On Thursday 31 January 2002 at 9.00pm in Britain BBC Two the scientific TV program Horizon. Called, “The Lost Pyramids of Caral”, the subject matter was archaeology (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/caral.shtml)
Now to anyone who didn’t have an interest in science this program passed by unnoticed. Yet what this program was about is a very big shift in the understanding of our past and the true nature of human beings. To the degree that historians in the future will have to re-write history and sociologists will have to rethink all their theories about human nature. In fact what was discovered could bring about a colossal social, religious and political change in our future. Once the information about what was discovered fillers down to ordinary people.
As previously pointed out, most books about our ancestors in the Stone, Bronze and Iron age portray them as very brutal and violence people. It also seems that the further you go back in time the more violence and savage people seem to be. For this reason it was assumed that people who lived in prehistoric times were even more barbaric than the people in historic times. This has been the prevailing view by most archaeologists, anthropologist and palaeontologists up until very recently.
Now to most people academic theories are irrelevant to their normal daily lives, but the belief that we descended from savage barbarians effects us all. Because it assumes we are all deep down just violent brutes in modern clothing, and have to be kept in line through strict laws, moral codes and brutal punishment. This belief influences the nature of our religions, political systems and laws. It also has a unconscious effect on the way we treat others, because if we are to believe that the true nature of humans is barbaric. Then we learn to fear other people and assume the worst in them. Creating a vicious cycle of fear and hatred for other people.
This belief is not much different from the Christian belief that all people are born into sin. The implication of this belief, is that people can only be saved by obeying the very strict rules and moral code of the Christian religion. When scientists replaced priests as the “wise men” of our society all they done was to continue this belief in another form. In that we are no longer born into sin but we are given instead the equal negative belief that deep down we are all savage brutes.
This belief was spelt out on this Horizon program by Prof. C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky of Harvard University, who said-
“I frankly find it difficult to conceive of the emergence of urbanisation complexity civilisation in the absence of degrees of conflict, or the presence of, warfare."
In other words he was saying it is natural for human beings to live in conflict, and he couldn’t imagine any civilisation that didn’t generate violence and war.
Proof of this belief was found by Dr Tom Pozorski of the University of Texas-Pan American and his wife Sheila who had previously discovered what was then thought to be the oldest city in South America. In the Casma Valley they had discovered one of the largest pyramids in the world, in fact it was so large that previous explorers had assumed it was just a hill. Wood on the site was carbon dated to 1500 BC and this at the time it made it the oldest city in the America. In the excavation they discovered carvings of warriors who were killing and mutilating their victims. To quote, Jonathan Haas of Field Museum, Chicago-
“Heads have blood flowing from their eyes and blood flowing from their mouths and then you have body parts so you'll have just the leg and you'll have a torso or you'll have feet and you'll have crossed hands”.
So this find seems to confirm everything archaeologists believed about the early civilisations. That they were created by warlords who ruled by fear and created the first cities as fortresses against conquest by other warlords. This theory seemed to be validated until Dr Ruth Shady if the University of San Marcos, Lima, was to make a discovery that was to turn everything archaeologists believed about early civilisations, on its head.
Like Tom Pozorski she began to dig around what was thought to be hills in a place called Caral in Peru only to discover they were pyramids. As she and her team began to excavate the site she was puzzled the fact that there was no pottery on the site, (pottery is nearly always found in ancient civilisations) and finding only stone tools. This suggested this site was so ancient that it existed before the invention of pottery and metal. This was confirmed when some bags made of reeds found on the site were carbon dated. They were dated to 2600 BC so Caral was nearly five thousand years old making it as nearly as old as the first civilisation in Egypt, and was a thousand years older than any other civilisation in South America. This was to cause a sensation in the archaeological world and archaeologists from North America came to visit the site.
Jonathan Haas, “the world's leading expert on the warfare theory” began to search around for evidence of warfare. To his surprise he couldn’t find any fortifications or any means the city could have defended itself. He began to look further afield to look for battlements in the hills around Caral and then in mountain passes where invading armies would have to travel though, but came up with nothing. Meanwhile Ruth Shady couldn’t find any weapons of war or any carvings of violence in her excavations; so all this lack of evidence was undermining the warfare theory. To the degree Jonathan Haas had to admit-
“You seemed to really have the beginnings of that complex society and I'm able to look at it right at the start and I look for the conflict and I look for the warfare, I look for the armies and the fortifications and they're not there. They should be here and they're not and you have to change your whole mind-set about the role of warfare in these societies and so it's demolishing our warfare hypothesis. The warfare hypothesis just doesn't work."
