Two days ago, one of the biggest US newspapers ever – The New York Times –actually printed an article about that “little-known” Goddess culture, Old Europe!
And from what I understand, this article was plopped onto the front page of this Grandmama of all US newspapers!
According to the article, since Old European figurines, jewelry and other stuff are currently on display at New York University, Old Europe is now being “rescued from obscurity.”
‘Bout time, I say!
Of course the article is not without its flaws.
First, the author downplays the notion that women had power in Old Europe, or that the “ubiquitous” female figurines were – gasp! – goddesses (Oh no! Not scary goddesses!).
The explanation at the end of the article as to what these figurines “were” is a hoot. Don’t miss it! Apparently the author threw a bunch of words into a bag, shook hard, dumped the words, and then printed them out on paper.
The resulting paragraphs read like crow tracks rambling across a snow bank.
Second, a guy’s quoted saying the Old Europeans had a social hierarchy – you know, social classes, snooty snobs, and all that ick? Hafta give the author of the article credit, though. At least he clears his throat and voices a gigundo concern, namely this: if the Old Europeans had snooty snobs, why didn’t the snoots live in nicer houses than everyone else did?
Thing is, Old Europe *had* no “nicer” houses with “nicer” stuff in them. All the houses were equal, and plumped up with equally nice furniture, dishes, art, and so forth.
Well, enough of my rambling. Here for your reading pleasure, are a few snippets from the article, A Lost European Culture, Pulled From Obscurity, by John Noble Wilford, published November 30, 2009
Before the glory that was Greece and Rome, even before the first cities of Mesopotamia or temples along the Nile, there lived in the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan foothills people who were ahead of their time in art, technology and long-distance trade.Go HERE to read the entire article.
Their graves held an impressive array of exquisite headdresses and necklaces and, in one cemetery, the earliest major assemblage of gold artifacts to be found anywhere in the world.
Until recent discoveries, the most intriguing artifacts [found from this culture] were the ubiquitous terracotta “goddess” figurines, originally interpreted [sic] as evidence of the spiritual and political power of women in society.
At its peak, around 4500 B.C., said David W. Anthony, the exhibition’s guest curator, “Old Europe was among the most sophisticated and technologically advanced places in the world” and was developing “many of the political, technological and ideological signs of civilization.”
A few towns of the Cucuteni people, a later and apparently robust culture in the north of Old Europe, grew to more than 800 acres, which archaeologists consider larger than any other known human settlements at the time.
“The concentration of imported prestige objects in a distinct minority of graves suggest that institutionalized higher ranks did exist,” exhibition curators noted in a text panel accompanying the Varna gold.
Yet it is puzzling that the elite seemed not to indulge in private lives of excess. “The people who donned gold costumes for public events while they were alive,” Dr. Anthony wrote, “went home to fairly ordinary houses.”
An entire gallery is devoted to the [human and primarily female] figurines, the more familiar and provocative of the culture’s treasures. They have been found in virtually every Old Europe culture and in several contexts: in graves, house shrines and other possibly “religious spaces.”
The pic above shows a Cucuteni goddess figurine. She dates from 4045-3800 BC.