From Matriarchy to Patriarchy: Year 3000 BCE

The Greatest Divide in Human Genealogy and History

enthroned goddess Cata huyuk 6000

You hear a lot of talk about the Neolithic Revolution–the gradual adoption and spread of agriculture, animal husbandry and town life by our prehistoric European ancestors–but the most important epoch in the course of civilization goes largely unnoticed in the history books. That was the abrupt shift from matriarchy and worship of the Great Goddess to the warrior-based governments and language stocks of the steppe-dwelling Indo-Aryan barbarians who invaded Old Europe beginning in the late fourth millennium BCE.

The roots of Europe’s original female-oriented religion are lost in the mists of the early Stone Age, and may even precede the arrival of “modern humans” in Europe and be part of the heritage of Neanderthals. This substrate of a long-lasting peaceful hunter-gatherer society organized around the religion of the Great Goddess absorbed the spreading practice of agriculture from the Middle East beginning in the fifth millennium and reached its apogee of development in a pure form in the fourth millennium.

The cult of the Great Goddess, depicted here in an enthroned version with flanking felines from Çatal Hüyük, an 8,000-year-old shrine in present-day Turkey (p. 107), was the lifelong object of study by Lithuanian-American archeologist Marija Gimbutas, whose most influential book is The Language of the Goddess (London:  Thames & Hudson, 2006).

In most regions, the axe fell on this ancient civilization–quite literally–after 3000 BCE. As confirmed in Jane McIntosh’s Handbook to Life in Prehistoric Europe (New York:  Facts on File, 2006), there was a clear line of demarcation between old and new Europe, from the Balkans to Britain, Spain and Scandinavia. The archeological record tells the story of a sweeping and abrupt end to things. The first metal weapons appear in the graves of elite males along with hoards of gold and jewels. Axes previously used to clear forests for agriculture are now battle-axes. Burials are single rather than family and clan-oriented. Whole villages were massacred and depopulated. Fortifications grew as violence escalated. The horse, venerated as just one of the totem animals of the Goddess since the early Stone Age, becomes the symbol of the warrior, along with the chariot and boat. Rock art features ithyphallic warriors wielding weapons or shooting arrows at each other. The transition can also be seen in the establishment of the Pharaohs in Egypt about 3500 BCE.

The invaders brought their male pantheon of war gods, Indo-European languages, aristocratic forms of government and Central Asian/Caucasian genes. The goddess cult underwent radical male adaptations, surviving in out-of-the-way places like Crete and Brittany.

So, rather than one transformation, European civilization first went through a Neolithic Revolution, then conversion to warrior-dominated patriarchal societies. It can be postulated that the matriarchal societies eagerly adopted agriculture but exhausted soils, destroyed vital forests and became weaker and smaller-bodied due to a changed diet, falling prey after 3000 BCE to the barbarian warriors of the steppe, who found the accumulation of wealth and unprotected agrarian settlements of Old Europe easy pickings. Climate change could have been a contributing factor.

James Joyce called history “the nightmare from which one cannot wake.” If we take a long view of human events, this nightmare began about five thousand years ago. Other-worldly religions like Christianity introduced a further element of alienation and turning away from the sources of life. Before that, people were happily alive, awake, in tune with nature and celebrated life under the auspices of matriarchy.

primitive man furfooze france

Assailants with bows and arrows attack a fortified Neolithic settlement in Furfooze, France, who defend themselves by hurling stones and raising clubs. Reconstruction from Louis Figuier, Primitive Man (London:  Chatto and Windus, 1876). 


  Comments: 8

  1. Thankyou 4 this article 😊 I appreciate it 🙏

  2. This theory is sucked out of the finger. Gimbutas’ claims that since the symbol “V” looks like a woman’s pubis, it is a symbol of a goddess, or that any female figure is a goddess is a very controversial argument. At the moment, her works (not all, but most of them) are discredited by a mass of scientists and they are not accepted in wide scientific circles (although she has followers who are with her to the end). Otherwise, pure fantasy. The existence of a SINGLE MATRIARCHY is simply ridiculous…

    • In the meantime, Gimbutas’ “theory” (actually not theoretical) is accepted more and more as one of the grand narratives of human history even though framed by a woman, not to say there doesn’t continue to be a backlash against it, from those who haven’t studied her work primarily. See David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021), pp. 216-200. Most people who dismiss her haven’t actually read her. As for the real existence of matriarchies, even in contemporary times, read a report from Brazilian anthropologists from the 1950s discussed by Heide Goettner-Abendroth, “The Amazons of the Amazon,” p. 211ff., in Matriarchal Societies: Studies on Indigenous Cultures across the Globe (New York: Peter Lang, 2013). You might also want to visit the website for the International Academy HAGIA for Modern Matriarchal Studies. Goettner-Abendroth is brilliant and has written dozens of widely admired books (only a few translated into English). She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and is acknowledged to be the founder of modern matriarchy studies. She has proved that matriarchal societies are not a pipedream, but had and have real historical existences, and are thus not just a fantasy or utopia for “believers” but a justified and practical hope for peace, non-exploitative economies, spirituality and freedom from enslavement (including “mind-forged manacles”).

