Marija Gimbutas, in her e-book Language of the Goddess, mentions just one goddess figurine from what was, on the time of her writing, Czechoslovakia (pages 31-32). That figurine comes from Předmosti, within the very japanese half of what’s now the Czech Republic. Nonetheless, there are extra, and I want to introduce you to the one which I encountered throughout a go to to a different a part of the Czech Republic a number of weeks in the past.
Meet what Czechs discuss with because the Venus of Dolní Věstonice. There’s not lots of details about her, so I’ve pieced collectively what I can discover. Stated to be the oldest identified fired terracotta figurine (some 29,000 years outdated), she was first unearthed in 1925. She was discovered damaged into two items on the web site of the Stone Age settlement often called Dolní Věstonice, within the southeastern a part of the Czech Republic. This settlement, in line with Archeo Park Pavlov, was a part of the Pavlovian tradition, a Stone Age tradition native to the world.
As a Stone Age settlement, Dolní Věstonice was an vital location for ritual, the humanities, commerce, and searching. On the web site, archaeologists have discovered a ritualised burial of three people, two organic males and what the scientists surmise was in all probability an intersexed particular person. Likewise, there may be proof which signifies that some animal burials might have had ritualistic functions. As well as, Dolní Věstonice boasted two kilns. These kilns functioned over 10,000 years earlier than people usually fired ceramics for vessels and different home makes use of. Thus, students posit that these have been used for ritual and creative functions. Moreover, Dolní Věstonice was a big buying and selling publish. One clue to this comes from the invention of the world’s oldest identified map, carved on the tusk of a mammoth. (For extra, see right here.) Lastly, the settlement was positioned alongside the route of migratory animals and proved to be a wonderful location for searching. The presence of fossilised animals, together with wolves, deer, horses, and mammoths, suggest this use as does the presence of comparable animals within the type of clay collectible figurines. These collectible figurines might level to both the location’s significance for searching and/or its ritual significance.
The goddess figurine unearthed there may be quite small, solely 4.4 inches tall and about 2 inches throughout. Her look is sort of much like different goddess collectible figurines which have been present in different elements of Central Europe. Nonetheless, she was sculpted out of one piece of clay, native to the world, whereas the collectible figurines nearest to her spatially and traditionally have been usually carved in stone, antler, or bone. Current scientific investigations have discovered on her a fingerprint of a kid or small adolescent and concluded that the holes within the high of her head in all probability would have held feathers or a headdress quite than herbs or flowers as others have recommended.
General, my understanding of the fabric at Archeo Park Pavlov means that Dolní Věstonice was an vital web site of formality exercise greater than anything. A part of that needed to do with its location on the migratory routes of huge populations of animals. The hunt was an vital a part of Stone Age society, which relied on it for survival. Widespread agricultural practices didn’t but exist in human societies, though there may be proof of the grinding of plant supplies on the web site. Talking of the location’s ritual function, many of the burials on the web site have been staged, almost definitely for rituals. Though additionally it is possible, as some conjecture, that some burials ended up collectively purely coincidently on account of shifting geography. Nonetheless, there are too many burials there simply to attribute every thing to pure coincidence. These embody the burials of animals collectively, animals and people collectively, and extremely ritualised burials of people. There has additionally been discovered a big quantity of ornamental gadgets together with pendants, rings, beads, headbands, and so forth.
Returning to the Venus of Dolní Věstonice, who was she? Was she a illustration of the Goddess? Is she the hen goddess that Marija Gimbutas so usually writes about and towards which the holes in her head level? Was she a doll for a kid because the fingerprint might suggest? Was she a part of some type of fertility cult? Did she, as some conclude, signify an idealised physique type related to abundance in a panorama of shortage?
Whereas I’m glad I bought to come across her at Archeo Park Pavlov, it’s probably that we are going to by no means know the solutions to our questions on her. Her story has been misplaced to the sands of time. No matter she was, the concepts surrounding her have been robust sufficient to have been burnt into clay, when clay was not but in normal use. That could be a highly effective legacy.
Might her reminiscence be a blessing and blessed be.
Ivy Helman, Ph.D.: A feminist scholar and school member at Charles College in Prague, Czech Republic the place she teaches a wide range of Jewish Research, Feminist and Ecofeminist programs.