Al Altan's
Focus on Catal Hoyuk

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Around 6000 B.C., in Europe and in particular Anatolia, it is purported that women reigned supreme in religion, law and custom. Female sovereignity is thought to have ended with the development of using metals for the making of weapons.

Is this possible? Is it likely that during a period of history that is not well known that women were once the sovereigns? Lithuanian-American historian, Marija Gimbutas, says "yes". According to Marija, prior to today's male dominated society, especially during 6000 B.C., it was likely that a society where women were the dominant sex existed. That period was perhaps one where Mother Goddess' ruled. In the world of archeology and ethnology, there is no evidence to suggest that humankind ever experienced this kind of period. Despite this, Marija Gimbutas is adamant that period existed. In her 1989 text, Goddess' Language, Marija attempts to prove this.

During prehistoric times, it is known that the female form was prefered far more in the making of statues. This is also true of the Palaeolithic, and later, periods. In archaeology, innumerable Venus statues have been found while only a handful of Adonis statues have been found. 30,000 year old cave paintings depict female genitalia. The primary object of Neolithic art was also the female form. In Anatolia and Europe - the cradle of civilisation - statues and paintings of women have been found. Men appear to have been pushed aside, perhaps planning their dominance over the world.

In an excavation project that Marija Gimbutas participated in, she describes how they discovered a temple which contained groups of fifteen fired clay statues, from 6000 B.C., of women. In the west of Ukrania, a temple from 5000 B.C. was found with thirty-two female statues. Also, in Moldivia, a statue, belonging to 4000 B.C., of a pregnant woman clasping her belly was discovered. The most important support for Marija Gimbutas' thesis came from a finding in Catal Hoyuk. On the hills of Catal Hoyuk, an alter and temple from 7000 - 6000 B.C. were discovered. On the walls are paintings depicting hunting and burial scenes. The paintings also show large vultures observing a group of headless men. In the alter and temple a number of statues of overweight women were found. In one of the temples a grain container yielded a 12 cm statue of a large woman sitting on a throne with two leopards on either side of her. The statue depicts the woman giving birth, with the head of the baby visible. Apart from leopards and vultures, bulls also are found at the side of the Mother Goddess. On wall paintings only the heads of bulls are depicted.

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