The Institute of Archaeomythology is an international organization of scholars dedicated to fostering an interdisciplinary approach to cultural research with particular emphasis on the beliefs, rituals, social structure and symbolism of ancient societies. The Institute encourages dialogue among specialists from diverse fields by sponsoring international conferences and symposia, by publishing papers and monographs, and by promoting creative collaboration within an atmosphere of mutual support.
Archaeomythology is an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship formulated by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas for the purpose of expanding the parameters of the study and understanding of the multidimensional fabric of human cultures. Special emphasis is placed upon the beliefs, rituals, symbolism, social structure, and systems of communication of prehistoric societies.
This methodology combines a broad range of disciplines including, but not limited to, archaeology, anthropology, mythology, ethnology, folklore, linguistics, comparative religion, genetics, ecology, and history. Such an interdisciplinary approach provides a corrective: if an interpretation formulated through the lens of one or more disciplines is shown to be false through the lens of another discipline, the original interpretation must be reexamined.
Archaeomythology assumes that it is possible for some archaic cultural patterns to continue as substratum elements into later cultural phases which can be identified and studied as layers of living stratigraphy. Archaeomythology can also be used as a metaphor for a complex inquiry, or “excavation,” into the mythological, psychological, and spiritual layers of any cultural period, including the present.