This book is the result of close mutual collaboration between the two authors since the latter part of the last century. Before that time, however, we had independently been working on parallel tracks for a couple of decades.
Victor H. Mair's interest in the subject of our joint researches was piqued when he first encountered the spectacular Machang phase Neolithic pot discussed in chapter two. Although it was generally interpreted by archaeologists as depicting a hermaphrodite, from the very beginning Victor strongly felt that the raised figure on the side of the pot was a woman displaying her genitalia. Miriam had similar feelings when, in the Lepenski Vir Museum in the Iron Gates region of the Danube, she saw the “fish-figure” described by the excavator as a male figure. This figure strongly resembled the Sheela na gigs, which Miriam had been researching in recent years. Very similar to the Machang