, ancient; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... Binomial name Ucla xenogrammus Holleman, 1993 The largemouth triplefin, Ucla xenogrammus, is a fish of the family Tripterygiidae and only member of the genus Ucla, found in the Pacific Ocean from Viet Nam, the Philippines, Palau and the Caroline Islands to Papua New Guinea, Australia (including Christmas Island), and the... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings (scriptures), its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. ... Carpinteria is a city located in Santa Barbara County, California. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...


Work

During the 1950s and early 1960s, Gimbutas earned a reputation as a world-class specialist on the Indo-European Bronze Age as well as on Lithuanian folk art and the prehistory of the Balts and Slavs, partly summed up in her definitive Bronze Age Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe (1965). But she gained unexpected fame— or notoriety— with her last three books: The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (1974), The Language of the Goddess (1989)— which inspired an exhibition in Wiesbaden, 1993/94— and her final book The Civilization of the Goddess (1991), which presented an overview of her speculations about Neolithic cultures across Europe: housing patterns, social structure, art, religion and the nature of literacy. The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... http://www. ... The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ... Wiesbaden is a city in central Germany. ...


The book advanced what she saw as the differences between the Old European system, which she considered goddess-centered and matriarchal ("gynocentric", or "gylanic"), and the Bronze Age Indo-European patriarchal ("androcratic") cultural elements. According to her interpretations, gynocentric / gylanic societies were peaceful; they honored homosexuals; and they espoused economic equality. The "androcratic" or male-dominated Kurgan peoples on the other hand invaded Europe and imposed upon its natives the hierarchical rule of warrior males. A matriarchy is a tradition (and by extension a form of government) in which community power lies with the eldest mother of a community. ... A patriarch (from Greek: patria means father; arché means rule, beginning, origin) is a male head of an extended family exercising autocratic authority, or, by extension, a member of the ruling class or government of a society controlled by senior men. ...


In her work Gimbutas reinterpreted European prehistory in light of her backgrounds in linguistics, ethnology, and the history of religions, and challenged many traditional assumptions about the beginnings of European civilization. Ethnology (from the Greek ethnos, meaning people) is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyses the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the racial or national divisions of humanity. ...


Her critics abounded. Bernard Wailes, professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, told Peter Steinfels in 1990 that she was "immensely knowledgable but not very good in critical analysis... She amasses all the data and then leaps to conclusions without any intervening argument... Most of us tend to say, oh my God, here goes Marija again". Other detractors quoted in that piece[citation needed] include Ruth Tringham, professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Linda Ellis. David Anthony, professor of anthropology at Hartwick College, denied that there was any evidence for a matriarchal society prior to the Kurgan incursion, and pointed out that Europe had hillforts and weapons, and presumably warfare, long before the Kurgan.[1] Andrew Fleming, "The Myth of the Mother Goddess," (World Archaeology 1969)[2] denied that Neolithic spirals, circles, and dots were symbols for eyes; that eyes, faces, and genderless figures were symbols of a female; or that certain of Gimbutas' female figures were symbols of a goddess or goddesses. This article is about the private Ivy League university in Philadelphia. ... Peter F. Steinfels (born in 1941) is an American journalist and educator best known for his writings on religious topics. ... Sather tower (the Campanile) looking out over the San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais. ... David Lamar Anthony (born 1948), better known as David Anthony, is a convicted murderer who allegedly killed his wife and her two children. ... Hartwick College is a nationally ranked, non-denominational, private, four-year liberal arts and sciences college located in Oneonta, New York, in the United States. ...


Gimbutas excavated, among others, at the Neolithic sites of Sitagroi and Achilleion in Thessaly (Greece). Sitagroi (Σιταγροί) is a municipality in the Drama Prefecture, Greece. ... Achilleion is an early Neolithic site in Thessaly, Greece. ... Map showing Thessaly periphery in Greece Thessaly (Θεσσαλια; modern Greek Thessalía; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is one of the 13 peripheries of Greece, and is further sub-divided into 4 prefectures. ...


