Keynote: "Remembering a Great Woman of Science: The Life and Legacy of Archaeomythologist Marija Gimbutas" with Q&A

A session by Joan Marler and Dr. Susan Moulton

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Marija Gimbutas was born in 1921 in Vilnius, the ancient capital of Lithuania, into a family of physicians, scholars, folklorists, and historians. This richly illustrated presentation introduces her unique cultural background, her interdisciplinary classical education, and her pioneering scholarship. During her years as a Research Fellow at Harvard (1950-1963) and throughout her tenure as Professor of European archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles (1963-1989), she produced twenty books and more than two hundred scholarly articles on European prehistory. Her study of thousands of Neolithic figurines throughout Europe, and her detailed investigation of hundreds of female sculptures in their ritual contexts from her major excavations in southeastern Europe inspired her to write extensively about the bountiful outpouring of female imagery produced by the earliest agrarian societies of Europe. In order to adequately study the beliefs, rituals, symbolism and social structure of these Old European cultures she formulated archaeomythology to extend the interpretative boundaries of archaeology. Her investigations uncovered abundant evidence of domestic rituals, the central role of women in society, and the widely distributed use of signs and symbols that she considered to be a "sacred script." Her Kurgan theory identified the infiltration of patriarchal pastoralists from the Pontic-Caspian steppe that disrupted three thousand years of sustainable development of the mature, matristric, peaceful, egalitarian societies of Old Europe. Her work stimulated enormous appreciation throughout the world while initiating a firestorm of controversy. After all, her work challenged a constellation of basic assumptions that make up the Western patriarchal worldview.

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Joan Marler

Joan Marler is the Executive Director of the Institute of Archaeomythology and is editor of the Journal of Archaeomythology. She is the editor of The Civilization of the Goddess by Marija Gimbutas (1991), From the Realm of the Ancestors: An Anthology in Honor of Marija Gimbutas (1997), The Danube Script (2008), and other publications.

Dr. Susan Moulton

Currently retired from teaching at Sonoma State University in California, Susan now devotes her time to managing her small farm in rural Sonoma County where she works with rescued animals, particularly American mustangs, and conducting research and writes on human-animal communication and relationships.