A multi-varied approach to meaning of some East Baltic Neolithic symbols

Indre Rita Antanaitis, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Three sets of material and ideological data from East Baltic Neolithic pre-Corded Ware culture sites c. 6500-3500 B.P. are compiled and compared in order to reasonably interpret certain aspects of these prehistoric people's ideology, specifically as it relates to their faunal environment and gender-based patterns in their social system. Approaches taken consist of (1) statistical analyses of a symbolic data base comprised of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic art data, and grave good inventories as they relate to gender, (2) a comparison of frequencies of faunal types represented in economy and zoomorphic symbols, and (3) a cross-cultural comparison of contexts of the most frequently occurring Neolithic faunal symbols in East Baltic historic mythology, folklore, and ethnography. It is hoped that the combined multi-varied approach data results can serve as a middle ground between vague abstract theorizing about Neolithic ideology, and a wealth of infrequently addressed symbolic material data.