ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Similarities were Similarities discovered at Göbeklitepe and Karahantepe, as well as others.

With Gobecli Tepe starts to me the male clan leader cult that later turns into the warrior cult and later kings and all this in the new hierarchies that emerged with agriculture and the ability to hoard wealth. “slavery became widespread only with agriculture 11,000 years ago.” ref

“Damien, based on your amazing research & artistic presentation do you think Göbekli Tepe is unique, special, in any way with human development?” – Questioner

My response, I think it was involved in the rise of agricultural religion (I label it paganism), this was at the very beginning and thus was more shamanism (with heavy totemism) related but they added deities to me likely totemistic animals around 13,000/12,000 years ago.

Understanding Religion Evolution per Damien’s speculations from the evidence:

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) possibly Africa, Middle East, and Eurasia

*Pre-Animism (belief in objects containing spiritual energy: magical Anthropomorphism thinking/possibly a form of Ancestor worship/Veneration of the dead) possibly by at least 300,000 years ago “the most primal stage before Animism’s early religion”

“The motivation of “Primal Religion (Pre-Animism/Animism)” is to some part, Anthropomorphism.”

Animism (at least 100,000 years ago) possibly in Southern Africa or maybe Central Africa

*I classify Animism (animated ‘spirit‘ or “supernatural” perspectives). = “Animism (from Latin: anima meaning ‘breath, spirit, life’) is the belief that objects, places, and creatures all can or do possess a distinct spirit/spiritual essence.” ref

Totemism (at least 50,000/45,000 years ago) possibly around Germany, France, or somewhere in Western Europe

Shamanism (at least 30,000/35,000 years ago) possibly in West Siberia or East Russia

Paganism (at least 12,000/13,000 years ago) Turkey And/or Levant: “Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria”

*Paganism “Early organized nature-based religion” mainly like an evolved shamanism with gods (possibly by at least 13,000 years ago).

To me, the “male god” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 7,000 years ago, whereas the now favored monotheism “male god” is more like 4,000 years ago or so. To me, the “female goddess” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 11,000-10,000 years ago or so, losing the majority of its once prominence around 2,000 years ago due largely to the now favored monotheism “male god” that grow in prominence after 4,000 years ago or so. 

My Thoughts on the Evolution of Gods?

Animal protector deities from old totems/spirit animal beliefs come first to me, 13,000/12,000 years ago, then women as deities 11,000/10,000 years ago, then male gods around 7,000/8,000 years ago. Moralistic gods around 5,000/4,000 years ago, and monotheistic gods around 4,000/3,000 years ago. 

Progressed organized religion (at least 5,000 years ago), (Egypt, the First Dynasty 5,150 years ago)

*Institutional religion “organized religion”, as a social institution with official dogma usually set in a hierarchical/bureaucratic structure that contains strict rules and practices dominating the believer’s life. And to me, paganism and Institutional religion are categorized into the following stages:

*The primal stage of organized religion was 13,000 to 10,000 years ago.

*The proto-stage of organized religion was around 10,000 to 7,000 years ago.

*The progressed stage of organized religion was around 7,000 to 5000 years ago.

The emergence of world religions arose after 4,000 years ago

After around 2,000 to 1,000 years ago monotheism and its male-centric religions became dominant 


Paganism 12,000 years old: (Pre-Capitalism) the beginning of inequality and hierarchy of power:

“Social stratification is a system of ranking individuals and groups within societies. It refers to a society’s ranking of its people into socioeconomic tiers based on factors like wealth, income, race, education, and power. You may remember the word “stratification” from geology class. The distinct horizontal layers found in rock, called “strata,” are an illustrative way to visualize social structure. Society’s layers are made of people, and society’s resources are distributed unevenly throughout the layers. Social stratification has been a part of all societies dating from the agricultural revolution, which took place in various parts of the world between 7,000-10,000 BCE. Unlike relatively even strata in rock, though, there are not equal numbers of people in each layer of society. There are typically very few at the top and a great many at the bottom, with some variously populated layers in the middle.” ref

Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and slaves:

“Something Weird Happened to Men 7,000 Years Ago, it fell to one man for every 17 women: fighting between patrilineal clans. Around 7,000 years ago – all the way back in the Neolithic – something really peculiar happened to human genetic diversity. Over the next 2,000 years, and seen across Africa, Europe, and Asia, the genetic diversity of the Y chromosome collapsed, becoming as though there was only one man for every 17 women. This points to a social, rather than an environmental, cause, and given the social restructures between 12,000 and 8,000 years ago as humans shifted to more agrarian cultures with patrilineal structures, this may have had something to do with it.” ref

“Slavery predates written records and has existed in many cultures. Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations because it requires economic surpluses and a substantial population density. Thus, although it has existed among unusually resource-rich hunter-gatherers, such as the American Indian peoples of the salmon-rich rivers of the Pacific Northwest coast, slavery became widespread only with the invention of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution about 11,000 years ago.” ref

When the First Farmers Arrived in Europe, Inequality Evolved

“Forests gave way to fields, pushing hunter-gatherers to the margins—geographically and socially. There is no clear genetic evidence of interbreeding along the central European route until the (Linear Pottery culture 5500–4500 BCE or 7,522-6,522 years ago) LBK farmers reached the Rhine. And yet the groups mixed in other ways—potentially right from the beginning. A tantalizing hint of such interactions came from Gamba’s discovery of a hunter-gatherer bone in a farming settlement at a place called Tiszaszőlős-Domaháza in Hungary. But there was nothing more to be said about that individual. Was he a member of that community? A hostage? Someone passing through?” ref

“With later evidence, the picture became clearer. At Bruchenbrücken, a site north of Frankfurt in Germany, farmers, and hunter-gatherers lived together roughly 7,300 years ago in what Gronenborn calls a “multicultural” settlement. It looks as if the hunters may have come there originally from farther west to trade with the farmers, who valued their predecessors’ toolmaking techniques—especially their finely chiseled stone arrowheads. Perhaps some hunter-gatherers settled, taking up the farming way of life. So fruitful were the exchanges at Bruchenbrücken and other sites, Gronenborn says, that they held up the westward advance of farming for a couple of centuries.” ref

“There may even have been rare exceptions to the rule that the two groups did not interbreed early on. The Austrian site of Brunn 2, in a wooded river valley not far from Vienna, dates from the earliest arrival of the LBK farmers in central Europe, around 7,600 years ago. Three burials at the site were roughly contemporaneous. Two were of individuals of pure farming ancestry, and the other was the first-generation offspring of a hunter and a farmer. All three lay curled up on their sides in the LBK way, but the “hunter” was buried with six arrowheads.” ref

My thoughts on how cultural/ritual was influenced in the area of Göbekli Tepe. I think it relates to a few different cultures starting in the area before the Neolithic. Two different groups of Siberians first from northwest Siberia with U6 haplogroup 40,000 to 30,000 or so. Then R Haplogroup (mainly haplogroup R1b but also some possible R1a both related to the Ancient North Eurasians). This second group added its “R1b” DNA of around 50% to the two cultures Natufian and Trialetian. To me, it is likely both of these cultures helped create Göbekli Tepe. Then I think the female art or graffiti seen at Göbekli Tepe to me possibly relates to the Epigravettians that made it into Turkey and have similar art in North Italy. I will also show you my art explaining this to help show my thoughts. I also have lots of links if interested to validate all this.

12,000-year-old Gobekli Tepe: the first temple

Which will explain and show Gobekli Tepe: the first exposure or the basics. 

Here are the references for a few small video clips used: ref, ref, ref, ref, ref 

Pictures link     Short Video on Building Göbekli Tepe 

Southeast Turkey’s Göbekli Tepe predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years, which kind of upends the past conventional view of the rise of civilization and the level of religious devotion.

“Göbekli Tepe” (in English “Hill with a Navel”, or “Potbelly Hill”) Ref

Definition of tepe: an artificial (Human Created) mound —used in place names.

At around 13,000 years ago, the site functioned as a ritual or religious center, with the early circles being added around 11,600 years ago. Then, between 11,130–10,620 years ago, the first building stage for Layer III was completed.  At this point, it was a totemistic-shamanistic proto-paganism meeting place of ancestor worship and cultic feasting as well as drinking, with evidence of beer brewing starting at almost 11,000 years ago. Next, around 10,280–9,970 years ago, enclosure B is constructed, followed by enclosure C at around 9,560–9,370. Some pillars are around 15 to 20 ft-foot-high and can weigh up to 20 tons, many with totem animals and anthropomorphic human-like fertility cult representations. ref, ref, ref, ref, ref 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


12,000-year-old Gobekli Tepe: “first human-made pagan temple”

Just think of the kind and amount of religious faith one would need to build such a site as this. Speaking of building, one of the most fascinating facts about this site is that they didn’t have the wheel nor metal tools. All they had were stone tools and little else.

Pictures linklink 

The “Göbekli Tepe” site is not alone in the area at a similar time. In fact, there is an ancient site older than Göbekli Tepe with an earlier rudimentary precursor temple. The site of Boncuklu Tarla is estimated to be around 12,000 years old is around 186 Miles East of Gobekli Tepe. Several special structures which we can call temples and special buildings were unearthed in the Boncuklu Tarla settlement, in addition to many houses and dwellings. houses and dwellings make it different that Gobleki Tepe’s more religious-only nature to its temple complex. Here is a picture of the small and not very impressive Temple that was before Gobleki Tepe. ref

I see this place as having several somewhat hidden themes which include the concept of animal gods or sacred spirit animals, female gods or sacred spirit female ancestor worship, male clan leader cult, sky burials as well as skull cult. The likely hood is that the main focus of the temple varied from one theme to another over the thousands of years in which it was used.

I would also like to address what this place is not, as there are several conspiracy theories about Gobekli Tepe: It is not the garden of Eden nor anything like that. It was not constructed by aliens nor some non-human knowledge. 

Pictures link   

To better understand Gobekli Tepe it is good to see it in a context such as how it shares space with other special sites at the same general time in the same general region, which are explained as Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic Chronology

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A  (PPNA) spans roughly around 11,500-10,000 years ago and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) spans roughly around 9,600–8,000 years ago early Levantine, Anatolian Neolithic (involving what is now the region of modern-day Turkey) and ranging to Upper Mesopotamian region (involving what is now the region of modern-day Iraq) of the Fertile Crescent (in this context involves a spanning modern-day Iraq, southeastern Turkey, western Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan) focusing on separated skulls some of which are plastered and painted. And this custom of modeling with plaster human-like images arose in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (10,500-6000 BC or around 12,500 to 8,000 years ago).” ref, ref, ref 

Ritual behavior during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic is quite remarkable, such as the emergence of monumental architecture, large buildings constructed by the community for use as gathering spaces for those communities and allied people built for ritual gathering purposes. ref

· PPNA Sites include the likes of: Jericho(Palestine/Israel), Netiv Hagdud (Palestine/Israel), Nahul Oren(Israel), Gesher(Israel), Jerf al Ahmar(Syria), Abu Hureyra(Syria), Kortik Tepe(Turkey), Göbekli Tepe(Turkey), Hasankeyf Höyük(Turkey), Demirköy Hoyuk(Turkey), Hallan Çemi Tepesi(Turkey), Chogha Golan,(Iran), Beidha(Jordan), Qermez Dere(Iraq),  Djade al-Mughara(Syria), and Mureybet(Syria).

· PPNB Sites include the likes of: Abu Hureyra, Ain Ghazal(Jordan), Çatalhöyük (Turkey), Cayönü Tepesi(Turkey), Jericho, Shillourokambos,(Cyprus), Chogha Golan, Gobekli Tepe

· PPNC Sites include the likes of: Hagoshrim(Israel), Yumuktepe(Turkey), and Ain Ghazal. REF

Pictures link, link, link, link, link, link, link, linklink, link , link 

Gobekli Tepe had the ritualistic use of food and alcohol

Neolithic skull cult: skull fragments with carved long, deliberate lines at Gobekli Tepe   

In short, Gobekli Tepe had a lot of company. It did not spring up out of nowhere! Gobekli Tepe’s lowest level, with the round stone structures and large T-shaped pillars, dates reliably to the PPNA period, when the activities which would eventually evolve into agriculture and animal husbandry were already underway. The middle level, with the smaller squared structures, dates to the early PPNB. The PPNB appearance of domesticated einkorn wheat nearby is a fine indicator that pre-domestication cultivation was indeed being practiced in the area by the time Gobekli Tepe was founded, in combination with hunting and gathering of other wild edibles. Ref

Was the site of Gobekli Tepe buried naturally after being abandoned?

“Answer and Explanation: Gobekli Tepe was not buried when it was originally built, nor was it ever intentionally buried by people. However, as it has existed for such a long time, it was slowly interred under layers of earth as dust storms and the general passage of time covered it. This is the case with virtually all ancient sites simply by virtue of the course of geological time. It has since been excavated and studies are ongoing.” ref

And it could have involved some intentional burring as well.


“So far it was believed that the different special buildings at Göbekli Tepe were intentionally filled (or buried). Latest findings and results proved that the filling process of the special buildings was much more complex than initially thought. Besides anthropogenic factors (for example dumping sediments in the course of building new structres) also slope slide events in the course of natural processes and disasters (for example heavy rainfall, earthquakes) led to the dislocation of sediments which also ended up in the special buildings. Currently, we still do not know how long each of the special buildings was in use prior to these happenings, and we still have no definitive evidence about the duration of the filling process except that several filling events took place which are definitly seperated in time. What we do know is that the entire mound (as it stands today) comprises archaeological deposits (i.e. it is man-made) and is the result of many filling activities and events which ended around 8.000 cal BCE or around 10,000 years ago. Why the constant repairing and rebuilding of the special buildings stopped is unclear: perhaps it is an expression of fundamental social changes which led to new ways of life in which the ‘old’ buildings became obsolete.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Paganism (beginning around 12,000 years ago)

The thoughts of Göbekli Tepe beer brewing at 11,000 years ago seems strange to some, but it connects to the brewing of alcohol which is thought to have developed around 11,500 years ago. It may have even in some ways driven the new cultivation of grains and agriculture at this general time. Even though we may see alcohol as mundane today, it most likely had religious and ritualistic significance in the past. This prehistoric religious site, consisting of three circular stone temples and other structures so far uncovered are a small part of the total complex itself as ground-penetrating radar seems to indicate. These known and uncovered structures of ritualistically engraved giant standing stones, is but a part of what may yet be found but is enough to realize its great significance.

Fertile Crescent 12,500 – 9,500 Years Ago: fertility and death cult belief system?

Natufians: an Ancient People at the Origins of Agriculture and Sedentary Life

Pictures link, link, link, link  

There are also anthropomorphic human-like totem features on the two center-standing “T” shaped pillars, where arms and hands are depicted indicating the monolithic pillars maybe a stylized person. The many tall “T” shaped stones are elaborately carved with things such as boars, different big cats, bulls, scorpions, vultures, and snakes twisting and crawling on the pillars. The “T” shaped stones may connect to sky burial offerings already seen in the hunter-gather shamanism which preceded this site. This may have been directly on the pillars, hanging on the pillars in some fashion, or laid between then like an offering if the site was open to the air. Alternatively, if the site was roofed the sky burials may have been nearby at Göbekli Tepe or at some other site then were brought to Göbekli Tepe.

Also, they’ve found a carved stone human head, possibly male, seemingly part of a larger stone sculpture. Also of interest is a part of a carved stone sculpture of a large bird holding a human head, this theme seems to also match depicted wall art at Catal Huyuk. This wall art at the first religious city contains murals with large birds and headless human bodies, some with high ramps/ladders/stairways into the air seemingly to add access to birds of death. One of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe shows two snakes with a round object between them as well as a bird holding a round object. 

Finally, around 9,370 years ago the entire religious complex was deliberately buried under around 1,500 feet of fill debris consisting mainly of small limestone fragments, stone vessels, and stone tools as well as bones of both animals and humans.

References for above info and writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 

“Sky Burial” and its possible origins at least 12,000 years ago to likely 30,000 years ago or older.

“In archaeology and anthropology, the term excarnation (also known as defleshing) refers to the practice of removing the flesh and organs of the dead before burial, leaving only the bones. Excarnation may be precipitated through natural means, involving leaving a body exposed for animals to scavenge, or it may be purposefully undertaken by butchering the corpse by hand. Practices making use of natural processes for excarnation are the Tibetan sky burial, Comanche platform burials, and traditional Zoroastrian funerals (see Tower of Silence).  Some Native American groups in the southeastern portion of North America practiced deliberate excarnation in protohistoric times. Archaeologists believe that in this practice, people typically left the body exposed on a woven litter or altar.” ref

Pictures link  

Ancient Headless Corpses Were Defleshed By Griffon Vultures

Sky burial ( Animal Worship mixed with Ancestor Worship) is a funeral practice where a human corpse is placed on a mountaintop, elevated ground, tree, or constructed perch to decompose while be eaten by scavenging animals, especially birds. This Animal Worship (or Zoolatry) rituals may go back to the  Neanderthals who seem to Sacralize birds starting around 130,000 years ago in Croatia with eagle talon jewelry and oldest confirmed burial. Or possible (Aurignacian) “Bird Worship” at  Hohle Fels cave, Germany, early totemism and small bird figurine at around 33,000 years old, which had been cited as evidence of shamanism. The Tibetan sky-burials appear to have evolved from ancient practices of defleshing corpses as discovered in archeological finds in the region. These practices most likely came out of practical considerations, but they could also be related to more ceremonial practices similar to the suspected sky burial evidence found at Göbekli Tepe (11,500 years before present) and Stonehenge (4,500 years ago). ref 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art 

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

“Most of the skulls belonged to older adults (which by the era’s standards meant around 40 years old). Both men and women could be selected to have their remains plastered, Khalaily adds, noting that at least one of the skulls at Yiftahel belonged to a female. According to Hamoudi Khalaily – an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority who excavated three plastered skulls at Yiftahel, a Neolithic site in the Galilee – most of these artifacts are found either in central public places or in “secondary burials”, that is, reburied separately from their body after many years of use. This fits the idea of an ancestor cult, Khalaily explains. As long as the ancestors were known and remembered, the artifacts were prominently displayed. But when their memory faded, they were reburied with honor and possibly replaced with the portraits of other elders.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Possible Clan Leader/Special “MALE” Ancestor Totem Poles around 13,500/11,600 years ago?

Not only are there a set of arms and hands on a few of the “T” shaped pillars, mainly the center pillars, which, to me, may represent clan leader’s ancestors, but there I one pillar seeming to express what, to me, could be a totemistic story done on what looks sort of like a totem pole pillar from Layer II, dated to around 10,800-10,000 years ago, and it appears to involve a woman squatting, potentially giving birth. This could be related to a birth with what may be a child coming out with head and arms showing as well as snakes on either side pointing to the child. And of even more interest, one stone slab holds a crude carving a naked woman squatting with her legs spread and genitals open, possibly also referencing childbirth but it could be of a somewhat sexual nature and this expression of design seems to be somewhat new in the archaeology record.

Pictures link, link, link, link 

“Göbekli Tepe, engraving of a female person from layer II.” ref

Swing of the Mace: the rise of Elite, Forced Authority, and Inequality begin to Emerge 8,500 years ago?

8,000 years ago in Siberia, the World’s oldest known fortress (fortified structure) was constructed by hunter-gatherers.

“Archaeologists have long associated fortresses with permanent agricultural settlements. However, this cluster of fortified structures reveals that prehistoric groups were constructing protective edifices much earlier than originally thought. Located along the Amnya River in western Siberia, remains of the Amnya fort include roughly 20 pit-house depressions scattered across the site, which is divided into two sections: Amnya I and Amnya II. “One of the Amnya fort’s most astonishing aspects is the discovery that approximately 8,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers in the Siberian Taiga built intricate defense structures,” Schreiber said. “This challenges traditional assumptions that monumental constructions were solely the work of agricultural communities.” It’s unknown what triggered the need for these fortified structures in the first place, but the strategic location overlooking the river would have not only been an ideal lookout point for potential threats but also allowed hunter-gatherers to keep tabs on their fishing and hunting grounds, the researchers noted.” ref

“Hunter-gatherers built the oldest known fort in the world about 8,000 years ago in Siberia, a new study finds. “It remains uncertain whether these constructions were commissioned by those in authority or if the entire community collaborated in constructing them for the purpose of protecting people or valuables,” Schreiber said. “Ethnohistorical records offer a nuanced comprehension of these forts, disclosing various potential reasons for fortifying residences.” Ancient forts were built for a number of reasons, according to these records, “such as securing possessions or individuals, handling armed conflicts, addressing imbalances in attacker-defender ratios, thwarting raids and functioning as elaborate signals by influential chiefs,” Schreiber said.” ref 

So, this almost 8,000-year-old war evidence is just a little bit before the 7,000 to 5,000 years ago, time of clan violence and World War 0. When it went down to 14 women to 1 man in genetics due to wars.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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5th millennium BC (around 7,000-6,000 years ago) Events 

This was a time of great development along with the spread of agriculture from Western Asia throughout Southern and Central Europe. Urban cultures in Mesopotamia and Anatolia flourished, developing the wheelCopper ornaments became more common, marking the beginning of the ChalcolithicAnimal husbandry spread throughout Eurasia, reaching ChinaWorld population grew slightly throughout the millennium, possibly from 5 to 7 million people. ref

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

Fertile Crescent

  • Ubaid culture around 8,500 – 5,800 tears ago in Mesopotamia, derives from Tell al-`Ubaid
  • Yumuktepe and Gözlükule cultures in south Anatolia/Turkeyref
  • 1. (Yumuktepe had 23 archaeological levels of occupation dating from ca 6300 BCE. In his book, Prehistoric Mersin, Garstang lists the tools unearthed in the excavations. The earliest tools are made of either stone or ceramic. Both agriculture and animal husbandry (sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs) were among the economic activities in Yumuktepe. In the layer which corresponds to roughly 4500 BCE, one of the earliest fortifications in human history exists. According to Isabella Caneva, during the chalcolithic age, an early copper blast furnace was in use in Yumuktepe. ref)
  • 2. (Gözlükule Höyüğü is located to the south of the Gülek Bosphorus, which passes through the Taurus Mountains in Çukurova (ancient Cilicia), located on the northeastern shore of the Mediterranean. The site Gözlü Kule is the ancient city of Tarsus, the Hittite Terussa or Tarsa dating to around 5,000 years ago, the with monumental buildings, houses, and Northern Syria characteristic potteries.
  • Towards 4,500 years ago, aligned houses and streets intersecting at right angles resemble those of the Minoans. Some destructions are observed from 4,400 years ago culminating in the construction of a fortified wall and the potteries and jewelry are similar to what has been found to Troy.
  • During 4,100 years ago, further destruction are observed. The characteristics of the occupants of the houses appear, again, be those of Syria. Under the Hittites (dated to around 3,600 – 3,178 years ago), Tarsus is a major town or even the regional capital. 65 seals or seals footprints, Hittite hieroglyphics, were found. Fragments of alabaster and lapis lazuli, gold work molds, and a statuette attest of the prosperity of the city. Many specialists think, on the base of these excavations, that Tarsus was a local capital. ref, ref)
  • The earliest representations of culture in Anatolia were Stone Age artifacts. The remnants of Bronze Age civilizations such as the HattianAkkadianAssyrian, and Hittite peoples provide us with many examples of the daily lives of its citizens and their trade. After the fall of the Hittites, the new states of Phrygia and Lydia stood strong on the western coast as Greek civilization began to flourish. They, and all the rest of Anatolia were relatively soon after incorporated into the Achaemenid Persian Empireref




Events around 7,000-6,000 years ago

Is gender inequality man-made?

People have long accepted that political power is man-made rather than god-given. But it’s been different for gender equality. History, religion, science, everything, in fact, have seemed to condemn feminism for being against the natural order. Are there examples of true gender equality in the history of mankind? And if so, how far do we have to go back?

Catalhöyük – aggressively egalitarian?

“It’s hard to get one’s 21st-century head around the Catalhöyük settlement, which existed from approximately 7500 – 5700 BCE or 9,520-7,720 years ago. Its early inhabitants lived at the dawn of agriculture. They had semi-domesticated animals and were learning to sow crops. Not only did women have the same diets as men and inhabit the same physical space, but there were no wider hierarchies in the community. Professor Ian Hodder explains, ‘there is no evidence of a big ceremonial center or a chiefly house. We see these houses that look like they could produce more and could become quite dominant but there seems to be a cap that stops them doing it.” ref

The Mother Goddess

“Catalhöyük has a special significance for anyone interested in women’s history. It is the lynchpin in the Mother Goddess argument. According to this theory, Stone Age society was matriarchal, peaceful, spiritual, and sexually uninhibited. Women were respected for their life-giving powers, and the feminine mysteries were worshipped. In the 1960s, the swashbuckling archaeologist James Mellaart found at Catalhöyük one of the most powerful representations ever made of female divinity. Known as the ‘Seated Woman of Catalhöyük’, or more popularly the ‘Mother Goddess’, it is a clay figurine of a corpulent woman sitting on a throne, flanked by two large leopards, who appears to be giving birth. As he continued his excavations Mellaart unearthed a treasury of female imagery and figurines.” ref

For Mellaart, and many others, this was the confirmation they sought for the Mother Goddess theory. Catalhöyük was proof that patriarchy was no more ‘natural’ than the pyramids. When Professor Hodder took over the site, it wasn’t his intention to be controversial. Nevertheless, his findings have been revolutionary. His team dug through 18 levels, covering about 1,200 years of uninterrupted habitation. They found no evidence to support the claim that Catalhöyük was a matriarchy or that female fertility was worshipped over and above that of phallic or animal spiritualism. But, Hodder insists, the question should never have been posed as an either-or issue. He argues that his team’s discoveries are so much more significant than anything previously imagined. Catalhöyük was a place were true gender equality flourished.” ref

“In ancient Sumer – now modern-day southern Iraq – women enjoyed the same privileges as men in both society and commerce. But when the Akkadian King Sargon conquered, and Sumer became a Vassall state, the outlook for women drastically changed.” ref

The patriarchy promoted by law

“When civilizations begin to write down their laws, this is when the patriarchy becomes enshrined. There is a phrase on the Enmetena and Urukagina cones – the earliest known law codes from circa 2400 BCE – that says “If a woman speaks out of turn, then her teeth will be smashed by a brick.” Later, the Code of Hammurabi (circa 1754 BCE) of ancient Mesopotamia proved a mixed blessing for women. The laws recognized the right for women to own property, while also forbidding arbitrary ill-treatment or neglect. In widowhood, wives were allowed to use their husband’s estates for their lifetime. However, the code was a blow to women’s sexual freedom. Husbands and fathers now owned the sexual reproduction of their wives and daughters. This meant that women could be put to death for adultery and that virginity was now a condition for marriage.” ref

The Veil

“Some of the starkest double standards exist within the Assyrian laws from the 12th century BCE. Husbands could abuse (and even pawn) their wives freely, with the only restriction being they couldn’t kill them without cause. Women in Assyria had no rights and many burdens. If they have an abortion they can be executed, if they commit adultery they can be executed. And if their husband commits a crime, they can be punished in his place.” ref

“Within these laws, there are the earliest examples of enforcing the veil, long before it was adopted by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Christians, and Muslims. However, not all women are required to wear one. The laws specify that wives, daughters, and, indeed, concubines of the upper classes should not go outside uncovered. On the other hand, prostitutes were not entitled to wear the veil, and any man seeing a prostitute wear the veil is to arrest her and she will receive ’50 lashes with a bamboo cane’. If a slave-girl is seen to be wearing a veil, she too is to be arrested; in this case, her ears will be cut off and the man who arrested her may take her clothes.” ref

How the Gender Binary Limits Archaeological Study

“One case study demonstrates how contemporary assumptions about gender in ancient societies risk obscuring the larger picture.” ref

7,000-5,000 years ago, across Africa, Asia and Europe genetic diversity of male Y-DNA collapsed, to around one man to every 17 women. And the likely cause of this was fighting between patrilineal clans, world war 0.