      • Thank you Donald, for your thoughtful answer. I will read Goettner-Abendroth. I know you’ve written this based on your learnings – empirical research – not as statement of allyship. Regardless, thank you for the allyship. We need it.

        Thank you Donald, for your thoughtful answer. I will read Goettner-Abendroth. I know you’ve written this based on your learnings – empirical research – not as statement of allyship. Regardless, thank you for the allyship. We need it.

      • For earlier, I apologize for a bunch of mistakes. English is not my native language, but I will answer.

        No. I was just reading Gimbutas. But the author of this article hasn’t read it, and it looks like you haven’t either. If he read like you, you would know that Gimbutas did not talk about matriarchy. She avoided the term and talked more about the matricentric culture or “matrial” culture. Secondly, her position has not yet been recognized by the scientific lobby, and this is a fact. Its dogmas are recognized only by those who see something “PLEASANT” in this past and try to defend this THEORY in every possible way. No wonder the Goddess movement liked her so much (there are a lot of feminists there) and the feminists themselves, although Gimbutas is not a feminist. The only thing that has become more or less proven is her kurgan hypothesis, or rather, the part where she talked about migration. Genetics was able to confirm this in 2015. There is no need to talk about any conquests with 100% probability. Genetics suggests that Neanderthals may have been patrilocal. The whole cult of the goddess, which was created by Gimbutas, is simply made up. It was based on the EXISTING RELIGION OF THE PRESENT AND RECENT PAST in order to create a religion of the past according to these standards and frameworks. She just put forward so many ridiculous interpretations, for example, various animal symbols, and tried to tie everything to the symbolism of the Goddess. Gimbutas is criticized for many things, and this criticism is logical and understandable. This does not mean that Gimbutas as a scientist is bad. No, she’s a pretty erudite woman. But her methods and the method of archaeomythology she created are dead at the moment.

        It is a long time to describe all the criticism of Gimbutas, so I will pass this point by.

        Now about Heide Gottner-Abendroth. Firstly, its
        activity consists either in quoting the “weak” science of the 20th century (its beginning or middle), which is based on contradictory interpretations similar to those of Gimbutas. I.e., in fact, just in fantasy. Or a description of existing matrilineal societies. I know that she uses the term matriarchy, and she has an argument consisting of 5 points why it is necessary to use the term “matriarchy” (if I’m not mistaken), but her arguments are so stupid that it makes no sense to listen to her.

        There is no truth behind the first one. Ignoring the positions that contradict her statements about the Prehistoric Matriarchy is classical feminism (and movements like her consist mainly of many feminists of different directions. This, in any case, is a fact). Secondly, it makes no sense to talk about the existence of a UNIVERSAL MATRICENTRIC SOCIETY in the past and the cult of the goddess in particular (although she talks about it). I also find her reasoning very controversial regarding the claim that EQUALITY EXISTS ONLY in matrilineal societies and that matrilineal societies are ALWAYS egalitarian. I can easily quote a scientific article that talks about discrimination against men in the banal, one of the largest matrilineal societies of our time. It’s just that Heide Gottner-Abendroth doesn’t want to waste time on a detailed analysis of what contradicts her position. She ignores many subtleties, as do women scientists like her, who also try to defend this position in every possible way (because this theory is “pleasant” to them). Although I will make a reservation here. I read her articles, not her books. But her books are not particularly interesting. And the book is basically a collection of articles.

        Has it proved the existence of matriarchal societies??? Oh my God… Murdoch also spoke about matrilineal societies (that is, in the terminology of Heide Gottner-Abendroth, matriarchal) in his writings of 1949-1959. Long before the activities of Heide Gottner-Abendroth. An anthropologist who is much smarter than Heide Gottner-Abendroth. The fact that she is nominated somewhere there is not an indicator for me. In addition, Gimbutas has done many times more than Heide Gottner-Abendroth, and she deserves more recognition, despite the fallacy of many of her statements, or at least their inconsistency.

        So, everything you said brings a smile to my face. You remind me of Eisler. She shouted in her book that it was necessary to introduce this information into textbooks on all kinds of history. She screamed that IT was THE REAL TRUTH. THAT EVERYTHING WAS CREATED BY WOMEN IN THE BEGINNING, AND MEN THEN CONQUERED, AND THE PATRIARCHY APPEARED. I caught Eisler a lot on contradictions and lies. It’s also a long time to describe, so I won’t waste your time. But seriously? Information that 90% consists of INTERPRETATIONS of DIFFERENT PEOPLE should be included in textbooks? Eisler quoted, as did Heide Gottner-Abendroth in her books by James Mellart. An archaeologist who was engaged in the forgery of various archaeological finds and who also fiercely defended Gimbutas and the cult of the Goddess. And oops. again, the Cult of the Goddess, the matriarchal past, in which there is a piece of lies. I know enough about this topic. I’ve read smarter people than your Heide Gottner-Abendroth. Anthropologists, geneticists and many others. There is no reason to believe that in the past, in the Neolithic or Paleolithic, there was a SINGLE matrix culture with the worship of the Goddess. God, even the term “Goddess” is based on modern religion. We just don’t know what the woman was called or revered in the past and who she was in general. Whether there were deities or something else. Maybe the ancestors?

