Marija Gimbutas Memorial Lecture: Marija Rediviva

Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) was a world-famous archeologist. She uncovered and described an ancient European civilization which predated the arrival of Indo-Europeans. This culture was matri-focal, agrarian and peaceful. They worshiped what Gimbutas called, the Mother Goddess.

She also promulgated a theory of where Indo-Europeans originated. She felt that they arose from the Caucuses and called her theory the Kurgan Hypothesis.

The most prominent living archeologist is Lord Coli Renfrew, of Cambridge University in England. He and Gimbutas were close colleagues and friends, doing research together, and publishing books together. Then, Lord Renfrew started to criticize Gimbutas, at times severely, about her Kurgan Hypothesis.

In reviewing the bases for these theories, I found out that after emigrating from post-World War II Lithuania, to Boston, she suffered incredible discrimination, both for being a woman, and for being an immigrant. I realized that I had to honor her strength, courage and stamina.

This led to my organizing the Marija Gimbutas Memorial Lecture at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. I also financed this venture. The invited speaker was Lord Renfrew. According to the latest genetic research results, it turns out that Gimbutas was correct, not he. Thus, the title of the talk was “rediviva”, meaning rediscovered.

This historic presentation took place on November 8, 2017. The Breasted lecture hall was packed with standing room only. No one in attendance had seen such a large turnout for an Oriental Institute lecture.

My explanatory comments and Lord Renfrew’s entire presentation can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

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