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Venus figurines

Thank you, Ronnie Gallagher, for your long and interesting comment. There are aspects of your theory that seem rather unconvincing, but it is of value to introduce new interpretations and facts into subjects as debated and full of guesswork as the present one.

The weakest point in your argument is, in my opinion, the immense time span that lies between the creation of the “Venus” figurines and the Egyptian deities. Worship of the generative power in the form of drawings and statues of deities that symbolize fertility and motherhood is a consequence of inherent human mentality. Different expressions in different locations do not prove a cultural/historical connection. They have developed in parallel, independent of each other.

Sir Flinders Petrie is unquestionably one of the great figures in Egyptology, but I suspect that his eagerness to find a connection between the ancient Egyptian civilization and the region of the Caucasus had racist motivation. It was difficult for Europeans of his time to ascribe African roots to something so awesome as ancient Egypt. It was the accepted theory of the era that all high civilization had “Caucasian” origins.

While I remain doubful of a historical connection between Azerbaijan and ancient Egypt, I welcome all ideas that can help illuminate not only the meaning and purpose of the so-called “Venus” figurines but also the origins of human civilization. The discovery of Göbekli Tepe and evidence of a strong, predynastic cultural connection between Mesopotamia and Egypt might give us a new perspective on the age and spread of human civilization.

Dear AEklof

Dear AEklof

Thank you for your comments and for your scepticism. This is natural and healthy even essential for any progress to be made. I appreciate my views are unorthodox and challenging to the scientific community, but as I believe they are based on factual evidence they may be of interest.

Yes, there is an immense time gap between the Venus figurines and Egyptian deities. Consider though that throughout the Palaeolithic the earth goddess was a dominant aspect of hunter gatherers. There was no need to change. This only happened with the advent of agriculture, and here belief systems changed with different circumstances, becoming more paternalistic.  Just as the Catholic church included pagan beliefs, customs and even locations to build their places of worship so to do I think the earth goddess imagery transformed, evolving to newer situations.

Like Flinders Petrie I believe that migrations from the Caucasus to the Nile Valley happened, and as I suggest as the result of a catastrophic flood.  This was real and had to involve a marine deluge. How it happened I do not know, but the geomorphology testifies to it. In 2018, I made a presentation to the Azerbaijan Institute of Geology and Geophysics (GIA) who agreed with my deductions.  

Racist motivation aside it is worth noting that Petrie was not alone in his conviction and only came to know about the connections as a result of research done by Professor Reginald Fessenden. Fessenden was an eminent scientist and inventor with a passion for the Classics and historical puzzles.  His work is available on-line at Radiocom.net under the Deluged Civilisation of the Caucasus Isthmus.  His archive material show that he was in communication with a great many researchers and he expressed his indebtedness stating in his work: ‘The writer is of course indebted to hundreds of other workers. More especially to Petrie, Sayce, Clay, Chiera, Budge, Breasted, Olmstead, Jansen, Peters, Rawlinson, and the other great masters of archaeology.’  While an expedition to the Caucasus was being planned through the Smithsonian to look for cultural connections with Egypt, sadly Fessenden had a stroke and subsequent ill health prevented any progress. Access restriction were in place due to the Russian Revolution.

I should add that Dr. Leonid Marsadolov, of the State Hermitage Museum is also supportive of cultural migration from Central Asia to Egypt, based on the transfer of large anthropomorphic images.  He too equates these migrants as possibly creating the Sphinx. 

In this regard it is important to demonstrate that a massive flood happened, and when. This was the catalyst for change. Also important is recognising that and animistic culture of anthropomorphism prevailed in the early to mid- Neolithic. This seems to be attested by the carvings at Gobekli Tepe.

Interestingly, human DNA genomic studies are beginning to show migration from the Caucasus into the Levant and from there into the Nile Valley.  Reference:

The Genomic History of the Bronze Age Southern Levant.  Agranat-Tamir et al., 2020, Cell 181, 1146–1157, May 28, 2020 ª 2020 Elsevier Inc., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.024.
Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods. Schuenemann, V.J. et al. 2017, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15694.

 

What is needed now is to delve back into time and compare the DNA of skeletal remains of Caucasians with early Nile settlers such as the Badarians.  Perhaps then scientific evidence may, or may not confirm the extent to which Caucasian migrations occurred.

Lastly, in reference to Venus figurines and Flinders Petrie, Dr Margaret Murray in the Antiquity Journal wrote an article titled ‘Connexions Between Egypt and Russia’.  She states:

Some years ago Sir Flinders Petrie claimed that there were definite connexions between ancient Egypt and southern Russia, more particularly with the Caucasus; but as his opinion was based entirely on literary and philological evidence archaeologists have been slow to accept it. Archaeological evidence in support of that claim is, however, coming in by slow degrees, and it seems probable that in time the evidence will prove that the founder of the science of Archaeology was right in his conjecture. I bring forward now two pieces of evidence in support of his claim; the first is literary and pictorial, the second is purely archaeological.

 

In the context of figurines she states:

 

FIGS. 5 and 6 are two views of a seated female figure in pottery, found on the same site as the soul-houses. This should be compared with the figures in Petrie’s Prehistoric Egypt, pls. IV, 9 ; v, 4, 5 ; VII, 15, for figures leaning backward ; and pl. VII, 16, for a figure leaning forward. In both the Egyptian and Russian examples there is the same attitude with outstretched legs, the same beak-like face, the same treatment of the breasts, and where the arms occur in the Egyptian figures the position is the same as in the Russian. In the forward leaning figure (Petrie, pl. VII, 16) there is the same extension of the buttocks, a detail which was probably necessary to keep the balance of the backward-leaning figure, but quite unnecessary in the Egyptian example. The dating of this Egyptian figure is interesting. Petrie dates it tentatively only by the shape of the boat in which it was found, but at the same time he says of a similar, though much rougher figure on the same plate, that he would date it to the XIIth dynasty by the pottery.