It seems that archaeologists now accept that it was irrigation and not warfare is what started the first civilisations.
Another realisation about Caral is that what was true of this civilisation was also true for nearly the whole of South America at the time. Trading goods were found from the Amazon jungle at the other side of the Andes Mountains as well as from the coast. The picture that emerged was that Caral was the centre of a vast trading network. So if the people of Caral felt so safe that they didn’t bother to look for ways to defend themselves. The same must of been true for most of South America, because in no way was Caral just an isolated city cut off from the rest of the world. It suggests that Caral lived in an age where warfare was completely unknown. The evidence is that the first civilisations in South America lived in peace for about a thousand years before we had warfare, violence, torture and human sacrifice.
The cosy picture painted by the Horizon program of unbiased scientists looking for the truth and finally finding it in the excavation of Caral is basically false. The archaeologists who strongly believed in the warfare theory and then were willing to admit they where wrong in the face of the evidence, or lack of evidence, in Caral, need to be congratulated. Yet this has not been the case for most archaeologists in the past. The truth is that the whole archaeological world for a period of 50 years has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the evidence, that the first civilisations live in a world where warfare was unknown. It was not just the evidence from Caral that made them ditch the warfare theory but evidence coming from Neolithic, Copper and Bronze age sites in Europe, the Middle East and China.
What happened in Caral at the beginning of the 21st century also happen 40 years previously in the 1950s and 60s in a place called Catal Höyük in Turkey. Unfortunately the way Archaeologists reacted to this excavation was very different.. An archaeologist called James Mellaart found in this location, the oldest city ever discovered, going back 9,000 years. Making it far older than the ancient Egyptian and Sumerian civilisations. Again the archaeologists couldn’t find any evidence of fortifications or weapons of war. Nor any paintings or carvings showing images of violence, or for that matter any form of centralised government. What were found instead, were feminine images of childbirth, Goddesses and animal life.
This city was unlike anything discovered since. In that it had few streets, and most houses were built so close together that the only access was through the roof. This then means that to many people in the city to gain access to their homes they had to walk over the roofs of other people’s houses. This was to greatly puzzle archaeologists.
It is impossible to understand Catal Höyük while we think in terms of a civilisation that had masculine values. Unfortunately what is not being considered is the possibility of civilisations those values were feminine, by mainstream archaeologists. In later civilisations we see the masculine values of war, power and status glorified in images and writings. In Catal Höyük we see images of the feminine values of childbirth, fertility being represented. So clearly women were the dominant sex in this community as it is their values that are represented and strongly influence the nature of the civilisation. As it is women’s superior social skills of co-operation and communication that allows the city to function.
So disturbing was these findings that the whole site was closed down for thirty years by the Turkish Government. James Mellaart was criticised by many archaeologists for claiming that the people of Catal Höyük worshipped Goddesses. One of the most vocal critics was another archaeologist Ian Hodder. So it wasn’t a surprise to find that when the excavations were reopened in the 1990s, it was the sceptic Ian Hodder who was put in charge. In the thirty years the excavation was closed down, the academic world kept quiet about the discoveries made at Catal Höyük. Though there was one archaeologist Marija Gimbutas who broke ranks and began to tell the world about implication of the findings. Not only have Catal Höyük but other Neolithic sites in Southern and Eastern Europe. She wrote about a peaceful world in ancient Europe that worshipped the Great Mother that was ended by violent Indo-European tribes that came from the North and invaded these peaceful civilisations.
Marija Gimbutas wrote books about the Neolithic excavations in Malta, Crete, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia and Ukraine, all these finds showed a world without war and violence and where the people worshipped the ancient Great Mother. It seems that when a society worship feminine deities, war and violence were unknown. But when societies worship male gods or both male and female deities then violence becomes commonplace. She was criticised and condemned by her colleges and it was claimed her work unscientific because it when against the fashionable warfare theories of the time. No other archaeologists at the time would support what she claimed, and she was dismissed as just a strident Feminist maverick of no importance.
Then similar finds began to be written about in the in Indus Valley Civilisation in Pakistan. (Although it was first discovered in the 1920s) Recently archaeologist have found its beginning goes back as 7,000 years making it again one of the oldest civilisations discovered. And again archaeologists couldn’t find evidence of fortifications, violence and warfare, and it was a civilisation that worshipped horned Mother Goddesses. It was also claimed this civilisation was ended by a violence invasion from Aryan people from the North. Though his is know being disputed, as there is no evidence for this, as it came out of the imagination of 19th century archaeologists.