“Around 7,000 years ago – all the way back in the Neolithic – something really peculiar happened to human genetic diversity. Over the next 2,000 years, and seen across Africa, Europe, and Asia, the genetic diversity of the Y chromosome collapsed, becoming as though there was only one man for every 17 women. Now, through computer modeling, researchers believe they have found the cause of this mysterious phenomenon: fighting between patrilineal clans. Drops in genetic diversity among humans are not unheard of, inferred based on genetic patterns in modern humans. But these usually affect entire populations, probably as the result of a disaster or other event that shrinks the population and therefore the gene pool.” ref

But the Neolithic Y-chromosome bottleneck, as it is known, has been something of a puzzle since its discovery in 2015. This is because it was only observed on the genes on the Y chromosome that get passed down from father to son – which means it only affected men. This points to a social, rather than an environmental, cause, and given the social restructures between 12,000 and 8,000 years ago as humans shifted to more agrarian cultures with patrilineal structures, this may have had something to do with it. In fact, a drop in genetic diversity doesn’t mean that there was necessarily a drop in population. The number of men could very well have stayed the same, while the pool of men who produced offspring declined.” ref

This was one of the scenarios proposed by the scientists who penned the 2015 paper. 

“Instead of ‘survival of the fittest’ in a biological sense, the accumulation of wealth and power may have increased the reproductive success of a limited number of ‘socially fit’ males and their sons,” computational biologist Melissa Wilson Sayres of Arizona State University explained at the time. Tian Chen Zeng, a sociologist at Stanford, has now built on this hypothesis. He and colleagues point out that, within a clan, women could have married into new clans, while men stayed with their own clans their entire lives. This would mean that, within the clan, Y chromosome variation is limited.” ref

“However, it doesn’t explain why there was so little variation between different clans. However, if skirmishes wiped out entire clans, that could have wiped out many male lineages – diminishing Y chromosome variance. Computer modeling have verified the plausibility of this scenario. Simulations showed that wars between patrilineal clans, where women moved around but men stayed in their own clans, had a drastic effect on Y chromosome diversity over time. It also showed that a social structure that allowed both men and women to move between clans would not have this effect on Y chromosome diversity, even if there was conflict between them.” ref

“This means that warring patrilineal clans are the most likely explanation, the researchers said. “Our proposal is supported by findings in archaeogenetics and anthropological theory,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “First, our proposal involves an episode in human prehistory when patrilineal descent groups were the socially salient and major unit of intergroup competition, bracketed on either side by periods when this was not the case,” This hypothesis is also supported by a finding in the European DNA samples – shallow coalescence of the Y chromosome, a feature that indicates high levels of relatedness between males.” ref

“Groups of males in European post-Neolithic agropastoralist cultures appear to descend patrilineally from a comparatively smaller number of progenitors when compared to hunter-gatherers, and this pattern is especially pronounced among pastoralists,” they explained. “Our hypothesis would predict that post-Neolithic societies, despite their larger population size, have difficulty retaining ancestral diversity of Y-chromosomes due to mechanisms that accelerate their genetic drift, which is certainly in accord with the data.” ref

“Interestingly, there were variations in the intensity of the bottleneck. It is less pronounced in East and Southeast Asian populations than in European, West, or South Asian populations. This could be because pastoral cultures were much more important in the latter regions. The team are excited to apply their methodology, which combines sociology, biology, and mathematics, to other cultures, to observe how kinship links and genetic variation between cultural groups correlates with political history.” ref

“An investigation into the patterns of uniparental variation among, for example, the Betsileo highlanders of Madagascar, who may have undergone an entry and an exit from the ‘bottleneck period’ very recently, could reveal phenomena relevant to such history,” the researchers wrote. “Cultural changes in political and social organization – phenomena that are unique to human beings – may extend their reach into patterns of genetic variation in ways yet to be discovered.” ref

The truth of 7300-Year-Old Violence Uncovered in the Spanish Pyrenees

“An examination of human remains found in a cave in the Spanish Pyrenees, that date to almost 7300 years ago has provided proof of the brutality of life in the Stone Age . It is believed that the remains are those of adults and children who were massacred. This Stone Age massacre is helping researchers to understand the nature of human violence and they believe it shows that we are ‘hardwired’ to be violent.” ref

“The remains were found in the Els Trocs cave in the Spanish mountain range, which is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Archaeologists have uncovered 13 skeletons, from three burials, and also evidence of material culture in the cave. Els Trocs was inhabited in three phases during the Neolithic period. Researchers focused on nine individuals “five adults and four children from the earliest occupation,” according to Real Clear Science . They are some 1000 years older than the other skeletons found in the cave.” ref

Neolithic Massacre in Spanish Pyrenees

“The remains were examined by a multidisciplinary team of experts, who also carbon-dated the skeletons. They made the gruesome discovery that it appears the “five adults and four children between the ages of three and seven were brutally murdered around 5300 BCE or 7,320 years ago,” reports Real Clear Science . They were the victims of a massacre. The team stated that “the violent events in Els Trocs are without parallel either in Spain or in the rest of Europe at that time,” according to Scientific Reports. It appears that they were shot with arrows, apart from one skeleton found in a perpendicular position. The researchers also stated in Scientific Reports, “the children and adults furthermore show traces of similar blunt violence to the skull and entire skeleton.” The victims of the massacre had been shot by arrows and hacked to death showing evidence of overkill.” ref

Stone Age Warfare

“Support for the view that these individuals were the victims of violence and even warfare comes from previous archaeological finds in the Iberian Peninsula. At another Stone Age settlement in Spain, a number of arrows were found, and at Les Dogues rock shelter a battle scene depicts acts of often horrifying violence and conflict. According to the Scientific Reports, the evidence of a massacre at Els Trocs “raises two fundamental questions: on the one hand about the assailants and the other hand the motive for such a seemingly uninhibited excess of violence.” There is little physical evidence indicating who were the perpetrators of the massacre. However, genetic testing has established that the dead were related to the first Neolithic farmers in the Iberian Peninsula. Based on the remote location, they were probably herders who engaged in transhumance.” ref

Motives for the Massacre

“It has been speculated that the killers of the individuals were either new migrants to the area or possibly a group that had maintained a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle. A motive for the attack was “the terrain on which the violent events took place is a plateau offering manifold resources,” according to Scientific Reports. Quite simply the victims were killed by a group for control of the resources of the area by a new or previously settled group.” ref

“However, the brutality of the killings would indicate that there was another motive. Scientific Reports states that, “Els Trocs probably documents an early escalation of inter-group violence between people of conceivably different origins and worldviews, between natives and migrants or between economic or social rivals.” This massacre was possibly also prompted by tribal or xenophobic beliefs elated to a long-standing conflict between two groups.” ref

Talheim Death Pit

“The Talheim Death Pit (German: Massaker von Talheim), discovered in 1983, was a mass grave found in a Linear Pottery Culture settlement, also known as a Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture. It dates back to about 5000 BCE or 7,000 years ago. The pit takes its name from its site in Talheim, Germany. The pit contained the remains of 34 bodies, and evidence points towards the first signs of organized violence in Early Neolithic Europe.” ref

Evidence of violence

Warfare is thought to have been more prevalent in primitive, ungoverned regions than in civilized states. The massacre at Talheim supports this idea by giving evidence of habitual warfare between Linearbandkeramik settlements. It is most likely that the violence occurred among LBK populations since the head wounds indicate the use of weapons from LBK cultures and all skeletons found to resemble those of LBK settlers.” ref

“The Talheim grave contained a total of 34 skeletons, consisting of 16 children, nine adult males, seven adult women, and two more adults of indeterminate sex. Several skeletons of this group exhibited signs of repeated and healed-over trauma, suggesting that violence was a habitual or routine aspect of the culture. Not all of the wounds, however, were healed at the time of death. All of the skeletons at Talheim showed signs of significant trauma that were likely the cause of death. Broken down into three categories, 18 skulls were marked with wounds indicating the sharp edge of adzes of the Linearbandkeramik or Linear Pottery culture (LBK); 14 skulls were similarly marked with wounds produced from the blunt edge of adzes, and 2–3 had wounds produced by arrows. The skeletons did not exhibit evidence of defensive wounds, indicating that the population was fleeing when it was killed.” ref

Reasons for violence

“Investigation of the Neolithic skeletons found in the Talheim death pit suggests that prehistoric men from neighboring tribes were prepared to fight and kill each other in order to capture and secure women. Researchers discovered that there were women among the immigrant skeletons, but within the local group of skeletons there were only men and children. They concluded that the absence of women among the local skeletons meant that they were regarded as somehow special, thus they were spared execution and captured instead. The capture of women may have indeed been the primary motive for the fierce conflict between the men. Other speculations as to the reasons for violence between settlements include vengeance, conflicts over land, resources, poaching, demonstration of superiority, and kidnapping slaves. Some of these theories related to the lack of resources are supported by the discovery that various LBK fortifications bordering indigenously inhabited areas appear to have not been in use for very long.” ref

Similar occurrences

Mass burial at Schletz-Asparn

“The mass grave near Schletz, part of Asparn an der Zaya, was located about 33 kilometres (roughly 20 miles) to the north of Vienna, Austria, and dates back about 7,500 years. Schletz, just like the Talheim death pit, is one of the earliest known sites in the archaeological record that shows proof of genocide in Early Neolithic Europe, among various LBK tribes. The site was not entirely excavated, but it is estimated that the entire ditch could contain up to 300 individuals. The remains of 67 people have been uncovered, all showing multiple points of trauma. Scientists have concluded that these people were also victims of genocide. Since the weapons used were characteristic of LBK peoples, the attackers are believed to be members of other LBK tribes. In similar proportions to those found at Talheim, fewer young women were found than men at Schletz. Because of this scarcity of young women among the dead, it is possible that other women of the defeated group were kidnapped by the attackers. The site was enclosed, or fortified, which serves as evidence of violent conflict among tribes and means that these fortifications were built as a form of defense against aggressors. The people who lived there had built two ditches to counter the menace of other LBK communities.” ref

Mass burial at Herxheim

Main article: Herxheim (archaeological site)

“Another Early Neolithic mass grave was found at Herxheim, near Landau in the Rhineland-Palatinate. The site, unlike the mass burials at Talheim and Schletz, serves as proof of ritual cannibalism rather than of the first signs of violence in Europe. Herxheim contained 173 skulls and skull-plates, and the scattered remains of at least 450 individuals. Two complete skeletons were found inside the inner ditch. The crania from these bodies were discovered at regular intervals in the two defensive ditches surrounding the site. After the victims were decapitated, their heads were either thrown into the ditch or placed on top of posts that later collapsed inside the ditch. The heads showed signs of trauma from axes and one other weapon. Moreover, the organized placing of the skulls suggests a recurrent ritual act, instead of a single instance. Herxheim also contained various high-quality pottery artifacts and animal bones associated with the human remains. Unlike the mass burial at Talheim, scientists have concluded that instead of being a fortification, Herxheim was an enclosed center for ritual.” ref

Mass burial at Schöneck-Kilianstädten

“This Neolithic mass grave, also in modern-day Germany, may exhibit signs of deliberate mutilation and/or torture. Skeletal analysis of the interred remains showed a remarkably high percentage of long bones (especially in the lower leg) which were broken around the time of the individuals’ deaths, which insinuates a deliberate targeting of these areas of the body, possibly as the victims were still alive.” ref

Herxheim (archaeological site)

“The archaeological site of Herxheim, located in the municipality of Herxheim in southwest Germany, was a ritual center and a mass grave formed by people of the Linear Pottery culture (LBK) culture in Neolithic Europe. The site is often compared to that of the Talheim Death Pit and Schletz-Asparn, but is quite different in nature. The site dates from between 5300 to 4950 BCE or 7,320-6,970 years ago.” ref


“Herxheim was discovered in 1996 on the site of a construction project when locals reported finds of bones, including human skulls. The excavation was considered a salvage or rescue dig, as parts of the site were destroyed by the construction.” ref


Main article: Linear Pottery culture

“The people at Herxheim were part of the LBK culture. Styles of LBK pottery, some of a high quality, were discovered at the site from local populations as well as from distant lands from the north and east, even as far as 500 kilometers (310 mi) away. Local flint, as well as flints from distant sources, were also found.” ref


“The structures at Herxheim suggested that of a large village spanning up to 6 hectares (15 acres) surrounded by a sequence of ovoid pits dug over a duration of several centuries. These pits eventually cut into one another, forming a triple, semi-circular enclosure ditch split into three sections. The way the pits were dug over such a length of time, in addition to their use, suggests a pre-determined layout. The structures within the enclosure eroded over time, and “yielded only a small number of settlement pits and a few graves”. These pits were either trapezoidal or triangular in nature.” ref

Mass grave

“The enclosure ditches around the settlement comprise at least 80 ovoid pits containing the remains of humans and animals, and material goods such as pottery (some rare and high-quality), bone and stone tools, and “rare decorative artifacts”. The remains of dogs, often found intact, were also recovered. The human remains were primarily shattered and dispersed within the pits, rarely intact or in anatomical position. Using a quantification process known as “minimum number of individuals” (MNI), researchers concluded that the site contained at least 500 individual humans ranging from newborns to the elderly. However, “since the area excavated corresponds to barely half the enclosure, we can assume that in fact more than 1000 individuals were involved”. The deposition of the human remains occurred only within the final 50 years of occupation at the site.” ref

Mortuary practices

“The people at Herxheim practiced a type of burial known as secondary burial, which consists of the removal of the corpse or partial corpse and subsequent placement elsewhere. This is evident due to the lack of complete, articulated skeletons in the majority of the burials. Another possibility is that of sky burial, in which the corpse is exposed to the elements and many bones are carried off by scavengers.” ref

“A 2006 study revealed the intentional breakage and cutting of various human elements, particularly skulls. Bones were broken with stone tools in a peri-mortem state, as is evident by the fragmentation patterns on the bones, which differ between fresh and dry (old) conditions. The conclusion reached from this study was that the site of Herxheim was a ritual mortuary center – a necropolis – where the remains of the dead were not just buried, but for reasons unknown, destroyed.” ref

“A 2009 study confirmed many findings from the 2006 study, but added new information. In just one pit deposit, this study found 1906 bones and bone fragments from at least 10 individuals ranging from newborns to adults. At least 359 individual skeletal elements were identified. This in-depth study revealed many more cut, impact, and bite marks made upon the skulls and post-cranial skeletal elements. It was apparent that parts of the humans’ bodies were singled out for their marrow content, suggesting cannibalization (see Hypotheses). Note that due to the fractures present on the bones being peri-mortem, the blows to the bones could have been made immediately prior (including as cause of) or soon after death. However, because of their precision placement, a peri-mortem “Cause of Death” is not likely, and rather the impacts were placed after the bone was defleshed.” ref

Skull cult practices

“Of particular note from both studies was the peculiar treatment of the humans’ skulls. Many skulls were treated in a similar manner: skulls were struck on “the sagittal line, splitting faces, mandibles, and skull caps into symmetrical halves”. A few skulls were clearly skinned prior to being struck, again, all in the same manner: “horizontal cuts above the orbits, vertical cuts along the sagittal suture, and oblique cuts in the parietals“. The vault of the skull was preserved and shaped into what is referred to as a calotte (calvarium). During this process, the brain, which is a source of dietary fat, may have been extracted. Additionally, a later study revealed that the tongues of humans were removed.” ref


“Due to the transportation of distant pottery and flint, it was the conclusion of the 2006 study that Herxheim served as a necropolis for the LBK people of the area. “The projection of the number of individuals present (…) to a probable total of 1,300 to 1,500 rules out the possibility of a local graveyard — and points a regional center at Herxheim to which human remains were transported for the purpose of reburial. (…) To organize the transport not only of stone tools and pottery but also of human bones and partial or maybe even complete corpses implies an efficient organizational and communication system.” ref

Ritual cannibalism

“Whether for religious purpose or war, it is apparent from the 2009 study that the humans at the site of Herxheim were butchered and eaten. Not only were cut marks found on locations of the skeleton that are made during the dismemberment and filleting process, bones were also crushed for the purposes of marrow extraction, and chewed. Besides the fresh-bone fractures present on many bones, “[processing] for marrow is also documented by the presence of scrape marks in the marrow cavity on two fragments.” Skeletal representation analysis revealed that many of the “spongy bone” elements – such as the spinal column, patella, ilium, and sternum – were underrepresented compared to what would be expected in a mass grave. “All these observations are similar to those observed in animal butchery.” Additionally, preferential chewing of the metapodials and hand phalanges “speak strongly in favor of human choice rather than more or less random action by carnivores”.” ref

“The number of people concerned at Herxheim obviously suggests that cannibalism for the simple purpose of survival is highly improbable, all the more so as the characteristics of the deposits show a standard, repetitive, and strongly ritualized practice”. Although a concrete conclusion has yet to be made, the archaeology does not rule out the possibility of deliberate travel to the complex with pottery, flint, and dead bodies (or partial bodies), with the intent to have the dead cannibalized and/or ritually destroyed. It also does not rule out the idea of human sacrifice. Other archeologists reject the cannibalism hypothesis, however, maintaining the evidence better fits a scenario in which the dead were reburied following dismemberment and removal of flesh from bones. “Evidence of ceremonial reburial practices has been reported for many ancient societies.” ref

The Verteba Cave: A Subterranean Sanctuary of the Cucuteni-Trypillia Culture in Western Ukraine

Abstract and Figures

“In Eneolithic Europe, the complexity of mortuary differentiation increased with the complexity of the society at large. Human remains from the Verteba Cave provide a unique opportunity to study the lives, deaths, and cultural practices of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture in Western Ukraine. The subterranean sanctuary of Verteba was without a doubt a rallying point of both religious and social significance. Therefore, this investigation focuses on the role and character of ritual activities, the diversity and variety of religious orientations in the Eneolithic period, and the question of how and for what reason this particular cave was modified from a natural space to a sacred place. We also seek to clarify the research potential of the site in relation to highly developed and relatively wide-spread religion with direct implications for the Cucuteni-Trypillia social structure.” ref

Site location

“Situated atop a loess plateau, Verteba Cave is located approximately two kilometers southeast of the site of Ogród near Bilcze Złote village, Borshchiv district, Ternopil province, Ukraine. Set within Precambrian granites and gneisses, beneath Meso-zoic and Cenozoic deposits, Verteba Cave is situated in the Volhyni-an-Podolian Upland. The Podolian Upland is comprised of rich and thick loess topsoil. In the surrounding landscape, tributaries of the Dniester, owing from north to south, reveal a sequence of geological deposits discernible in the deep ravines.” ref

“One such tributary is the Seret River, with Bilcze Złote located on its eastern bank. The village is located on grey-leached loess soils. The climate is warm and temperate, but with greater temperature ranges between winter and summer than usual for Eastern Europe. Verteba Cave (Fig. 2) is found within a larger complex of gyp-sum caves in the karst region, incorporating various karst formations such as caves, sinkholes, and pits. This region stretches along the northern bank of the Dniester, over an area of ca. 8,000 km2. In congruence with many other gypsum caves near the Dniester, Verteba Cave was formed in the Neogene. During the Mio-cene, the whole area was under a shallow sea and therefore gypsums, up to 35 m thick, precipitated in the same epoch. The cave itself has a floor area of 23,000 m2 and a capacity of 47,000 m3, with the combined length of all the passageways inside the cave totaling 8 km.” ref

“A comprehensive chronological and taxonomic overview of the ceramic materials from Verteba Cave has been proposed by Taras Tkachuk, who has analyzed the entire available assemblage. Traces of settlement in Verteba Cave are represented by a specific chronological sequence: a) BZ WI, the oldest horizon, related to the Shipentsy group and dated to the late CI phase; b) BZ WII, related to the Koshilivtsy group and dated to the early CII phase; and c) BZ WIII, associated with the Kasperivtsy group and dated to the younger phase of the CII period. This was confirmed by the stratigraphic relationships, and in congruence with radiocarbon dating (3700–2700 BCE) of selected materials. Recent data and research reinforce the debate that the local populations maintained regular and frequent contacts with surrounding groups of the Trypillia culture as well as more remotely located Eneolithic cultures from Central Europe. Moreover, a modern understanding of the Verteba phenome-non includes the discussion regarding its cultic function. Vertebra Cave has long been interpreted as a refuge settlement. However, it has also been suggested that the cave may have had an undetermined cultic function – a theory that currently seems to be gaining popularity.” ref

The cultural background and Trypillian pottery from Verteba cave

“The sites in Bilcze Złote lie in a settlement area, which was densely populated by groups of the Triypillia culture, primarily settling on the Strypa, Seret and Zbruch Rivers, left-bank tributaries of the Dniester River. The oldest traces of human activity in the Verteba Cave come from the late CI phase and are associated with the Shipentsy group, living near the Badrazhy group on the Central Dniester Plateau (Fig. 3). In the following period, the beginning of phase CII, the cave was visited by members of the Koshilivtsy group, which developed simultaneously with the Branzeni group. In the final stage, dated to the late CII phase, the area was populated by the Kasperivtsy group, which coincided chronologically with the Gordineşti group. The largest portion of the ceramic material recovered from Bilcze Złote is related to the Verteba I assemblage (BZ WI). Stylistic and typological analysis of the assemblage has shown that the material is affiliated with the late phase of the Shipentsy group and dated to the close of the CI phase of the Trypillia culture.” ref

“The assemblage consists of almost 2500 painted ceramics and over 200 ceramic cooking vessels. In total, the Verteba I ceramic assemblage is comprised of twenty-seven vessels imported from the Badrazhy group of the Tripillian culture (ca. 1 % of the total volume of painted ceramics from the sites). Imported goods consist mainly of bowls of various shapes, including, e.g., S-shaped bowls, semispherical bowls, and conical bowls. Foreign items are also represented by nine fragments of large amphora-like vessels with round bodies, two vessels with high conical necks, and one crater. The Verteba I ceramic assemblage includes items clearly associated with Badrazhy pottery-making traditions, for example, a vessel with an image of a cow placed between elements of the Tangentenkreis-band pattern pottery of the Shipentsy group of the Trypillia culture at Verteba Cave in Bilcze Złote from phase WI. Moreover, on one large amphora-like vessel, these decorative elements are separated by S-shaped lines. Wavy stripes within the Tan-gentenkreisband pattern have often been recorded for Badrazhy ceramics, while they are entirely unfamiliar in the Shipentsy group (Tkachuk 2013, 38).” ref

“The Shipentsy ceramics from the late chronological phase are also decorated with other ornamental motifs, which are atypical for that group, and reassemble patterns used by the Badrazhy group. Among them we encounter: 1) vertical and oblique lines crossed by perpendicular strokes (on pyriform vessels or semispherical-conical vessels); 2) empty or filled in black circles with short lines; and 3) filled in red circles (Tkachuk 2013, 38). Among beakers belonging to the Verte-ba I assemblage, one fragment is particularly noteworthy. It is decorated with a metopic motif of horizontal half ovals combined with a stripe of red vertical lines. The stripe, having double oblique strokes at the base, is flanked by elongated vertical half ovals.” ref

“Such decorations have parallels in Petreny mugs found in Varvarovka III. Amongst the serving vessels in the Verteba I ceramic assemblage, one may distinguish a group of thin-walled vessels made of adobe clay, often tempered with crushed pottery (nearly a hundred items – comprising almost 4 % of the whole assemblage). The vessels are usually undecorated, occasionally with small handles pierced horizontally. Most fragments of large and medium vessels have the pro-portions of half-barrel-shaped vessels or vases; there are also a few handles preserved in this class. Semi-spherical bowls form the second largest group, whereas fragments of vessels with high, smooth cylindrical necks are even less frequent. These vessels may be viewed as imports, or alternatively, as local adaptations produced in the late phase of the Lublin-Volhynia culture (numerous half-barrel-shaped vessels) and the Bodrogkeresztúr culture (handled vessels).” ref

“The Verteba II ceramic assemblage from Bilcze Złote is comprised of nearly 800 painted vessels in various stages of preservation. They were all demonstrably related to the Koshilivtsy group from the early CII phase of the Trypillia culture. The Verteba II painted ceramics attributed to the Koshilivtsy group have some ornamental patterns which are not known from Koshili-vtsy traditions, e.g., long or short wavy lines recorded on eleven items in the assemblage. The lines, quite often doubled, have been found: 1) on rims; 2) between lenticular figures; 3) inside the vessels; 4) on the outer and inner walls of bowls; and 5) in the middle of stripes. Double wavy lines are characteristic of settlement assemblages of the Badrazhy population and of the Branzeni group in the CII phase of the Trypillia culture. Vessels produced by the Koshilivtsy group were influenced by the Branzeni group and therefore took on more rounded shapes with higher necks and slight mouths. Ornamental motifs used by the Koshilivtsy group are mainly represented by big, vertical lenticular figures linked to one another by diagonal stripes (some with hooks) and lenticular figures arranged in cruciform patterns on the inner surfaces of conical bowls. Less frequently, we encounter semi-spherical motifs also found in the Branzeni group.” ref

