Marija Gimbutas 1921 - 1994
In Lithuania born Gimbutas is one of the most influential writers about Old Europe in the last part of 20th century. Today 2003 her work feels outdated and from another world in many aspects. For me several of her theories are not valid with any correspondence to reality
Gimbutas, Sumerian symbolism, male archetype, Aryan, Kurgan theory, ornum, Indo-European, mission, migration, war-like society, astro-symbolism, World Order, biblical archaeology, Einstein's theory, Inanna, space-time, Renfew, Cavalli-Sforza, Mother Goddess, Midgaard, Thing Order
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This essay was originally answering a friend my opinion about Marija Gimbutas. I did some surfing and reading to complete my opinion however it is not as deep as it could be. I made the Alexander's cut of the Gordian Knot on some of Marija's major theories years ago and that is why I have not read her books. But one cannot avoid meeting her second hand. For instance I have the book of Anne Baring & Jules Cashford "The Myth of the Goddess" 1991 refer 16 times to Marija and they list seven of her works as reference.
My different opinion is maybe mainly because I am of a later generation. Some Americans have called me feminist because I give women equal status in my writing and I do not reject that part of the true feminist Gimbutas' life work. I think it is only right that while male scientist have dwelled in martial theories about war-like past then it is a good thing that Marija bring women on the agenda. It is just that she does it too much and became female fundamentalist instead.
I fastened at once at her statement "Living goddesses". In my stringent language deities do not exist or live and they cannot do things. If one use such language it became biased like the Christian language. I am not so sure we can understand the past in that way. I have seen what that kind of language do to northern mythology making living persons of virtual idols. Naturally I see a lot of goddesses but they were used as descriptive operators or better idols and role models.
Human thinking and memorising is to create two logical rooms. One is the store with known things. The other is "what it should be"-room where chose the models we should use for the time being.
In Sumerian symbolism and texts they usually paint a star symbol before the name of deities. That gives the right dimension to deities. They were guiding stars. There is no big difference in writing down the virtual idol on paper or writing it in the sky as an asterism. The trick is to know where we are in the real world or in the world of ideas and concepts they called deities. In real life areas of works are crystallised to archetypes that carries the knowledge from generation to generation and is used in everyday life.
I doubt that there has been only one archetype in civilised societies. Even in the early Palaeolithic there would have been idols for water, fertility of soil and abundance in the woods. In Sumer motherhood was split in three aspects/ idols / midwives and more were supporting. We see it from the archetypes on the season part of the animal round and in the dead season they symbolised it as sleeping period or as pregnancy.
When I pretend what early languages was like I consider that grammar is late invention. In the early scripts we normally see nouns and icons and no long texts. An icon/ idol/ goddess is dynamic and tells much as such. For instance the goddess is without attribute motherhood with whatever belongs to that. The early scripts are often like rebus.
There are also at least three or four male archetypes the Herd, the Pre-Zeus/ Engender, the protector Bearwatcher and of course the Son that is the harvest. The Son is also the avenger of his Father, the corn from last season. When he become the new corn the resurrection is established. All these things are functions of size and complexity of society.
The artefacts and figurines does not necessary tell the whole story since we do not know if we have got it all. The societies of the Old World including Europe was not standardised with the same culture everywhere. We generalise and tell about Celtic female triads.
From the altars at the Hadrian Wall we learn that two Frisian folks set up altars to the two Alaisagae, Bede and Femmilene for the Tvihanti from Twenthe. The Hnaudfridi from northern Frisia set up their to Alasigae, Boudhillia and Friagabis in which we maybe see Bodil and the better-known Frigga. The Batavians from southern Holland/ Frisia worshipped the Mother Goddess and other tribes worshipped The Mothergoddesses. However they worshipped also male gods for war, the woods or livestock. Let this simplify how manifold occurs. There are hundreds of different old place names in Europe. But most of them are synonyms of the same World Order with some dozen of archetypes.
