Mater, The Mother
As prehistory gives way to history, and men and women start to write down the stories of their lives we begin to learn the names of some of these divine women. Isis, Ishtar, Innana, the Queen of Heaven. They actually come in all shapes and sizes. But a notable number share two key traits. These are still creatures in charge of both life and death, of conflict and fertility. They inspire awe and they are terrifying.
I'm going to the wild highlands of central Turkey in search of one of them, to see how delaying the women evolved as small societies grew into vast kingdoms.
In the first millennium BC, people called the Phrygians lived on this mountainous frontier. Blasted by a long, hard winter's own border by the great warrior and powers of the Near East, life was a constant battle for survival. They worshipped a great goddess who would be revered and feared across three continents. She was known as Kybele, or Mater, the Mother.
But this goddess was not very maternal, She stands on her own in wild and savage places. This is where you'll find one of the most mysterious monuments to the goddess in the East, Because this is the place where she was thought to emerge from the mountain home. The Phrygians believed that at monuments like this, the mother would appear from a doorway in the side of the mountain to be worshipped.
The goddess originally stood in the middle here, and you can probably just make out that she's flanked on either side by two lions. The terrible thing is that up until a couple of years ago, she did still stand here.
But treasure hunters have hacked her out of the rock. For close on 3000 years, the goddess protected this mountain. And now she's just a pile of fragments. Solitary crumbling shrines like this give us tantalising glimpses of a powerful ancient goddess in danger of disappearing from the landscape, and from history.
Following her trail, I'm going to the most important Kybele site in Phrygia. The holy city dedicated to her worship.