“The predominance of semi-spherical bowls, decorated on the inner and outer walls, is another typical feature of that group. The Verteba II assemblage includes thirty-six imports and vessels inspired by the Branzeni group, nearly 5 % of the painted ceramics in the assemblage. Only a small portion of the ceramic material from Verteba Cave may purport to the Kasperivtsy population from the last phase of the Tripillian culture (fragments of 68 vessels; the late CII phase). Unlike the vessels described so far, the Verteba III assemblage is dominated by ceramics mainly used for cooking. They constitute 72 % of the whole assemblage (49 items). The clay of these vessels is tempered mainly with crushed mollusk shells (25 vessels) or, less often, with an admixture of fire clay, grit, or sand. The Verteba III assemblage includes only 4 sherds of painted vessels, 7.3 % of the whole assemblage. Ceramics produced by the Kas-perivtsy group in the late CII phase of the Tripillian culture had complex characteristics. At that time, Trypillian decorative patterns were gradually influenced by the Funnel Beaker culture and, to a lesser degree, the Baden culture (Tkachuk 2013, 43).” ref

“Cord impressions on vessels with their rims obliquely cut o inwards are a typical feature of the Kasperivtsy group of the Trypillia culture in Verteba. Similar motifs can be found on Funnel Beaker pottery from SE Poland on sites such as Majdan Nowy and Tominy, site 12. This kind of decorative motif is associated and inspired by Anatolian traditions and the eastern Balkan cultural background (culture complexes Sitagroi Va-Radomir I-II-Yunacite XIII-IX traditions), as well as the cultural impact of the Pontic steppes. Decorative motifs of pottery found in Verteba Cave show a wide range of cultural links between this region and surrounding territories, including the Pontic zone, the Eastern Balkans, Anatolia, Volhynia, and Lesser Poland. The collection of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic plastic art (kept at the Archaeological Museum in Kraków) is comprised of 79 and 36 items, respectively. The analysis of these artifacts confirms the chronological timeline of Verteba Cave. There are no major differences to be found between the anthropomorphic and zoomorphic plastic art from Verteba and that of neighboring, contemporary settlements around Bilcze Złote.” ref

Ritual practice in Verteba Cave

“Neolithic populations are often argued to have had a complex burial program; combining rites such as primary burial, secondary burial, excarnation, and the ceremonial manipulation of bones. Archaeologists have interpreted these funerary rites either as expressions of territoriality, ideological masks of inequality, ethnicity  or ritual ways of creating relationships between the living, the dead and dwellings.” ref

“There has been surprisingly little osteological research to support this grand theoretical edifice, however, the discovery of disarticulated human remains in Verte-ba Cave provides a unique opportunity to study the lives, deaths, and cultural practices of the Tripillian culture. Osteological materials, curated at the Archaeological Museum in Kraków, derive from ear-ly excavations undertaken by Demetrykiewicz in 1898, 1904, and in 1906. Originally, the collection was comprised of probably 36 specimens (according to catalog numbers), however today it is represented by a minimum of 17 identifiable individuals. Nonetheless, the collection does include over 300 fully preserved large ceramic vessels (measuring ca. 1 m in height), 35,000 pottery sherds and fragments of vessels, 120 anthropomorphic idols, over 60 clay items of varied functions, ca. 200 bone tools, 300 stone tools, and implements as well as bone jewelry.” ref

“Some of these finds are of considerable archaeological value and importance, for instance, the spectacular ‘bull head’ palette with an engraved female figure, or a green hematite disk. Throughout the 19th century, dozens of clay idols of both genders have been discovered inside Verteba Cave. They were hanging from the ceiling or driven into the walls of the cave. These artifacts create the archaeological background and setting for cultural practices in this case. The full archaeological potential of this site remains to be realized. In recent years, until 2008, another 21 individuals were uncovered during excavations within the cave. It is likely that the volume of osteological remains will increase in the future. Tak-ing all this into consideration, the current study aims to investigate the materials using primary referents of mortuary variability: biological, cultural (pre-treatment of skulls, disposal modes), and location-al criteria. Skeletal remains from Verteba Cave can be divided into a few categories. Both human and animal remains exhibit similar levels of con-textual complexity. The vast majority of human bone is represented solely by crania and mandibles. Excluding two cases, a child and an unidentified adult (stored in Kraków), no other body parts were ever found. The deposition of crania, with or without mandibles, must be analyzed separately, as it may exhibit diversity with respect to the cultural phenomenon.” ref

“Today, all materials deriving from Verte-ba Cave are divided between museums in Kraków and Borshchiv, in more or less equal proportions, with the only difference being all child remains are stored in Poland. The excavated skulls form an unquantifiable sample of the de-ceased Tripillian population; the assemblage includes the remains of at least 5 (13 %) immature individuals and 33 adults (87 %; Fig. 12). All but 9 of the individuals were securely sexed, showing a much higher proportion of males (77 % adults) than females (23 % adults). The median age range for all adults is 35–45 years, there being little variation between the sexes. In an older collection, gathered by Demetrykiewicz, only two adult males were more than 40 years of age. There is a possibility of spatial separation based on the individual’s age and/or sex, creating a biased view of the dead population, al-though the remains appear to demonstrate a dispersed distribution.” ref

Brain removal and pigments

“The cultural practice of post-mortem brain removal has been recorded in 4 crania from Verteba. Specimens belong to 2 adult and 2 non-adult individuals. The recurring pattern covers four basic re-moval techniques: 1) brain tissue was extracted through the nose cavity; 2) through eye sockets; 3) through dilatation of the foramen magnum; and 4) through the large skull opening on the right or left side of the mainly temporal region (Fig. 13). The dilatation of the foramen magnum has been recorded in the cranium of an adult male (Verteba no. 21), which was additionally coated with red ochre pigments. A similar process was administered to cranium no. 15 (non-adult), where the brain was extracted through large openings in both the left and right temporal bones prior to the empty skull being covered with pigments.” ref

“Defleshing, including brain extraction via an opening in the temporal bones, and the use of ochre also reappear in cranium no. 18 (child, Infans I). Traseological evidence suggests that large stone hammers were used during the early stages of decomposition to open the skulls. Death separated the deceased from their social status. The period of preparing the dead for burial moved them into a transitional phase, when they were neither their past selves, nor yet what they would become. Such moments of ‘transition’ often involve uncertainty and potential danger. Some ceremonial acts or customs employed at the time of death in the Tripilllian culture seemed to encompass both ritual cleansing (defleshing) and apotropaic magic (red pigments). However, ritualization is a strategy of power, whereby status functions are collectively imposed on agents, objects, and events. Despite the fact that death rituals are essentially deceptive and manipulative, they employ characteristically eye-catching, costly, amplified, and stereotyped process-es and are prone to massive redundancy signals. Ritualized deesh-ing is also an embodied experience with the transformations of body surfaces playing a key role. Body painting and cosmetics are among the simplest forms of such transformational techniques.” ref

Excarnation and scalping

“Scalping and excarnation in the archaeological record are recognized by patterns of cut marks. Scalping marks occur on the cranium, as cuts or clusters of cuts, and typically form a rough circle around the superior aspect of the skull. At least two individuals from Verte-ba, an adult female (skull no. 4) and a child (Infants I, no. 18) have been subjected to such post-mortem treatment. The skull of the non-adult has been defleshed and subsequently covered with red pigments, indicating ritualistic cleansing. The incised marks were multiple, repetitive and of varying length, appearing to run vertically along the frontal bone. This leads to the conclusion that the manner of scalp re-moval was clearly different to that of the adult female. Marks attributed to scalping generally matched the exterior surface of the bone in color. If the scalper was skilled at the practice, no damage would occur to the underlying bone. While scalping was most often performed at death or the minutes preceding it, in some instances evidence indicates that the practice of scalping was also performed on living individuals.” ref

“If the removal of the scalp was not preceded by a circular incision outlining the perimeter of the scalp, the method was termed sabrage. In addition to the scalp, portions of the neck and face might also have been removed. This method involved making short, parallel cuts across the frontal bone, followed by short cuts around and behind one ear, then across the occipital bone near the nuchal crest and behind the other ear, and finally connecting the cut with the initial cuts on the victim’s frontal bone. It seems feasible that both defleshing and scalping in Eneolithic Ukraine were only performed with stone knives. Experiments on cadaver crania have elicited conclusive differences between cutting tools. In general, scalping cuts are not left on the cranial bones if the incisions of the soft tissues were made with metal knives. When stone implements were used, these tools often had irregular edges that left parallel incisions or cuts on the surface of the cranial bones. The two most likely behavioral interpretations of cut marks are scalping and ritual defleshing, however, scalping should be clearly separated from excarnation or defeating. The number, location, and placement of cuts can be used to distinguish between excarnated and scalped crania.” ref

“A greater number of cuts and cuts that are scattered across the frontal bone usually indicated a skull that was systematical defleshed, rather than scalped. The typical pattern of cuts on scalped skulls consists of fewer incisions, generally in clusters that form a distinctive circumferential configuration. Also, scalped frontals often show cuts that originate at the temporal line, extend to approximately halfway between the hairline and the brow ridges, and finally terminate at the opposite temporal line. Two contributing factors to the variation of scalping methods were cultural preference and the duration of time allotted for the removal of a trophy (Bueschgen/Case 1996). Ethnographic data indicates that scalping techniques utilized by different tribes were culturally transmitted behaviors passed down by each tribe’s ancestors. Scalping methods difiered in the amount of skin taken from the head, the number of scalps lifted from the same head, and the method of scalp removal. In both prehistoric and historic times, scalping by Native Americans was interpreted as a final insult or curse upon the victim.” ref

“The underlying idea of scalping was the desire to preserve a souvenir of the slain enemy, while simultaneously dishonoring his remains. Scalping, therefore, was a tangible symbol of physical and spiritual dominance. Among the Arikara tribes, for example, survival of scalping appeared to have strong cultural significance. In accordance with Ari-kara folklore, a male scalping survivor was forced into a solitary life outside of his village and had to stay hidden to avoid shocking or offending others. If scalped, only men were forced from their village. In the Northern American Plains and the South-West, burial patterns suggest that female scalping survivors were accepted back into their community and most often were buried with other members of their tribe. Re-burial practice Secondary mortuary practices, including re-burial and intention-al re-deposition of human remains, are relatively rare, especially in a prehistoric setting. The idea of re-interment is based on a certain set of cult practices and the intentionality of ritual cleansing procedures. A mortuary program, involving secondary disposal of the deceased, can be divided into two stages.” ref

“The initial phase of the treatment commenced with the death or imminent death of an individual and terminated with the initial disposal. The second stage was initiated by an event non-associated with the death of the person; it involved the removal of the deceased from the location of initial disposal, followed by either replacement in the initial disposal facility, or removal to a place of secondary disposal. Re-interment is probably among the most time-consuming religious practices in prehistory and it may take a few years to bury any given individual. Interestingly, this indicates, in turn, that in the Tripillian culture secondary body treatment was a socially sanctioned and approved method of handling the deceased. Ethnographic sources infer that tribal societies, which practice re-burial, usually demonstrate greater cognitive concern in connection with the bones. This may be communicated in the rich vocabulary used to describe the bones and/or decaying body; or it might form a key portion of the myths of the culture (Goodale 1985). The cranium of a reburied adult male individual discovered in Verteba Cave is shown in (Fig. 15). The bone surface in the frontal and parietal regions indicates plant rooting and scalping. It seems feasible that this male had been buried in a difierent location and his body was kept in the ground for at least two years prior to re-deposition in the cave. The knife marks suggest that some loose and partially decomposed fragments of tissue have been removed. His ‘cleansed’ skull was deposited in Verteba Cave as pars pro toto internment of the whole body.” ref

“Perimortem blunt force trauma In several cases of perimortem blunt force, injuries to the cranium have been recorded in Verteba assemblages. The morphology of these marks is a crucial factor that needs to be accurately described and accounted for in archaeological and forensic records. The evidence of violent death and the secondary treatment of the cadavers can be interpreted either as opportunistic votive burial, an actual sacrifice with a specific ritual pattern, or more traditionally, a deviant deposit in which the individuals were deprived of funerals and exposed to scavengers. Nasal septum deviation, probably caused by impact trauma, was found in the cranium belonging to an adult male (ca. 40 years of age, Verteba no. 19). This male had sustained a fracture to the inferior end of the nasal bone, slightly flattening and splaying both halves. The changes suggest a blow on the nose from directly in front of the individual, possibly accidental, but more likely deliberate, using a blunt implement. Moreover, the same individual sustained severe perimortem blunt force injury of the right eye (quite likely resulting from multiple blows). It is shown as a comminuted fracture to the left supraorbital margin with fracture lines measuring approx. 35 mm (mediolateral) x 22.5 mm (anteroposteriorly). Female skull no. 16 shows several distinctive marks of traumatic brain injury.” ref

“The occipital bone was crushed from behind by a large object, which left a circular depressed fracture to the parietal, probably in combination with a frontal fracture measuring ca. 9–10 mm. She died due to a severe brain-penetrating wound, caused by a high-velocity blow with a long and pointy implement from the back. In addition, two deep ante-mortem longitudinal grooves have been recorded on the parietal bone, presumably the marks of a stone hammer. Her nasal septum has been totally removed, probably post-mortem. Specific patterning of craniocerebral damage has been recognized in three male crania recently uncovered in Verteba Cave. In all 3 cases, we are dealing with a large sub-circular comminuted depressed fracture that penetrates the skull. The ectocranial margins are sharp. Bevelling along the endocranial margin indicates the central fragments were inwardly displaced. The direct primary impact caused intracranial hemorrhaging, cerebral contusions, lacerations, and deep brain hemorrhages. It may be asserted to a high degree of certainty that such a head injury would have been the sole cause of death. The full extent of the injuries suffered, however, cannot be precisely estimated due to a lack of other body parts. The discussed specimens have been compared with reference material deriving from medieval and Bronze Age warfare contexts.” ref

“Non-human biological agentsTaphonomic damage, specifically that created by rodent gnawing, root etching, and excavation damage, may also be misinterpreted as tool marks. Haglund et al. (1988) provide a brief account of forensic cases in which human remains were ravaged by carnivores. In his later publications, he distinguished rodents from carnivore damage. Excluding co-mingled human remains found in the cave, some attention should be paid to the causes and overall im-pact of non-human agents, such as rodent gnawing on Verteba cultural deposits. Three crania (curated in Kraków) show evidence of rodent activity, following similar patterns. In specimen no. 19, gnawing was recorded on the right temporal bone and supraorbital margin. Cranium no. 4 displays a comparable arrangement. Rodent activity affected the right supraorbital margin and the left side of the maxilla. Obvious traces of gnawing with deep marks have also been found on the right temporal bone along the superior temporal line (attachment of the temporalis muscle) of the same skull.” ref

“Due to specific alignments of gnaw marks, it seems credible to theorize that some parts of the skulls were deposited in the cave prior to any cleans-ing or processing. Some skulls were still covered with large parts of muscles, soft tissue, and possibly blood with mandibles present. Additionally, skull no. 19 shows a vestige of scalping as well. It seems possible that during ritual cleansing, mandibles were detached from the rest of the skull. Regular, at-bottomed groves indicate the presence of large rodents, possibly rats (Ratus ratus) in the cave. Like carnivores, rodents can move bones around, often carrying them over large distances to their dens, where they accumulate and modify them by chewing, which to some extent may explain the formation of co-mingled deposits of bone. In addition to displaying indicators of chewing by mammals, bones can be scarred by the action of feet. Trampling and polishing by the constant passage of carnivores in a lair may scratch and polish bone surfaces. Several skulls show randomly orientated superficial scratches and some bones in Verteba’s subterranean environment may have been relocated by animals.” ref


It should be highlighted that there are several larger karst caves in the Blicze Złote region. 

“However, traces of human occupation were only found in Verteba Cave. Regardless of this finding, the cave did not provide proper conditions for permanent inhabitancy per se. An obvious lack of an independent water source, poor ventilation, permanent darkness, and very dicult or near inaccessible entrances (steep funnel-like precipice), can be mentioned among few leading reasons. Nonetheless, the specific appearance of artifacts and a sig-nicant volume of selected human remains undoubtedly indicates the cultic function of this site. Data collected in this study evidently points towards a multidirectional exchange network amongst a few local populations. The simultaneous presence of imported goods and local wares suggests the significant trans-regional importance of the Verteba sanctuary and a long-distance network of connections. The same can be maintained about immaterial aspects of the Trypillian cult.” ref

“The study of mortuary practices reflects social phenomena. In order to assess the usefulness of mortuary data from Verteba for social modeling, two criteria are important: 1) the range of social information that can be derived from mortuary remains, and 2) the reliability of burial data as indicators of social phenomena. In the case of the Verteba subterranean sanctuary, mortuary rituals were more than ‘just’ a way of disposing of the dead. They provided a forum for remembrance and celebration of the deceased, for engaging with and potentially challenging cultural norms, and for integrating the social units in ways that can mimic, mask, or modify social relationships that exist in the non-ritual social structure.” ref

“While mortuary rituals are reproduced through acts of ritual performance and burial practices, each act offers opportunities to change the role of these rituals in society. Consequently, mortuary rituals could serve multiple roles that not only could but would change over time. The majority of Trypillian materials from the Verteba Cave indicate the presence of a highly developed eschatological vision of the afterlife and rites of passage. Mortuary rituals seem to combine ani-malistic beliefs and apotropaic magic. Nonetheless, certain evidence shows elements typical for warfare assemblages, trophy taking, or executions. In global terms, it can be hypothesized that Tripillian warfare grew out of a combination of economic and demographic variables. It emerged in association with some degree of territoriality and sedentism and with concentrations of resources.” ref

“The development of agriculture was probably not a necessary precondition for the onset of war, but it provides accommodating environments with-in which warfare could arise and spread. The level, intensity, and impact of warfare usually tend to increase as cultural systems become more complex, but in the case of Verteba Cave, this statement may be overrated. Assemblages of highly fragmented or extensively processed hu-man remains can derive from countless sources, including warfare, social control, cult, and preparation of the deceased. According to some authors, the overall context of Verteba’s skeletal assemblages can simply be seen as evidence of “trophy taking and cranial surgery and interpersonal violence” (Lillie et al. 2011). In fact, in this paper, we demonstrate that the complexity of Tripillian rituals goes way beyond that. All human remains recovered during archaeological prospects derive from the same location within the cave (Zawrat and the Great Hall). It seems feasible that ritual space was originally divided into sectors, with tools, ceramics, idols, and other artifacts being deposited in specific places. The practice of cult depositions probably lasted through centuries and involved more than one population inhabiting the region.” ref


Bilche-Zolote is a Ukrainian village located within the Borshchiv Raion (district) of the Ternopil Oblast (province), about 460 kilometers (290 mi) driving distance southwest of Kyiv, and about 16 km (9.9 mi) west of the district seat of Borshchiv. This rural community is located in a small valley adjacent to the Seret River, which is surrounded by plateaus covered with farms, broken by occasional stands of mixed forest. Bilche-Zolote is home to a remarkable park of 1,800 hectares (4,400 acres), of which 11 hectares (27 acres) is covered with virgin timber, including some trees up to 400 years old. Bilche-Zolote is also the location of the large gypsum karst Verteba Cave, as well as a significant Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian culture archaeological site, and attracts tourist and spelunker visitors from many countries.” ref

Vertebra and Priest’s Grotto Caves

“The Verteba Cave located on the outskirts of Bilche-Zolote village gets its name from the Ukrainian word for “crib”. Verteba is one of the largest caves in Europe, measuring 7.8 kilometers (4.8 mi) in length, with a total of 6000 cubic meters. It consists of maze-like passageways, often separated by thin walls, as well as broad galleries. The walls of the cave are smooth and dark, with rare incrustations of calcium carbonate appearing. There are also small stalactites, and unusual stalagmites that have the appearance of barrels, all of which are coated in an opaque watery liquid known as moonmilk.” ref

Cucuteni-Trypillian settlement

“During a mundane excavation on the Sapyehy estate in 1884, workers stumbled upon the buried ruins of a prehistoric settlement near the mouth of the Verteba cave. Over the years, more than 300 intact ceramic containers have been unearthed from the floor of the cave and this Neolithic era settlement, which encompasses a total of 8 hectares (20 acres). Archaeologists identified the artifacts as belonging to the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, with evidence of two separate periods of settlement activity dating from 4440-4100 BCE and 3800-3300 BCE. The members of this society plowed their farms, raised livestock, hunted and fished, created textiles, and developed a beautiful and highly refined style of pottery with very intricate designs. Their settlements, which with up to 15,000 inhabitants were among the largest on earth at the time, were built in oval or circular layouts, with concentric rows of houses that were interconnected to form rings around the center of the community, where often a sanctuary building would be found. They left behind a large number of clay figurines, many of which are regarded as Mother goddess fetishes. For over 2500 years the culture flourished with no evidence left behind that would indicate they experienced warfare. However, at the beginning of the Bronze Age their culture disappeared, the reasons for which are still debated, but possibly as a result of invaders coming from the Steppes to the east.” ref

“Over the years there have been a number of major archaeological explorations of this site, starting with excavations from 1889-1891 by Edward Pawłowicz and Gotfryd Ossowski. In 1898 Włodzimierz Demetrykiewicz conducted an excavation and analysis. In 1952 and 1956 V. N. Eravets, I. E. Svyshnikov, and G. M. Vlasova resumed the exploration of the site, which had been neglected during the turbulent first half of the 20th Century. Recently, in 2000, M. Sohatskyy conducted further excavations of the site. The evidence from the discoveries revealed that there had been a gap between when the settlement was occupied. The more recent settlement yielded ceramic finds that connected it to the Shypynetsk group (Ukrainian: шипинецької групи), a sub-group of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture that flourished in this region during the later Neolithic.” ref

“Along with the intact ceramic containers unearthed in the cave, archaeologists have also found more than 35,000 clay fragments, including many of the famous Cucuteni-Trypillian goddess figurines, 200 pieces of bone and antler remains, and an additional 300 tools and other objects crafted from bone and stone, including flint implements, bone awls, and a few small copper artifacts. Perhaps most importantly, archaeologists discovered one of the few burial sites of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture at this site, amounting to almost 120 individuals. One of the most famous artifacts from the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was found at Bilche-Zolote by the first team of archaeologists in the 1890s: a bone plate from about 3500 BCE. was found inside the Verteba cave, which was incised with a beautiful silhouette of a Mother goddess, and which became one of the most recognized symbols of this culture.” ref

“Beginning in 1907, a collection of the archaeological finds from the Bilche-Zolote Cucuteni-Trypillian settlement made up the core collection of the local archaeological museum, which was housed in the palace located on the grounds of the Landscape Park. During the period of Polish occupation, these materials were removed to the Museum of Archeology in Krakow. More recent finds from archaeological excavations have been housed in the Lviv Historical Museum and the Borshchiv Regional Museum of Local Lore.” ref

New AMS Dates for Verteba Cave and Stable Isotope Evidence of Human Diet in The Holocene Forest-Steppe, Ukraine


“Excavations at several locations in Verteba Cave have uncovered a large amount of human skeletal remains in association with faunal bones and Tripolye material culture. We aim to establish radiocarbon (14C) dates for eight sites and to evaluate whether these deposits are singular events, or slow accumulations over time. 14C measurements, along with stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data from human and faunal remains, were collected from 18 specimens. Stable isotope values were used to evaluate human and animal diet, and whether freshwater reservoir effects offset measured dates. We found diets of the sampled species had limited to no influence from freshwater resources. The human diet appears to be dominated by terrestrial plants and herbivores. Four new sites were identified as Eneolithic. Comparisons of dates from the top and bottom strata for two sites (7 and 20) reveal coeval dates, and we suggest that these deposits represent discrete events rather than slow continuous use. Lastly, we identified dates from the Mesolithic (8490±45 BP, 8765±30 BP), Iron Age (2505±20 BP), Slavic state era (1315±25 BP), and Medieval Period (585±15 BP), demonstrating periodic use of the cave by humans prior to and after the Eneolithic.” ref

Analysis of ancient human mitochondrial DNA from Verteba Cave, Ukraine: insights into the origins and expansions of the Late Neolithic-Chalcolithic Cututeni-Tripolye Culture



“The Eneolithic (~ 5,500 yrBP) site of Verteba Cave in Western Ukraine contains the largest collection of human skeletal remains associated with the archaeological Cucuteni-Tripolye Culture. Their subsistence economy is based largely on agro-pastoralism and had some of the largest and most dense settlement sites during the Middle Neolithic in all of Europe. To help understand the evolutionary history of the Tripolye people, we performed mtDNA analyses on ancient human remains excavated from several chambers within the cave.” ref


“Burials at Verteba Cave are largely commingled and secondary in nature. A total of 68 individual bone specimens were analyzed. Most of these specimens were found in association with well-defined Tripolye artifacts. We determined 28 mtDNA D-Loop (368 bp) sequences and defined 8 sequence types, belonging to haplogroups H, HV, W, K, and T. These results do not suggest continuity with local pre-Eneolithic peoples, but rather a complete population replacement. We constructed maximum parsimonious networks from the data and generated population genetic statistics. Nucleotide diversity (π) is low among all sequence types and our network analysis indicates highly similar mtDNA sequence types for samples in chamber G3. Using different sample sizes due to the uncertainly in the number of individuals (11, 28, or 15), we found Tajima’s D statistic to vary. When all sequence types are included (11 or 28), we do not find a trend for demographic expansion (negative but not significantly different from zero); however, when only samples from Site 7 (peak occupation) are included, we find a significantly negative value, indicative of demographic expansion.” ref