Another thing is Marija's patronising use of "Old Europe" … and I that thought Europe is as old as the other continents???. When other writers make excerpts I get the impression that Old Europe is only Southeast Europe from Caucasus to Balkan and Greece. The Kurgan culture is supposed to be nomadic cowboys and plains were needed for that. We have not much of it in west and north but we have our megalith culture that lasted from fifth to last millennium BC approximately. Hard to think that Nomads build in the size of Avebury that needed 1,5 million man-hours and there has been another of the size at Zealand in the parish I lived as a child. I know of no nomadic tribe making big ritual places?
Most of the big establishments were build before the supposed "Aryans" around 2000 BC. At that time we have the period with theslab cist/ wedge tomb. Mostly they seem to be inspired from France and on Ireland there are lots of them. In the wedge-shaped cist they have found copper and they think metallurgist were behind the fashion. Even in my province they were searching for copper at the time and part of our are the same type. They wrote down cultivators' law but also the law of brotherhood between cattlers and cultivators. Hard to believe that these were the raping and killing Aryans especially as their law protect all innocent and naked.
The Kurgan theory implies that they mainly lived on the big plains we find in Ukraine. They are recognised from pit burials as well as barrow burials and that sounds fully covered. In West Europe we have not many plains except Pustan in Hungary. The Greek Strabo tells about the Hercynian Forest covering Northern Europe so there were no plains for the herds of horses.
They have found one "Kurgan wagon" at Jutland and some in Halstatt but that does not mean that West Europe was conquered by Kurgans. Instead rock-carvings and megalith culture show ritual culture with the naked Moon Goddess as sign of the Time Law and ritual calendar. The underground temple is used when "She steps down" and we can read the songs from Sumer. That idea seem to be continuous from ca 4000 BC to 500 AD in Scandinavia. No space for Kurgans neither for Indo-Europeans.
Marija maybe would have liked these rare rock-carvings from late Bronze Age
I would interpret this as "The Elk Tribe's World Order. The Sitting rules from the Naked step down to the Dog" that is the fertility season. The Sitting is Mother Earth or the asterism Libra one of the three birth giving idols used even for the human birth giving. However I would not read the matriarch into this since it is a World Order and idea of society.
I guess this is from the Phoenician times when we see import of figurines of the sitting Tinia known from Cartage and from Hazor in Phoenicia. In Sumerian and European symbolism she was the Midwife of three and in agriculture symbolising growth. On our rocks we see the Phoenician influence and the Minoans seem to have been earlier in Norway searching silver.
Maybe she or a sister to the Sitting is the origin of Danish "Oldfrue" = Old Woman that still is in charge in big household or keep the books in institutions. She was the Queen of House in the period of collective long houses starting in Stone Age. Later when nobility build big houses she was Oldfrue that was in lead for the inner household. Folk memory from late times sees the house as a mother and in spring small animals had to run out between her legs "first time" in spring.
I think this is from early Bronze Age. Note the man with lifted arms and Hittitian dress
The image maybe illustrates the concept Ornum. Originally the wheel meant that the local society was parted in four. One part for the priestess, one part for the leader and the two others were "one-footed" meaning they were tenants. The naked feet represent The Naked and should maybe be near the upper right quarter.
The idea of "ornum" changed a little but is mentioned in the medieval Skaane Law and it is known in Denmark. It means an estate cut out of peasants' land and under law room/ special law, i.e. normally for the nobleman (also trader) that was a kind of ritual leader called thegn/ thane. In sparsely populated lands the only needed nobility is normally only the thegn and the trader. For special occasions the people are gathered as for instance the crew for the trader and the troop for defence. Peace is the normal and here we should also mention the thing institute where the thegns were war leaders if needed.
I see no signs of matriarchal society and what does Marija mean with that. At that time I doubt they inherited property since it seems to have been a collective society. In Sweden private property was established approximately in 8th century. Another thing is that in the rural society they delegate the work between the genders as they also did in the earlier state of nature use. Children should be kept apart from the wilderness. We have the old use of "the ring" that separated home people from the bear hunters. They should symbolically look at the wilderness through a ring because it was "another world"
Manner and problems changed when people became urban. They were protected from the wilderness but not from the humankind. So human relations became the issues and it is still today. And we have the special issue of "war between sexes" in which one part is named feminists and the other "plump male pigs" here in Sweden. I am brought up in the countryside to the old fashion equality between sexes so I do not really understand what is all the fuss about?
