The Goddess is the most potent and persistent feature in the archaeological records of the ancient world. She was a symbol of the unity of life in nature, and the personification of all that was sacred and mysterious on Earth. Here, in this pioneering and provocative volume, Marija Gimbutas resurrects the world of Goddess-worshipping, earth-centred cultures, bringing ancient matriarchal society vividly to life. She interweaves comparative mythology, early historical sources, linguistics, ethnography and folklore to demonstrate conclusively that Goddess-worship is at the root of Western civilization. Illustrated with nearly 2000 symbolic artifacts - sculptures, figurines, temple models, frescos, vases, sacrificial containers - Gimbutas' magnum opus is at once a 'pictorial script' of the prehistoric Goddess religion and an authoritative work that takes these ancient cultures from the realm of speculation into that of documented fact.