“Our results suggest individuals buried at Verteba Cave had overall low mtDNA diversity, most likely due to increased conflict among sedentary farmers and nomadic pastoralists to the East and North. Early Farmers tend to show demographic expansion. We find different signatures of demographic expansion for the Tripolye people that may be caused by the existing population structure or the spatiotemporal nature of ancient data. Regardless, peoples of the Tripolye Culture are more closely related to early European farmers and lack genetic continuity with Mesolithic hunter-gatherers or pre-Eneolithic groups in Ukraine.” ref

“The Chalcolithic, a name derived from the Greek: χαλκός khalkós, “copper” and from λίθος líthos, “stone” or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Aeneolithic (from Latin aeneus “of copper”) is an archaeological period which researchers now regard as part of the broader Neolithic. Earlier scholars defined it as a transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. In the context of Eastern Europe, archaeologists often prefer the term “Eneolithic” to “Chalcolithic” or other alternatives.” ref

“In the Chalcolithic period, copper predominated in metalworking technology. Hence it was the period before it was discovered that by adding tin to copper one could create bronze, a metal alloy harder and stronger than either component. The archaeological site of Belovode, on Rudnik mountain in Serbia, has the worldwide oldest securely-dated evidence of copper smelting at high temperature, from c. 5000 BC (7000 BP). The transition from Copper Age to Bronze Age in Europe occurs between the late 5th and the late 3rd millennia BCE. In the Ancient Near East the Copper Age covered about the same period, beginning in the late 5th millennium BCE and lasting for about a millennium before it gave rise to the Early Bronze Age.” ref

7,020-6,020 years old

“The Durankulak Gold Treasure is a prehistoric gold treasure, Gold artifacts from the Durankulak Gold Treasure, from the second half of the 5th Millenium BCE is possibly the world’s oldest gold treasure, or at least one of the five or six prehistoric gold treasures claiming the title of being “the world’s oldest gold”, i.e. the world’s oldest gold treasure or artifacts processed or produced by humans – all of which have been discovered in Bulgaria.” ref


“Durankulak (Bulgarian: Дуранкулак [doˈrankoɫak]) is a village in northeastern Bulgaria, part of Shabla Municipality, Dobrich Province. Located in the historical region of Southern Dobruja, Durankulak is the north-easternmost inhabited place in Bulgaria and the northernmost village of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, although the village itself is slightly inland. Durankulak lies north of the town of Shabla, with the only places to the north along the coast being the formerly exclusively Czechoslovak camping site Kosmos and the Kartalburun and Sivriburun headlands. Durankulak is also the name of the nearby border checkpoint on the Bulgarian-Romanian border; just north of the border is the Romanian seaside resort Vama Veche.” ref

“The Durankulak settlement commenced on a small island, approximately 7000 BCE, and lasted for thousand years. The first inhabitants were the Hamangia culture, dated from the middle of the 6th millennium to the middle of 5th millennium BCE, and were the first manifestation of the Neolithic life in Dobruzha. Hamangia people were small-scale cultivators and plant collectors who built houses, made pottery, herded and hunted animals. Around 4700/4600 BCE the stone architecture was already in general use and became a characteristic phenomenon that was unique in Europe. The settlement in Durankulak was a well-organized aggregation of buildings of substantial size with several rooms. They were coherently laid out according to a plan that was repeated over successive generations of house reconstructions.” ref

“Buildings were rectilinear and large, narrow paths separated individual houses, which stood alone or abutted by other buildings. The structures were robust and made of large wooden posts sunk into foundation trenches and joined together with wooden planks or branches covered with mud or clay. In all building horizons, except for in the earliest ones, buildings were internally divided into separate, mainly rectilinear, rooms. Stone structures and bases from the houses are well preserved and there is a cave and some cisterns to see. Durankulak is one of few monuments left from early farming societies in Europe and tell us about daily life. The excavation in Durankulak took part between 1974 and 1997 when 1204 prehistoric burials were carefully recorded and the remains of 17 houses were found.” ref

“The oldest village at this place was the small village of Kartalii to the northeast of modern Durankulak. It was abandoned in the middle of the 19th century and had around 200–300 residents, but its location meant the danger of malaria made it unsuitable for living in the summer. Some of the population of Kartalii founded Durankulak, which used to be an Ottoman farm inhabited by a few Bulgarians. The bulk of Durankulak’s residents were, however, settlers from the eastern Balkan Mountains who arrived in the early 19th century. After the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, it became part of the Principality of Bulgaria and, as the largest village in the region, was a municipal center of 12 villages. On 1 June 1900, the village was the center of an economic revolt against the government of Todor Ivanchov and as a result, 40 people (none of them locals) were killed by the national cavalry.” ref

“Between 1913 and 1940, it was under Romanian rule along with all of Southern Dobruja and was renamed to Răcari, but it was returned to Bulgaria according to the Treaty of Craiova. According to the terms of that treaty, the native Bulgarian population of Northern Dobruja was exchanged with the Romanian and Aromanian colonists sent in the south during the period of Romanian rule. As a result, some Northern Dobrujan Bulgarian refugees (преселци, preseltsi) settled in Durankulak. Most of them were from Nuntaşi not far from the Danube Delta and today form around half of the village’s population. From its return to Bulgaria to 1963, the village was known as Blatnitsa (Блатница, “marshy place”), but its historic name was reinstated to commemorate the revolt of 1900. The name is of ancient origin meaning the place where the Taurus knocked with his fist (hoof) and gushed water surrounded the two isles in the lake. It’s like a legend of the chosen land forever giving life and prosperity. The beliefs and golden ornamentations of Tauruses were found in Thracian tombs, Romans burial beliefs and in Varna Necropolis.” ref

“The freshwater Lake Durankulak is separated from the Black Sea by sand dunes and a beach strip, it has an area of around 4 square kilometers and features two islands in its western part, the Big Island (0.02 km2) and the Small Island (0.0053 km2). As the habitat of 260 rare and endangered species, the lake is one of the most important and well-preserved coastal wetlands in Bulgaria. The lake is also an archaeologically important area. Pithouses of the oldest known inhabitants of Dobruja, dating to 5100–4700 BCE, have been unearthed near the west shore, as well as 3500–3400 BCE mound burials and a Sarmatian necropolis from Late Antiquity. The Big Island of Lake Durankulak is particularly important, as it is the site of an Eneolithic settlement of 4600–4200 BCE, a cultural monument of national importance. The island also features a 1300–1200 BCE fortified settlement, a Hellenistic rock-hewn cave sanctuary of Cybele (3rd century BCE), and a Bulgar settlement from the 9th–10th century CE. Because of its age and importance, the archaeological complex has been dubbed the “Bulgarian Troy“.” ref

The Hemudu were believed to be Shamanistic or to me “Shamanistic Paganists” (polytheists). The Hemudu worshiped a sun & a fertility spirit, bird totems, afterlife & ghost belief as well as a clan burial ground.

Hemudu culture?

“The Hemudu culture (5500 BC to 3300 BCE or 7,520-5,320 years ago) was a Neolithic culture that flourished just south of the Hangzhou Bay in Jiangnan in modern Yuyao, Zhejiang, China. The culture may be divided into early and late phases, before and after 4000 BCE or 6,020 years ago respectively. The site at Hemudu, 22 km northwest of Ningbo, was discovered in 1973. Hemudu sites were also discovered at Tianluoshan in Yuyao city, and on the islands of Zhoushan. Hemudu people are said to have differed physically from inhabitants of the Yellow River sites to the north. Some authors propose that the Hemudu Culture was a source of the pre-Austronesian cultures. ref

Austronesian Religious Traditions

“The religious traditions of the Austronesian people focus mostly on ancestral spirits, nature spirits, and gods. It is basically a complex animistic religion. Mythologies vary by culture and geographical location but share common basic aspects such as ancestor worship, animism, shamanism, and the belief in a spirit world and powerful deities. There is also a great amount of shared mythology and a common belief in Mana.” ref

Hemudu Material culture

“Some scholars assert that the Hemudu culture co-existed with the Majiabang culture as two separate and distinct cultures, with cultural transmissions between the two. Other scholars group Hemudu in with Majiabang subtraditions. Two major floods caused the nearby Yaojiang River to change its course and inundated the soil with salt, forcing the people of Hemudu to abandon its settlements. The Hemudu people lived in long, stilt houses. Communal longhouses were also common in Hemudu sites, much like the ones found in modern-day Borneo. The Hemudu culture was one of the earliest cultures to cultivate rice. Recent excavations at the Hemudu period site of Tianluoshan has demonstrated rice was undergoing evolutionary changes recognized as domestication. Most of the artifacts discovered at Hemudu consist of animal bones, exemplified by hoes made of shoulder bones used for cultivating rice. The culture also produced lacquer wood. A red lacquer wood bowl at the Zhejiang Museum is dated to 4000-5000 BCE or 7,020-6,020 years ago. It is believed to be the earliest such object in the world.” ref

“The remains of various plants, including water caltrop, Nelumbo nucifera, acorns, melon, wild kiwifruit, blackberries, peach, the foxnut or Gorgon euryale, and bottle gourd, were found at Hemudu and Tianluoshan. The Hemudu people likely domesticated pigs but practiced extensive hunting of deer and some wild water buffalo. Fishing was also carried out on a large scale, with a particular focus on crucian carp. The practices of fishing and hunting are evidenced by the remains of bone harpoons and bows and arrowheads. Music instruments, such as bone whistles and wooden drums, were also found at Hemudu. Artifact design by Hemudu inhabitants bears many resemblances to those of Insular Southeast Asia. The culture produced a thick, porous pottery. This distinctive pottery was typically black and made with charcoal powder. Plant and geometric designs were commonly painted onto the pottery; the pottery was sometimes also cord-marked. The culture also produced carved jade ornaments, carved ivory artifacts, and small clay figurines.” ref

Hemudu Sociopolitical organization

“The early Hemudu period is considered the maternal clan phase. Descent is thought to have been matrilineal and the social status of children and women comparatively high. In the later periods, they gradually transitioned into patrilineal clans. During this period, the social status of men rose and descent was passed through the male line.” ref

The religion of the Hemudu peoples

“Hemudu’s inhabitants worshiped a sun spirit as well as a fertility spirit. They also enacted shamanistic rituals to the sun and believed in bird totems. A belief in an afterlife and ghosts is thought to have been widespread as well. People were buried with their heads facing east or northeast and most had no burial objects. Infants were buried in urn-casket-style burials, while children and adults received earth-level burials. They did not have a definite communal burial ground, for the most part, but a clan communal burial ground has been found from the later period. Two groups in separate parts of this burial ground are thought to be two intermarrying clans. There were noticeably more burial goods in this communal burial ground.” ref

Environment for the Hemudu peoples

“Fossilized amoeboids and pollen suggest that the Hemudu culture emerged and developed in the middle of the Holocene Climatic Optimum. A study of a sea-level highstand in the Ningshao Plain from 7000 to 5000 BP shows that there may have been stabilized lower sea levels at this time, followed by frequent flooding from 5000 to 3900 BP. The climate was said to be tropical to subtropical with high temperatures and much precipitation throughout the year.” ref

Austronesian peoples

“The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan (collectively known as Taiwanese indigenous peoples), Maritime Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Madagascar that speak the Austronesian languages. The nations and territories predominantly populated by Austronesian-speaking peoples are sometimes known collectively as Austronesia.” ref

“Based on the current scientific consensus, they originate from a prehistoric seaborne migration from Taiwan, at around 3000 to 1500 BCE or 5,020-3,520 years ago, known as the Austronesian expansion. Austronesian reached the Philippines, specifically Batanes Islands at around 2200 BCE 4,220 years ago.” ref

*”They were the first people to invent maritime sailing technology (most notably catamarans, outrigger boats, lashed-lug boat building, and the crab claw sail) which enabled their rapid dispersal into the islands of the Indo-Pacific. They assimilated the earlier Paleolithic Negrito, Orang Asli, and the Australo-Melanesian Papuan populations in the islands at varying levels of admixture. In consequence, many of these populations share some common genetic element due to the Austronesian expansion.” ref

*”They also reached Australia, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Japan, Madagascar, New Zealand, and Hawaii at their furthest extent, possibly also reaching the Americas. ref

“Aside from language, Austronesian peoples also share—to a varying degree—common cultural characteristics including widespread traditions and technologies like tattooing, stilt houses, jade carving, wetland agriculture, and various rock art motifs. They also share a common set of domesticated plants and animals that were carried along with the migrations, including rice, bananas, coconuts, breadfruit, Dioscorea yams, taro, paper mulberry, chickens, pigs, and dogs.” ref

“The broad consensus on Austronesian origins is the “two-layer model” where an original Paleolithic indigenous population in Island Southeast Asia were assimilated to varying degrees by incoming migrations of Neolithic Austronesian-speaking peoples from Taiwan and southern China from around 4,000 BP. Austronesians also mixed with other preexisting populations as well as later migrant populations among the islands they settled, resulting in further genetic input. The most notable are the Austroasiatic-speaking peoples in western Island Southeast Asia (peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java); the Bantu peoples in Madagascar and the Comoros; as well as Japanese, Indian, Arab, and Han Chinese traders and migrants in the more recent centuries.” ref

“The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan (collectively known as Taiwanese indigenous peoples), Maritime Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Madagascar that speak the Austronesian languages. The nations and territories predominantly populated by Austronesian-speaking peoples are sometimes known collectively as Austronesia. Based on the current scientific consensus, they originate from a prehistoric seaborne migration from Taiwan, at around 3000 to 1500 BCE, known as the Austronesian expansion.” ref

“Austronesian reached the Philippines, specifically Batanes Islands at around 2200 BCE. They were the first people to invent maritime sailing technology (most notably catamarans, outrigger boats, lashed-lug boat building, and the crab claw sail) which enabled their rapid dispersal into the islands of the Indo-Pacific. They assimilated the earlier Paleolithic Negrito, Orang Asli, and the Australo-Melanesian Papuan populations in the islands at varying levels of admixture. In consequence, many of these populations share some common genetic element due to the Austronesian expansion. They also reached Australia, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Japan, Madagascar, New Zealand, and Hawaii at their furthest extent, possibly also reaching the Americas.” ref

“Aside from language, Austronesian peoples also share—to a varying degree—common cultural characteristics including widespread traditions and technologies like tattooing, stilt houses, jade carving, wetland agriculture, and various rock art motifs. They also share a common set of domesticated plants and animals that were carried along with the migrations, including rice, bananas, coconuts, breadfruit, Dioscorea yams, taro, paper mulberry, chickens, pigs, and dogs.” ref

Unique Neolithic Statue Carved from Granite

“A strange bird-like statuette from around 5,000 BCE has puzzled Greek archaeologists, who can’t explain what it depicts or what its origin is. The “7,000-year-old enigma,” as they have labeled it, is from the northern Greek regions of Thessaly or Macedonia, but even that is just a hypothesis for now. As Manteli told Reuters , “It could depict a human-like figure with a bird-like face, or a bird-like entity which has nothing to do with man but with the ideology and symbolism of the Neolithic society.” ref

“What perplexes things, even more, is the lack of a clear indication of sex. Experts wonder if that happened because of possible technical sculpting problems or the sculptor intentionally created the statuette as an asexual figure, while some archaeologists speculate that the sculptor might not have had the appropriate tools to give the figurine a more specific form. “Yes, it could be a pregnant figure but there are no breasts, used in Neolithic times to depict the female body. On the other hand, it lacks male organs so it is presented as an asexual figure,” Manteli said and added, “There are enigmatic aspects to it which make it charming.” ref

“The bird-like piece of art was carved from granite, even though experts suggest that no metal tools were used for its creation, as it dates from the Final Neolithic period. Despite not being particularly tall, the 14-inch (36-centimeter) figurine is bigger than most Neolithic statues found to date. It has a pointed nose, a long neck leading to a markedly round belly, and cylindrical legs. “Regarding technique and size, it is among the rare and unique works of the Neolithic period in Greece,” Katya Manteli, an archaeologist with the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, told Reuters.” ref

Ritual “Head Whacking” as part of a ceremonial act?

Club (weapon and ritual tool) 

“A club (also known as a cudgel, baton, bludgeon, truncheon, cosh, nightstick, or impact weapon) is among the simplest of all weapons: a short staff or stick, usually made of wood, wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times. There are several examples of blunt-force trauma caused by clubs in the past, including at the site of Nataruk in Turkana, Kenya, described as the scene of a prehistoric conflict between bands of hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago. In popular culture, clubs are associated with some of the truly early cultures.” ref

“Most clubs are small enough to be swung with one hand, although larger clubs may require the use of two to be effective. Various specialized clubs are used in martial arts and other fields, including the law-enforcement baton. The military mace is a more sophisticated descendant of the club, typically made of metal and featuring a spiked, knobbed, or flanged head attached to a shaft. The wounds inflicted by a club are generally known as strike trauma or blunt-force trauma injuries.” ref

Though perhaps the simplest of all weapons, clubs come in many varieties, including:

· “Aklys – a club with an integrated leather thong, used to return it to the hand after snapping it at an opponent. Used by the legions of the Roman Empire.” ref

· “Ball club – These clubs were used by the Native Americans. There are two types; the stone ball clubs that were used mostly by early Plains, Plateau, and Southwest Native Indians, and the wooden ball clubs that the Huron and Iroquois tribes used. These consisted of a relatively free-moving head of rounded stone or wood attached to a wooden handle.” ref

· “Baseball, cricket, and T-ball bats – The baseball bat is often used as an improvised weapon, much like the pickaxe handle. In countries where baseball is not commonly played, baseball bats are often first thought of as weapons. Tee ball bats are also used in this manner. Their smaller size and lighter weight make the bat easier to handle in one hand than a baseball bat. Cricket bats are heavier and their flat shape and short handle make them unwieldy as weapons, but they are more commonly available than baseball bats in some countries.” ref

· “Baton or truncheon – forms used by law enforcement.” ref

· “Blackjack or cosh – a weighted club designed to stun the subject.” ref

· “Clava (full name clava mere okewa) – a traditional stone hand-club used by Mapuche Indians in Chile, featuring a long flat body. In Spanish, it is known as clava cefalomorfa. It has some ritual importance as a special sign of distinction carried by the tribal chief.” ref

· Cudgel – A stout stick carried by peasants during the Middle Ages. It functioned as a walking staff and a weapon for both self-defense and wartime. Clubmen revolted in several localities against the excesses of soldiers on both sides during the English Civil War. During the 18th-century singlestick fighting (a training sport for the use of the single handed backsword) was called single sticking, or cudgel-play.” ref

· “Gata – a Fijian war club.” ref

· “Gunstock war club – a war club stylized as the butt of a rifle.” ref

· “‘Jutte or jitte – a distinctive weapon of the samurai police consisting of an iron rod with a hook. It could parry and disarm a sword-wielding assailant without serious injury. Eventually, the jutte also came to be considered a symbol of official status.” ref

· “Kanabō (nyoibo, konsaibo, tetsubō, ararebo) – Various types of different-sized Japanese clubs made of wood and or iron, usually with iron spikes or studs. First used by the Samurai.” ref

· “Kanak war clubs – traditional weapons from New Caledonia.” ref

· Knobkerrie – a war club of southern and eastern Africa with a distinctive knob on the end

· “Kubotan – a short, thin, lightweight club often used by law enforcement officers, generally to apply pressure against selected points of the body in order to encourage compliance without inflicting injury.” ref

· “Leangle – an Australian Aboriginal fighting club with a hooked striking head, typically nearly at right angles to the weapon’s shaft. The name comes from Kulin languages such as Wemba-Wemba and Woiwurrung, based on the word lia (tooth).” ref

· “Lil Lil – An aboriginal club with boomerang-like aerodynamics. Can be thrown or handheld.” ref

· “Mace – a metal club with a heavy head on the end, designed to deliver very powerful blows. The head of a mace may also have small studs forged into it. The mace is often confused with the spiked morning star and the articulated flail.” ref

· “Mere – short, broad-bladed Māori club, usually made from nephrite jade and used for forward-striking thrusts.” ref

· “Morning star – a medieval club-like weapon consisting of a shaft with an attached ball adorned with one or more spikes.” ref

· “Nulla-nulla – a short, curved hardwood club, used as a hunting weapon and in tribal in-fighting, by the Aboriginal people of Australia.” ref

· “Nunchaku (also called nunchucks) – an Asian weapon consisting of two clubs, connected by a short rope, thong, or chain, and usually used with one club in hand and the other swung as a flail.” ref

· “Oslop [ru] – a two-handed, very heavy, often iron-shod, Russian club that was used as the cheapest and the most readily available infantry weapon.” ref

· “Paddle club – common in the Solomon Islands, these clubs could be used in warfare or for propelling a small dugout canoe.” ref

· “Pickaxe handle – the (usually wooden) haft of a pickaxe used as a club.” ref

· “Rungu (Swahili, plural marungu) – a wooden throwing club or baton bearing special symbolism and significance in certain East African tribal cultures. It is especially associated with Maasai morans (male warriors) who have traditionally used it in warfare and for hunting.” ref

· “Sali, a Fijian war club.” ref

· “Sally rod – a long, thin wooden stick, generally made from willow (Latin salix), and used chiefly in the past in Ireland as a disciplinary implement, but also sometimes used like a club (without the fencing-like technique of stick fighting) in fights and brawls. In Japan this type of stick is called the Hanbō meaning half-stick, and in FMA (Filipino martial arts) it is called the eskrima or escrima stick, often made from rattan.” ref

· “Shillelagh – a wooden club or cudgel, typically made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob on the end, that is associated with Ireland in folklore.” ref

· “Slapjack – a variation of the blackjack consisting of a longer strap which lets it be used like a flail, and can be used as a club or for trapping techniques as seen in the use of nunchaku and other flexible weapons.” ref

· “Supi – a war club of the Solomon Islands.” ref

· “Telescopic baton – a rigid baton capable of collapsing to a shorter length for greater portability and concealability.” ref

· “Tipstaff – a ceremonial rod used by a court officer of the same name.” ref

· “Tonfa or side-handle baton – a club of Okinawan origin featuring a second handle mounted perpendicular to the shaft.” ref

· “Totokia – a Fijian spiked club.” ref

· “Ula – traditional throwing club from Fiji.” ref

· “U’u – an exquisitely-carved ceremonial club from the Marquesan Islands, used as a chiefly status symbol.” ref

· “Waddy – a heavy hardwood club, used as a weapon for hunting and in tribal in-fighting, and also as a tool, by the Aboriginal people of Australia. The word waddy describes a club from New South Wales, but is also used generally by Australians to include other Aboriginal clubs, including the nulla nulla and leangle.” ref

Native American weaponry

“Native American weaponry was used by Native American warriors to hunt and to do battle with other Native American tribes and European colonizers. Native American weaponry can be grouped into five types of weapons: striking weapons, cutting weapons, piercing weapons, defensive weapons, and symbolic weapons.” ref

Striking weapons

“Native Americans used many variations of striking weapons. These weapons were mainly used for melee combat with other tribes. In some cases, these weapons were thrown for long-range attacks.” ref

· “Stone clubs were made from a stone attached to a wooden handle. There were also variations of stone clubs where tribes would carve the club out of a solid piece of stone. The most common stone types that were used for stone clubs were chert and flint. There are indications that most of these solid stone clubs were used for ceremonial purposes, instead of actual battle.” ref

· “Wooden clubs were commonly used by the woodland tribes. The clubs were carved from a solid piece of hardwood, like the wood from a mesquite, similarly to the stone clubs that were carved from a solid piece of stone. The earlier forms of wooden clubs were carved in the form of a ball at the end of a handle, but later forms were often sharpened, resembling a wooden sword. Some forms had a sharp stone shard driven into the end of the club, almost like an ax.” ref

· “The gunstock war club was mostly made from wood, but had a metal blade attached to the end of the club, like a spear point. The club was shaped like the stock of an 18th-century musket. The design of these gunstock clubs were directly influenced by the firearms that the European settlers used. Two popular theories for creating clubs in these shapes are that the Native Americans were impressed with how well the settlers used the ends of their firearms as striking weapons or they wanted to intimidate other tribes by giving the impression that they had firearms of their own.” ref

· “The war hatchet is very similar in design to a battle axe and was influenced by the axes that the European settlers used. The hatchet consisted of a sharpened blade, made from iron or stone, attached to the end of a handle.” ref

· “The pipe tomahawk was a type of war hatchet that was also a smoking pipe. Tomahawks were used for close combat like most striking weapons, but were also popular throwing weapons. The sharp edge was also used for skinning animals. With time, the pipe tomahawk became more ceremonial and was used more as a pipe than as a weapon.” ref

Cutting weapons

“Cutting weapons were used by the Native Americans for combat as well as hunting. They preferred shorter blades, and did not use long cutting weapons, like the swords that the Europeans used at the time.” ref

· “Knives were used as tools for hunting and other chores, like skinning animals. Knives consisted of a blade made of stone, bone, or deer antlers, fastened to a wooden handle. Later, Native American knives were also made from steel or iron, following the European settlers’ weapon-making influences. Some tribes had already figured out the use of copper and iron (or at least knew to use stone with high iron content) and could fashion weapons out of these.” ref

Piercing weapons

“Piercing weapons consisted of both short and long-range weapons. They were used for hunting and combat.” ref

· “Spears were used by the Native Americans to thrust and strike their enemies or the animals they were hunting. The spears were made of a short blade or tip, made from stone, and attached to the end of long wooden handle or shaft. Some variations did not even have a stone tip. Instead, the shaft was simply sharpened at one end. Spears could also be thrown as ranged weapons.” ref

· “Lances were very similar to spears, but were designed specifically for use on horseback. Lances had longer shafts and tips than spears. This gave the user further reach, allowing them to stab an enemy from the top of a horse.” ref

· “Atlatl, or spear-throwers, are long-range weapons that were used by Native Americans to throw spears, called darts, with power and accuracy. The Atlatl is made from a hollowed-out shaft with a cup at the end that holds a dart in place and propels it forward. The thrower’s throwing arm is extended, allowing for more leverage than throwing with the hand. This allows the dart to be thrown with more velocity.” ref

· “Bows and arrows were used by most cultures around the world at some point or another and are at least 8,000 years old. The arrow is created, similar to a spear, from a small blade (arrow tip) attached to the one end of a wooden shaft. Attached to the other end are feathers that help stabilize the arrow’s flight. Overall, an arrow is much smaller and lighter than a spear. The bow is made of wood (attempts have been made at the bone, but the bone has a low tensile strength and snaps easily when pressure is applied to the ends, “authentic bows” made of bone is a fairly common scam) string is made from either the dried, twisted, strung out, and twisted again intestines of animals or bundled horsehair, it is attached to each end of the wood.” ref

Defensive weapons

“Some Native American tribes carried shields into battle for extra protection. These shields were mostly made from leather stretched across a round wooden frame.” ref

· “War shields had the main purpose of stopping the smaller projectiles, such as arrows, and redirecting the larger projectiles such as spears. These shields were mostly carried by the men on horseback. These shields were made from buffalo neck leather, and often had more than one layer of leather over one another.” ref

Symbolic weapons

“Many of the weapons that the Native Americans used served a more symbolic purpose.” ref

· “Medicine shields look similar to war shields. However, the medicine shield’s purpose is to protect its carrier spiritually, rather than ward against physical attacks. Because these shields do not have to fend off physical attacks, they are built much thinner and lighter than the war shields. The medicine shields are often decorated by many symbols that represent the spiritual strength within the carrier.” ref


Artifacts From Across Mideast Found in 9,000-year-old City by Jerusalem

A vast city that may have had as many as 1,500 to 3,000 inhabitants in its heyday 9,000 years ago was part of a sprawling Neolithic network of barter. Fresh findings in the mega-site at Motza, the Jerusalem foothills, include an obsidian blade that came from Anatolia (Turkey); a simple but beautiful, thin-walled bowl made of serpentine stone, originating in northern Syria; and large alabaster beads made in ancient Egypt, archaeologists associated with the Israel Antiquities Authority revealed on Tuesday.” ref

Female hunters of the early Americas


“The sexual division of labor with females as gatherers and males as hunters is a major empirical regularity of hunter-gatherer ethnography, suggesting an ancestral behavioral pattern. We present an archeological discovery and meta-analysis that challenge the man-the-hunter hypothesis. Excavations at the Andean highland site of Wilamaya Patjxa reveal a 9000-year-old human burial (WMP6) associated with a hunting toolkit of stone projectile points and animal processing tools. Osteological, proteomic, and isotopic analyses indicate that this early hunter was a young adult female who subsisted on terrestrial plants and animals. Analysis of Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene burial practices throughout the Americas situate WMP6 as the earliest and most secure hunter burial in a sample that includes 10 other females in statistical parity with early male hunter burials. The findings are consistent with nongendered labor practices in which early hunter-gatherer females were big-game hunters.” ref

“Although burial treatment is complex and contingent, the objects that accompany people in death tend to be those that accompanied them in life. Scholars generally accept that projectile points associated with male burials are hunting tools, but have been less willing to concede that projectile points associated with female burials are hunting tools. WMP6 presents an unusually robust empirical test case for evaluating competing models of gendered subsistence labor. Although burial-associated projectile points can result from homicide, hunting accident, or stratigraphic mixing, the topological integrity of the WMP6 assemblage renders such interpretations unlikely. Projectile points can serve as knives, but it seems more likely that the backed knife and flakes in the WMP6 kit served that purpose.

