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Main : archaeology, art, feminism, history, Indigenous, language, non-fiction

ISBN: 9781876756918
404 pp
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Invisible Women of Prehistory: Three million years of peace, six thousand years of war
Judy Foster with Marlene Derlet
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Invisible Women of Prehistory is a revolutionary book that challenges our preconceptions about the past. 

We often think of history as a linear development in which we are steadily moving out of a violent and patriarchal past to a more equitable and peaceful future. While we have no shortage of wars – and the incidence of violence against women is alarmingly high – we are told that humans have never lived in such peaceful times. We continually hear that our predecessors were violent but also that patriarchy is inevitable and universal. But what if none of this were true? What if we were descended from peaceful societies in which women were respected and equal to men? Would this inspire us to seek new ways of organizing our lives and of interpreting the present?

Based on many years of research into ancient history and prehistory, Judy Foster and linguist Marlene Derlet take on the world. They argue that three million years of peace, a period when women’s status in society was much higher than it is now, preceded the last six thousand years of war during which men have come to hold power over women.

They challenge the academic resistance to these ideas and re-examine both the archaeological work of Marjia Gimbutas and recent research into the prehistories of Africa, East and South Asia, the Americas, Australia, South-East Asia and Oceania.


Detail of dancing figures from a Warli woman’s wall painting, white paint on earth-coloured wall (Source: Indianetzone, n.d.)

                                                                                   All line drawings © Judy Foster

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Podcast Interview on 3CR Breakfast

Write a review.
This is a wonderful work of research which is like reading a detective novel, or even more appropriate, as if listening to our matriarchal elders telling us their oral stories throughout time...Despite their academic backgrounds, the authors also have the gift of making complex research and ideas accessible to the reader. You become immersed in this book as you might in any good novel or work of research about which you are passionate.
Dr Cathie Koa Dunsford
This is a book you must have in your library.
Kare Tate, Blog Talk Radio
'Without a doubt, this book acts as a corrective to male-centric academic research'
New Internationalist

Table of Contents


A Timeline of Human Prehistory.                                                                                    

Part One.  

The Prehistoric Female Principle: The Goddess of Old Europe.




The Theory of Marija Gimbutas                                                                                                                    


 Forms of Bias: Sex and Gender; Archaeology; Matriarchy; Civilization; First Writing


Intangible Evidence: The Role of Language, Oral Transmission and Myth


Tangible Evidence: Prehistoric Art: The Visual Image: Sign and Symbol.


Northern Hemisphere: The Prehistoric Goddess Figurines of Old Europe


Hunter/Gathering, the First Horticulture and Agriculture


Northern Hemisphere: Three Prehistoric Civilizations

Part Two.      The Indo-Europeans: ‘Civilization’ and History Begin


The First Indo-Europeans: the Beginning of ‘Civilization’ and Written history


The First Changes to Women’s Status 


Early Indo-European Philosophies: Their Development and Effects


Earliest Indo-European Philosophies: Justification for, and the Results of, Colonisation, ‘Development’, and Appropriation

Part Three.   The Hidden and New Worlds: Prehistories, the Female Principle and Indo-European Influences                                                                    


Peaceful Hidden Worlds: Africa 


Hidden Worlds: India 


Hidden Worlds: China.  Korea. Japan


Hidden Worlds: Southeast Asia: Thailand                             


Hidden Worlds: Indonesia                                                                                               


New Worlds: Australia  


New Worlds: Oceania


New Worlds: North America


New Worlds:  South America.  Mesoamerica 


The Gimbutas Legacy

A Word from the Authors


Web References.                                                                                                               

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