Venuses are human creations coming from the deep past and bearing a silent witness to prehistoric cultures. The aim of these webpages is to provide reliable and accurate information on the Venus figurines.
Why are prehistoric cultures important for us?
The reason is that the way we go back to the deep past of mankind is analogical to the way we penetrate the deep parts of our minds. Archaeological layers going deeper and deeper under the earth can be compared to the layers of our psyche going deeper and deeper into our conscious and unconscious minds.
Similarly to our bodies, which reflect the evolution of human beings, our minds also reflect the stages of human evolution. The fact is documented by the results of present-day neuroscience (see references, Eagleman, 2011 ), and practically the same idea was also proposed by Carl Gustav Jung (see references, Jung, 1968). Unfortunately, most people do not take the fact into consideration while thinking about the world and society.
Here is an article (in pdf) published in 2008, where I used a multidisciplinary approach to reconstruct and describe the life of people 30,000 years ago.
And here is the website of Antropark with excellent pictorial reconstructions of prehistory.
I took great care to provide accurate and reliable information on this website. Nevertheless, the information cannot be fully complete.
Looking for the deep roots
In the deep past, there were cultures in Europe which produced female figurines, and this production was one of characteristic features of the cultures. These pre-historic figurines are called Venuses according to the Roman/Greek goddess of love Venus/Aphrodite and her well-known statues.
Interestingly, the historic (i.e. written) tradition of Venus goes deeper into history and predates the ancient Romans and Greeks. Similarly to the Romans and Greeks, the planet Venus was one of aspects of the Goddess of love (and war) of ancient Mesopotamia, Inanna (Sumerian) or Ishtar (Akkadian). In Mesopotamia, she was worshipped since cca 3,500 BCE. Speaking about Inanna, it is worth mentioning that the first ever named literary author in history was the priestess Enheduanna. Her greatest masterpiece, prayer to Inanna, is known as “Nin-me sara”, or “Exaltation of Inanna”. Enheduanna lived in the 23rd century BCE, i.e. about 4,300 years ago.
Venuses were not obviously used as tools for subsistence, so their meaning must have been cultural; for some reasons it was important that they should bear clear signs of femininity.
There are sound reasons to suppose that the people who created prehistoric Venuses did not live in patriarchal societies, as we know them from the entire history since the introduction of plough agriculture (because plough agriculture predated writing systems). There are studies which strongly support the idea that the introduction of plough agriculture with ploughs drawn by large animals started the process leading to patriarchy (see ref. Neústupný, 1967; Shennan 2002; Alesina et. al., 2011).
The interpretation of the figurines is dealt with here (in pdf, three and a half pages plus references): Meaning of the Venuses.
Sites and times
Probably the most informative and useful division of the sites and Venuses is based on their age. As you can see below, the era of the creation of Venuses is really very ancient and incredibly long-lasting (about 30,000 years) in comparison with the present traditions, and therefore has very deep roots.
The graph below shows the timeline of Europe since 40,000 years ago till the present.
Red: the ‘era of Venuses’. Green: the era of hunters-gatherers. Brown: the era of agriculture. Black: plough agriculture with ploughs drawn by large animals, which brought about patriarchy (see ref. Neústupný, 1967; Shennan 2002; Alesina et. al., 2011). Yellow: 2,000 years of Christianity. Blue: agriculture with ploughs drawn by tractors (the blue colour here is so thin that it is hardly visible), which is the era when the agricultural sector ceased to be the main employer in the society. The numbers shown in the graph refer to the sites and Venuses described below. The age indicated is the average of the oldest and youngest estimations.
Here you can see a map showing the geographical distribution of the described places and Venuses. The numbers correspond with the numbers on the graph above.
Outline of the sites and Venuses
The ages of the Venuses are given in years before present (called calibrated or calendric age).