Thirdly, there are many indications of fortified, palisaded, walled Neolithic sites from early to late Neolithic times, from southeastern Europe (sites such as Dimini in Greece) to northeastern Europe, including ones with mass graves in the bottoms of encircling ditches. These are described in most standard works on the Neolithic (see Scarre 1984; Milisauskas 1986: 787; Webster 1990: 343; Evans and Rasson 1984: 720). Gimbutas dismisses the fortified character of these sites on the basis that many of them are on open plains. However, except in the most extreme combat situations, most ethnographic tribal communities that are fortified against attack are located close to their fields and on floodplains where the best soils occur, rather than on remote hilltops. Similarly, while it is true that caches of weapons from the Neolithic are rare, weapons caches do not really characterize any warring tribal societies or most chiefdom societies, such as those of the Northwest Coast where violence related mortality afflicted 20-30% of everyone buried in cemeteries. Weapons caches only became common when state level societies evolved with standing armies financed by the state. Despite this general pattern, there are still many sanctuaries in Minoan Crete, in the heart of Gimbutas' "peaceful" Old Europe, where the primary figures are male and weapons offerings are common (Marinatos 1993:125).

Fourthly, over the past two decades there has been mounting evidence for mass killings during the Neolithic. While it is true that a half century ago archaeologists thought of the European Neolithic as being peaceful, egalitarian, and non-hierarchical in general, this view has undergone an almost complete transformation with new evidence that has come to light Earlier scholars also seemed to ignore the considerable evidence that did exist at the time for fortified sites. At Roaix, in southern France, there were 700 Neolithic skeletons stacked on top of each other, some with arrowheads embedded in the bones clearly indicating a war grave (Mills 1984). At Talheim in Germany, there is a mass Neolithic grave with 35 skulls fractured by adzes being used as maces (Wahl and Konig 1987), and Keeley (1997, 1996) reports many other similar occurrences such as at Schletz, Asparn Tiefenellen, and others. There are also occurrences of war trophy beads and skull caps at places like Herxhiem. where up to 1,000 homicidal deaths are probably represented. Of special interest is the use of the adze as a weapon of war which probably explains its high prestige value and elaboration of form and materials in some Neolithic cultures. There are also the ubiquitous arrowheads and maces, the latter being used exclusively as a weapon of war. Finally, warriors are portrayed in Minoan frescoes on Crete and Thera, some clearly going off for conquest (Marinatos 1993:59,244).

Thus, as was the case of the Maya, who scholars 50 years ago also believed were a peaceful society of intellectuals and artistic craftsmen, there is now abundant graphic and gruesome evidence that both the Maya in Mesoamerica and the Neolithic societies in Europe were strongly immersed in warfare on a regular basis. In Europe, the evidence extends from the beginning of the Neolithic to its end. On the other hand, there can be little doubt that the incoming Bronze Age Indo-Europeans took warfare and combat to new heights and intensities generally not witnessed by many Neolithic communities.

Keller's discussion of hierarchies is somewhat similar to her treatment of warfare. A half century ago, it may have been more fashionable to imagine Maya and European Neolithic society as embodying idyllic, egalitarian, non-hierarchical ways of life. The intervening years have made it abundantly clear, however, that increasing social complexity and craft specialization are based upon, and intimately linked to the development of social, political, and economic hierarchies involving major inequalities. The beautifully crafted objects of art that Gimbutas and Keller dote upon as expressions of an artist-oriented society should be more realistically viewed as expressions of powerful and wealthy elites. Do they really believe that the abundant gold ornaments accompanying select Old European burials (see Renfrew and Balm 1996:387) were acquired by egalitarian, non-hierarchical means? The idea that people can or should produce great art (art that is exceedingly expensive and time consuming to make) simply to satisfy personal inner needs (art for art's sake) is a very unusual notion that is only found in the modem industrial world. It is a completely foreign and bizarre notion in traditional non-industrial societies where great art is used exclusively for rituals or to display wealth (Dissanayake 1988). Moreover, the specialized ceramic production centers of the Tripolye region in the heartland of Gimbutas' Old Europe are more indicative of something approaching a market economy rather than individual artisans producing for their self-fulfillment (Anthony 1995).