It seems that Marija have used frames from our times and apply them to the past. Or she begins with the rural Kurgan Culture and ends soon in Greek urban culture and takes her examples from that area. It is disturbing reading text on the issue since she and her opponents mix Palaeolithic very early Stone Age with Stone Age, Bronze Age and even classical times in the Aegean and the Amazons. I think we should divide in suitable cultural periods 8000 -- 6000 --- 4000 --- 2000 BC and AD and discuss them as separate relative spacetimes and also separate rural and urban cultures.
Colin Renfew opposes Marija's wandering Kurgans and Indo-Europeans and even the "Urheimat" in Ukraine and Caucasus. He thinks the Indo-European language originate from Anatolia --- I think i originate from linguists of the past centuries!!! Instead he introduces the theory of spread and influence. He thinks that language was spread like selling merchandises? I do not think people pick up words they do not need and in a sparsely populated environment. Language needs always a carrier or context using the words. Some words are needed in the living process others are a question of manners and dominating users. But we should not mix genetics into it.
I agree with Renfew that missionaries/ migration maybe introduced agriculture. To know they needed instructions/ myths and means and it is easier if they bring in people that know. That must have been acute in metallurgy. But then follow the acclimation to the local environment. Archaeologists forget that agriculture was occasional in many places around 3100 BC, 2200 BC, 1100 BC to be continuous from 500 BC. That counts for Ireland and Scandinavia. The archaeologist and Renfew forget the livestock and hunter-gatherers were also nature users. The old categories are rather stupid and where are the fishermen? Normally they populated the shores and the sea/ riverlands.
From the Scandinavian rock-carvings we can learn that trade brought new ideas especially on those rocks where we see images from different times. We can see they got ideas but we do not know if the practised them all later on. Let me tell I do not see any war-like society in the rock-carvings. However from the very beginning of agriculture laws we see they were aware of that they must be able to defend their cultivation.
"La Madeleine" from the cave in France
Nakedness associates to water and we should compare her with the Naked in the Lascaux cave of age Magdalenien 20000 to 15000 BC. The other naked has a moon horn in her hand symbolising the fertility of water. It is the first step of abundance. In Spanish Canchal Mahona is the moon cycle painted and with good imagination it could be seen as the vulva.
It was natural to animate the fertility year with the near human processes of resurrection. The seed manage to resurrect and manifest the afterlife humankind tried for long. In the caves they have also found many small vegetative symbols. It shows they began to think about fertility in nature and tried grasses, peas and beans in cultivation Is there any difference between harvesting wild corn and plants and those we cultivate in fields? I prefer to use the word nature users of all kind of harvesting nature.
Symbolising the Moon Year and footprint of the Naked from Isturitz France more than 12000 years ago
At left we see the footprint below ground and maybe they mean water run to earth. In Skaane it is the opposite that the footprint symbolise the Moon and water run into the soil. Spirals always symbolise flow and if two are connected it is flow from one stage to another. This shows that the "Old French" knew bout fertility and used the water cycle as model.
In Skaane Sweden there is a similar symbolism from the time of passage graves around 3400 BC. The amazing thing is that we find the double-axe in the passage graves and in the Indus symbolism at the same time. From my parish on Dal we have a find of double-axe, but we have no passage graves on Dal. Later 3rd millennium Sumerian ritual songs tell about the axe in the ritual suite.
The West European megalith culture is well known. The early dolmen type shrine is found even in India as well as in West Europe and Scandinavia … see theVi/ WIH/ WEOH Some of the rituals could have been developed in West Europe such as the naked Moon Goddess and her year. Where next step is the rows of stone pillars called "Bride suite" for instance in Denmark. The suite "Follow Hor" occurs in Egyptian vase paintings in 4th millennium.
I do not blow up the female part since everywhere they were the normal idols in rural life. I grow up in the countryside and I see the separation of male and female as silly city manners, but also natural development. In Rigveda they tell that man and woman are like the wheels on the chariot. In my childhood they said they are the two horses before the plough. Marija's attitudes do not correspond to those days I think.