        There are many questions that Heide Gottner-Abendroth and others will not be able to answer, because they quote mostly the same thing from year to year. Heide Gottner-Abendroth even quoted a paleolinguist claiming that he was talking about the primacy of women (i.e. not because it is a qualitative research method, but simply because it is about WOMEN). She didn’t understand science, because if she did, she would know that paleolinguistics is a very controversial science and there are many methodological problems in it that call into question the results and conclusions of such scientists. But where would she go) Matriarchy is a just society, it is equality and egalitarianism) You won’t hear anything else from her, she’s been saying this for 30 years. So reading it is insanely boring.

        I can go on for a long time. But I’m too lazy.

        • Sounds like you have an axe to grind against feminists. I stand by everything I have written about Gimbutas and Goettner-Abendroth. No one, as far as I know, has been able to refute them in print, in small things or large. Whether it’s called matrial, matriarchal or mother-right, it’s all the same. Gimbutas’ detailed archeology matches Goettner-Abendroth’s philosophical writings.

          • Well received Donald Yates and because of the information you provided I can expand on my own fact-finding research. I see you! When dna and genes are highlighted in this conversation (let’s removed the word “argue” because it has a very low frequency) the facts remains when John Hopkins’ stoled Henrietta Lacks’ cells…a MELANATED WOMAN (melanated is the dark (carbon) pigmentation of the skin, hair & eyes) which has nothing to do with color or race which is a patriarchal construct to conquer, divide and destroy). Henrietta’ cells undeniably proved that her melanated cell (mitochondria) are immortal, ALL civilization comes from ONE Woman (check out Ardi who is older the Lucy…see how hi-story changes) and she is the Mother of the GENOME PROJECT. Hec cells debunks the Adam & Eve story GENESis because Henrietta’s cells also proves undeniably that the “X” chromosome was in existence infinitely before the “Y” chromosome now here is the minding-blowing fact that during the the Golden Age/ Era the Golden Egg (cosmic egg) only replicated Women…yes I said it! There was a recycling of just women…its called immaculate conception (do the etymology on the “word” conception it starts in the mind and not sex) as well as the power of the woman’ egg fertilizing itself. Yet her cosmic egg has the androgenous power as well (see the anatomy of the man). The amazing cells of Henrietta’s cells also debunks the so called story of Adam (Atom) and Eve in GENESis. She undeniably proved that the “X” chromosome existed possibly billions of years (man-made time) before the “Y”chromosome in trees, plants, human (hueman) and mammals, as well as the ludicrous insane ideology that Eve came out the rib of Adam. See this is truly about GENESis and why they were stolen to hide the truth. And as an Elder, this has nothing to do with opinions, ideology, beLIEfs, color or race this patriarchal linguistical babbling ( the tower of babble in the bible which the bible contains some of the sacred teachings stolen from our Ancient Mothers…the Sibyls…not Goddess. Goddess is a Albinolistic, (I’m coining it) European linguistical name constructed by the colonial patriarchal powers of the western world…the so called new world order). My I suggest to you both Donald and especially you Fakka (and no Fakka I am not a feminist…I am complete, all Woman, and a Crone) in a very loving way something my brother said to me before he transcend to started a new cosmic recycling process…he said, Vicki always do your own research because even you and I disagree at least we will be on the same page…I hope you both find his profoundness and simplicity as kundalining as I did, and, if not I hope you received something from his balancing wisdom ( lastly, we don’t die energy recycle itself…the “word” death is used an emotional fear tactic to mainly subject you to a low frequency that imbalance your emotions, as well as justice man’s diabolical use to experience and exploit human existence. I wish you both well and may peace starts with you. INjoy❤️

  3. And yes. In addition to a great comment. Has she written widely known books? By what criteria do you assess fame? The citation of these books is far behind Gimbutas or Eisler. And these books are not exactly very popular. They are more like a guide to matrilineal societies. No more. The fact that she quotes scientists from the 1950s who talked about the Cult of the Goddess and Matriarchy is understandable. Then this topic was on the rise. The same Robert Graves released his legendary book “The White Goddess”, which later became the basis of Wicca paganism. Yes, etc. Of course, when there is a widespread paradigm, everyone refers to it. It’s always been like this. Then few people questioned these dogmas about the prehistoric matriarchy. Many took my word for it. But science is getting harder and smarter. And the time has come when scientists began to ask the RIGHT QUESTIONS. Questions that have called into question such rash and too strange generalizations and statements that are built too often on people’s INTERPRETATIONS, and not on actual data.

    I think we can end here. If you have nothing else to say except references to your beloved Heide Gottner-Abendrot. Then there is no point in answering. I am not an expert on this person, but I have heard a lot about her activities. I’m not saying she’s wrong about everything. At a minimum, her book can fully serve as a good reference of matrilineal societies of the present and the past.

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