The first excavations of Neolithic sites started back in the 1940s. So why did it take over 50 years for archaeology to accept the evidence of an age in the past where warfare didn’t exist? Controversies like this have happened before in science, new evidence and theories can take a long time to be accepted if they go against existing theories. The problem is that knowledge of a Golden Age of peace ruled by a Mother Goddess doesn’t only just come from archaeology. They also come from myths and legends all over the world. What is clear there is a campaign to suppress and destroy all evidence about this Golden Age has been going on for thousands of years. The attack on Marija Gimbutas theories is only latest chapter in this crusade.
At Catal Höyük their are now Feminists and Goddess groups who are attempting to keep the archaeologists on the site honest. So when they attempts to dismiss evidence of a Mother Goddess culture out of hand they find passionate and articulate Feminists who are willing to contradict them. An example of this is a posting I found on the Internet in a Yahoo E-Group called Goddesssites.
That's great you enjoyed the site, it's so beautiful, and holds so much important history (herstory?) It's good they didn't make negative comments about the Goddess, I wouldn't really expect that. But did they mention the Goddess at all? The problem for me with the visitor's center was the ABSENCE of the Goddess, and the absence of what I would call "Goddess consciousness." Mellaart and other early archaeologists were congruent with the material they dug, in the sense that they were able to use language that explicated what they were looking at (peaceful, fertile, nurturing, egalitarian, spiritual, artistic, and so on) while the more recent archaeologists seem to shy away from anything remotely connected with "matriarchal" theories. By the way, matriarchal actually means "beginning with the mother," which makes it technically quite a good term for describing matrilineal, peaceful, mother-centered agricultural peoples of the Neolithic, although perhaps the term "matristic" used by Marija Gimbutas is more appropriate for our time. At the visitor's center there are two murals displayed--two versions of the same one--which happens to be the only wall painting from the site that was predominantly male. All the others are female-central and mostly Mother Goddesses and Double Goddesses. Interesting choice to represent the site, then, don't you think? In the display case showing the reproduction of the beautiful ivory-handled flint dagger, the artifacts are described as having to do with "hunting and war." This is a travesty, since the piece comes from the Neolithic and there is absolutely no evidence of any kind for war or violence. As I have written in an article recently, the knife is much more likely to fall into the category of knives that belong to midwives--for cutting the umbilical cord at birth. These knives were still used b shaman women in Siberia in the 20th century. Fortunately the museum in Ankara still has integrity and shows the finds from Catal Höyük as belonging to the ancient Mother Goddess cultures that are found all over Anatolia. It's too bad the team at Catal Höyük doesn't feel obliged to keep in step with local Turkish scholars and the way they see Anatolian history (and prehistory). I'm not trying to pick an argument, but I was really very upset when I went there. It was a place I had looked forward to visiting for such a long time--two decades at least--and it seemed criminal to me that no one seems to be monitoring what interpretations these "new archaeology" types come up with. There is a culture war happening right now--a concerted effort to block and erase certain approaches to ancient scholarship--and I believe this is quite political and dangerous for scholars of women's studies.
Thanks for listening--Vicki Noble
(Vicki Noble is also a well known authoress)
Also, there are now a younger group of scientists who wasn’t so opposed to the theories of Marija Gimbutas. When Catal Höyük excavation was reopened and it suddenly became respectable to write about it. Richard Rudgley recently wrote two books and made a TV program called “The Secrets Of The Stone Age” that broadly supported Marija Gimbutas theories. So in recent years there are many people in the academic world who are now more accepting of the evidence that the first civilisations live in peace.
Richard Rudgeley comes straight to the point when he says, “The widely accepted view of the human story is wildly inaccurate.” He then goes on to point out that because historians have ignored what happen during the Neolithic age it seems that to the general public that civilisations suddenly appeared out of no-where. Because we are taught that the people in the Stone Age were ignorant savages, who then suddenly created sophisticated civilisations like ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Then because orthodox archaeology gives no explanation to the public of how this suddenly happened, in this vacuum people outside science have invented their own theories. Like Erich Von Daniken in his book Chariot Of The Gods, or the many theories of a lost continents like Atlantis, Mu and Lemuria.
The point he is trying to make is that if the general public was aware that Stone-Age people were not ignorant brutes and that civilisation didn’t start with the Egyptians, but thousands of years earlier in the Neolithic age. Then we would not need aliens from outer space or lost continents to explain how civilisation got started.