“Error-prone osteological sex determinations can be spurious, but our coupling of osteology and amelogenin protein analysis renders such error highly unlikely. It is possible that the WMP6 burial represents a rare instance of a female hunter in a male-dominated subsistence field, but such an outlier explanation diminishes with the observation of 11 female burials in association with hunting tools from 10 Late Pleistocene or Early Holocene sites throughout the Americas, including Upward Sun River, Buhl, Gordon Creek, Ashworth Rockshelter, Sloan, Icehouse Bottom, Windover, Telarmachay, Wilamaya Patjxa, and Arroyo Seco 2. These results are consistent with a model of relatively undifferentiated subsistence labor among early populations in the Americas.

“Nonetheless, hunter-gatherer ethnography and contemporary hunting practices make clear that subsistence labor ultimately differentiated along sex lines, with females taking a role as gatherers or processors and males as hunters. Middle Holocene females and males at the Indian Knoll site in Kentucky were buried with atlatls in a respective ratio of 17:63, suggesting that big-game hunting was a male-biased activity at that time. Thirty percent of bifaces, including projectile points, are associated with females in a sample of 44 Late Holocene burials from seven sites in southern California. A similar trajectory may be observed in the European Paleolithic, where meat-heavy diets and the absence of plant-processing or hide-working tools among Middle Paleolithic Neandertals would seem to minimize the potential for sexually differentiated labor practices.

“Economies diversified in the Upper Paleolithic sometime after 48 ka, with increasing emphasis on plant processing and manufacturing of tailored clothing and hide tents creating new contexts for labor division. When and how such differentiated labor practices emerged from evidently undifferentiated ones require further exploration. Comparative analysis of burial associations with hunting tools and ground stone artifacts (55) in other times and places would be particularly valuable toward understanding how labor division evolved among hunter-gatherer societies.

“Scholars have long grappled with understanding the extent to which contemporary gender behavior existed in our species’ evolutionary past. A number of studies support the contention that modern gender constructs often do not reflect past ones. Dyble et al. show that both women and men in ethnographic hunter-gatherer societies govern residence decisions. The discovery of a Viking woman warrior further highlights uncritical assumptions about past gender roles. Theoretical insights suggest that the ecological conditions experienced by early hunter-gatherer populations would have favored big-game hunting economies with broad participation from both females and males. Such models align with epistemological critiques that reduce seemingly paradoxical tool associations to cultural or ethnographic biases. WMP6 and the sum of previous archaeological observations on early hunter-gatherer burials support this hypothesis, revealing that early females in the Americas were big-game hunters.” ref

7,000-Year-Old Horned Face Image Discovered Under Ancient Poland

Archaeologists excavating in the village of Biskupice, Poland have discovered a mysterious 7,000-year-old ceramic fragment depicting a horned face image. The team of archaeologists was excavating three ancient homesteads at a prehistoric settlement associated with the Linear Pottery Culture (abbreviated as LBK from the German: Linearbandkeramik). During their excavations, they discovered over 3,000 ancient artifacts including “cores” (stone blocks) used to strike stone flakes, obsidian chips that were used to make leather scrapers, wood and bone cutting tools, and sickle blades. However, the horned face image find was the most remarkable of all! Biskupice is a tiny village located in the administrative district of Gmina Biskupice, within Wieliczka County in southern Poland, about 11 miles (18 kilometers) south-east of the regional capital Kraków. And it was in this village of fewer than 100 inhabitants that the archaeologists set out to recover artifacts as part of a heritage rescue project before the planned construction of modern homes.” ref

“Project leader Dr. Magdalena Moskal-del Hoyo, from the W. Szafer Institute of Botany , told Science in Poland that the remains of the ancient artifact depict the “stylized outline of a human face with eyes and a nose, and two bumps on the forehead that are reminiscent of horns.” The professor added that this highly unusual artifact is probably related to “the sphere of the sacred.” Archaeologist Marta Korczyńska added that the curious ornament was likely part of a bigger vessel, perhaps a bowl. Dr Moskal-del Hoyo also stated that because of our poor understanding of early Polish cultures “we are unable to conclusively interpret this portrayal.” ref

“The LBK ceramic style is believed to have come from the Starčevo-Körös culture in present-day Serbia and Hungary. The earliest LBK ceramics, found on the middle Danube in the Starčevo range, date from about 5600–5400 BC. These pottery artifacts feature paintings of Balkanic cultures. As animal husbandry increased, the use of stone tools decreased, but according to Douglas Price’s 2000 book Europe’s First Farmers: an Introduction , 500 years before this transition, the post-Mesolithic LBK tool kit consisted of “flint and obsidian blades, and chopping sickles made by lining flint blades inside curved pieces of wood.” ref

A God Or Demon Of The “Sacred Sphere” From Where?

“There is no doubting Dr. Magdalena Moskal-del Hoyo’s claim that the horned face image belonged to “the sacred sphere,” but what does this meaning, exactly. It is known that the flints discovered were likely from an area in southern Poland, but the obsidian must have come from much further away. Researchers believe the obsidian was probably from the Bükk and Tatra mountains in the northern part of Hungary. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of 7000-year-old mining in these mountains, and they know manufactured cutting products were exported to other LBK cultures. So, the question remains: Where was the horned face image made?” ref

Is The Horned Face Image A God From Another Ancient Culture?

“While the identity of the god, demon or spirit depicted on the artifact cannot be identified, Professor Marek Nowak, from the Institute of Archaeology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, told the Polish press that this type of artifact “is evidence that the inhabitants of the settlement had contact with people living in present-day Hungary and Slovakia” where similar ornamental motifs have been found from around the same time period. However, Nowak pointed out that these other artifacts “usually do not have stylized horns.” And, according to the archaeologist, this origin theory is supported by the discovery of obsidian (volcanic glass) tools found at the Biskupice site. Obsidian, or volcanic glass, is not native to Poland and therefore must have been imported.” ref

The Discovery Of An Unknown Foreign Deity Or Demon

“The horned face image, found on a ceramic shard, is about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. The image has clearly defined eyes and a nose. It was found “stashed” with a collection of ceramics in a cavity under one of the longhouses. The archaeologists said the face instantly “stood out for its very unusual features.” ref

“Neolithic” and “Bronze Age”???

“The terms “Neolithic” and “Bronze Age” are culture-specific and are mostly limited to cultures of the Old World. Many populations of the New World remain in the Mesolithic cultural stage until European contact in the modern period.” ref

· “11,600 years ago (9,600 BCE): An abrupt period of global warming accelerates the glacial retreat; taken as the beginning of the Holocene geological epoch.” ref

· “11,600 years ago: Jericho has evidence of settlement dating back to 9,600 BC. Jericho was a popular camping ground for Natufian hunter-gatherer groups, who left a scattering of crescent microlith tools behind them.” ref

· “11,200–11,000 years ago: Meltwater pulse 1B, a sudden rise of sea level by 7.5 m (25 ft) within about 160 years.” ref

· “11,000 years ago (9,000 BC): Earliest date recorded for construction of temenoi ceremonial structures at Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, as possibly the oldest surviving proto-religious site on Earth.” ref

· “11,000 years ago (9,000 BCE): Giant short-faced bears and giant ground sloths go extinct. Equidae goes extinct in North America.” ref

· “11,000-8,000 years ago (9,000 to 7,000 BCE): the Ancestral Puebloans, in modern-day New Mexico and the Southwestern United States, began their Archaic–Early Basketmaker Era. Leading to art styles in pottery and basket making that are still used in the region. As well as early structures in the Pueblo architecture style, including some of those seen at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.” ref

· “10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE): Earliest supposed date for the domestication of cattle.” ref

· “10,000 years ago (8,000 BCE): The Quaternary extinction event, which has been ongoing since the mid-Pleistocene, concludes. Many of the ice age megafauna go extinct, including the megatherium, woolly rhinoceros, Irish elk, cave bear, cave lion, and the last of the sabre-toothed cats. The mammoth goes extinct in Eurasia and North America, but is preserved in small island populations until ~1650 BCE.” ref

· “10,800–9,000 years ago: Byblos appears to have been settled during the PPNB period, approximately 8800 to 7000 BC. Neolithic remains of some buildings can be observed at the site.” ref

· “10,000–8,000 years ago (8000 BC to 6000 BCE): The post-glacial sea level rise decelerates, slowing the submersion of landmasses that had taken place over the previous 10,000 years.” ref

· “10,000–9,000 years ago (8000 to 7000 BCE): In northern Mesopotamia, now northern Iraq, cultivation of barley and wheat begins. At first, they are used for beer, gruel, and soup, eventually for bread. In early agriculture at this time, the planting stick is used, but it is replaced by a primitive plow in subsequent centuries. Around this time, a round stone tower, now preserved to about 8.5 meters (28 ft) high and 8.5 meters (28 ft) in diameter is built in Jericho.” ref

· “10,000–5,000 years ago (8,000–3,000 BC) Identical ancestors point: sometime in this period lived the latest subgroup of human population consisting of those that were all common ancestors of all present-day humans, the rest having no present-day descendants.” ref

· “9,500–5,500 years ago: Neolithic Subpluvial in North Africa. The Sahara desert region supports a savanna-like environment. Lake Chad is larger than the current Caspian Sea. An African culture develops across the current Sahel region.” ref

· “9,500 years ago (7500 BCE): Çatalhöyük urban settlement founded in Anatolia. Earliest supposed date for the domestication of the cat.” ref

· “9,200 years ago: First human settlement in Amman, Jordan; ‘Ain Ghazal Neolithic settlement was built spanning over an area of 15 hectares (37 acres).” ref

· “9,000 years ago (7000 BC): Jiahu culture began in China.” ref

· “9,000 years ago: large first fish fermentation in southern Sweden.” ref

· “8,200–8,000 years ago: 8.2 kiloyear event: a sudden decrease of global temperatures, probably caused by the final collapse of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which leads to drier conditions in East Africa and Mesopotamia.” ref

· “8,200–7,600 years ago (62005600 BCE): there was a sudden rise in sea level (Meltwater pulse 1C) by 6.5 m (21 ft) in less than 140 years; this concludes the early Holocene sea level rise and sea level remains largely stable throughout the Neolithic.” ref

· “8,000–5,000 years ago: (6000 BC3000 BCE) development of proto-writing in China, Southeast Europe (Vinca symbols), and West Asia (proto-literate cuneiform).” ref

· “8,000 years ago: Evidence of habitation at the current site of Aleppo dates to about c. 8,000 years ago, although excavations at Tell Qaramel, 25 kilometers (16 mi) north of the city show the area was inhabited about 13,000 years ago, Carbon-14 dating at Tell Ramad, on the outskirts of Damascus, suggests that the site may have been occupied since the second half of the seventh millennium BCE, possibly around 6300 BCE. However, evidence of settlement in the wider Barada basin dating back to 9000 BCE exists.” ref

· 7,500 years ago (5500 BCE): Copper smelting in evidence in Pločnik and other locations.” ref

· 7,200–6,000 years ago: 5200–4000 BCE:Għar Dalam phase on Malta. First farming settlements on the island.” ref

· 6300 or 6350 years ago: Akahoya eruption creates the Kikai Caldera and ends the earliest homogeneous Jomon culture in Japan. When the Jomon culture recovers, it shows regional differences.” ref

· 6,100–5,800 years ago: 4100–3800 BC: Żebbuġ phase. Malta.” ref

· “6,070–6,000 years ago (4050–4000 BCE): Trypillian build in Nebelivka (Ukraine) settlement which reached 15,000–18,000 inhabitants.” ref

· “6,500 years ago: The oldest known gold hoard deposited at Varna Necropolis, Bulgaria.” ref

· “6,000 years ago (4000 BCE): Civilizations develop in the Mesopotamia/Fertile Crescent region (around the location of modern-day Iraq). Earliest supposed dates for the domestication of the horse and for the domestication of the chicken, invention of the potter’s wheel.” ref

4th millennium BCE

Further information: 4th millennium BCE

· “5,800 years ago (3840 to 3800 BCE): The Post Track and Sweet Track causeways are constructed in the Somerset Levels.” ref

· “5,800 years ago (3800 BCE): Trypillian build in Talianki (Ukraine) settlement which reached 15,600–21,000 inhabitants.” ref

· “5,800–5,600 years ago: (3800–3600 BCE): Mġarr phase A short transitional period in Malta’s prehistory. It is characterized by pottery consisting of mainly curved lines.” ref

· “5,700 years ago (3800 to 3600 BCE): mass graves at Tell Brak in Syria.” ref

· “5,700 years ago (3700 BCE): Trypillian build in Maidanets (Ukraine) settlement which reached 12,000–46,000 inhabitants, and built three-story building.” ref

· “5,700 years ago (3700 to 3600 BCE): Minoan culture begins on Crete.” ref

· “5,600–5,200 years ago (3600–3200 BCE): Ġgantija phase on Malta. Characterized by a change in the way the prehistoric inhabitants of Malta lived.” ref

· “5,500 years ago (3600 to 3500 BCE): Uruk period in Sumer. The first evidence of mummification in Egypt.” ref

· “5,500 years ago: oldest known depiction of a wheeled vehicle (Bronocice pot, Funnelbeaker culture).” ref

· 5,500 years ago: Earliest conjectured date for the still-undeciphered Indus script.” ref

· “5,500 years ago: End of the African humid period possibly linked to the Piora Oscillation: a rapid and intense aridification event, which probably started the current Sahara Desert dry phase and a population increase in the Nile Valley due to migrations from nearby regions. It is also believed this event contributed to the end of the Ubaid period in Mesopotamia.” ref

· “5,300 years ago (3300 BC): Bronze Age begins in the Near East Newgrange is built in Ireland. Ness of Brodgar is built in Orkney Hakra Phase of the Indus Valley Civilisation begins in the Indian subcontinent.” ref

· 5,300–5,000 years ago (3300–3000 BCE): Saflieni phase in Maltese prehistory.” ref

3rd millennium BCE

Further information: 3rd millennium BCE

· “5,000 years ago (3000 BCE): Settlement of Skara Brae built in Orkney.” ref

· “4,600 years ago (2600 BCE): Writing is developed in Sumer and Egypt, triggering the beginning of recorded history.” ref

Post-historical prehistories

“For the prehistoric period in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the New World, see Sub-Saharan_Africa § Prehistory, pre-Columbian Americas, and prehistoric Australia.

· 3,800 years ago (1800 BCE): Currently undeciphered Minoan script (Linear A) and Cypro-Minoan script developed on Crete and Cyprus.

· 3,450 years ago (1450 BCE): Mycenean Greece, first deciphered writing in Europe

· 3,200 years ago (1200 BCE): Oracle bone script, first written records in Old Chinese

· 3,050–2,800 years ago (1050–800 BCE): Alphabetic writing; the Phoenician alphabet spreads around the Mediterranean

· 2,300 years ago (300 BCE): Maya writing, the only known full writing system developed in the Americas, emerges.

· 2,260 years ago (260 BCE): Earliest deciphered written records in South Asia (Middle Indo-Aryan)

· 1800s CE: Undeciphered Rongorongo script on Easter Island may mark the latest independent development of writing.” ref

“A cradle of civilization is a location where civilization is understood to have independently emerged. According to current thinking, there was no single “cradle” of civilization; instead, several cradles of civilization developed independently. Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient India, and Ancient China are believed to be the earliest. The extent to which there was significant influence between the early civilizations of the Near East and those of East Asia (Far East) is disputed. Scholars accept the fact that the civilizations of Mesoamerica, those that mainly existed in modern-day Mexico, and the civilization in Norte Chico, a region in the north-central coastal region of Peru, emerged independently from those in the Old World.” ref

“Scholars have defined civilization by using various criteria such as the use of writing, cities, a class-based society, agriculture, animal husbandry, public buildings, metallurgy, and monumental architecture. The term cradle of civilization has frequently been applied to a variety of cultures and areas, in particular the Ancient Near Eastern Chalcolithic (Ubaid period) and Fertile Crescent, Ancient India, and Ancient China. It has also been applied to ancient Anatolia, the Levant, and Iranian plateau, and used to refer to culture predecessors—such as Ancient Greece as the predecessor of Western civilization.” ref

7,000-Year-Old Massacre: 9 Neolithic Outsiders Murdered with Blows to the Head

“About 7,000 years ago, the bodies of nine brutally murdered people were dumped into a mass grave on the edge of an ancient farming settlement. While their identities will never be known, one thing is certain: These nine individuals were interlopers — possibly failed raiders or POWs — who met violent ends, a new study finds. These people aren’t the only early Neolithic victims whose lives ended in violence. But several factors set this newfound burial — found during a construction project in Halberstadt, Germany, in 2013 — apart from other mass graves dating to the same period, the researchers said.” ref

“For starters, these victims weren’t local, but “outsiders with currently unknown origins,” said study lead researcher Christian Meyer, an archeologist who researched the burial while working at the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology of Saxony-Anhalt, in Germany. [25 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries] The “outsider” discovery was made thanks to an analysis of certain isotopes (a variation of an element that has a different number of neutrons in its nucleus) in people’s bones and teeth that are determined by their diets. The analysis revealed that the victims in the mass grave had different isotopes in their remains compared with other people buried in the settlement, the researchers said.” ref

‘In addition, the newfound grave contained only adults — eight men and one woman — but no children, which is unusual for Neolithic mass graves, Meyer said. For instance, another early Neolithic mass grave in Germany, known as Schöneck-Kilianstädten, had 26 victims, which included 13 children and 11 men and two women, Live Science previously reported. Moreover, these young adults’ injuries clustered at the back of the head, meaning the victims were likely hit with “blunt force” from behind, Meyer said.” ref

“At other sites, where [other] chaotic massacres occurred, injuries are usually spread out over all areas of the skulls,” Meyer told Live Science in an email. “Some of the injuries [at Halberstadt] also appear quite similar in size and shape, so overall one can assume a rather controlled application of lethal violence.” He noted that during the early Neolithic, the Halberstadt settlement belonged to the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), the first farming culture in Central Europe that planted crops and raised livestock. The settlement also contained traces of six LBK longhouses and regular burials, most of which hold just one person and LBK artifacts.” ref

Linear Pottery culture

“The Linear Pottery culture is a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic, flourishing c. 5500–4500 BCE. It is abbreviated as LBK (from German: Linearbandkeramik), and is also known as the Linear Band Ware, Linear Ware, Linear Ceramics, or Incised Ware culture, and falls within the Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe. The densest evidence for the culture is on the middle Danube, the upper and middle Elbe, and the upper and middle Rhine. It represents a major event in the initial spread of agriculture in Europe. The pottery after which it was named consists of simple cups, bowls, vases, and jugs, without handles, but in a later phase with lugs or pierced lugs, bases, and necks.” ref

“Important sites include Nitra in Slovakia; Bylany in the Czech Republic; Langweiler and Zwenkau in Germany; Brunn am Gebirge in Austria; Elsloo, Sittard, Köln-Lindenthal, Aldenhoven, Flomborn, and Rixheim on the Rhine; Lautereck and Hienheim on the upper Danube; and Rössen and Sonderhausen on the middle Elbe. In 2019, two large Rondel complexes were discovered east of the Vistula River near Toruń in Poland.” ref

Two variants of the early Linear Pottery culture are recognized:

· “The Early or Western Linear Pottery Culture developed on the middle Danube, including western Hungary, and was carried down the Rhine, Elbe, Oder, and Vistula.” ref

· “The Eastern Linear Pottery Culture flourished in eastern Hungary.” ref

“Middle and late phases are also defined. In the middle phase, the Early Linear Pottery culture intruded upon the Bug-Dniester culture and began to manufacture musical note pottery. In the late phase, the Stroked Pottery culture moved down the Vistula and Elbe. A number of cultures ultimately replaced the Linear Pottery culture over its range, but without a one-to-one correspondence between its variants and the replacing cultures. The culture map, instead, is complex. Some of the successor cultures are the Hinkelstein, Großgartach, Rössen, Lengyel, Cucuteni-Trypillian, and Boian-Maritza cultures.” ref

7,000-year-old man, Span

“A 7,000-year-old man whose bones were left behind in a Spanish cave had the dark skin of an African, but the blue eyes of a Scandinavian. He was a hunter-gatherer who ate a low-starch diet and couldn’t digest milk well — which meshes with the lifestyle that predated the rise of agriculture. But his immune system was already starting to adapt to a new lifestyle. Researchers found all this out not from medical records, or from a study of the man’s actual skin or eyes, but from an analysis of the DNA extracted from his tooth.” ref

“The study, published online Sunday by the journal Nature, lays out what’s said to be the first recovered genome of a European hunter-gatherer from a transitional time known as the Mesolithic Period, which lasted from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. It’s a time when the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was starting to give way to a more settled existence, with farms, livestock, and urban settlements. The remains of the Mesolithic male, dubbed La Braña 1, were found in 2006 in the La Braña-Arintero cave complex in northwest Spain. In the Nature paper, the researchers describe how they isolated the ancient DNA, sequenced the genome, and looked at key regions linked to physical traits — including lactose intolerance, starch digestion, and immune response.” ref

Brutal 6,200-Year-Old Massacre Shows Humans Have Sucked for a Really Long Time

“Dozens of savagely murdered individuals found buried in a Copper Age mass grave is shedding new light onto the lives of these early farmers—and the unspeakable violence they occasionally had to endure. New research published on Wednesday in PLOS One is the largest genetic study done to date of a prehistoric massacre. This killing of at least 41 individuals happened around 6,200 years ago in what is now Potočani, Croatia. The study, led by Mario Novak from the Institute for Anthropological Research in Croatia, shows that violence on such a large scale was present during this early time period, and as farming communities were becoming increasingly established across Europe.” ref

“Massacres are, sadly, a part of the human archaeological record, and apparently an inescapable part of the human condition. In 2019, scientists detailed a gruesome 5,000-year-old mass grave found in southern Poland that contained the remains of 15 murdered individuals, virtually all of them related. Similar massacres have been documented elsewhere in Germany and Austria, containing scenes similar to one documented in Potočani, in which “members of both sexes and all age groups are found indiscriminately killed and their remains unceremoniously disposed of in a pit or a trench,” Novak said in an email. In these cases, “different types of weapons and tools were used to kill a larger number of people, not in a face to face combat, but in a classic execution,” he added.” ref

Prehistoric massacre: the killing of at least 41 individuals happened around 6,200 years ago in what is now Potočani, Croatia.