 

In the Russian figure the flattening of the back of the head, and the flattened excrescences pierced with holes at the sides of the head, representing ears pierced for earrings, are reminiscent of the pottery figurines of women-usually called dolls-found in Egypt and dated to the XIIth dynasty, which are known to have a foreign origin."

Judging by the archaeological evidence Professor Gordon Childe considers that ' on a short chronology the whole Tripolye development would lie within the limits of periods 11 to IV'. This would coincide with the XIIth dynasty of Egypt, a period to which soul-houses and

certain types of female figurines belong. It was a time when Egyptian connexions were with the North. At present those connexions are known as being almost exclusively with Crete, probably because Crete has been well and scientifically excavated and other countries are still unexplored. The archaeological riches of ancient Russia are as yet almost untouched.

M. A. MURRAY.

 

I trust that the above information is of interest and relevant to the discussion on Venus figurines and how I suspect they evolved through time liking to Ancient Egypt

Kurgan

Flooding/DNA

The fact that Hittite DNA is found among the Semites or even the Egyptians should not cause one to jump to conclusions about an early migration. The Black Sea flood was about 7500 BCE or so before there was any writing. Any influence would be minimal at best. The language of Egypt and the Levant is Semitic and not Indo-European. Certainly, there would have been trading being coastal but I don’t see how any of this relates to Venus or an Earth Goddess that Egypt did not have.

I agree that that with

I agree that that with eustatic sea level rise the Black Sea flooded from the Mediterranean. However this cannot account for a persistent Holocene outflow from the continental interior from around 10ka BP.  Something extraordinary had to have happened to flood Eurasia at around this time. Evidence for the flood is in the strandlines at 222m asl and in marine species introduction into the Caspian. I discuss this here: https://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/ai112_folder/112_articles/112_mud_volcano.html.  This flood needs to be investigated.  I suspect that with the trauma of the flood and subsequent salinated soils and possible fresh water sources this would have resulted in environmental degradation, instigating migration and cultural transfer.      

 

Kurgan

Venus Figurines – Fertility Symbols, Portraits, Dolls, or Upper

I note that there have been no comments on the figurine head and its patterns, we know that woven flax is recorded as being extant 30,000BP and so we can assume that the head dress has a purpose. Now the figurine displayed is obviously a work of art where the sculptor knew the effect of gravity on obese flesh. I challenge that it is possibly beyond the concept of the contemporay theory of evolution that the idea representing mother earth could actually represent the earth as sphere on the feminine form of the figurine. Were this so, we would have to consider that people 30,000 years ago thought that Mother Nature, or whatever they called it, was the intelligent creator of all life, including humanity. .A concept still followed by the surviving indigenous peoples and held dear by the Amerindians  and European Shaman.I also find it hard to use the word religion as it is a much later Latin word and means to be retied or bound to an ideal, which, although in our contemporay society, many are, it cannot be genuinly applied to people  30,000 years ago. It is clearly unscientific to use it as a description. There is no doubt that nomadic hunter gatherers spread their ideas and artefacts including  fine beads made from  ivory over a vast area including across seas and possibly oceans. The figurine has what appears to be a basket on her head, which should be considered.as functional and requiring explanation.

 

Crichton E M Miller FCILT

Sardinia

In Sardinia, archaeologists have found that there has been a line of continuity in the reproduction of this type of object, sometimes in rather similar expressive modes, sometimes quite differently stylistically, but in any case it can be reasonably concluded that the object of worship remained the same. In the culture of Ozieri of the fourth millennium BC the figures become flat and stylized in the shape of a T, with the lower part in a cone. Among the goddesses nicknamed "Cycladic" for their striking resemblance to others found in the Cyclades islands, the great image of the "White Lady" of Turrigu, Senorbì, stands out. The manufacture of these goddesses continues throughout the copper age, on precious gold plates. And it will continue in symbolic expression, albeit de-contextualized, through the centuries. In direct line with the Neolithic, there are still people in Barbagia who put sa pipiedda or sa pizzinedda, a small goddess made with white cloth or wax, in the coffin of their dead relatives. Or, also in other areas, it is customary to weave sa mura, or Moira, the goddess who decrees destiny, with strips of palm leaves, to give it as a gift on Palm Sunday.
Perhaps analyzing the surviving behaviors at the level of superstition, or in any case of relationship with the magical world, it is easier to aim reasonably at the interpretation of the ancient beliefs to which these artistic productions referred. I throw it there as a complementary hypothesis to the simple analysis of the artifact.

Venus

Reading this discussion has been very interesting.  One study that I read measured all the “Venus” scuptres that are available.  It found that the figures from regions with a cold climate were larger than those from a warmer climate.  If you live in a cold climate, food is problmaatic at times.  Having enough to eat would be a desire  incorporated into their sculpture.  A larger woman with fat stores would have insured live births.  Many women today have a shape similar to the Venus.  

CeresD

Update

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. "New theory on 'Venus' figurines: Investigators say humanity's oldest sculptures may be linked to climate change, diet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201201084750.htm>.

CeresD

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