Gimbutas: A Memorial E-Shrine
page is for our personal honoring of Marija's memory. If you
would like to add your voice please email
us with your words, small graphic, or URL. Thank you.
was an exceptionally important figure in my own academic work.
Not only did her writings influence me greatly; her presence
and active encouragement set the course of my work. Very early
on, she admonished me both to "produce!" and to believe
in my work. To that end, she invited me to present a paper at
my very first conference, in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, in 1979,
and to her other two international conferences, including the
one in Vilnius, which, tragically, she did not live to attend.
She was also responsible for my first published article, in 1980
... Marija was friend, teacher, mentor, and I owe her a lifelong
debt of gratitude.
remember when I first picked up a book by Marija Gimbutas - one
of the ones which had a lot of photos of what were once labeled
"Dancing Girls," but because of Marija, are now recognized
as sacred objects. Depictions of the Great Goddess. The feelings
that arose in me were intense. Relief. Joy. Grief that for such
a long time so much had been lost to me and to the world at large.
And gratitude. Profound gratitude to Marija for her work, for
being who she was, come hell or high water. What a model for
2/7/94 - LOS ANGELES (AP) --
Marija Gimbutas, an archaeologist who challenged conventional
views by concluding that women were worshiped in Stone Age-Europe,
is dead at age 73.
Gimbutas died of cancer Wednesday
at UCLA Medical Center, said her friend and editor, Joan Marler.
A professor emeritus of European
archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles, Gimbutas
authored 20 books.
Her more recent works, including
"Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe," "The Language
of the Goddess" and "The Civilization of the Goddess,"
challenged archaeological convention.
She referred to European cultures
dating back 6,000 to 8,000 years as "true civilizations"
without war, boasting organized cities that were run by women.
Based on thousands of female
images from those cultures, she concluded that women were worshiped
and that the primary deities were goddesses. She maintained that
life was peaceful until the worship of warlike gods was imported
Her work was praised by feminists
and colleagues such as mythologist Joseph Campbell.
A native of Vilnius, Lithuania,
Gimbutas received a doctorate in archaeology in 1946 from Tubingen
University in Germany. She immigrated to the United States in
1949, did research at Harvard University and joined the UCLA
faculty in 1963. She retired four years ago. Survivors include
Copyright, 1994. The Associated
Press. All rights reserved.
We have lost a great scholar
in Marija Gimbutas. I was lucky to have worked with her for three
years while I was at Los Angeles. Marija had a powerful affect
on everyone she met; it was always a joy to be with her, in an
academic setting or a less formal one. My coming here to Ireland
land at all is due to Marija, and I owe her much.
Laima has spun the last of
Marija's thread. Those of us who knew her, and those of us who
knew her work, are fortunate that our threads have been interwoven
with hers. The tapestry of our lives is much richer for it. Let
us not mourn Marija's passing, but rejoice in all she taught
and brought us. Ji yra girtina!
15 Port Chaeimhghein Iochtarach, Baile Atha Cliath 2, Eire
(first posted to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Two papers Michael Everson
wrote for Marija: House Guest, a story about a modern Russian
couple's relation to the Old Religion, written as a final paper
for Marija's Baltic and Slavic Folklore and Mythology class;
and Tenacity in religion, myth, and folklore: the
Neolithic Goddess of Old Europe preserved in a non-Indo-European
setting, a paper Marija requested be written for an IE Studies
conference in Dublin. In fond memory.
I had the privilege of having
Marija as one of my advisors while I was at UCLA. She embodied
all that was wonderful in academics. She was at once a great
teacher, fearless researcher, and listener. She taught me to
simply trust my own thoughts. I owe her more than I can ever
I remember Marija as THE pivotal
teacher in my life. I had entered UCLA and at the end of my first
term was told by my History of Religions Prof., Kees Bolle, that
I should go over and have a talk with Marija. He had spoken to
her about me, after reading a paper I had done on Athena for
his class. With this introduction I went and met Marija. The
minute I entered her presence I felt at home. Here was a teacher
who understood me, and there existed a whole area of study paralleling
my interests. She seemed to me to embody the concept of the Goddess
as Mother and Teacher. Soon, at her suggestion, I was enrolled
in her Indo-European Archaeology class series and by her dispensation
and direct application to the powers that be at UCLA was brought
into her graduate discussion class, even though I was just a
freshman at the time. She even sent me to study under Miriam
Dexter, Ph. D., another of her students who at a later time was
teaching a class on Goddesses and Heroines at UCLA.
Marija might have wanted to
rethink her decision when at the first discussion class I rather
pointedly corrected a visitor's comment that Athena was born
motherless, with the comment "No, you're wrong, Athena had
a mother -- Metis is her mother, and Metis resides in Zeus' head!"
I think Marija knew then that she had brought a rebel into her
ranks. I think that she partially kept me on for my humor value.
Marija had a great sense of humor and would laugh quietly to
herself when tickled by something someone had said. She could
also be stern when the occasion called for it. Eventually, Marija
realized that I was not built for academia and after I left UCLA
we kept in touch with holiday cards and letters. I still dream
of Marija occasionally, and when I write or paint I feel her
at my shoulder -- snickering at my jokes or pointed comments
or making comment where necessary. The last time I saw her was
at her birthday celebration in 1992 (I think?) where true to
form I gave her one of those "Must Be Venus Envy" T-shirts.
How she laughed about it! I miss her greatly, and I wish she
had lived to see my first gallery opening. However, as long as
what she has written strikes a chord in the reader, as long as
she inspires us, Marija lives on.