He explains that the first large stone structures were not built in the Nile Valley but in the island of Malta. When the first archaeologists first excavated the Temple complex of Malta they assumed it was a crude attempt to copy what was built in ancient Greece, but when it was carbon dated it was found to be built 5,500 years ago. A thousand years older than the Great pyramid in Egypt. He then says that the comment of archaeologists hearing this news was that is was the wrong date in the wrong place. The reason apparently for this attitude for this is that Malta is off the beaten track. Which is strange because Malta is just off the coast of Italy and not that far from Ancient Greece and Egypt. A more plausible explanation is that the archaeologists didn’t want to know that Malta had the oldest freestanding stone buildings in the world, because the Temples in Malta are Goddess Temples, with Giant statues of the Great Mother.
Can it be, that the reason we have such a large gap in our history that Richard Rudgley complains about, is because it is an age when people clearly worshipped the Great Mother? As all the “lost Civilisations” that he writes about where all full of feminine images. It strongly suggests that his silence is simply male bias, in men who discovered these sites wanting males to be the ones who created the first civilisations and not women. Or is there more to this than that? Archaeology like most science is very expensive, so most archaeologists are either very rich individuals like they were in the 19th century, or they rely on funding from universities, governments or religious sects like the Roman Catholic Church. As in everything else in life, “he who pays the fiddler calls the tune”. Archaeologists finding the “wrong” things or advocating the “wrong” theories, in the eyes of the people who sponsor them, could have there funding cut off.
The First person to do a “scientific” excavation on Malta was a Jesuit priest called Father Emmanuel Magri in 1903. His form of excavation was to rub off paintings on the walls of the largest Goddess temple in Malta. Then to dig up the floor of the Temple and what he discovered there mysteriously disappeared. In other words, his work was to destroy the site for its archaeological value. This is not unusual. In the 19th century European explorers discovered in Zimbabwe an ancient city that was built by African kings between the 12 and 16th century. Europeans at first carelessly destroyed all evidence that it was Africans who built this city searching for gold and wouldn’t entertain the idea that Africans built it. Simply because if it was known that Africans were able to create civilisations in the past, it would undermine the right of European countries to colonise Africa. Because the justification of colonialism at the time was they were civilising the people of this continent, whom were called savages.
Not only did archaeologists keep quiet about the first civilisations of the Neolithic and Bronze Age period. They have also kept quiet about the Amazons. Some time ago I accidentally come across information that Western archaeologists have found graves of female warriors all over Europe. Yet they seem to think these finds are an “embarrassment”, (where have we found this expression before?), and so they are never published. The only people who have let the cat out of the bag are archaeologists of the old Soviet Union. In the 1950s and 60s they have published finding graves of Female warriors in the Ukraine and Georgia.
Both the ancient Greeks and Romans have reported fighting Amazon warriors on the northeast coast of the Black Sea. This is where the Soviet archaeologists have discovered the graves of women with armour and weapons of war within them. So it seems from the Soviet finds we can say that the Amazons existed in the places the Greek and Roman historians said they did. Unfortunately the silence by Western archaeologists about their discoveries of female warriors is censoring an important chapter in human history. It seems that after the Goddess civilisations were invaded from the North not all women meekly submitted to this. Some it seems fought back and created Amazon armies and communities. Though it has to be said they were all finally defeated.
This process of censorship is being clearly shown in the archaeology of what is called, “the holy land”. The Bible gives an impression that the people of Israel worshipped Yahweh from the time of Abraham. It even suggests that the people in the Bible before Abraham like Adam, Cain, Able, Noah and Jonah also worshipped a male God. Yet modern scholars have found a hidden Goddess in the Old Testament. It seems there is 40 coded mentions of a Goddess called Asherah.
In support of this, archaeologists have discovered in Israel over 3000 clay figurines of Large Breasted women, some are pregnant and other are nursing children. There is a possibility that more have been found but when excavations are sponsored by Christian sects or Zionist organisations, then images of Goddesses are strangely not discovered. These statues it seems are of the Goddess Asherah, showing that the Children of Israel were worshipping other deities than Yahweh.
In the 1960s a young archaeologist found a inscription that read, “Blessed by Yahweh and his Asherah.” It seems he was too frightened to publish this find until another archaeologist published a similar inscription he had discovered. The reason why he was so reluctant to publish his find is that archaeology has become very political in Israel today. This is because archaeologists are being accused by politicians of undermining the legitimacy of the Jewish people’s right to own modern Israel. Because the legitimacy of the Jews owning Israel comes from the truth of the Hebrew Bible. Start proving that the Bible is not accurate and it undermines the Israelite’s case.