Archaeologist and historians are normally mainly interested in royal tombs and dynasties. I recognised that in the Egyptian kings lists the male dynasty would die after within 12 male rulers and a woman had to take over. It was much the same in medieval Scandinavia --- I think the feminists will be glad for these lines. Women win in the long run. I saw on TV that in Egypt the Queen of House in fact rules at home
It is natural that being the underdog colours the language and we see it in the writing of feminists. The best thing with Marija's writing is that she broke the male dominance in science. That means also the martial mind of the science. Still we have a lot of scientist searching for war-like societies and power struggles. Women have the sense for details. She brought also the female way of feeling and intuition or what I name "feel in" and pretend how it was those days. I use pretending and get a lot of credit for it but mainly from women.
We should remember that an image is not the reality. Rock-carvings and figurative artefacts need not to be true evidence for what we think we see. We can also state that absence of figurative art/ image does not mean that there was no culture at the place. I am sure that the culture in England was much the same as in Scandinavia.
In England the rock-carvings only show the very essential part of planning the fertility season. They are only concentric circles and cupmarks. --- Above I mentioned the similar Avebury monument at Zealand. In Denmark are few rock-carvings but enough to tell about similarity compared to the best places in Sweden and Norway
Our early archaeologists are maybe excused since in our rock-carvings male figures with penis and/ or with sword run around and only a few female figures visible. Only a few understand that some of the cupmarks symbolise a female idol. Few understand ritual calendars and that astro-symbolism was the main World Order. The golden bracts from migration times contend only astro-symbolism. We cannot call it religion since the step to Christianity is too big. Christianity is the real cult with no correspondence between the pantheon Father, Son, Smokey and Maria and farming and getting food.
Anglo-Scandinavian science is still biased with Christianity and words like pagan, barbarian and shaman are used frequently. It was more obvious 100 years ago when for instance the Germans used the word "Abgott" ="off-god" for all pagan deities and idols. But it is still in use and the word has deterrent bias. That is not objective science.
From the early days of science we have also many theories created in the classical manner that the hypothesis is formulated and one goes out and try to prove it. That means using a "flowing reference" with no correspondence to reality. Nowadays I call it biblical archaeology in all similar cases when the scientist has a book or "book" and have the solution beforehand … and as said it is many times biased with Christian frames.
Marija introduces the method "female intuition". It is only a tool and not a scientific method for catching and defining the ancient society. I think we all use that sometimes. Often things come to me once I know approximately what I search for. Unfortunately Marija eagerly put striking labels on the issues Old Europe, Great Mother, Kurgan invasion, Indo-Europeans before the conclusion and also the bias feminism that becomes a kind of fundamentalism. That settles frames that are not valid and it becomes all a Gordian Knot. She only sees the female in every artefact and symbol. It is politics with references from our times.
"Gimbutas claims to have identified 30,000 goddess representations from southeastern Europe. Yet this data has never been presented in any form remotely like a full analysis and many of the examples that she does illustrate are of indeterminate sex or portray a wide range of animals and symbols that Gimbutas assumes to represent a universal goddess.
These symbols encompass a wide range of phenomena, including: oblique parallel lines, horizontal parallel lines, vertical parallel lines, chevrons, lozenges, zigzags, wavy lines, meanders, circles, ovals, spirals, dots, crescents, U's, crosses, swirls, caterpillars, double axes, chrysalises, horns butterflies, birds, eggs, fish, rain, cows, dogs, does, stags, snakes, toads, turtles, hedgehogs, bees, bulls, bears, goats, pigs, pillars, and sexless linear or masked figures."
The weakness in that presentation is that this symbolism is not from only a single place but from many and from different times. Not all of these are sacred icons. They should be set into the local World Order. In whole the discussion I look for the astro-symbolism and calendars that were the real leading practical ideology and no religion existed at that time. The Egyptian Pharaoh was originally called Horus = Time = Yearman and the rest of the world followed the scheme of ritual lead. The importance of ritual astronomy is nearly totally neglected by the archaeologists.
