Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Marija Gimbutas: Overview

"magnificent vindication"

"...a magnificent vindication!"

Marija Gimbutas was UCLA's Professor of Indo-European Studies from 1963 until 1990.  Her work on the origins of Indo-European languages and cultures, especially her notion of Old Europe and the Kurgan theory, have had lasting and increased importance in the fields of linguistics, archaeology, and now, biogenetics.  With new methods of DNA extraction from ancient artifacts, her colleagues, formerly skeptical of her synthetic analysis, have claimed a "magnificent vindication" (Lord Colin Renfrew, 2017) of her theories.  

Extending her work

The Archaeology of Grotta Scaloria

Grotta Scaloria, a cave in Apulia, was first discovered and explored in 1931, excavated briefly in 1967, and then excavated extensively from 1978 to 1980 by a joint UCLA-University of Genoa team, but it was never fully published. The Save Scaloria Project was organized to locate this legacy data and to enhance that information by application of the newest methods of archaeological and scientific analysis. This significant site is finally published in one comprehensive volume (and in an online archive of additional data and photographs) that gathers together the archaeological data from the upper and lower chambers of the cave. These data indicate intense ritual and quotidian use during the Neolithic period (circa 5600-5300 BCE). The Grotta Scaloria project is also important as historiography, since it illustrates a changing trajectory of research spanning three generations of European and American archaeology.