It seems that Asherah was openly worshipped in Israel up until a series reforms between 721BC and 609BC when by royal command Yahweh became the only God that was allowed to be worshipped. Though in this period some later Kings backtracked on this reform so it seems there was in this period a religious power struggle, that the worshipers of Yahweh finally won. Though the ordinary people were still worshipping Asherah in the privacy of there own homes. As shown in the images archaeologists found in ordinary people’s home after this date. Also in this period the Hebrew Bible was written to create the belief that the Jews had always worshipped Yahweh. This rewriting of history was so successful that people even today are shocked to learn that the Jews once worshipped a Goddess.
The success of the Jewish ruling class in rewriting their own history seems to have inspired other rulers of other nations to follow suit including that of the rulers of the Roman Empire. When the rulers of Rome decided to create a religion to unite the whole of the Roman Empire they chose a Jewish sect called Christianity. They followed up this by destroying all knowledge of ancient history burning down libraries throughout the Roman Empire and attacking educated men and women. The Moslems also done the same thing in adopting their own version of Judaism called Islam and also tried to destroy all ancient knowledge. Yet it seems some ancient knowledge did survive like the legends of a Golden Age of the past.
The Golden age is written about by Hesiod the 8th century BC Greek poet, in which he says.-
“they lived like gods, free from worry and fatigue, old age did not afflict them, they rejoiced in continual festivity.” “ All the blessing of the world were theirs: the fruitful earth gave forth its treasures unbidden.”
The Golden age would probably be before humans began to use agriculture. Now there is some evidence that people then lived better lives. Modern nutritionists are coming to the conclusion that human beings are healthier on what is called, “the Stone-Age diet”. This is because this is what our bodies have been used to over millions of years of evolution. Then came agriculture, which gave us a far greater supply of food, but it also brought about a change in our diet that also brought about diseases caused by dietary deficiencies. The same is true with the modern Western diet today in that we are now eating foods like margarine, refined flour and sugar that are completely new to our bodies. Also it seems we didn’t really benefit from agriculture in the way we should. Because with the increasing food supply the human population became larger and larger, which was all right while they had good harvests. Then suddenly when where there was famine, the population was too large to find food for everyone to eat and there was mass starvation.
Hesiod goes on to talk about the Silver age.
“After the Golden Age came the Silver Age, during which lived a race of feeble and inept men who obeyed their mothers all their lives.”
Clearly he is talking about the Neolithic age confirms this age was ruled by women. Clearly Hesiod had contempt for these men who were dominated by women.
Then there was the Bronze age which he says.-
“The men of the Bronze Age were robust as ash trees and delighted only in oaths and warlike exploits. ‘Their pitiless hearts were as hard as steel, their might was untameable, their arms invincible.”
We now see the rise of the warrior who ruthlessly conquered the peaceful matriarchal world.
After the Bronze Age Hesiod talks about a Heroic age which declines to the Iron Age which is the age that Hesiod lived which he says is a period of misery and crime. “When men respect neither their vows, nor justice, nor virtue”..
Yet the myth of the Golden Age doesn't only come from Ancient Greece. Probably the most ancient religion that survives today is Taoism in China. Again in the Tao-Te-Ching it talks about a Golden age in the past, and the slow deterioration to our present world. We even have a Golden Age Legend in the Bible in the story of the Garden Of Eden that probably came from Mesopotamia. Though the story was rewritten to blame women for the fall from grace and claim it happened as a punishment from God for disobeying him. Hinduism also has a Golden Age myth similar to the Greeks where they write about an eternal cycle of Golden, Silver, Copper and Iron ages. They claim that when our present Iron age finishes, then a new Golden Age will dawn.
Now that archaeologists are unwittingly proving that the ancient Golden Age legends are not myth but historical fact. This could bring about world wide political revolution. For the last five thousand years we have lived in a world of violence that has resulted in wars, conquest and genocide. We also live in a very unfair and uncaring world where the majority of the world’s wealth are in the hands of only 3% of the world’s population. Today in spite of all the advances in modern technology we still live in a world where billions of people live in poverty. Yet world wide the common people are forced to accept this because we are told there is no alternative. We have always lived in an unfair and uncaring world of violence and war and so nothing can change. Yet what archaeologists have been finding over the last 50 years in the earliest civilisations shows us there is an alternative view of our past. Which means that these finds are becoming highly political.
Signs out of Time, Marija Gimbutas Part one
Signs out of Time, Marija Gimbutas Part one