The Neolithic–Copper Age transition on the Great Hungarian Plain


“The transition from the Neolithic period to the Copper Age in the northern Balkans and the Carpathian Basin was marked by significant changes in material culture, settlement layout and organization, and mortuary practices that indicate fundamental social transformations in the middle of the fifth millennium BC. Prior research into the Late Neolithic of the region focused almost exclusively on fortified ‘tell’ settlements. The Early Copper Age, by contrast, was known primarily from cemeteries such as the type site of Tiszapolgár-Basatanya. The multi-disciplinary research conducted by the Körös Regional Archaeological Project in southeastern Hungary from 2000–2007. Centered around two Early Copper Age Tiszapolgár culture villages in the Körös Region of the Great Hungarian Plain, Vésztő-Bikeri and Körösladány-Bikeri, our research incorporated excavation, surface collection, geophysical survey, and soil chemistry to investigate settlement layout and organization.” ref

“The results yielded the first extensive, systematically collected datasets from Early Copper Age settlements on the Great Hungarian Plain. The two adjacent villages at Bikeri, located only 70 m apart, were similar in size, and both were protected with fortifications. Relative and absolute dates demonstrate that they were occupied sequentially during the Early Copper Age, from ca. 4600–4200 cal BCE. The excavated assemblages from the sites are strikingly similar, suggesting that both were occupied by the same community. This process of settlement relocation after only a few generations breaks from the longer-lasting settlement pattern that are typical of the Late Neolithic, but other aspects of the villages continue traditions that were established during the preceding period, including the construction of enclosure systems and longhouses.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Lajja Gauri Style

1.  Lajja Gauri. China, Majiayao. 3,200-2,000 BCE or around 5,220 to 4,020 years ago. ref

2.  Lajja Gauri. India, Kashmir. ref

3.  Lajja Gauri. Egypt. ref

4.  Lajjā Gaurī a lotus-headed Hindu goddess. ref

5.  Lajja Gauri. Nepal. ref

6.  Lajjā Gaurī lotus-headed goddess. India. ref

Sheela na gig Style

1.  Sheela na gig. Ireland. ref

2. Sheila Na Gig. ref

3. Sheila Na Gig. ref

4. Sheela na gig. Ireland. ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Catal Huyuk “first religious designed city” around 9,500 to 7,700 years ago (Turkey)

This is also similar to spread legged seeming or possible goddess motifs which are a part of the extensive religious art in the 9,500-to-7,700-year-old site of Catal Huyuk, the “first religious created city”, which also is also located in Turkey. Likewise, the other stone art on the T-shaped stones may be stylized with what, to me, are or could be animal spirits, with the seemingly most symbolically used animal being snakes, which are 28% of the engravings. Possibly indicating it held more significance than other animals.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref

Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago

An interesting point to note is that the sacred status of snakes goes back to the oldest places of worship in Africa. In fact, a place called Tsodilo Hills in Southern Africa has a natural stone snake that was being worshipped as far back as 70,000 to 75,000 years ago. Also, there is a common connection in many mythologies to snakes and goddesses, such as snakes goddesses, snakes as part of goddesses in some way or another, or snakes as a familiar for such goddesses. ref

Gobekli Tepe

Pictures link, link, link, link

Gobekli Tepe holds proof of complex societies involved in some kind of organized religion before settling into concentrated sedentary communities though such emerging communities can be seen at a few sites of the time in the general region.

12,400 – 11,700 Years Ago – Kortik Tepe (Turkey) Pre/early-Agriculture Cultic Ritualism

Speaking of sites of the time in the general region as Gobekli Tepe. Such as 12,400 – 11,700 Years old site of Kortik Tepe in Turkey, with pre/early-Agriculture Cultic Ritualism. The Kortik Tepe site held mound structures, tombs, and grave goods as well as ritual art. Ritualistic behavior is also found on the bones of ten individuals who exhibit cut marks that seem to indicate defleshing along with an application of plaster and paint seen in the later skull cult as part of the burial customs has been interpreted by some as corpse purification possibly to help the desist pass to the afterlife. ref


Pre-Pottery Neolithic Skull Cult around 11,500 to 8,400 Years Ago?

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


The number of settlements contemporaneous with Gobekli Tepe Layer II (assigned to Pre-Pottery Neolithic B: 10,800 – 8,500 years ago) increased amongst the Neolithic settlements in the Urfa region and become widespread all around the region.

  1. Gobekli Tepe, 2. Nevali Cori, 3. Tasli Tepe, 4. Kurt Tepesi, 5. Sefer Tepe, 6. Karahan Tepe, 7. Harbetsuvan Tepesi, 8. Hamzan Tepe, 9. Urfa, 10. Ayanlar Hoyuk/Gaziantep, 11. Kilisik, 12. Tell Abr 3, 13. Boncuklu Tarla, 14. Gusir Hoyuk, 15. Nemrik 9, 16. Qermez Dere, 17. Hasankeyf, 18. Cayonu, 19. Hallan Cemi, 20. Demirci, 21. Kortik Tepe, 22. Mureybet, 23. Cheik Hassan, 24. Jerf el Ahmar, 25. Dja’de, 26. Tell Abr, 27. Akarcay, and 28. Tell Qarmel


Göbekli Tepe is not alone, in fact, it is part of a religious/cultural connected ritual culture in the general region. There are several other similar sites with similar T-pillars to Göbekli Tepe or other types of stone pillar providing a seeming connected cult belief or religious culture of pillars seen in the PPNA-PPNB in the northern portion of the Near East.

“The locations of the sites that contain “T” shaped pillars are the main topic that needs more understanding to grasp the larger sociocultural-religious cultural complex in the same general region. Another matter under discussion is to comprehend the differences between the small-scale settlements that contain cult centers and “T” shaped pillars and the larger ones found at Gobekli Tepe layer III. The fact that settlements with “T” shaped pillars contain both the remains of circular domestic buildings and the pil­lars such as seen at Cayonu and Nevali Cori, which are also known to contain cult and domestic buildings. It is contemplated that such settlements are contemporary with Gobekli Tepe layer II and the cult building known from Nevali Cori based on the similarities and differences of the “T” shaped pillars. In the light of the finds unearthed from the settlements in Şanliurfa region that conta­in “T” shaped pillars, such settlements should be dated to the end of Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (LPPNA) and the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (EPPNB).” ref

Pictures link, link, link, link, link  

The “Inner Asian Mountain Corridor” as well as the “Eurasian Steppe Corridor” and Repetitious Migrations

ref, ref, ref

“In northern China, the Nanzhuangtou culture on the middle Yellow River around Hebei (c. 8500–7700 BCE) had grinding tools. The Xinglongwa culture in eastern Inner Mongolia (c. 6200–5400 BCE) ate millet, possibly from agriculture. The Dadiwan culture along the upper Yellow River (c. 5800–5400 BC) also ate millet. By the Yangshao culture (c. 5000–3000 BCE), the peoples of the Yellow River were growing millet extensively, along with some barley, rice, and vegetables; wove hemp and silk, which indicates some form of sericulture; but may have been limited to migratory slash and burn farming methods. The Longshan culture (c. 3000–2000 BCE) displays more advanced sericulture and definite cities.” ref

“In southern China, the Pengtoushan culture on the Yangtze River (c. 7500–6100 BCE) has left rice farming tools at some locations, though not at the type site. The Hemudu culture around Hangzhou Bay south of the Yangtze (c. 5000–4500 BCE) certainly cultivated rice. The various people (such as hundred viet tribal union) who succeeded in these areas were later conquered and culturally assimilated by the northern Chinese dynasties during the historical period.” ref

Pictures ref, ref, ref

Inner Asia Mountain Corridor

“The Inner Asia Mountain Corridor (IAMC) was an ancient exchange route ranging from the Altai Mountains in Siberia to the Hindu Kush (present-day Afghanistan and northern Pakistan), which took shape in the 3rd millennium BCE. The expansion of the Indo-European Andronovo culture towards the Bactria-Margiana Culture in the second millennium BCE took place along the IAMC, giving way to the Indo-Aryan migration into South Asia.” ref

“By the fourth millennium BCE, or 6,022-5,022 years ago, a mobile pastoralist culture emerged at the Eurasian steppes. From the Pontic–Caspian steppe (present-day Ukraine and Russia), the Indo-European Yamna culture spread westwards toward the Great Hungarian Plain; and north-west it developed into the Corded Ware culture. Expanding eastward, Corded Ware eventually developed into the Sintashta culture, which further developed into the Andronovo culture. According to Narasimhan et al. (2018), the Andronovo-culture extended southwards via the IAMC, reaching into the Bactria-Margiana Culture, from where Indo-European language and culture reached South Asia.” ref

Eurasian Steppe Corridor

“The Steppe Route was an ancient overland route through the Eurasian Steppe that was an active precursor of the Silk Road. Silk and horses were traded as key commodities; secondary trade included furs, weapons, musical instruments, precious stones (turquoise, lapis lazuli, agate, nephrite), and jewels. This route extended for approximately 10,000 km (6,200 mi). Trans-Eurasian trade through the Steppe Route precedes the conventional date for the origins of the Silk Road by at least two millennia.” ref

Mal’ta–Buret’ culture of Siberia and Basal Haplogroup R* or R-M207

“The Mal’ta–Buret‘ culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Paleolithic (around 24,000 to 15,000 years ago) on the upper Angara River in the area west of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russian Federation. The type sites are named for the villages of Mal’ta, Usolsky District and Buret’, Bokhansky District (both in Irkutsk Oblast).” ref

“The “Mal’ta Cluster” is composed of three individuals from the Glacial Maximum 24,000-17,000 years ago from the Lake Baikal region of Siberia.” ref

“MA-1 is the abbreviation of the male child remains found near Mal’ta dated to 24,000 years ago, who belonged to a population related to the genetic ancestors of Siberians, American Indians, and Bronze Age Yamnaya people of the Eurasian steppe. In particular, modern-day Native Americans, Kets, Mansi, Nganasans, and Yukaghirs were found to be harbor a lot of ancestries related to MA-1.” ref

Haplogroup R possible time of origin about 27,000 years in Central Asia, South Asia, or Siberia:

“The areas were people showed red hair matches at 1% and Germanic R1b S21 at 1-5%. But it didn’t explain the  Finnish  I1 subclades came before the bronze age over 4,022 years ago. This also means Finnish I1 in Sweden and Norway were very old and pre bronze age and pre Germanic. Probably, also means Scandinavian I1 arrived before   Corded ware culture because of another groups of I1 subclades in continental Europe.” ref

“This also means continental (mainly central) European I1a1 M227, I1a3 Z58, I1a4 Z63, and I1b Z131 own another origin and I1 M253 line that goes back over 11,000 years. I1 M253 is a very old haplogroup, datable 15,000-20,000ybp in central Europe.” ref

“A 2014 study in Hungary uncovered remains of nine individuals from the Linear Pottery culture, one of whom was found to have carried the M253 SNP which defines Haplogroup I1. It is abbreviated as LBK (from German: Linearbandkeramik), and is also known as the Linear Band Ware, Linear Ware, Linear Ceramics, or Incised Ware culture, and falls within the Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe. This culture is thought to have been present between 6,500 to 7,500 years ago.” ref

“The densest evidence for the culture is on the middle Danube, the upper and middle Elbe, and the upper and middle Rhine. It represents a major event in the initial spread of agriculture in Europe. The pottery after which it was named consists of simple cups, bowls, vases, and jugs, without handles, but in a later phase with lugs or pierced lugs, bases, and necks.” ref

“Important sites include Nitra in Slovakia; Bylany in the Czech Republic; Langweiler and Zwenkau in Germany; Brunn   am Gebirge in Austria; Elsloo, Sittard, Köln-Lindenthal, Aldenhoven, Flomborn, and Rixheim on the Rhine; Lautereck and Hienheim on the upper Danube; and Rössen and Sonderhausen on the middle Elbe.” ref

“Excavations at Oslonki in Poland revealed a  large, fortified settlement   (dating to 4300 BCE or 6,322 years ago, i.  e., Late LBK), covering an area of 4,000 m². Nearly 30 trapezoidal longhouses and over 80 graves make it one of the richest such settlements in archaeological finds from all of central Europe. The rectangular longhouses were between 7 and 45 meters long and between 5 and 7 meters wide. They were built of massive timber posts chinked with wattle and daub mortar.” ref

Two variants of the early Linear Pottery culture are recognized:

•The  Early or Western Linear Pottery Culture developed on the middle Danube, including western Hungary, and was carried down the Rhine, Elbe, Oder and Vistula.” ref

•The Eastern Linear Pottery Culture flourished in eastern Hungary. Middle  and  late  phases  are  also  defined. In the middle phase, the Early Linear Pottery culture intruded upon the Bug-Dniester culture and began to manufacture musical note pottery. In the late phase, the Stroked Pottery culture moved down the Vistula and Elbe.” ref

“So how is it that modern Scandinavians belong essentially to three haplogroups (I1, R1a, and R1b) that haven’t been found in Mesolithic Scandinavian samples? I1 would have been the first to penetrated into Scandinavia during the farming transition that lasted roughly from 4,200 to 2,300 BCE or 6,222-4,322 years ago.” ref

“The most likely explanation for the replacement of Mesolithic paternal lineages (I* and I2) by I1 throughout Nordic countries, including Lapland and Finland, is that the few farmers and stock breeders that did spread around Scandinavia were almost exclusively I1 men (through a founder effect).” ref

“In the vast majority of farming societies men are the ones who inherit the land and the livestock. As wild game became scarce, especially during cold winters, farmers would have had a definite advantage for food and survival prospects. As surely happened in other parts of Europe, women from hunter-gathering families were married to wealthy farmers.” ref

“After several millennia, with agricultural land and livestock always inherited by I1 lineages from father to son, I1 became the dominant lineage, even though their maternal lines had become hybridized over time. Nowadays, according to the autosomal admixture tested performed by Lazaridis et al. (2014), Scandinavians have only a few percents more Mesolithic than Neolithic admixture.” ref

“The Saami of Lapland were the last hunter-gatherers of Europe. But even they turned to stock breeding by domesticating the indigenous reindeer, better suited to the harsh local climate than cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Reindeer domestication appears to have originated with North Asian N1c1 people. And indeed modern Saami are primarily N1c1 people with only a minority of Scandinavian paternal lineages (I1, R1b, R1a).” ref

“The presence of R1a and R1b, and its very modern proportion to I1 (using central Sweden as a reference) indicates that I1, R1a, and R1b incorporated the Saami gene pool together relatively recently (probably in historical times, from or after the Viking age).” ref

“N1c1 lineages, however, may have not have arrived that early either. N1c1 is associated with the diffusion of the   Uralic languages. According to a phylogenetic reconstruction of the Uralic languages by Honkola et al. 2013, the   Proto-Finnic and Proto-Samic split from each others only 2,500 years ago, and Samic dialects started diversifying less than 1,000 years ago. In all likelihood, all trace of the Mesolithic inhabitants of Lapland has been wiped out on the Y-chromosomal side, just as in most of Scandinavia.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


“The Adorant from the Geißenklösterle cave is a 35,000-to-40,000-year-old section of mammoth ivory with a depiction of a human figure, found in the Geißenklösterle cave in the Swabian Jura near Blaubeuren, Germany. The front face has a human figure of uncertain sex in relief, with raised arms and outstretched legs, but no hands. The posture is usually interpreted as an expression of worship, which is why in German the figure is called an “adorant”, a word meaning “worshipper”. It has been claimed that a belt and sword can be seen, although these are probably natural features of the ivory. On the plate’s reverse are rows of small notches. The piece is 38 mm (1.50 in) tall, 14 mm (0.55 in) wide, and 4.5 mm (0.18 in) thick. Traces of manganese and ochre can be found on it by microscope analysis. It is somewhat like the Lion-Human of Hohlenstein-Stadel ivory statue also found in Germany.” ref

“The Löwenmensch figurine, also called the Lion-Human of Hohlenstein-Stadel, is a prehistoric ivory sculpture discovered in Hohlenstein-Stadel, a German cave. The German name, Löwenmensch, meaning “lion-person” or “lion-human”, is used most frequently because it was discovered and is exhibited in Germany. Determined by carbon dating of the layer in which it was found to be between 35,000 and 40,000 years old, it is one of the oldest-known examples of an artistic representation and the oldest confirmed statue ever discovered. Its age associates it with the archaeological Aurignacian culture of the Upper Paleolithic. An example of zoomorphic art, the Lion-Human was carved out of mammoth ivory, using a flint stone knife. Seven parallel, transverse, carved gouges are on the left arm.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Damien Marie AtHope’s Art 


Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) 

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American (AB/ANA) 

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) 

Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) 

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) 

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) 

Early European Farmers (EEF) 

Jōmon people (Ainu people OF Hokkaido Island)  

Neolithic Iranian farmers (Iran_N) (Iran Neolithic

Amur Culture (Amur watershed

Haplogroup R possible time of origin about 27,000 years in Central Asia, South Asia, or Siberia: 

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians 

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago. The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan) but no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, of North Japan.” ref  

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago “basal to modern-day Europeans”. Some Ancient North Eurasians also carried East Asian populations, such as Tianyuan Man.” ref 

“Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were ANE at around 50% and Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) at around 75% ANE. Karelia culture: Y-DNA R1a-M417 8,400 years ago, Y-DNA J, 7,200 years ago, and Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297 7,600 years ago is closely related to ANE from Afontova Gora, 18,000 years ago around the time of blond hair first seen there.” ref  

Ancient North Eurasian 

“In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (often abbreviated as ANE) is the name given to an ancestral West Eurasian component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture and populations closely related to them, such as from Afontova Gora and the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site. Significant ANE ancestry are found in some modern populations, including Europeans and Native Americans.” ref  

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy“, the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago in central Siberia, Ancient North Eurasians are described as a lineage “which is deeply related to Paleolithic/Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe,” meaning that they diverged from Paleolithic Europeans a long time ago.” ref 

“The ANE population has also been described as having been “basal to modern-day Europeans” but not especially related to East Asians, and is suggested to have perhaps originated in Europe or Western Asia or the Eurasian Steppe of Central Asia. However, some samples associated with Ancient North Eurasians also carried ancestry from an ancient East Asian population, such as Tianyuan Man. Sikora et al. (2019) found that the Yana RHS sample (31,600 BP) in Northern Siberia “can be modeled as early West Eurasian with an approximately 22% contribution from early East Asians.” ref 

“Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native AmericansEuropeansCentral AsiansSouth Asians, and some East Asian groups, in order of significance. Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” The ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were found to have a noteworthy ANE component at ~50%.” ref 

“According to Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018 between 14% and 38% of Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta–Buret’ people (ANE). This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior Siberian migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Eskimos and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5,000 years ago.” ref  

“Estimates for ANE ancestry among first wave Native Americans show higher percentages, such as 42% for those belonging to the Andean region in South America. The other gene flow in Native Americans (the remainder of their ancestry) was of East Asian origin. Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal’ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.” ref 

“The earliest known individual with a genetic mutation associated with blonde hair in modern Europeans is an Ancient North Eurasian female dating to around 16000 BCE from the Afontova Gora 3 site in Siberia. It has been suggested that their mythology may have included a narrative, found in both Indo-European and some Native American fables, in which a dog guards the path to the afterlife.” ref 

“Genomic studies also indicate that the ANE component was introduced to Western Europe by people related to the Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic. It is reported in modern-day Europeans (7%–25%), but not of Europeans before the Bronze Age. Additional ANE ancestry is found in European populations through paleolithic interactions with Eastern Hunter-Gatherers, which resulted in populations such as Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers.” ref 

“The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) split from the ancestors of European peoples somewhere in the Middle East or South-central Asia, and used a northern dispersal route through Central Asia into Northern Asia and Siberia. Genetic analyses show that all ANE samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan). In contrast, no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, was found.” ref 

“Genetic data suggests that the ANE formed during the Terminal Upper-Paleolithic (36+-1,5ka) period from a deeply European-related population, which was once widespread in Northern Eurasia, and from an early East Asian-related group, which migrated northwards into Central Asia and Siberia, merging with this deeply European-related population. These population dynamics and constant northwards geneflow of East Asian-related ancestry would later gave rise to the “Ancestral Native Americans” and Paleosiberians, which replaced the ANE as dominant population of Siberia.” ref 

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians 

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage derived predominantly (75%) from ANE. It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. This lineage is closely related to the ANE sample from Afontova Gora, dated c. 18 kya. After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. Evidence suggests that as Ancient North Eurasians migrated West from Eastern Siberia, they absorbed Western Hunter-Gatherers and other West Eurasian populations as well.” ref 

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) is represented by the Satsurblia individual dated ~13 kya (from the Satsurblia cave in Georgia), and carried 36% ANE-derived admixture. While the rest of their ancestry is derived from the Dzudzuana cave individual dated ~26 kya, which lacked ANE-admixture, Dzudzuana affinity in the Caucasus decreased with the arrival of ANE at ~13 kya Satsurblia.” ref 

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is represented by several individuals buried at Motala, Sweden ca. 6000 BC. They were descended from Western Hunter-Gatherers who initially settled Scandinavia from the south, and later populations of EHG who entered Scandinavia from the north through the coast of Norway.” ref 

“Iran Neolithic (Iran_N) individuals dated ~8.5 kya carried 50% ANE-derived admixture and 50% Dzudzuana-related admixture, marking them as different from other Near-Eastern and Anatolian Neolithics who didn’t have ANE admixture. Iran Neolithics were later replaced by Iran Chalcolithics, who were a mixture of Iran Neolithic and Near Eastern Levant Neolithic.” ref 

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago.” ref 

“West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSHG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% to 38% East Asian ancestry.” ref 

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent closely related to the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe. This ancestry is often referred to as Yamnaya ancestry or Steppe ancestry.” ref 

“Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal – Ust’Kyakhta-3 (UKY) 14,050-13,770 BP were mixture of 30% ANE ancestry and 70% East Asian ancestry.” ref

“Lake Baikal Holocene – Baikal Eneolithic (Baikal_EN) and Baikal Early Bronze Age (Baikal_EBA) derived 6.4% to 20.1% ancestry from ANE, while rest of their ancestry was derived from East Asians. Fofonovo_EN near by Lake Baikal were mixture of 12-17% ANE ancestry and 83-87% East Asian ancestry.” ref 

Hokkaido Jōmon people specifically refers to the Jōmon period population of Hokkaido in northernmost Japan. Though the Jōmon people themselves descended mainly from East Asian lineages, one study found an affinity between Hokkaido Jōmon with the Northern Eurasian Yana sample (an ANE-related group, related to Mal’ta), and suggest as an explanation the possibility of minor Yana gene flow into the Hokkaido Jōmon population (as well as other possibilities). A more recent study by Cooke et al. 2021, confirmed ANE-related geneflow among the Jōmon people, partially ancestral to the Ainu people. ANE ancestry among Jōmon people is estimated at 21%, however, there is a North to South cline within the Japanese archipelago, with the highest amount of ANE ancestry in Hokkaido and Tohoku.” ref


“Lighter skin and blond hair evolved in the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) population. The SLC24A5 gene’s derived threonine or Ala111Thr allele (rs1426654) has been shown to be a major factor in the light skin tone of Europeans. Possibly originating as long as 19,000 years ago, it has been the subject of selection in the ancestors of Europeans as recently as within the last 5,000 years, and is fixed in modern European populations.” refref 

I don’t see it as white skin being more evolved than those with dark skin, as bigots could see it, but rather it is just one of many factors that happen when the evolutionary pressures on a region like Siberia have on evolutionary changes that would not have happened if not for the different climate pressures the far north have that is not experienced in lower latitudes. 

DNA-researcher: It’s not ‘woke’ to portray prehistoric Europeans with dark skin. 

“It’s evolution. Ancient DNA analyses suggest that prehistoric Europeans looked different from modern Europeans today, but some people find that hard to accept. There was an artistic picture of an almost 6,000-year-old, girl who was walking along Lolland’s south coast and spits a piece of birch tar into the reeds. It didn’t taste great, but it helped to soothe her toothache. Fast forward 6,000 years, Danish archaeologists working on the Fehmarnbelt project stumble across the piece and recognize it for what it is: an almost 6,000-year-old piece of chewing gum. This ancient piece of gum is now on display at the Museum Lolland-Falster in southern Denmark among an amazing collection of Stone Age artifacts uncovered during the excavations. If you have not been, it is well worth a visit. In 2019, my research team at the University of Copenhagen managed something quite remarkable: We succeeded in extracting DNA from the gum and used it to reconstruct the girl’s entire genome — the first time anyone had sequenced an ancient human genome from anything other than skeletal remains. As the gum had been found on Lolland, we affectionately nicknamed her ‘Lola’.” ref 

Stone-age girl in social media ‘shitstorm’  

“The story of Lola and her chewing gum made headlines around the world when we published the genome in 2019 and then, suddenly, in the summer of 2023, Lola was back in the news, caught up in a media ‘shitstorm’. The ‘shitstorm’ first gathered pace on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and escalated to the point where the museum had to defend itself on national TV. Even the Danish newspaper ‘Ekstrabladet’ felt they had to comment and gave their opinion in a passionate editorial. So, what happened? These things are difficult to reconstruct, but evidently some people who had seen the image of Lola thought that she looked “way too dark” and accused us—and the museum—of ‘blackwashing’ the past. I suppose this episode says more about our own biases than anything else, and I would like to take this opportunity to explain why we portrayed Lola the way we did and what this tells us about the evolution of skin color in this part of the world.” ref 

What we know about Lola 

“First a disclaimer, we do not know exactly how old Lola was when she spat that chewing gum into the water. But based on her genome and other DNA trapped in the gum, we learned a lot of other things about her and her world. For example, we learned that she was a hunter-gatherer who lived off wild resources like fish, nuts, and wild game. At the time, small farming communities started to appear in other parts of Europe, but from what we can tell Lola and her kin still lived — as her ancestors had done for thousands of years before her — as hunter-gatherers. We also learned that she likely had dark skin, dark hair, and blue eyes. But how do we know that?” ref 

The genetics of human skin pigmentation 

“Skin color is a highly heritable and polygenic trait, meaning that it is influenced by multiple genes and their interactions with one another. One of the most well-known genes associated with skin pigmentation is the melanocortin 1 receptor gene (MC1R), but there are dozens more that have been reported to be involved in the pigmentation process. Most of these genes influence skin color by regulating the production of melanin, a dark pigment that protects from the deleterious effects of UV radiation. Basically, the more melanin you have in your skin, the darker it will be, and the more sun your skin can tolerate before you get sunburn. Eye and hair color are determined in a similar way, but the mechanisms that control the production of melanin in the eyes and hair are quite complex and independent processes. That is why it is possible to end up with different combinations of traits, such as the dark hair and blue eyes that are often seen in Europeans today, or the light hair and brown eyes that are common for Solomon Islanders, for example.” ref 

How do we know what Lola looked like? 