Assessment

Joseph Campbell and Ashley Montagu[3] each compared the importance of Marija Gimbutas' output to the historical importance of the Rosetta Stone in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. Campbell provided a foreword to a new edition of Gimbutas' The Language of the Goddess (1989) before he died, and often said how profoundly he regretted that her research on the Neolithic cultures of Europe had not been available when he was writing The Masks of God. His papers are archived with Gimbutas' at the Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas Library on the campus of the Pacifica Graduate Institute, just south of Santa Barbara, California. Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 31, 1987) was an American professor, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative mythology and comparative religion. ... Ashley Montagu (June 28, 1905, London, England - November 26, 1999, Princeton, New Jersey), was an English anthropologist and humanist who popularized issues such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development. ... The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. ... A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs. ... Nickname: Santa Barbara is situated on the southward-facing coast at far right. ...


Joan Marler wrote, "Although it is considered improper in mainstream archaeology to interpret the ideology of prehistoric societies, it became obvious to Marija that every aspect of Old European life expressed a sophisticated religious symbolism. She, therefore, devoted herself to an exhaustive study of Neolithic images and symbols to discover their social and mythological significance. To accomplish this it was necessary to widen the scope of descriptive archaeology to include linguistics, mythology, comparative religions and the study of historical records. She called this interdisciplinary approach 'archaeomythology'." The word mythology (from the Greek μυολογία mythología, from μυολογείν mythologein to relate myths, from μύος mythos, meaning a narrative, and λόγος logos, meaning speech or argument) literally means the (oral) retelling of myths – stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use the supernatural to interpret natural events and...


Her critics point to grave goods as characterizing more familiar Neolithic gender roles, for which they allege Gimbutas did not account, and question her emphasis on female figures when many male or asexual figures have also been found. Peter Ucko[4] speculated that Gimbutas's alleged fertility figures were nothing more than Neolithic dolls. Gimbutas' attempts at deciphering Neolithic signs as ideograms, in The Language of the Goddess (1989), received the stiffest scholarly resistance of all her speculations. In archaeology and anthropology grave goods are the items interred along with the body. ... A bagpiper in military uniform. ... A Chinese character. ...


Influence on Neo-Pagan movement

Gimbutas's theories have been extended and embraced by a number of authors in the Neopagan movement, although her conclusions are generally considered speculative. Unlike some of her enthusiastic followers, Gimbutas did not identify the diverse and complex Paleolithic and Neolithic female representations she recognized as depicting a single universal Mother Goddess, but as a range of female deities: snake goddess, bee goddess, bird goddess, mountain goddess, Mistress of the Animals, etc., which were not necessarily ubiquitous throughout Europe. Neopaganism (sometimes Neo-Paganism, meaning New Paganism) is a heterogeneous group of religions which attempt to revive ancient, mainly European pre-Christian religions. ... It has been suggested that Mother (neopaganism) be merged into this article or section. ...


In 2004, filmmaker Donna Read and Neopagan author and activist Starhawk released a collaborative documentary film about the life and work of Gimbutas, Signs Out of Time. Neopaganism (sometimes Neo-Paganism, meaning New Paganism) is a heterogeneous group of religions which attempt to revive ancient, mainly European pre-Christian religions. ... Starhawk (born Miriam Simos in St. ...


See also

The Kurgan hypothesis was introduced by Marija Gimbutas in 1956 in order to combine archaeology with linguistics in locating the origins of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) speaking peoples. ... Andrew Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn (born 25 July 1937), English archaeologist, notable for his work on the radiocarbon revolution, the prehistory of languages, archaeogenetics, and the prevention of looting of archaeological sites. ... JP Mallory is the nom-de-plume of Irish-American archaeologist and Indo-Europeanist Prof. ... Typical Yamna burial with the skeleton in supine position, with bent knees. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Idyllic Theory of Goddess Creates Storm
  2. ^ Fleming 1969
  3. ^ "According to anthropologist Ashley Montagu, "Marija Gimbutas has given us a veritable Rosetta Stone of the greatest heuristic value for future work in the hermeneutics of archaeology and anthropology." [1]
  4. ^ http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/staff/profiles/ucko.htm

