This week I was researching the mother goddess in the context of prehistory. That meant exploring the art and archaeology of the neolithic, mesolithic, and paleolithic eras. Primary of my focus was looking for goddesses of creation, seas, chaos, before tiamat, but subsequently discovered that when tackling the correspondences in myth, some scholars have drawn lines of association, corresponding the lineage of tiamat (assyro-babylonian) to the lineage of nammu (sumerian). In the lineage myth, Nammu is named grandmother of Inanna, who was honored as the great goddess among the Ubaidian (5000 bce), and Hassuna civilizations (6000 bce), two of the cultures who preceded the Sumerians. Additionally statuettes featuring imagery of goddesses and serpents. So the serpentine attributes were part of the goddess’ identity long before Sumer and Babylon. Not surprising when we take into consideration the serpentine attributes of the goddesses of Egypt as well.
Yet according to the archaeological record, for 6500 years imagery of divinity were found in pairs, from 12,500-6,000 bce, in the former of a mother goddess and bearded god riding a bull or possessing anthropomorphic features such as the bull’s horns. This elicits in my mind, perhaps the early development of mother goddess and horned god. So where did this horned god go, from 6000 bce- 4000 bce, when he emerged again in Sumer?
Jumping way back, the first finds of pictorial imagery, albeit crudely drawn, dates to 17-12,000 ya, and of anthropomorphic animals (and Venus statues) is dated to 38-29,000 ya. The oldest sites, like Oldowan, have finds that date back 2.6-1.7mya, and what was found there were rich deposits of quartzite, basalt, obsidian, limestone. And i wonder, if we could trace some form of religious or ritual experience back to this time period, if we might find divinity honored in the former of the crystalline deposits. The Arabian desert has a rich history of the personification and deification of the goddess in the form of stone, not only with the beginnings of Islam, but as a rich part of preIslamic religion, in which Al-uzza, the warrior goddess was identified with a black stone, possibly a form of basalt.