“Because the genes involved in pigmentation have been well studied, it is possible to predict the skin, eye, and hair color of an individual based on their genotype with a certain probability, something that is routinely done in forensic investigations. In practice, this works by checking which variants of a gene are present and what phenotype they are associated with. The more genes we can include in this analysis, the more confident we can be that our prediction is correct. In Lola’s case, we studied 41 gene variants across her genome that have been associated with skin, hair, and eye color in humans, and concluded that she likely had this unusual (at least for today) combination of dark skin, dark hair, and blue eyes.” ref 

A common look in prehistoric Europe 

“It is difficult to know exactly what people looked like 10,000 years ago. But based on ancient DNA studies, it appears that Lola’s ‘look’ was much more common in prehistoric Europe than it is today. Thanks to advances in ancient DNA sequencing, we now have the genomes of dozens of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic (i.e. the period between around 50,000 and 5,000 years before present in Europe) individuals from Western Europe. And interestingly they all seem to lack the skin-lightening variants that are so common in Europeans today, indicating that they had dark skin. This is true for ‘Cheddar Man’ who lived around 10,000 years ago in southern England, as well as dozens of other Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherer individuals from Francenorthern ItalySpainthe Baltic, and other parts of Europe. Like skin color, eye color is also a fairly complex trait, involving the interaction of many different genes. Therefore, eye color is fairly difficult to predict, but it looks like Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from Western Europe often had blue eyes, just like Lola. Overall, it looks like Lola’s phenotype—the combination of dark skin, dark hair, and blue eyes—was much more common in prehistoric Europe than it is today.” ref 

How Europeans got their lighter skin 

“So, why did people in prehistoric Europe look so different from northern Europeans today? The answer to this question lies in a complex interplay between our genes, our changing diets, population movements, and the environment. It has been theorized for some time that lighter skin emerged as an adaptive trait to light poor environments as it allows you to absorb sunlight more effectively, which is essential for the production of vitamin D. However, it was unclear when this happened. Early studies suggested that we first may have evolved lighter skin as our ancestors moved out of Africa and into Europe c. 50,000 years ago, but we now believe that this happened much later in European prehistory. In fact, there is evidence that lighter skin only evolved within the last 5,000 years or so, as a result of genetic admixture from Neolithic farming populations (who carried the skin-lightening variant) and strong selection favoring lighter skin.” ref 

Our changing diet also played a part 

“In addition, it looks like our changing diets also played a part. During most of European prehistory people relied on wild resources like nuts, game, and fish that are all rich in vitamin D, which is essential to our health. That changed dramatically during the Neolithic when people started to rely on a farmer’s diet that was rich in carbohydrates, but poor in vitamin D. Interestingly, this is exactly the period when we see lighter skin tones evolve in Western Europe and we think that the lack of vitamin D in the diet may have increased the selection pressures favouring lighter skin. All in all, there is solid evidence to suggest that lighter skin tones only evolved in Europe within the last 5,000 years or so, and that people who lived in Europe before then typically had darker skin. It is not that surprising, then, that Lola had darker skin. It simply reflects the fact that she lived at a time when Europeans had not yet evolved their lighter skin.” ref



Paleolithic migrations and clusters in Europe:
11,500 years old Shigir Idol (with a style somewhat similar to the pillars at Göbekli Tepe and the Urfa man): ref
11,500/11,000 years old Göbekli Tepe: ref
11,000 years old Urfa man: ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Here are my thoughts/speculations on where I believe is the possible origin of shamanism, which may have begun sometime around 35,000 to 30,000 years ago seen in the emergence of the Gravettian culture, just to outline his thinking, on what thousands of years later led to evolved Asian shamanism, in general, and thus WU shamanism as well. In both Europe-related “shamanism-possible burials” and in Gravettian mitochondrial DNA is a seeming connection to Haplogroup U. And the first believed Shaman proposed burial belonged to Eastern Gravettians/Pavlovian culture at Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia in the Czech Republic, which is the oldest permanent human settlement that has ever been found. It is at Dolní Věstonice where approximately 27,000-25,000 years ago a seeming female shaman was buried and also there was an ivory totem portrait figure, seemingly of her.

And my thoughts on how cultural/ritual aspects were influenced in the area of Göbekli Tepe. I think it relates to a few different cultures starting in the area before the Neolithic. Two different groups of Siberians first from northwest Siberia with U6 haplogroup 40,000 to 30,000 or so. Then R Haplogroup (mainly haplogroup R1b but also some possible R1a both related to the Ancient North Eurasians). This second group added its “R1b” DNA of around 50% to the two cultures Natufian and Trialetian. To me, it is likely both of these cultures helped create Göbekli Tepe. Then I think the female art or graffiti seen at Göbekli Tepe to me possibly relates to the Epigravettians that made it into Turkey and have similar art in North Italy. I speculate that possibly the Totem pole figurines seen first at Kostenki, next went to Mal’ta in Siberia as seen in their figurines that also seem “Totem-pole-like”, and then with the migrations of R1a it may have inspired the Shigir idol in Russia and the migrations of R1b may have inspired Göbekli Tepe.

Göbekli Tepe Shamanism

Shamanism at Early Neolithic Göbekli Tepe, southeastern Turkey. Methodological contributions to an archaeology of belief

by Oliver Dietrich

From the journal Praehistorische Zeitschrift

Abstract: The term shamanism is widely used in archaeology to describe early belief systems. Sometimes, this has taken the form of a one-size-fits-all-explanation, without a discussion of the concept or the cultural contexts it was applied to. Recently, the Early Neolithic (9600–7000 BCE) of southwestern Asia has become a focal point of this discussion. Sites like Nevalı Çori, Göbekli Tepe, Jerf el Ahmar, Körtik Tepe, Tell Abr’3, Tell Qaramel, Wadi Faynan 16, Karahantepe and Sayburç have produced rich evidence, mostly of an iconographical nature, that seems to offer direct insights into early belief systems. The current contribution uses one of the best-researched sites, Göbekli Tepe, as a case study to develop criteria for the identification of shamanism in the archaeological record.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Trialetian culture (16,000–8000 years ago) the Caucasus, Iran, and Turkey, likely involved in Göbekli Tepe. Migration 1?


Haplogroup R possible time of origin about 27,000 years in Central Asia, South Asia, or Siberia:

Trialetian sites

Caucasus and Transcaucasia:

Eastern Anatolia:

Trialetian influences can also be found in:

Southeast of the Caspian Sea:

  • Hotu (Iran)
  • Ali Tepe (Iran) (from cal. 10,500  to 8,870 BCE)
  • Belt Cave (Iran), layers 28-11 (the last remains date from ca. 6,000 BCE)
  • Dam-Dam-Cheshme II (Turkmenistan), layers7,000-3,000 BCE)” ref

“The belonging of these Caspian Mesolithic sites to the Trialetian has been questioned. Little is known about the end of the Trialetian. 6k BC has been proposed as the time on which the decline phase took place. From this date are the first evidence of the Jeitunian, an industry that has probably evolved from the Trialetian. Also from this date are the first pieces of evidence of Neolithic materials in the Belt cave.” ref

“In the southwest corner of the Trialetian region it has been proposed that this culture evolved towards a local version of the PPNB around 7,000 BCE, in sites as Cafer Höyük. Kozłowski suggests that the Trialetian does not seem to have continuation in the Neolithic of Georgia (as for example in Paluri and Kobuleti). Although in the 5,000 BCE certain microliths similar to those of the Trialetian reappear in Shulaveris Gora (see Shulaveri-Shomu) and Irmis Gora.” ref

“The genome of a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer individual found at the layer A2 of the Kotias Klde rock shelter in Georgia (labeled KK1), dating from 9,700 years ago, has been analyzed. This individual forms a genetic cluster with another hunter-gatherer from the Satsurblia Cave, the so-called Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) cluster. KK1 belongs to the Y-chromosome haplogruoup J2a (an independent analysis has assigned him J2a1b-Y12379*).” ref

“Although the belonging of the Caspian Mesolithic to the Trialetian has been questioned, it is worth noting that genetic similarities have been found between an Mesolithic hunther-gatherer from the Hotu cave (labeled Iran_HotuIIIb) dating from 9,100-8,600 BCE and the CHG from Kotias Klde. The Iran_HotuIIIb individual belongs to the Y-chromosome haplogroup J (xJ2a1b3, J2b2a1a1) (an independent analysis yields J2a-CTS1085(xCTS11251,PF5073) -probably J2a2-). Then, both KK1 and Iran_HotuIIIb individuals share a paternal ancestor that lived approximately 18.7k years ago (according to the estimates of full). At the autosomal level, it falls in the cluster of the CHG’s and the Iranian Neolithic Farmers.” ref

Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”) is a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, between c. 9500 and 8000 BCE, the site comprises a number of large circular structures supported by massive stone pillars – the world’s oldest known megaliths. Many of these pillars are richly decorated with abstract anthropomorphic details, clothing, and reliefs of wild animals, providing archaeologists rare insights into prehistoric religion and the particular iconography of the period..” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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  1. Kebaran culture 23,022-16,522 Years Ago, 2. Kortik Tepe 12,422-11,722 Years Ago, 3. Jerf el-Ahmar 11,222 -10,722 Years Ago, 4. Gobekli Tepe 11,152-9,392 Years Ago, 5. Tell Al-‘abrUbaid and Uruk Periods, 6. Nevali Cori 10,422 -10,122 Years Ago, 7. Catal Hoyuk 9,522-7,722 Years Ago

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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10,800-10,000 years old “Göbekli Tepe, engraving of a female person from layer II.” ref

“The Gravettian was an archaeological industry of the European Upper Paleolithic that succeeded the Aurignacian circa around 36/33,022 years ago, It is archaeologically the last European culture many consider unified, and had mostly disappeared by c. 22,022 years ago, close to the Last Glacial Maximum, although some elements lasted until c. 17,022 years ago. At this point, it was replaced abruptly by the Solutrean in France and Spain, and developed into or continued as the Epigravettian in Italy, the Balkans, Ukraine, and Russia. The Gravettian culture is known for Venus figurines, which were typically carved from either ivory or limestone. The culture was first identified at the site of La Gravette in the southwestern French department of Dordogne.” ref

“Surviving Gravettian art includes numerous cave paintings and small, portable Venus figurines made from clay or ivory, as well as jewelry objects. The fertility deities mostly date from the early period; there are over 100 known surviving examples. They conform to a very specific physical type, with large breasts, broad hips, and prominent posteriors. The statuettes tend to lack facial details, and their limbs are often broken off.” ref

“In a genetic study published in Nature in May 2016, the remains of fourteen Gravettians were examined. The eight samples of Y-DNA analyzed were determined to be three samples of haplogroup CT, one sample of I, one sample of IJK, one sample of BT, one sample of C1a2, one sample of F. Of the fourteen samples of mtDNA, there were thirteen samples of U and one sample of M. The majority of the sample of U belonged to the U5 and U2. In a genetic study published in Nature in November 2020, the remains of one adult male and two twin boys from a Gravettian site were examined. The Y-DNA analysis revealed that all 3 individuals belonged to haplogroup I. The 3 individuals had the same mtDNA, U5.” ref


“Migration from Siberia behind the formation of Göbeklitepe: Expert states. People who migrated from Siberia formed the Göbeklitepe, and those in Göbeklitepe migrated in five other ways to spread to the world, said experts about the 12,000-year-old Neolithic archaeological site in the southwestern province of Şanlıurfa.“ The upper paleolithic migrations between Siberia and the Near East is a process that has been confirmed by material culture documents,” he said.” ref

“Semih Güneri, a retired professor from Caucasia and Central Asia Archaeology Research Center of Dokuz Eylül University, and his colleague, Professor Ekaterine Lipnina, presented the Siberia-Göbeklitepe hypothesis they have developed in recent years at the congress held in Istanbul between June 11 and 13. There was a migration that started from Siberia 30,000 years ago and spread to all of Asia and then to Eastern and Northern Europe, Güneri said at the international congress.” ref

“The relationship of Göbeklitepe high culture with the carriers of Siberian microblade stone tool technology is no longer a secret,” he said while emphasizing that the most important branch of the migrations extended to the Near East. “The results of the genetic analyzes of Iraq’s Zagros region confirm the traces of the Siberian/North Asian indigenous people, who arrived at Zagros via the Central Asian mountainous corridor and met with the Göbeklitepe culture via Northern Iraq,” he added.” ref

“Emphasizing that the stone tool technology was transported approximately 7,000 kilometers from east to west, he said, “It is not clear whether this technology is transmitted directly to long distances by people speaking the Turkish language at the earliest, or it travels this long-distance through using way stations.” According to the archaeological documents, it is known that the Siberian people had reached the Zagros region, he said. “There seems to be a relationship between Siberian hunter-gatherers and native Zagros hunter-gatherers,” Güneri said, adding that the results of genetic studies show that Siberian people reached as far as the Zagros.” ref

“There were three waves of migration of Turkish tribes from the Southern Siberia to Europe,” said Osman Karatay, a professor from Ege University. He added that most of the groups in the third wave, which took place between 2600-2400 BCE, assimilated and entered the Germanic tribes and that there was a genetic kinship between their tribes and the Turks. The professor also pointed out that there are indications that there is a technology and tool transfer from Siberia to the Göbeklitepe region and that it is not known whether people came, and if any, whether they were Turkish.” ref

“Around 12,000 years ago, there would be no ‘Turks’ as we know it today. However, there may have been tribes that we could call our ‘common ancestors,’” he added. “Talking about 30,000 years ago, it is impossible to identify and classify nations in today’s terms,” said Murat Öztürk, associate professor from İnönü University. He also said that it is not possible to determine who came to where during the migrations that were accepted to have been made thousands of years ago from Siberia. On the other hand, Mehmet Özdoğan, an academic from Istanbul University, has an idea of where “the people of Göbeklitepe migrated to.” ref

“According to Özdoğan, “the people of Göbeklitepe turned into farmers, and they could not stand the pressure of the overwhelming clergy and started to migrate to five ways.” “Migrations take place primarily in groups. One of the five routes extends to the Caucasus, another from Iran to Central Asia, the Mediterranean coast to Spain, Thrace and [the northwestern province of] Kırklareli to Europe and England, and one route is to Istanbul via [Istanbul’s neighboring province of] Sakarya and stops,” Özdoğan said. In a very short time after the migration of farmers in Göbeklitepe, 300 settlements were established only around northern Greece, Bulgaria, and Thrace. “Those who remained in Göbeklitepe pulled the trigger of Mesopotamian civilization in the following periods, and those who migrated to Mesopotamia started irrigated agriculture before the Sumerians,” he said.” ref

The Ochre Painted Stones from the Riparo Dalmeri (Trento). Development of the Research on the Art and Rituality of the Epigravettian Site

Pictures linklink

Epigravettian art

12,000-year-old Gobekli Tepe: the pillars (Script Outline)  

 Which will explain and show all the Gobekli Tepe pillars close-up and explain more details. 

 Here are the references for a few small video clips used: ref, ref, refrefref, ref 

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This is the second show of our first The History Voyagers video series on 12,000-year-old Gobekli Tepe: “first human-made temple.”  And as Damien refers to it, a pagan temple. This is Show 2 which will explain the Gobekli Tepe T pillar as well as other sites that share these monolithic pillar similarities and there will be 10 videos in all on Gobekli Tepe. 

I often refer to Gobekli Tepe as an example of the emergence of the earliest paganism developing. To me, we can see developing and presumably changing shamanistic hunter-gather cult beliefs and behaviors a little before Gobekli Tepe but it is at Gobekli Tepe as well as after it and beyond which we truly can say something like the Gobekli Tepe temple complex and its seeming developed mythology beliefs carved out on the stones. It is at or after this temple complex that this new package of similar iconography and associated beliefs and behaviors that presented at Gobekli Tepe with what seems to be mythological themes beyond or expanded from shamanistic hunter-gather cult behaviors and beliefs. Such as ones I believe are being expressed at 12,400 – 11,700 Years old site of Kortik Tepe in Turkey, with pre/early-Agriculture Cultic Ritualism.  

Just to clarify when I refer to seeming paganism thinking or behaviors (emphasize reverence for nature, polytheistic and animistic, totemistic and shamanist religious practices). and Gobekli Tepe, by paganism I mean a grouped set of behaviors that I believe resemble the concept of paganism type beliefs. Neither am I claiming to fully know or understand all the possible mythology beliefs that may be represented in the carving at Gobekli Tepe, some seem more straightforward others beyond current understanding and possibly forever beyond full comprehension. 

“Paganism was originally a pejorative and derogatory term for polytheism, implying its inferiority. Paganism (from classical Latin refers to “rural, rustic,” later “civilian”) is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people who practiced polytheism.” ref 

“However, Paganism as a term of meaning represents a wide variety of traditions that emphasize reverence for nature and a revival of ancient polytheistic and animistic religious practices. Paganism is not a traditional religion per se because it does not have any official doctrine, but it does have some common characteristics joining the great variety of traditions. One of the common beliefs is the divine presence in nature and the reverence of the natural order in life. Spiritual growth is related to the cycles of the Earth and great emphasis is placed on ecological concerns. Monotheism is almost universally rejected within Paganism and most Pagan traditions are particularly interested in the revival of ancient polytheist religious traditions.” ref   

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A port hole stone placed inside another larger porthole when the site was intentionally buried.

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Two foxes and a bucranium: the first in situ porthole stone from Göbekli Tepe

” At Gobekli Tepe the fox and bull porthole was discovered in place as designed or in situ set to the north of Enclosure B. Apart from revealing a so far unknown part of this enclosure and two more of its pillars, immediately on the bedrock several walls outside of the enclosure were discovered. In one of them, a decorated porthole stone stood in situ. The subrectangular hole in the middle of the stone is flanked by two antithetic foxes, apparently portrayed in the moment of jumping (at each other, at the entrance, the visitor?). Above the hole, a bucranium was placed. Unfortunately, the sounding could not be enlarged to explore the room enclosed by the wall. It thus remains unclear, whether the porthole stone really marks the entrance to the building, or the animals were ‘guarding’ a niche with important contents within a room.” ref 

Tutelary deity

“A tutelary (also tutelar) is a deity or spirit who is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation. The etymology of “tutelary” expresses the concept of safety and thus of guardianship. In late Greek and Roman religion, one type of tutelary deity, the genius, functions as the personal deity or daimon of an individual from birth to death. Another form of personal tutelary spirit is the familiar spirit of European folklore.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) iKorean shamanismjangseung and sotdae were placed at the edge of villages to frighten off demons. They were also worshiped as deities. Seonangshin is the patron deity of the village in Korean tradition and was believed to embody the SeonangdangIn Philippine animism, Diwata or Lambana are deities or spirits that inhabit sacred places like mountains and mounds and serve as guardians. Such as: Maria Makiling is the deity who guards Mt. Makiling and Maria Cacao and Maria Sinukuan. In Shinto, the spirits, or kami, which give life to human bodies come from nature and return to it after death. Ancestors are therefore themselves tutelaries to be worshiped. And similarly, Native American beliefs such as Tonás, tutelary animal spirit among the Zapotec and Totems, familial or clan spirits among the Ojibwe, can be animals.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Austronesian beliefs such as: Atua (gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples such as the Māori or the Hawaiians), Hanitu (Bunun of Taiwan‘s term for spirit), Hyang (KawiSundaneseJavanese, and Balinese Supreme Being, in ancient Java and Bali mythology and this spiritual entity, can be either divine or ancestral), Kaitiaki (New Zealand Māori term used for the concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land), Kawas (mythology) (divided into 6 groups: gods, ancestors, souls of the living, spirits of living things, spirits of lifeless objects, and ghosts), Tiki (Māori mythologyTiki is the first man created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne and represents deified ancestors found in most Polynesian cultures). ” ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

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“At Göbekli Tepe, was found a monumental porthole stone from the northwestern hilltop areas. Several such stones with a central opening are known from the site, and they could have played a role as entrances to the enclosures or other buildings. One of them lies approximately in the center of Enclosure B and gives some reason to think about an entrance through a possible roof for that building.  However, this new porthole stone from the northwestern areas was completely different, and that not only regarding its enormous measurements. First, unlike all examples found before, it has two openings. Second, it is richly decorated with three sculptures of quadrupeds (bull, ram, and a wildcat) and a snake in high relief, as well as a row of cup holes. Unfortunately, the stone was not in situ, that is, not in its original architectonic context. But the decorations clearly show that it must have been part of an important building whose entrance had to be guarded accordingly.” ref

“The megalith pillars themselves, 43 of which have been unearthed so far, are mainly T-shaped pillars of soft limestone up to around 16 feet in height and were excavated and transported from a stone quarry on the lower southwestern slope of the hill. Geophysical surveys on the hill indicate that there are as many as 250 more megaliths lying buried around the site, suggesting that another 16 complexes once existed at Göbekli Tepe. Although some of the standing stones at Göbekli Tepe are blank, others display extraordinary artwork in the form of elaborately carved foxes, lions, bulls, scorpions, snakes, wild boars, vultures, waterfowl, insects, and arachnids. Although the pictograms at Göbekli Tepe do not represent a form of writing, they may have functioned as sacred prewriting symbols whose meanings were implicitly understood by local populations at the time.” ref 

“The many animals depicted include foxes, birds, lions, scorpions, snakes, and boars. There is a scorpion the size of a small suitcase, and a jackal-like creature with an exposed rib cage. The exact meanings of the carvings appear to be unknown. On one pillar a row of lumpy, eyeless “ducks” float above a boar, with an erect penis. Another relief consists of the simple contour of a fox also with a distinct penis. Most mammals represented at Göbekli Tepe are visibly male, except for one fox, which, in place of a penis, has several snakes coming out of its abdomen. Perhaps the most debated composition portrays a vulture carrying a round object on one wing; below its feet, a headless male torso displays yet another erect penis.” ref

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“This is from Göbekli Tepe’s Enclosure D – P22, with a snake.” ref

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“This is from Göbekli Tepe’s  Enclosure D – P21, with goitred gazelle and Asiatic wild ass.” ref

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Göbekli Tepe is on the Syrian border of south-stern Turkey lies the biggest archaeology mystery on the planet. The site is spectacular. The tell (artificial mound) has a height of 15 m (49 ft) and is about 300 m (980 ft) in diameter. The stones weigh up in excess of 16 tons and are up to 22 ft tall.  ref, ref

“The enclosures of Göbekli Tepe show a variation in the animal species depicted prominently in the iconography of each circle. While in Enclosure A the snake prevails, in Enclosure B foxes are dominant, for example. In Enclosure C boars take over and in Enclosure D birds are playing an important role. Interpreting these differences as figurative expression of community patterns could probably hint at the different groups building the particular enclosures. Distinct enclosures may have served different social entities. The character of these entities remains open to discussion at the moment. There are some clues, however. Restriction of the access to knowledge and participation in rituals seems to be attestable at Göbekli Tepe (Layer III 11,130–10,800 years ago, Layer II, 10,800–10,000 years ago in enclosure B 10,280–9,970 years ago, and enclosure C 9,560–9,370 years ago) in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey and clay figurines are seemingly absent completely from Göbekli. This observation gains importance in comparison to Nevalı Çori (10,400 – 10,100 years ago), in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey where clay figurines are abundant, missing only in the ‘cult building’ with its stone sculptures and T-shaped pillars. Clay and stone sculptures may thus well form two different functional groups, one connected to domestic space (and cult?) and one to the specialized ‘cult buildings’ – and to another sphere of ritual also evident at Göbekli Tepe. Its iconography is exclusively male, and while evidence for some domestic tasks is missing, there is evidence for flint knapping on a much larger scale than in any contemporary settlement, and shaft straighteners are very frequent, too. Göbekli Tepe could have been a place for just a part of society, for male hunters. At least their ideology is exclusively represented at the site.” ref 

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On the front side of Pillar 20 in Enclosure D we see a snake moving towards an aurochs or bull. The aurochs’ body is seen from the side, the head from above. The position of the head lowered for an attack, could be in defense or attack towards the snake. The aurochs legs are depicted oddly flexed, which could indicate his defeat and near death. As could the size of the snake which is depicted considerably larger than the aurochs. If this depiction really shows a battle between snake and aurochs (life and death, maybe), possibly even some meaning that expresses the snake prevailing but of course hypothetical, still there are connections to other aspects of Göbekli´s material culture. ref

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Göbekli Tepe is not alone, in fact, it is part of a religious/cultural connected ritual culture in the general region. There are several other similar sites with similar T-pillars to Göbekli Tepe or other types of stone pillar providing a seeming connected cult belief or religious culture of pillars seen in the PPNA-PPNB in the northern portion of the Near East.

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A few of these next pictures help to understand the height of the Göbekli Tepe pillars in relation to people. However, some of them are a recreation of the Göbekli Tepe pillars at the region’s museum it helps understand what their relationship would have been.

Göbekli Tepe’s Level III enclosures, what can be said about them: 

“First, they were almost certainly roofed at some point or braced in some way with beams and thus partially roofed, with the beams supported by the great central T-pillars. This lays doubt on claims they were astronomical observatories. The footings for the standing T-pillars are surprisingly shallow, suggesting that the roof actually stabilized them in their upright position. Note that they are now necessarily stabilized with cables, or they would fall over.” ref

“Second, the fabulous decoration on the pillars is a whole menagerie of animal species, but their distribution is not random. In each of the four enclosures most fully excavated, one class predominates: snakes in Enclosure A, foxes in B, boars in C, and birds in D. A plausible explanation is that these were totemic animals for different clans, social groupings, hunting societies, or even secret societies, each with its own exclusive communal clubhouse. Combinations of animals with other pictorial elements open up the possibility of commemorative narratives—say, of memorable hunts, raids, or feasts. The few human figures are mainly headless, which ties into a longstanding funerary tradition across the Fertile Crescent. Indeed, some of the skull fragments recovered from the fill are neatly pierced and grooved as if to facilitate hanging decoratively from the rafters—more Temple of Doom than Temple of Light.” ref

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There are also anthropomorphic human-like totem features on the two center “T” shaped pillars, where arms and hands are depicted indicating the monolithic pillars maybe a stylized person. These “T” shaped stones may connect to sky burial offerings already seen in the hunter-gather shamanism which preceded this site. This may have been directly on the pillars, hanging on the pillars in some fashion, or laid between then like an offering if the site was open to the air. Alternatively, if the site was roofed the sky burials may have been nearby at Göbekli Tepe or at some other site then were brought to Göbekli Tepe. 

