- Kaunas Kalnieciai Secondary School Lithuania
1921 - 1994
|Marija Aleksaite-Gimbutiene archaeologist, professor of European
archaeology, archaemythologist, propagator of the Baltic culture
in the world, leading authority on ancient European cultures.
M. Aleksaite-Gimbutiene was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, January
23, 1921. She lived in Kaunas, finished "Ausros" girls'
high - school, studied at Vytautas Magnus University. In 1942 she
graduated from Vilnius University. In 1946 M. Gimbutiene maintained
a thesis at Tubinger University (Germany) and was confered Doctor
of Phylosophy degree. In 1950 she worked at Harward University museum
in Cambridge. In 1966 she moved to Los Angeles and started her carrer
as a professor at the University of California.
Marija Gimbutiene died in 1994 in Los Angeles (USA) . Her remains
were brought to Kaunas and buried in Petrasiunai cemetery.
|M. Gimbutiene displayed the prehistoric evolution of European
nations including the Balts, and created the conception of the old
European culture and its fall caused by the invasion of Indo-European
tribes rushing into Europe from the Eurasian steppes. She carried
out archaeological investigations in Balkan countries, Southern
Italy and Greece. On the basis of these studies she wrote about
gods and goddesses. In 1993 she was granted the USA Anisfield-Wolf
Prize for her book The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of
Old Europe, 1991.
In 1946 Tubingen University (Germany) conferred her Doctor of Philosophy
degree for her work "Laidosena Lietuvoje priesistoriniais laikais"
(Die Bestattung in Litauen in der vorgeschichtlichen Zeit).
In 1956 she wrote her second book The Prehistory of Eastern Europe
Part1: "Mesolithic and Copper Age Cultures in Russia and the
In 1958 she published her book "Ancient simbolism in Lithuania".
In 1963 M.Gimbutiene wrote "The Balts", published in London.
This work also provides a broader depiction of pre-Christian Baltic
culture and history, translated into Italian in 1967, German 1983.
In 1965 the monograph "Bronze Age Cultures of Central and Easter
Europe" was published in the Hague.
In 1971 M. Gimbutiene published her work "The Slavs".
The first book of the so called "The Goddess" cycle The
Gods and Godesses of Old Europe, 7000-3500 B.C.. Myths, legends,
cult images, was published in 1974.
The second cycle was called "The Goddesses and Gods of Old
Europe", 6500-3500 B.C. and was published in 1982.
In 1985 M.Gimbutiene published and expanded version of "The
Balts", where she presented a more systematic view of Baltic
mythology and religion. She has showed that the pantheon of the
Baltic deities had two distinct origins. The updated version of
"The Balts" is available only in Lithuanian ("Baltai
priesistoriniais laikais", Vilnius, 1985).
The third book of "The Goddess" cycle The Language of
the Goddess was written in 1989. The importance of this book was
highly appreciated by Joseph Campbell, a well-known expert in Europe
mythology, who wrote a foreword to the book.
Marija Gimbutiene resurrects the world of Goddess - worshipping,
earth-centered cultures, bringing ancient matriarchal society vividly
The last book of the cycle The Civilization of Goddess: The World
of Old Europe brought her the USA Anisfield-Wolf Prize for the most
significant studies on the history of the World culture.