Civilizations and even chiefdom simply cannot and do not function in an egalitarian fashion. Hierarchical control is their defining feature and no amount of philosophical or idyllic reverie seems capable of changing this characteristic in the real world. The topic is too vast to deal with in detail here, but I know of no ethnographic or archaeological examples where any credible claim of a nonhierarchical chiefdom or state exists. In the European Neolithic, fortified sites were often at the top of local settlement hierarchies indicating at the very least the existence of political hierarchies, while their sheer size (up to 300 hectares) and complexity indicates centralized political control by elites (Scarre 1984: 242, 335; Milisauskas and Kruk 1989; Anthony 1995; Demoule and Perles 1993). On the basis of community sizes, settlement hierarchies, wealth discrepancies, and craft specializations, archaeologists do not hesitate to ascribe a chiefdom status to the most important Old European sites described by Gimbutas, and a state level of organization to the major centers on Minoan Crete. These are some of the most certain conclusions archaeologists have established in the past half century. Describing Neolithic Old Europe as egalitarian and non-hierarchical is simply inconsistent with all the current ethnographic and archaeological data. For an archaeologist, maintaining that complex societies can develop without socioeconomic inequalities or hierarchies or heterarchies is on a par with arguing that the earth is flat or arguing that the world was created without the process of evolution.

In addition to these general indications, there is recurring evidence of human sacrifice both in the PPNB cultures of the Middle East and in the heart of the Old European cultures (Cauvin 1994: 120-2; Marinatos 1993: 102, 136; Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellaraki 1981). Surely this is the ultimate expression of power and forced submission typical of aggressive and dominating elites. It is utterly unknown among truly egalitarian people.

Hierarchies are also apparent in the Old European Neolithic cemeteries such as at Nitra in Czechoslovakia and Tiszapolgar in Hungary where most burials contain no grave goods, but a few contain important items of value such as axes, adzes, copper bracelets, daggers, and shell ornaments. At Varna, in Bulgaria, and Duronkulak, wealth differences reached extreme forms with remarkable amounts of gold interred with some individuals. Contrary to Gimbutas' and Keller's portrayal of burials and relative gender roles, the burials at many of these sites show an impoverished, almost non-existent material wealth status for women in contrast to the obvious prestige objects buried with men, such as objects frequently associated with war (daggers, axes, adzes, and maces). At Varna and Duronkulak, the richest sexable graves are those of males (Anthony 1995; Chapman 199 1). The high status male buried with the most remarkable amount of gold held a war adze or mace and wore a gold penis sheath (Renfrew and Balm 1996:387). In the Neolithic of Central Europe, Larry Keeley (1997) noted a similar pattern of high prestige weapons being buried with men, especially older men who, given their age, would have been at the top of the socioeconomic hierarchies. In fact, in Europe, as in ethnographic New Guinea, stone adzes and axes were often made exclusively out of prestige materials and in prestige dimensions. The same pattern has been documented for the megalithic cultures of western Europe, and for Minoan Crete in Gimbutas' Old Europe, where weapons were used as symbols of high status (Marinatos 1993:125).

While some cemeteries and burials and frescoes do demonstrate that women could attain relatively high status, there are no indications that they were in charge of Old European society or even surpassed men in power. In fact, world ethnographic surveys by Marxist and feminist scholars have shown that such cases do not occur anywhere in the world, and that literal matriarchies are non-existent (see Hayden 1993: 350-353 for references and further data). In Near Eastern and European Neolithic societies, males rather typically seem to have controlled the weapons of war and used them in aggressive fashions, emphasizing aggressive iconographies like the wild bull to energize their expansions and personal ambitions.

In short, there is no theoretical or empirical support for the idea of nonhierarchical, egalitarian, peaceful chiefdoms or states in the European Neolithic, and no support for colonies of artists producing art for art's sake. Given the above evidence, especially the very rich male burials with weapons at Varna, Keller's statement that privileged males burials with weapons and extraordinary wealth was a phenomenon introduced by Indo-Europeans into Old Europe is simply erroneous. Nor was human sacrifice introduced to Europe by Indo-Europeans. It was there all along. Nor did the incoming Indo-Europeans simply destroy all the beautiful Old European art. The incoming Indo-European warrior elites appropriated and employed resident Old European artists to make traditional prestige objects as well as new forms such as the magnificent inlaid Mycenaean bronze daggers. In western Europe, the incoming Bronze Age Indo-Europeans also appropriated, rather than destroyed, the major megalithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury (and probably much of their associated rituals). The Indo-Europeans carried on the development of these monuments to far greater pinnacles of expression than these monuments reached in Neolithic times. They are the forms we see today.

