Jean Guilaine

Women of the Past Images, myths and realities of the Neolithic woman Publication date : May 4, 2022

Jean Guilaine was Head of Research at the CNRS, Director of Studies at L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and an Archaeology professor at the Collège de France (chair of “Civilisations of Europe in the Neolithic and Bronze Age”). He is a member of the Institut de France (Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres). He is also honorary President of the Société Préhistorique Française, winner of the Grand Prix de l’Archéologie awarded by the French Ministry of Culture (1985) and holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Barcelona and Lisbon. He has conducted excavations in France, Spain, Andorra, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. He is the author of several books published by Odile Jacob.

The place and status of women in society is at the heart of current affairs. Women have long remained “invisible” and been marginalised in historical accounts. Why is this? There is one field though, that can restore their rightful place in the history of humanity, based on factual data: archaeology.
This richly illustrated book, by Jean Guilaine, a renowned specialist of the Neolithic era, presents archaeological knowledge that sheds light on the way the first rural societies “saw” women and represented them. Through the study of these representations, based on figurines, steles, statues and cave art, the author deciphers the role and place of women in the first sedentary societies. The Neolithic period, marked by the beginnings of agriculture and farming, is indeed an essential turning point in the world’s history and helps to understand how the categorisation of genders was formed. Drawing on an extensive body of archaeological research, devoid of ideological bias, and through the author’s original interpretations, this book lays the foundations of the history of women during the crucial transitional period from prehistory to history.