On another site I found Marija's definitions through another pencil. Naturally she is right in many cases in her definitions. But they are like a rock with dozens of symbols without order I think of. My method and modern archaeology try to find the context and a red thread to place them in time and space. We have to know the cultural environment and that could be hard for urban scientist never been on the countryside. They simply cannot feel in and intuition is of no help.
The connection to the original rural society has faded away in my lifetime. When I was born about 80 % of the people lived in the countryside. Now we have in Sweden only 64000 peasants with their families. Old farmers' feel alienated and it is the same all over the world caused by the new technologies. City born scientists can learn to pretend being ancient rural, but it is far easier if one has the rural background since childhood.
We owe Marija tremendous credit for publishing all the pictures that would be out of reach for ordinary people otherwise. They say "a picture tells more than 1000 words" and I think the picture speaks directly to people's creativity. The Human Rights tell us in Article 27 that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in science and culture. But only if it is brought to light it can inspire us and give us a feeling of our roots. The first time I recognised the issue was when I saw the French series about Asterix and Obelix using figures from Spanish rock-carvings
Marija was not aware of Einstein's theories about relativity. That implies our description should correspond to reality and also that every local relativity field/ space has its own frames and references. Few scientists understand the real language of the Sumerians songs. I do not use the animated gods since in reality they were words and metaphors describing agriculture and the biological circulation in nature. I wish our capitalists knew as much about nature as the Sumerians.
I feel the nearness to nature when Sumerians sing songs to the sheep and decorate their furniture with animals their life was depending on. For long the priesthood were a good farmer because they owned land and cattle. In time they got more and more alienated from rural life and it all became cult with no meaning. In my files aboutInanna I tried as short as possible explain the correlation between the songs and agriculture.
In Sumer we find a lot of pictorial art that could be understood only by farmers with knowledge of practical astronomy. In our rock carvings the figures are much simpler reflecting a simpler cultural environment. But still carrying the essential of telling about agriculture.
I think that urban scientist are unable to scale down their description of culture to the conditions in sparsely populated Europe. They cannot see Inanna behind a simple female figure with spread legs. They simply make it too complicated. They want to see "high culture". They bring aesthetic and politics into science and get the answers according to their frames.
S. N. Kramer's book about Sumerians was published 1963 when Marija was 42 of age and left Harward for professure in European Archaeology at U.C.L.A.. But it seems she has been a nerd on the Kurgan theory and has never been affected by other writers. All her digging was in East and Southeast Europe and I do not think he ever reflected to include Scandinavian rock art in her analysing. Maybe she sat in California with no living root to Europe?
I think we in Sumer clearly see the symbolic marriage and the need for the moon and water goddess Inanna's male counterpart Dumuzi and later Tammuz in Babylon symbolising fertilizer too. In Sumer some towns had a female deity and others a male deity. We see the marriage in third century rock-carvings in Scandinavia when they animate the wonders of real resurrection in nature.
It would be natural to animate fertility with the female since she has the womb and clear process of growth. In the material we see a few hermaphrodites older than ritual times. Maybe they were speculating about the vegetative rejuvenation that is hard to understand. Surely the early humankind made much of trial and error as method of their science. Science it was since they managed to get things growing. Then true "feeling in" and intuition was needed and they studied animals and life to get metaphors and conclusions to store in mind. The biggest conclusions they manifested in big stones that seemed eternal.
From Sumer we got three idols for the season. I have worked to get a better name or description to myth and deity. But let us start with the Roman personifications that are symptomatic for the urban society where human relations became the normal problem of the day. The personifications were preferred virtues and qualities in society and they were portrayed in the same way as deities.
No virtual deities exist in physical sense. They can not do anything and they are just like role models. The noble Romans usually set up some bust of their father and grandpa at times. They maybe wanted to remember an honour the good sides. The Catholic Church introduced the saints and got tens of thousand of holy people that should be role models.
I think we can see in the material of all times that our ancestors often saw the problem that humankind can not separate the picture and the being. They want the idol to have existence so that the god could do the job and if it goes wrong the god is to blame. The Sumerians separated mind and body in the pair hero Gilgamesh and his mate Enkidu the doer. When things should be done Gilgamesh fell asleep leaving the hard work to Enkidu
When Marija sees the figurine of a bear nursing her little bear she sees the big Mother Goddess really nursing. I see it as an idol for every mother that wants to be a strong mother like the bear. There was no need of worshipping some goddess, but they needed to collectively keep motherhood in mind so they knew what to do when that times come.