Works

  • Gimbutas, Marija 1946. Die Bestattung in Litauen in der vorgeschichtlichen Zeit. Tübingen: In Kommission bei J.C.B. Mohr.
  • Gimbutas, Marija: Ancient symbolism in Lithuanian folk art. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society , 1958. Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 49.
  • Gimbutas, Marija ,1961. "Notes on the chronology and expansion of the Pit-grave culture", in J. Bohm & S. J. De Laet (eds), L’Europe à la fin de 1’Age de la pierre: 193-200. Prague: Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
  • Gimbutas, Marija 1963. The Balts. London : Thames and Hudson, Ancient peoples and places 33.
  • Gimbutas, Marija 1965. Bronze Age cultures in Central and Eastern Europe. The Hague/London: Mouton.
  • Colin Renfrew, Marija Gimbutas and Ernestine S. Elster 1986. Excavations at Sitagroi, a prehistoric village in northeast Greece. Vol. 1. Los Angeles : Institute of Archaeology, University of California, 1986, Monumenta archaeologica 13.
  • Marija Gimbutienė 1985. Baltai priešistoriniais laikais : etnogenezė, materialinė kultūra ir mitologija. Vilnius: Mokslas.
  • Gimbutas, Marija 1974. The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe
  • Marija Gimbutas (ed.) 1976. Neolithic Macedonia as reflected by excavation at Anza, southeast Yugoslavia. Los Angeles: Institute of Archaeology, University of California, 1976. Monumenta archaeologica 1.
  • Marija Gimbutas 1977. "The first wave of Eurasian steppe pastoralists into Copper Age Europe", Journal of Indo-European Studies 5: 277-338.
  • Marija Gimbutas 1980. "The Kurgan wave #2 (c.3400-3200 BC) into Europe and the following transformation of culture", Journal of Indo-European Studies 8: 273-315.
  • Marija Gimbutas 1989. The Language of the Goddess.
  • Marija Gimbutas, Shan Winn, Daniel Shimabuku, 1989. "Achilleion: a Neolithic settlement in Thessaly, Greece, 6400-5600 B.C." Los Angeles: Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. Monumenta archaeologica 14.
  • Marija Gimbutas 1991. The Civilization of the Goddess
  • Gimbutas, Marija 1992. Die Ethnogenese der europäischen Indogermanen. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck, Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft , Vorträge und kleinere Schriften 54.
  • Dexter, Miriam Robbins and Karlene Jones-Bley 1997 (eds), The Kurgan culture and the Indo-Europeanization of Europe. Selected articles from 1952 to 1993 by M. Gimbutas. Journal of Indo-European Studies monograph 18, Washington DC: Institute for the Study of Man.
  • Gimbutas, Marija, edited and supplemented by Miriam Robbins Dexter, 1999 The Living Goddesses. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • Dexter, Miriam Robbins and Edgar C. Polomé, eds. 1997, "Varia on the Indo-European Past: Papers in Memory of Marija Gimbutas." Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph #19. Washington, DC: The Institute for the Study of Man.

Sources

  • John Chapman 1998. "The impact of modern invasions and migrations on archaeological explanation. A biographical sketch of Marija Gimbutas." In M. Díaz-Andreu/M.-L. Stig Sørensen (eds.), Excavating Women (London:Unwin) pp 295-314.
  • A. Häusler 1995. "Über Archäologie und den Ursprung der Indogermanen." In M. Kuna/N. Venclová (eds), Whither archaeology? Papers in honour of Evzen Neustupny (Prague, Akademie) pp 211-229.
  • Lynn Meskell 1995, "Goddesses, Gimbutas and 'New Age' Archaeology", Antiquity 69:74-86.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Pacifica Graduate Institute | Joseph Campbell & Marija Gimbutas Library | Marija Gimbutas - Life and Work (1408 words)
Marija Gimbutas was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1921 and came to the United States as a refugee from the Soviet regime in 1949 after earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree in archaeology in 1946 at Tübingen University in Germany.
In 1963 Marija Gimbutas was invited to teach at the University of California, Los Angeles where she remained as a full professor until her retirement in 1989.
Marija Gimbutas, who died in Los Angeles on February 2, 1994, will be remembered for her brilliant intellect, warm-hearted generosity and a passionate originality and vision.
Matriarchies and the goddess figurines: A critical Examination of the Work of Marija Gimbutas. (4376 words)
Marija Gimbutas has been one of the primary proponents to a matriarchal prehistoric past in the Mediterranean and European interior deemed by her as “Old Europe”;.
Marija Gimbutas was a Lithuanian born archaeologist, whose primary study was the Balkans, and Eastern European prehistory.
Gimbutas summarizes the premise of her work in her conclusion (Gimbutas 236 – 238) by stating: “In Old Europe the world of myth was not polarized into female and male as it was among the Indo-European and many other nomadic and pastoral peoples of the steppes.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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