Archaeologist Henri-Paul Francfort specializes in Central Asia from Bronze Age to Antiquity. He is an Emeritus researcher
at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), where he was director of the team “Archaeology of Central Asia”
of CNRS (1984-2014) and of the “French Archaeological Mission in Central Asia” (1991- 2014). He participated to 60 field seasons in 50 years, in 10 countries, taught archaeology
of Central Asia in Paris universities (1986-2013), lectured in
20 countries, published 150 books and articles. He is also a member of numerous scientific committees and learned societies.
Images and ideas of goddesses in ancient Middle East and Central Asia
In Middle East, Central Asia and the Indus Valley, during the third millennium BCE, many images, figurines, and statues, represented females. Some are clearly identified as ancient divine beings. Another group seems to depict human ladies, apparently queens or princesses. In some cases, especially in Central Asia, it is not simple to determine if an image figures a queen, or a goddess.
The lecture will expose and discuss the questions and the criteria used to differentiate human and divine female images. The consequences of precise and correct identifications will be examined – first for the knowledge of the organization of the ancient societies and second for understanding the structure of ancient mythologies, especially the hierarchies and interactions between various kinds of beings: monsters, heroes, and goddesses.