I am just going to write a simplified essay about Indus and other southern culture compared with some rock carvings. They thought in space-time those days and then the Moon/ Inanna was the rain and water and whatever it do in the circulation. Agni/ fire symbolised the active force in heath and blood and in agriculture the sun together with water and soil were the forces that created life.
We can understand only if we translate the foreign god names to what they really stand for. My frames are to see the underlying ideas in everything since I want to explain why thing are done in a certain way. I use myths and mythic words sparsely since they are usually biased with preconceived ideas if not Christian. Our ancestors knew that words do not create anything. Time and circulation was their main concern as we sail on the Time River together with people, plants, animals and so on.
Inanna/ New Moon would be rain and fertility and synonyms and likewise the Indian Soma. The scientists look at ancient times through a pipe that gives us distance so we cannot feel in and the words are foreign. We should not name it myth but World Order and instructions for agriculture and other things.
We should see what we have in common. In fact our cultivators use the same methods as the Sumerian farmer. If I remember it right the Japanese emperor until early 20th ploughed the first furrow of the year as spring ritual. In our rock-carvings and the golden bracts time management and calendar is the issue. We see it from Denmark as well as in the Arctic zone. In Italy the metallurgist followed the peasants' ritual and made even ploughing as part of the ritual bout no seed has be found. But should we see war-like male societies as Marija suggests?
Modern archaeology works differently in many ways. They use the finds for making trials, pretending and understanding the society behind. They do not know what they are going to find like biblical and semi-biblical archaeology. The theorem of relativity settles that the description could be full only when connected to the local relativity field. There has been a rapid growth in knowledge and methods the past centuries so we should maybe blame the lack of knowledge
I have surfed a lot and read her supporters as well as the sceptics. Then I note that Marija's hypothesis about Mother Goddesses and matriarchal societies is just rubbish compared to the ritual societies that existed. They animated naturally fertility as a female process. What else could they do? In science we always describe the unknown with the known and so did our ancestors. However they did not get a god-robot to do the works.
She criticises male archaeologist and I think they deserve it even today or as long as they make theories about martial power structures. It is hard for me to see that in settlements with maybe 50 people? That was the normal in most places in Europe. Look always for the proportions and look for the normal! Make no generalising from special or single cases!
Another thing that seems outdated is the Kurgan Theory and generally all theories about wandering people. I agree with Renfew that influence and diffusion has been the main forces in developing civilisation --- and not wanderers raping and killing people for new land. Our rock-carvings are the evidence like other artefacts.
The Indo-European theory is dead but the word is useful to describe the area of similar languages. The valuation theory that matriarchy was the rule has no value in early times with collective household and no estate to be inherited. To whom does Marija speak when she calls it Old Europe and mean Balkan? There have been migrations but I do not think we have got the proportion yet.
I think we should avoid to be narrow minded in our own Midgaard or let the issue on the agenda shadow the whole. We have been discussing Celts lately on a list. What do we know? Not much more than rumours from the Greeks and Romans. Europe is big and they met only occasional Celts. They refer to Halstatt as center of the Celts. As far as I know there lived only ca 800 people in that town. Should they represent a few million Europeans above the Alps at that time? Too often they make soup on a nail.
The Celtic and German part of Europe is known for the peaceful Thing Order = Common Court = the people that settled matters and punished few crimes in the small societies. In the end of timeline around 500 AD we see the tradition of thegns and/ or law readers leading the people and peace was the rule. The big bog Illerup was used for final deposition ca 200 AD, 375 AD and 450 AD. There is no substance in talking about war-like society, but about occasional wars.
Our oldest rock-carvings are of the same age as the megalith culture and they all tell about the ritual society. The same is case with around 500 motifs on the golden bracts. We see the continuity of the ritual order from 4000 BC to 500 AD. Scandinavia was sparsely populated and the culture occurred mainly in the Danish corner. Danish environment is without many stones so we do not know how much has gone. My biggest astonishment was when I heard that there has been "an Avebury" just a couple of miles away from my home in childhood. I suppose that all those stones are now in church walls and other buildings.