Feel Good Epistemology Thus, Keller's and Gimbutas' views of Old European matrifocal societies simply do not hold up under any degree of reality testing, which is why no reputable archaeologist has ever endorsed them and why they have been severely criticized. In order to hide such deficiencies, Keller and Gimbutas declare that archaeologists and scientists are narrow minded people, prejudiced by male dominated values, scientific conceptual constraints, and narrow empiricism. Instead of rigorously scrutinizing their ideas in the bright light of reality, Keller proposes that we should adopt a "feel good" method of evaluating competing theories. She wants readers to open themselves to her vision of the source of all life as though beholding the brilliance of the sun and then ask which proposals we would like to believe: ones that make her (and if we open ourselves the right way, us) feel good, or ones that make her feel not-so-good. Whichever interpretation of the past makes us feel the best should be adopted as true and reliable as long as we can find some empirical support for it. But 'some' empirical support can be found for almost any proposition on earth.

This approach leads too easily to gross distortions of facts and interpretations, and to self-delusion. Choosing between alternative explanations on the basis of "What if ..." hypothetical questions, which may only be delusions, is to reduce real inquiry to absurdity. Nor should the relevance for today's social problems be a factor in assessing the relative merits of ideas about the past

Relevance can certainly be a criterion for choosing our initial research questions, but should never enter into the evaluation of our models of the past. Nor is there any reason to think that whatever Plato conceived as a (very speculative) highest level of truth has any relation to reality. In fact, given the wide range of opinions, mind games, and arguments among philosophers today and in the past, is there any-reason to assume that anything has been established with certainty after 3,000 years of inquiry using their methods? We are all interested in finding the real principles that govern the universe. That is the ultimate goal of scientists, philosophers, mystics, and many others. But how do we do that with any confidence? There have been countless visionaries who have seen "the light" that gave them ecstatic experiences and the feeling of great intuitive insights: endless millenarian cults that proclaimed the end of the world or contact with comets or aliens, political adherents to ideologically dominated movements like Communism and Fascism, and there have also been people with golden tablets that would save the world. How do we separate the delusional enlightenments from those with genuine insights? The only method that has so far proved to be of any reliable value is the scientific method.

In archaeology, while we may not have the answers to all the questions viewed as important, we have been able to at least establish some major milestones of understanding with relative certainty using the reality-testing methods of science. We have established the time scale of human existence, the overall physical and cultural evolution of humans, criteria for recognizing and charting warfare as well as social and political complexity and social inequality. We are still working on refining many of these conclusions and we are still trying to usefully describe and understanding other phenomena such as ritual behavior and gender roles, but the essential framework is in place and is solid.

Rejecting or minimizing methods that adhere closely to reality testing in favor of politically correct or feel good methods is disturbing and dangerous because, as Marvin Harris notes, these are the methods used by fundamentalists and totalitarian movements to obscure reality and truth. In this respect, Keller's constant use of terms exhorting readers to "believe," "accept," "embrace," "open your mind" to "radiance" and "vision," and avoid "resistance" to Gimbutas' semi-mystical methods have an unsettling evangelical fundamentalist ring to them. According to Keller, people who do not believe that an illuminating experience of the essential nature of reality is possible cannot use Gimbutas' method. What is the difference between this and 'born again' fundamentalism?

In closing, I would like to iterate that I am not against the use of intuition in helping to understand our universe. In fact, I view ecstatic experiences as one of the most unique aspects of the human emotional makeup in the animal kingdom (Hayden 1987). 1 have proposed that near death experiences, and the ecstatic states that probably derive from them may be our best approximation of contact with transcendent realms. Ecstatic experiences should be highly valued and sought out; and, in some situations, they may provide real insights into spiritual dimensions of the universe. However, they are not automatically reliable or realistic representations of the universe. Therefore, I insist upon rigorous evaluation of such insights before I will accept them as real, especially where they purport to say something about verifiable domains of inquiry like prehistory Nor am I saying that we can know nothing about past religions or rituals. I think we can know a great deal; but given the many different views on this topic, all ideas must be carefully scrutinized and evaluated on the basis of real evidence. In this respect, Gimbutas' views about Old European Neolithic society simply do not stand up to testing. Other ideas, such as those of Cauvin and Marinatos, stand up far better, and it is here that we should begin our modeling of past Neolithic religions and societies. There is a long and strong tradition in archaeology of dealing with social, political, religious, and mythological aspects of culture as they evolved through time. I am happy to be part of that tradition, for archaeologists have many very significant things to say about these issues, but a full discussion of them is a far larger undertaking than space permits here.

