A Prehistory of Menstruation
by Petra Habiger (1998)
It is Jean M. Auel who created, in my opinion, one of the most
and well-investigated novel cycles of prehistoric Europe. The
sensitively told story conveys in all respects a thorough insight
Mrs. Auel also dares to approach the topic "menstruation":
Ayla, the female hero of the books, uses a kind of belt made from
fixing some very soft sheep wool between her legs to absorb
during her "moon time."
But here is no evidence from prehistory at
about the menstrual cycle and reflections to this effect can
only be hypothetical.
Ayla's device rather seems to be borrowed from the early 20th
However, some construe the "Venus
a female Ice Age figure painted with red ocher found in
left), as demonstrating the monthly cycle,
because with one hand
she points to her abdomen, and with the other she holds
up a moon horn with
13 notches that has 14 bulges (2 x 14 = 28 days of the
- but that is kind of a longshot interpretation.
It would also be absurd to
allege ancient social
structures based on the matriarchy, just because of
the remarkable number
of women's body portrayals found.
However, the moon has always seemed to have been a
symbol for femininity.
The regularity of moon phases (and menstrual cycles) was
used for measuring
time by picturing the three visible phases as three
lines or the three corners
of a triangle similar to a woman's vulva (stone vulva
Jean M. Auel, "Ayla und das Tal der Großen Mutter,"
Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, 1990
For interested readers here are the other 3 books of the cycle:
Jean M. Auel, "The Clan of the Cave Bear," Crown Publishers,
Inc. New York, 1980
Jean M. Auel, "The Valley of Horses," Crown Publishers, Inc.
New York, 1982
Jean M. Auel, "The Mammoth Hunters," Crown Publishers, Inc.
Dr. Friederike Schneider, 1997
Marie E. P. König
If you have questions about menstruation or menstrual hygiene,
hesitate to contact me via e-mail.
Next Note from Germany: Menstruation
Take a short tour of
on Web video!) - FAQ - Tampon Safety Act - Visit or
contact the actual museum - Board
of Directors - Norwegian
- The media and the MUM - Menstrual odor
- Prof. Mack C. Padd: Fat
The science and medicine of menstruation
tampons - Books
menstruation - Menstrual cups: history,
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