However Marija did much good digging. It is her interpreting that fly above ground.
I gave up organising my pictures, since I have too many. I think I should concentrate on new things as long as I get new ideas. Such things I can do when I grow old. My birthday is the 5th and I feel my birth was inconvenient since it is holiday evening. I am always tired in January and I think it is because my first January I was sleeping all the time ---- so I got that habit.
War-like societies where?
I am American and have spent the last couple days reading your electronic book on
the tripod.com catshaman website. Wow, what a wonderful job you have done. It really
helped me better understand the predecessor society before the attack of Christianity."
I got this letter in the post and it describes precisely my goal. I do not want to bias and demonise my writing with Christian frames. And my writing starts with the Time Law and age of 4th millennium and forward. I am not creating theories and new words to describe our ancestors. I use their words and artefacts and set them into the context of the particular time as Einstein have told me about relativity.
The Scandinavian Edda Myths have never existed as religion. They were constructed between 13th and 20th centuries. I think we should also respect the Arian Christians that were the first Christians in North. Besides that in the Golden Age 200 - 600 AD we see only the original the more than 4000 years old Time Law that was more realistic than Christianity.
We should be careful with word and theories. They have the tendency to be living their own life ones created. It is like when a feather become a Hen … you are not allowed to say He-Hen. That is the kind of Christian moral censure we meet on Internet and elsewhere. I discovered that I am not allowed to write about the girls from Lesbos. However it is OK to write about male lovers. That is the kind of absurdity we have in our society.
Anyway I do not know what Gimburtas, Renfew and Cavalli-Sforza mean with the word "war-like". Does it mean that the tribes were constantly at war? What was the goal? Were there enough enemies? What was the gain when their enemies were relatively poor nomads or at best cultivators? War cost resources (money) and it demands for spared money and men that did not work. And where is the evidence that stands in court? Is it only single occurrence or mass graves?
It is like a cult among archaeologist that whenever non-Romans throw waste into the bogs they call it offering and implies mysterious cults. We can add "pagan and barbarian" to the vocabulary and we have imperialistic and Christian biasing at once. True science would at least make categories such as deposit of heavy criminals, things taken out of circulation or just a garbage pit, final deposit after a war and maybe also real offering.
I do not think there was time for special rituals when 1000 warriors' corpses were thrown to the bog at Illerup. They were simply cleaning up to save health. At Illerup Jutland there were this big war ca 200 AD and a little around 220 AD, later there were one in 375 AD and lastly around 450 AD at a time of war-like time in Southern Scandinavia. We know that the nobility was armed and maybe there were foot soldiers too, but we can not call it war-like. Tacitus tells that the Sviones locked in the weapon in peacetime. Putting the weapons at Illerup to the bog belongs to the same thinking.
Discovery's TIME TEAM was digging at the mixed Roman and Anglo-Saxon site in Normanton. As usual most of the team would rather dig in the Roman part, since the Anglo-Saxons are still dirty, bloodthirsty pagans as we hear sometimes. Better be under Roman war-boot. Anyway they found a spearhead in one of the Anglo-Saxon graves. At once they told it was a big chieftain and signs of the Anglo-Saxon war-like society … one sees what one wants to see or is told to see.
Other diggers tell that it is a rare find and weapons are seldom seen in Anglo-Saxon graves as for instance in West Stow. It was maybe too expensive or just rare occurrence. Maybe they find only one spearhead per buried generation. They simply buried the thane/ thegn's leader symbol with him. Then they are again making a He-Hen out of the single feather occurrence so to speak.
In the early medieval laws we can note the expression "hold in the shaft/ the staff fell". I deduce that a spear could be the symbolic leader sign. That is the case with many ritual artefacts through the ages. Nowadays they use the club but are not called war-like. However in the capitalistic vocabulary they speak about "hostile overtaking".