Works Cited Anthony, D. 1995. "Nazi and eco-feminist prehistories: ideology and empiricism in Indo- European archaeology." in P. Kohl and C Fawcell (eds.), The nationalism politics, and practice of archaeology Cambridge UP.

Cauvin, Jacques. 1994. Naissance des divinites, naissance de l'agriculture. Paris: CNRS Editions.

Chapman, J. 199 1. "The creation of social arenas in Varna." in P. Garwood (ed.), Sacred and profane. Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 32: 152-17 1.

Demoule, J., and C. Perles. 1993. "The Greek Neolithic: A new review." Journal of World Prehistory 7: 355-416.

Dissanayake, Ellen. 1988. What is art for? Seattle: UW Press.

DumEzil, Georges. 1952. Les dieux des indo-europeens. Paris- Galliard.

DumEzil Georges. 1958. L'idEologie tri-partie des indo-europeens. Brussels: Latomus

Evans, Robert, and Judith Rasson. 1984. "Ex Balcanis lux? Recent developments in Neolithic and Chalcolithic; research in Southeast Europe." American Antiquity 49: 713-741.

Hayden, Brian. 1986. "Old Europe: Sacred matriarchy or complementary opposition?" in A. Bonanno (ed.), Archaeology and fertility cult in the ancient Mediterranean. Amsterdam Gruner, 17-30.

Hayden, Brian. 1987. "Alliances and ritual ecstasy: Human responses to resource stress. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 26(l): 81-91.

Hutton, Ronald. 199 1. The pagan religions of the ancient British Isles. Oxford: Blackwell.

Keeley, Lawrence. 1996. War before civilization: The myth of the pacific past. Oxford UP.

Keeley, Lawrence. 1997. "Frontier warfare in the early Neolithic." in Debra Martin and David Frayer (eds.), Troubled Tunes: Violence and warfare in the past. Australia: Gordon and Breach. 303-319.

Littleton, C. Scott. 1973. The new comparative mythology. Berkeley: UC Press.

Marinatos, Nanno. 1993. Minoan religion. U of South Carolina Press.

Milisauskas, Sarunas. 1986. "Selective survey of archaeological research in eastern Europe." American Antiquity 51: 779-798.

Milisauskas, Sarunas, and Janusz Kruk. 1989. "Neolithic economy in central Europe." Journal of World Prehistory 3: 403-446.

Mills, Nigel. 1984. "The Neolithic of southern France." in Christopher Scarre (ed.), Ancient France. Edinburgh UP. 91-145.

Renfrew, Colin, and Paul Bahn. 1996. A rchaeology: theories, methods, and practice. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Sakellarakis, Yannis and Efi Sapouna-Sakellaraki. 1981. "Drama of death in a Minoan temple." National Geographic 159(2): 205-222.

Wahl, J, and H. Konig. 1987. "Anthropologisch-traumatologische Untersuchung der menschlichen Skelettreste aus dem bandkerarnischen Massengrab bei Talheim, Kreis Hilbronn." Fundberichte aus Baden-Wurttenberg, Band 12: 65-194.

Webster, Gary. 1990. "Labor control and emergent stratification in prehistoric Europe." Current Anthropology 31: 337-355.

Wilber, Ken (ed.). 1984. Quantum Questions. Boulder Shambala.

Brian Hayden obtained his PhD in Archaeology from the University of Toronto and currently teaches archaeology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia He has conducted ethnographic and archaeological fieldwork in Australia, Guatemala Mexico, Tunisia, Lebanon, France, Ontario, British Columbia, Colorado, Thailand and Vietnam. He has a longstanding research (and personal) interest in the social, economic and religious aspects of past and contemporary traditional cultures. Among the courses he teaches at SFU is a course on prehistoric and traditional religion.
Gerry Reinhart-Waller
Independent Scholar