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One of the most impressive pillars from Göbekli Tepe, Pillar 43 in Enclosure D, which, to me, may relate to sky burial ritualism.

“Some images on Göbekli Tepe’s pillars indicate a narrative meaning. One striking example for this is Pillar 43 in Enclosure D. The whole western broadside of this pillar is covered by a variety of motifs. Dominant is a big vulture. It lifts its left wing, while the right wing points to the front. It is possible that this gesture aims at the sphere or disc that can be seen above the tip of the right wing. But to the right of the vulture another bird, maybe an ibis or a young vulture is shown. If we take this image as a depiction of a young bird, then the stretched-out wing of the vulture could be a gesture of protection, and the sphere could be the egg the young bird hatched from. Another possibility would be a depiction of the sun or the moon. However, the scenery could also mean something completely different, as we will see below.” ref

“To the right above this scene, a snake, two H-shaped symbols and wild fowl are depicted. On the pillar’s shaft, a huge scorpion as well as the head and neck of another bird are dominating the scene. While some more reliefs to the left of the scorpion and the bird are hidden by the perimeter wall, to the right of the bird’s neck an especially interesting motif is depicted. Due to damage to the pillar it is not preserved completely, but the representation of a headless human with an erect penis is quite clearly recognizable. The depiction seems to relate to aspects of the Early Neolithic death cult known from several sites and offers another interpretation for the spherical object above the vultures wing: it could be the depiction of the person’s head. But even without giving too much weight to this aspect of the pillar’s reliefs, it is clear that the intention behind the imagery goes well beyond depicting nature.” ref

“On the uppermost part of Pillar 43, a row of three rectangular objects with cupola-like ‘arches’ on their tops can be seen. Every one of these objects is accompanied by an animal added on the ’arch’. The meaning of these images is hard to guess, but they might represent the enclosures during their time of use, seen from the side. The rectangular part would represent the perimeter walls, while the cupolas may indicate roofs. What appears to be the norm in the animal art found at Göbekli Tepe are depictions of one animal species that seem to dominate in every enclosure, it is an intriguing thought that buildings of different groups are depicted here with the emblematic animals of these groups added for recognition. Following this line of argument, one would also have to assume that the enclosures were depicted here rather schematic in an almost technical sectional view – what would be highly unusual compared to the other naturalistic representations from Göbekli Tepe. A final decision on the meaning of these images is not possible at the moment.” ref

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This is found at the base of Göbekli Tepe’s two center human-like T-Pillars seven birds carved into the heavy base supporting a statue T-Pillar. ref


Human Y chromosome haplogroup R-V88: a paternal genetic record of early mid Holocene trans-Saharan connections and the spread of Chadic languages

Although human Y chromosomes belonging to haplogroup R1b are quite rare in Africa, being found mainly in Asia and Europe, a group of chromosomes within the paragroup R-P25* are found concentrated in the central-western part of the African continent, where they can be detected at frequencies as high as 95%. Phylogenetic evidence and coalescence time estimates suggest that R-P25* chromosomes (or their phylogenetic ancestor) may have been carried to Africa by an Asia-to-Africa back migration in prehistoric times. Here, we describe six new mutations that define the relationships among the African R-P25* Y chromosomes and between these African chromosomes and earlier reported R-P25 Eurasian sub-lineages. The incorporation of these new mutations into a phylogeny of the R1b haplogroup led to the identification of a new clade (R1b1a or R-V88) encompassing all the African R-P25* and about half of the few European/west Asian R-P25* chromosomes. A worldwide phylogeographic analysis of the R1b haplogroup provided strong support to the Asia-to-Africa back-migration hypothesis. The analysis of the distribution of the R-V88 haplogroup in >1800 males from 69 African populations revealed a striking genetic contiguity between the Chadic-speaking peoples from the central Sahel and several other Afroasiatic-speaking groups from North Africa. The R-V88 coalescence time was estimated at 9200–5600 kya, in the early mid Holocene. We suggest that R-V88 is a paternal genetic record of the proposed mid-Holocene migration of proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers through the Central Sahara into the Lake Chad Basin, and geomorphological evidence is consistent with this view.” ref

“Evidence of early Eurasian backflow to Africa in people speaking the unclassified isolate Laal language in southern Chad and estimate from linkage-disequilibrium decay that this occurred 4,750–7,200 years ago. It brought to Africa a Y chromosome lineage (R1b-V88) whose closest relatives are widespread in present-day Eurasia; we estimate from sequence data that the Chad R1b-V88 Y chromosomes coalesced 5,700–7,300 years ago. This migration could thus have originated among Near Eastern farmers during the African Humid Period. We also found that the previously documented Eurasian backflow into Africa, which occurred ∼3,000 years ago and was thought to be mostly limited to East Africa, had a more westward impact affecting populations in northern Chad, such as the Toubou, who have 20%–30% Eurasian ancestry today. We observed a decline in heterozygosity in admixed Africans and found that the Eurasian admixture can bias inferences on their coalescent history and confound genetic signals from adaptation and archaic introgression.” ref

“It has been hypothesised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighboring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs. With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing the indiscriminate killing of wild animals. The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars, and goats led to their progressive taming. Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence, while other people in the Fertile Crescent (presumably represented by haplogroups E1b1b, G and T) settled down to cultivate the land or keep smaller domesticates.” ref

“The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains. The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b.” ref

“The early R1b cattle herders would have split in at least three groups. One branch (M335) remained in Anatolia, but judging from its extreme rarity today wasn’t very successful, perhaps due to the heavy competition with other Neolithic populations in Anatolia, or to the scarcity of pastures in this mountainous environment. A second branch migrated south to the Levant, where it became the V88 branch. Some of them searched for new lands south in Africa, first in Egypt, then colonising most of northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahel. The third branch (P297), crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle. They split into two factions: R1b1a1 (M73), which went east along the Caspian Sea to Central Asia, and R1b1a2 (M269), which at first remained in the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga. It is not yet clear whether M73 actually migrated across the Caucasus and reached Central Asia via Kazakhstan, or if it went south through Iran and Turkmenistan. In any case, M73 would be a pre-Indo-European branch of R1b, just like V88 and M335.” ref

“R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, which comprised almost all Europe (except Finland, Sardinia and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, European Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably in Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, northern India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.” ref

The Levantine & African branch of R1b (V88)

“Like its northern counterpart (R1b-M269), R1b-V88 is associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia. Both branches of R1b probably split soon after cattle were domesticated, approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE). R1b-V88 migrated south towards the Levant and Egypt. The migration of R1b people can be followed archeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba). Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.” ref

“Evidence of cow herding during the Neolithic has shown up at Uan Muhuggiag in central Libya around 5500 BCE, at the Capeletti Cave in northern Algeria around 4500 BCE. But the most compelling evidence that R1b people related to modern Europeans once roamed the Sahara is to be found at Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria, a site famous pyroglyphs (rock art) dating from the Neolithic era. Some painting dating from around 3000 BCE depict fair-skinned and blond or auburn haired women riding on cows. The oldest known R1b-V88 sample in Europe is a 6,200 year-old farmer/herder from Catalonia tested by Haak et al. (2015). Autosomally this individual was a typical Near Eastern farmer, possessing just a little bit of Mesolithic West European admixture.” ref

“After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders. These North African Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE. The maternal lineages associated with the spread of R1b-V88 in Africa are mtDNA haplogroups J1b, U5 and V, and perhaps also U3 and some H subclades (=> see Retracing the mtDNA haplogroups of the original R1b people)” ref

“Nowadays small percentages (1 to 4%) of R1b-V88 are found in the Levant, among the Lebanese, the Druze, and the Jews, and almost in every country in Africa north of the equator. Higher frequency in Egypt (5%), among Berbers from the Egypt-Libya border (23%), among the Sudanese Copts (15%), the Hausa people of Sudan (40%), the the Fulani people of the Sahel (54% in Niger and Cameroon), and Chadic tribes of northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon (especially among the Kirdi), where it is observed at a frequency ranging from 30% to 95% of men. According to Cruciani et al. (2010) R1b-V88 would have crossed the Sahara between 9,200 and 5,600 years ago, and is most probably associated with the diffusion of Chadic languages, a branch of the Afroasiatic languages. V88 would have migrated from Egypt to Sudan, then expanded along the Sahel until northern Cameroon and Nigeria. However, R1b-V88 is not only present among Chadic speakers, but also among Senegambian speakers (Fula-Hausa) and Semitic speakers (Berbers, Arabs).” ref

“R1b-V88 is found among the native populations of Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau. The wide distribution of V88 in all parts of Africa, its incidence among herding tribes, and the coalescence age of the haplogroup all support a Neolithic dispersal. In any case, a later migration out of Egypt would be improbable since it would have brought haplogroups that came to Egypt during the Bronze Age, such as J1, J2, R1a or R1b-L23.” ref

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There is a special T-Pillar called Pillar 27 in Enclosure C: high relief of a snarling predator. ref

“We are talking about some of the world’s oldest religious artwork and stone carvings. Walking through the enclosures of Göbekli Tepe reveals depictions of animals, symbols, and human-like figures. There are both high relief and low relief carvings found throughout the site. The precision and skill associated with these carvings are nothing short of remarkable. A high relief carving means that the stone is cut on the outside of the larger piece. It is a complicated and advanced technique in stone masonry even by modern standards.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“The shaman is, above all, a connecting figure, bridging several worlds for his people, traveling between this world, the underworld, and the heavens. He transforms himself into an animal and talks with ghosts, the dead, the deities, and the ancestors. He dies and revives. He brings back knowledge from the shadow realm, thus linking his people to the spirits and places which were once mythically accessible to all.–anthropologist Barbara Meyerhoff” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“Several linguists and geneticists suggest that the Uralic languages are related to various Siberian languages and possibly also some languages of northern Native Americans. A proposed family is named Uralo-Siberian, it includes Uralic, Yukaghir, Eskimo–Aleut (Inuit), possibly Nivkh, and Chukotko-Kamchatkan. Haplogroup Q is found in nearly all Native Americans and nearly all of the Yeniseian Ket people (90%).” ref, ref

You can find some form of Shamanism, among Uralic, Transeurasian, Dené–Yeniseian, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, and Eskaleut languages.

My speculations of shamanism are its dispersals, after 24,000 to 4,000 years ago, seem to center on Lake Baikal and related areas. To me, the hotspot of Shamanism goes from west of Lake Baikal in the “Altai Mountains” also encompassing “Lake Baikal” and includes the “Amur Region/Watershed” east of Lake Baikal as the main location Shamanism seems to have radiated out from. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Postglacial genomes from foragers across Northern Eurasia reveal prehistoric

mobility associated with the spread of the Uralic and Yeniseian languages


“The North Eurasian forest and forest-steppe zones have sustained millennia of sociocultural connections among northern peoples. We present genome-wide ancient DNA data for 181 individuals from this region spanning the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age. We find that Early to Mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer populations from across the southern forest and forest-steppes of Northern Eurasia can be characterized by a continuous gradient of ancestry that remained stable for millennia, ranging from fully West Eurasian in the Baltic region to fully East Asian in the Transbaikal region. In contrast, cotemporaneous groups in far Northeast Siberia were genetically distinct, retaining high levels of continuity from a population that was the primary source of ancestry for Native Americans. By the mid-Holocene, admixture between this early Northeastern Siberian population and groups from Inland East Asia and the Amur River Basin produced two distinctive populations in eastern Siberia that played an important role in the genetic formation of later people. Ancestry from the first population, Cis-Baikal Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Cisbaikal_LNBA), is found substantially only among Yeniseian-speaking groups and those known to have admixed with them. Ancestry from the second, Yakutian Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Yakutia_LNBA), is strongly associated with present-day Uralic speakers. We show how Yakutia_LNBA ancestry spread from an east Siberian origin ~4.5kya, along with subclades of Y-chromosome haplogroup N occurring at high frequencies among present-day Uralic speakers, into Western and Central Siberia in communities associated with Seima-Turbino metallurgy: a suite of advanced bronze casting techniques that spread explosively across an enormous region of Northern Eurasia ~4.0kya. However, the ancestry of the 16 Seima-Turbino-period individuals–the first reported from sites with this metallurgy–was otherwise extraordinarily diverse, with partial descent from Indo-Iranian-speaking pastoralists and multiple hunter-gatherer populations from widely separated regions of Eurasia. Our results provide support for theories suggesting that early Uralic speakers at the beginning of their westward dispersal where involved in the expansion of Seima-Turbino metallurgical traditions, and suggests that both cultural transmission and migration were important in the spread of Seima-Turbino material culture.” ref

Haplogroup N from China to Fennoscandia: Migrations and Relationship of Language (Dene-Yeniseian and Uralic), DNA, and Cultures

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

People don’t commonly teach religious history, even that of their own claimed religion. No, rather they teach a limited “pro their religion” history of their religion from a religious perspective favorable to the religion of choice. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Do you truly think “Religious Belief” is only a matter of some personal choice?

Do you not see how coercive one’s world of choice is limited to the obvious hereditary belief, in most religious choices available to the child of religious parents or caregivers? Religion is more commonly like a family, culture, society, etc. available belief that limits the belief choices of the child and that is when “Religious Belief” is not only a matter of some personal choice and when it becomes hereditary faith, not because of the quality of its alleged facts or proposed truths but because everyone else important to the child believes similarly so they do as well simply mimicking authority beliefs handed to them. Because children are raised in religion rather than being presented all possible choices but rather one limited dogmatic brand of “Religious Belief” where children only have a choice of following the belief as instructed, and then personally claim the faith hereditary belief seen in the confirming to the belief they have held themselves all their lives. This is obvious in statements asked and answered by children claiming a faith they barely understand but they do understand that their family believes “this or that” faith, so they feel obligated to believe it too. While I do agree that “Religious Belief” should only be a matter of some personal choice, it rarely is… End Hereditary Religion!

Opposition to Imposed Hereditary Religion

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Animism: Respecting the Living World by Graham Harvey

“How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

We are like believing machines we vacuum up ideas, like Velcro sticks to almost everything. We accumulate beliefs that we allow to negatively influence our lives, often without realizing it. Our willingness must be to alter skewed beliefs that impend our balance or reason, which allows us to achieve new positive thinking and accurate outcomes.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

My religious family had me believing my anarchism nature was some demonic possession when it has always been a call for freedom and equality.

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

“Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings…

Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure, or a firefighter talks about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victims of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions.

“Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, Paganism & Progressed organized religion”

Understanding Religion Evolution:

“An Archaeological/Anthropological Understanding of Religion Evolution”

It seems ancient peoples had to survived amazing threats in a “dangerous universe (by superstition perceived as good and evil),” and human “immorality or imperfection of the soul” which was thought to affect the still living, leading to ancestor worship. This ancestor worship presumably led to the belief in supernatural beings, and then some of these were turned into the belief in gods. This feeble myth called gods were just a human conceived “made from nothing into something over and over, changing, again and again, taking on more as they evolve, all the while they are thought to be special,” but it is just supernatural animistic spirit-belief perceived as sacred.


Quick Evolution of Religion?

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) pre-religion is a beginning that evolves into later Animism. So, Religion as we think of it, to me, all starts in a general way with Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in supernatural powers/spirits), then this is physically expressed in or with Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in mythical relationship with powers/spirits through a totem item), which then enlists a full-time specific person to do this worship and believed interacting Shamanism (Siberia/Russia: 30,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in access and influence with spirits through ritual), and then there is the further employment of myths and gods added to all the above giving you Paganism (Turkey: 12,000 years ago) (often a lot more nature-based than most current top world religions, thus hinting to their close link to more ancient religious thinking it stems from). My hypothesis is expressed with an explanation of the building of a theatrical house (modern religions development). Progressed organized religion (Egypt: 5,000 years ago)  with CURRENT “World” RELIGIONS (after 4,000 years ago).

Historically, in large city-state societies (such as Egypt or Iraq) starting around 5,000 years ago culminated to make religion something kind of new, a sociocultural-governmental-religious monarchy, where all or at least many of the people of such large city-state societies seem familiar with and committed to the existence of “religion” as the integrated life identity package of control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine, but this juggernaut integrated religion identity package of Dogmatic-Propaganda certainly did not exist or if developed to an extent it was highly limited in most smaller prehistoric societies as they seem to lack most of the strong control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine (magical beliefs could be at times be added or removed). Many people just want to see developed religious dynamics everywhere even if it is not. Instead, all that is found is largely fragments until the domestication of religion.

Religions, as we think of them today, are a new fad, even if they go back to around 6,000 years in the timeline of human existence, this amounts to almost nothing when seen in the long slow evolution of religion at least around 70,000 years ago with one of the oldest ritual worship. Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago. This message of how religion and gods among them are clearly a man-made thing that was developed slowly as it was invented and then implemented peace by peace discrediting them all. Which seems to be a simple point some are just not grasping how devastating to any claims of truth when we can see the lie clearly in the archeological sites.

I wish people fought as hard for the actual values as they fight for the group/clan names political or otherwise they think support values. Every amount spent on war is theft to children in need of food or the homeless kept from shelter.

Here are several of my blog posts on history:

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

To me, Animism starts in Southern Africa, then to West Europe, and becomes Totemism. Another split goes near the Russia and Siberia border becoming Shamanism, which heads into Central Europe meeting up with Totemism, which also had moved there, mixing the two which then heads to Lake Baikal in Siberia. From there this Shamanism-Totemism heads to Turkey where it becomes Paganism.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Low Gods “Earth” or Tutelary deity and High Gods “Sky” or Supreme deity

“An Earth goddess is a deification of the Earth. Earth goddesses are often associated with the “chthonic” deities of the underworldKi and Ninhursag are Mesopotamian earth goddesses. In Greek mythology, the Earth is personified as Gaia, corresponding to Roman Terra, Indic Prithvi/Bhūmi, etc. traced to an “Earth Mother” complementary to the “Sky Father” in Proto-Indo-European religionEgyptian mythology exceptionally has a sky goddess and an Earth god.” ref

“A mother goddess is a goddess who represents or is a personification of naturemotherhoodfertilitycreationdestruction or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world, such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother. In some religious traditions or movements, Heavenly Mother (also referred to as Mother in Heaven or Sky Mother) is the wife or feminine counterpart of the Sky father or God the Father.” ref

Any masculine sky god is often also king of the gods, taking the position of patriarch within a pantheon. Such king gods are collectively categorized as “sky father” deities, with a polarity between sky and earth often being expressed by pairing a “sky father” god with an “earth mother” goddess (pairings of a sky mother with an earth father are less frequent). A main sky goddess is often the queen of the gods and may be an air/sky goddess in her own right, though she usually has other functions as well with “sky” not being her main. In antiquity, several sky goddesses in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Near East were called Queen of Heaven. Neopagans often apply it with impunity to sky goddesses from other regions who were never associated with the term historically. The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky.” ref

“In comparative mythology, sky father is a term for a recurring concept in polytheistic religions of a sky god who is addressed as a “father”, often the father of a pantheon and is often either a reigning or former King of the Gods. The concept of “sky father” may also be taken to include Sun gods with similar characteristics, such as Ra. The concept is complementary to an “earth mother“. “Sky Father” is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity name as the Greek Zeûs Pater and Roman Jupiter and Germanic Týr, Tir or Tiwaz, all of which are reflexes of the same Proto-Indo-European deity’s name, *Dyēus Ph₂tḗr. While there are numerous parallels adduced from outside of Indo-European mythology, there are exceptions (e.g. In Egyptian mythology, Nut is the sky mother and Geb is the earth father).” ref

Tutelary deity

“A tutelary (also tutelar) is a deity or spirit who is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation. The etymology of “tutelary” expresses the concept of safety and thus of guardianship. In late Greek and Roman religion, one type of tutelary deity, the genius, functions as the personal deity or daimon of an individual from birth to death. Another form of personal tutelary spirit is the familiar spirit of European folklore.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) iKorean shamanismjangseung and sotdae were placed at the edge of villages to frighten off demons. They were also worshiped as deities. Seonangshin is the patron deity of the village in Korean tradition and was believed to embody the SeonangdangIn Philippine animism, Diwata or Lambana are deities or spirits that inhabit sacred places like mountains and mounds and serve as guardians. Such as: Maria Makiling is the deity who guards Mt. Makiling and Maria Cacao and Maria Sinukuan. In Shinto, the spirits, or kami, which give life to human bodies come from nature and return to it after death. Ancestors are therefore themselves tutelaries to be worshiped. And similarly, Native American beliefs such as Tonás, tutelary animal spirit among the Zapotec and Totems, familial or clan spirits among the Ojibwe, can be animals.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Austronesian beliefs such as: Atua (gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples such as the Māori or the Hawaiians), Hanitu (Bunun of Taiwan‘s term for spirit), Hyang (KawiSundaneseJavanese, and Balinese Supreme Being, in ancient Java and Bali mythology and this spiritual entity, can be either divine or ancestral), Kaitiaki (New Zealand Māori term used for the concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land), Kawas (mythology) (divided into 6 groups: gods, ancestors, souls of the living, spirits of living things, spirits of lifeless objects, and ghosts), Tiki (Māori mythologyTiki is the first man created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne and represents deified ancestors found in most Polynesian cultures). ” ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Mesopotamian Tutelary Deities can be seen as ones related to City-States 

“Historical city-states included Sumerian cities such as Uruk and UrAncient Egyptian city-states, such as Thebes and Memphis; the Phoenician cities (such as Tyre and Sidon); the five Philistine city-states; the Berber city-states of the Garamantes; the city-states of ancient Greece (the poleis such as AthensSpartaThebes, and Corinth); the Roman Republic (which grew from a city-state into a vast empire); the Italian city-states from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, such as FlorenceSienaFerraraMilan (which as they grew in power began to dominate neighboring cities) and Genoa and Venice, which became powerful thalassocracies; the Mayan and other cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (including cities such as Chichen ItzaTikalCopán and Monte Albán); the central Asian cities along the Silk Road; the city-states of the Swahili coastRagusa; states of the medieval Russian lands such as Novgorod and Pskov; and many others.” ref

“The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BCE; also known as Protoliterate period) of Mesopotamia, named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia and the Sumerian civilization. City-States like Uruk and others had a patron tutelary City Deity along with a Priest-King.” ref

Chinese folk religion, both past, and present, includes myriad tutelary deities. Exceptional individuals, highly cultivated sages, and prominent ancestors can be deified and honored after death. Lord Guan is the patron of military personnel and police, while Mazu is the patron of fishermen and sailors. Such as Tu Di Gong (Earth Deity) is the tutelary deity of a locality, and each individual locality has its own Earth Deity and Cheng Huang Gong (City God) is the guardian deity of an individual city, worshipped by local officials and locals since imperial times.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Hinduism, personal tutelary deities are known as ishta-devata, while family tutelary deities are known as Kuladevata. Gramadevata are guardian deities of villages. Devas can also be seen as tutelary. Shiva is the patron of yogis and renunciants. City goddesses include: Mumbadevi (Mumbai), Sachchika (Osian); Kuladevis include: Ambika (Porwad), and Mahalakshmi. In NorthEast India Meitei mythology and religion (Sanamahism) of Manipur, there are various types of tutelary deities, among which Lam Lais are the most predominant ones. Tibetan Buddhism has Yidam as a tutelary deity. Dakini is the patron of those who seek knowledge.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) The Greeks also thought deities guarded specific places: for instance, Athena was the patron goddess of the city of Athens. Socrates spoke of hearing the voice of his personal spirit or daimonion:

You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me … . This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician.” ref

“Tutelary deities who guard and preserve a place or a person are fundamental to ancient Roman religion. The tutelary deity of a man was his Genius, that of a woman her Juno. In the Imperial era, the Genius of the Emperor was a focus of Imperial cult. An emperor might also adopt a major deity as his personal patron or tutelary, as Augustus did Apollo. Precedents for claiming the personal protection of a deity were established in the Republican era, when for instance the Roman dictator Sulla advertised the goddess Victory as his tutelary by holding public games (ludi) in her honor.” ref

“Each town or city had one or more tutelary deities, whose protection was considered particularly vital in time of war and siege. Rome itself was protected by a goddess whose name was to be kept ritually secret on pain of death (for a supposed case, see Quintus Valerius Soranus). The Capitoline Triad of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva were also tutelaries of Rome. The Italic towns had their own tutelary deities. Juno often had this function, as at the Latin town of Lanuvium and the Etruscan city of Veii, and was often housed in an especially grand temple on the arx (citadel) or other prominent or central location. The tutelary deity of Praeneste was Fortuna, whose oracle was renowned.” ref

“The Roman ritual of evocatio was premised on the belief that a town could be made vulnerable to military defeat if the power of its tutelary deity were diverted outside the city, perhaps by the offer of superior cult at Rome. The depiction of some goddesses such as the Magna Mater (Great Mother, or Cybele) as “tower-crowned” represents their capacity to preserve the city. A town in the provinces might adopt a deity from within the Roman religious sphere to serve as its guardian, or syncretize its own tutelary with such; for instance, a community within the civitas of the Remi in Gaul adopted Apollo as its tutelary, and at the capital of the Remi (present-day Rheims), the tutelary was Mars Camulus.” ref 

Household deity (a kind of or related to a Tutelary deity)

“A household deity is a deity or spirit that protects the home, looking after the entire household or certain key members. It has been a common belief in paganism as well as in folklore across many parts of the world. Household deities fit into two types; firstly, a specific deity – typically a goddess – often referred to as a hearth goddess or domestic goddess who is associated with the home and hearth, such as the ancient Greek Hestia.” ref

“The second type of household deities are those that are not one singular deity, but a type, or species of animistic deity, who usually have lesser powers than major deities. This type was common in the religions of antiquity, such as the Lares of ancient Roman religion, the Gashin of Korean shamanism, and Cofgodas of Anglo-Saxon paganism. These survived Christianisation as fairy-like creatures existing in folklore, such as the Anglo-Scottish Brownie and Slavic Domovoy.” ref

“Household deities were usually worshipped not in temples but in the home, where they would be represented by small idols (such as the teraphim of the Bible, often translated as “household gods” in Genesis 31:19 for example), amulets,