For those who are interested in reading the paper on the above topic, I am adding a pdf file.
Paleolithic Venuses and Puberty Rites
After first publishing the above single line post yesterday I doubted for a minute whether the connection between the paleolithic Venuses and the personages related to the girls puberty rites as construed in the above paper could have some substance or is just a figment of imagination. Can these two different facts, ie the existence of Venuses and the forgone widespread practice of seclusion of girls can be connected? This, in turn, forced me to answer the question what the message Venuses are trying to convey. Is that about self-representation, the womanhood in symbolic form or just art for the sake of art? Or just “preoccupations of archaeologists” (Pettitt, 2009)? Then I was reminded of what Campbell (1990) had to say about the figurines in one of his lectures. He emphasized a few points about the figurines
1. Their spread across the localities in Europe and up to Lake Baykal on the border to China
2. having no face
3. the emphasis on breasts, hips and loins,” the miracle of the female body”
4. having no feet; “made to stand up”
5. only appear in dwelling sites
The first and last are facts that the archaeologists can interpret. The second, third and fourth are the ones puzzling us. The third fact, whichever way we look at it is more likely about the wonder of womanhood. Now, how can we interpret the second and the third without resorting to our own preoccupations? Wouldn’t the widespread practice of something which might have persisted through the times because of the peoples’ awe of the unknown provide a more objective interpretation? In this count I believe the connection which was construed in the paper is far more objective and plausible than a leap of imagination? However, there would be so much resistance to pay proper attention to this connection as it leads to a far bigger area of possibilities. On the other hand, I don’t expect the view expressed in the above paper to be accepted by the mainstream scholars as this was proposed by someone not belonging to any of the scholarly traditions. Science as practiced today is always not about the plausible new ideas; before accepting an idea it looks for belonging to a school of thought or a sort of in-group bonding. To see this we don’t have go beyond “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin.
Campbell, Joseph (1999) Transformations of Myth Through Time, Thirteen brilliant final lectures from the renowned master of mythology, HarperPerennial, p12
Pettitt, P (2009) The rise of Modern Humans in The Human Past (ed by C. Scarre), 2nd Edition, Thames & Hudson p 164
If someone is interested in reading a good round-up on Paleolithic Venus figurines, I found the following Honours thesis to be an easily accessible resource;
Jennett, Karen Diane, “Female Figurines of the Upper Paleolithic” (2008). University Honors Program. Paper 74.