From medieval times we know they build weapon-house at the churches. It was quite normal that even the peasants' wore some kind of weapon. Maybe some hare could appear on the road. Big animals were rare at least here on Dal and so was the use of the weapon. Our big land father Gustav Vasa preferred the axe-hammer and on his golden sword was engraved scenes from the Mose Story. Maybe he saw himself as Moses and practised "an eye for an eye". Michelangelo set horn on Moses in the Per in Vincoli Chapel in Rome. Maybe he realised the "the power has horns"?
Some writers mean that the Anglo-Saxon society in England was a war-like hierarchy. We know that the tribes were a league in 477 AD with Elle as bretwalda = overlord. It was necessary for the migrating folks to stick together and this order stayed even in 6th century. Then the folks were consolidated and kingdoms were pronounced. Soon the kings wanted more dominions and in 7th century there were a half dozen wars. But we cannot call it "war-like society" when greedy noblemen gathered people for personal gain.
The other central concept is "hierarchy or chieftains". These concepts do not fit with Tacitus mentioning the egalitarian "Thing" = court-system that means every adult had a vote. That we normally associate in myth to the one-armed "war hero" Tyr however his fight was virtual. That become the archetype thegn and yearman in lead for a county. Peace was the normal state and the thegn became war-leader if defence was needed. They also tell that lawmen or law-readers were the normal as lead in peacetime and that is the same as the Celtic druids.
We can read the early AS-lead as one bretwalda, eorl as province leader, thegns in the counties and with the merchant of the same class and the rest of the freemen were ceorls. There is no war-like or hierarchy in that. It is just normal delegation of needed lead. They think that the place names on "ceorls" like Charlton are from late AS Age and means then settlements for a warrior or ceorl. In Scandinavia Knud/ Canute and his brother Olof seems to have organised settlements for thegns and ceorls around 1000 AD. In Sweden they even borrowed the English title "rinke" for ceorl or sven
The Christians in France and England classed the Vikings as the enemy around 800 AD. But the fact is that Charlemagne was going to enslave the Scandinavians so attacks were the best defence to teach Charlemagne that it would not be easy. Ruling England would take the opportunity from Charlemagne. The Vikings save the English from Charlemagne.
The last 36 years of Scandinavians taking taxes around 1000 AD from Saxon England were defending the Anglians since the Saxon king was going to kill all Anglians ... I got another story in school but I do not buy that today when I use Scandinavian eyes and my own judgement.
In Middle East they learnt early to fence their market places and later cities. Wherever there were expensive goods they build castles and guardians were installed. It is just natural. But as soon as the archaeologists find something like a castle or fortification in Europe they think it is something warlike. The earliest cultivators' rock-carvings show that they were aware of that they must be able to defend their claims and fence it in against thieves on two or four legs. The earlier cowboys were used to that their livestock could move freely.
Not long ago I investigated and wrote about around 1000 hill-forts in Sweden. Few of them are excavated because they are usually fairly big but with few finds. Once we make categories we discover firstly that they have been build since Bronze Age. Some of them were like guarding towers in the coastlands, others may have been ritual place and others have just been Potemkin's false front. That showed off the pirates in summer when only women and old folks were at home because the males were "in Viking".
This counts especially for East Sweden with half of these hill-forts. Only in west and Bohuslen we see that kind of concentration. In the rest of Sweden they occurs sparsely. Then we cannot generalise and say that hill-forts are evidence of war-like folks. I know only Scandinavia well so I cannot say how it was in Ukraine.
I think that those using sweeping generalisation should make more categories and make statistics of the proportion in time and space. If bias is used it is not longer science but politics. It is maybe easy to understand that youngsters want to hear about martial things and suppose that in "good old days" they were always fighting ... In my childhood we grow up with the Germans and played war to understand what was going on. But in ancient times we should ask for proof and proportions about the real wars.. We cannot deny occasional wars and that man fought for a girl and maybe sometimes for money, but that was not the normal.
I enclose this URL
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Colin Renfew, and Marija Gimbutas on the Indo-European invasions and the earlier Goddess cultureshttp://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/gimbutas.html
Cavalli-Sforza is a Geneticist; Renfrew & Gimbutas were rival Archaeologists, Renfrew taking the "Patriarchal" side and Gimbutas the Feminist. My assessment is at the end.