A New International Exhibition  – “Goddesses and Warriors” For the Marija Gimbutas Centennial

Anthropomorphic figurine, Hamangia culture, 5000-4600 BC, Baia, Tulcea County, collection of the National History Museum of Romania, photo by Marius Amarie

The exhibition presents the civilization of Old Europe and its end following conflict with aggressive nomads from the east spreading the Proto-Indo-European language and world view. The unique material stored in European museums of Europe once gave rise to the famous hypotheses of Professor Marija Gimbutas and helped her establish her name in the academic world and will first be displayed in Lithuania.

The exhibition offers a deeper insight into the personality of Marija Gimbutas, her challenging path towards recognition in emigration, and her remarkable academic career. In Lithuania, the exhibition will be open from September 23, 2021, to March 13, 2022, at the House of History (3 T. Kosciuškos St., Vilnius).

The mobile exhibition will later be displayed in France and the United States. It focuses on Gimbutiene’s hypotheses, which scientists are analyzing to this day. It shows that the ideas raised by Gimbutiene were innovative, and still relevant many years later, according to archeologist Gabriele Gudaitiene, curator of the exhibition. The exhibition tells about the famous archeologist’s life in Lithuania, her departure during WWII, emigration and her scientific activity in the United States.

Gimbutas gained fame and notoriety in the English-speaking world with her last three English-language books based on her documented archaeological findings about Neolithic cultures across Europe, including housing patterns, social structure, art, religion, and the nature of literacy.

Gimbutas saw the differences between the Old European system, which she considered goddess- and woman-centered (gynocentric), and the Bronze Age Indo-European patriarchal (“androcratic”) culture which supplanted it. According to her interpretations, gynocentric (or matristic) societies were peaceful, honoured women, and espoused economic equality. The androcratic, or male-dominated, Kurgan peoples, on the other hand, invaded Europe and imposed upon its natives the hierarchical rule of male warriors.

Well-known American scientist and specialist on mythology and religious studies Joseph Campbell said once that the importance of  Gimbutiene’s work is comparable to the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone.

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