this "was there a matriarchy in Europe or the Near East or Egypt?" is a 20-
(at least)year-old argument among women, scholars, and scholars who are women.
It started when women (not necessarily scholars) learned about the Paleolithic
"Venus figurines", small statues widely and frequently scattered in sites over
France, Italy, Russia, etc. Also rock carvings like the Venus of Wilendorf (sp?), which IMO is a wonderful bas-relief. They jumped to the conclusion that because
evidently female figures were important, they reflected the actual status of women
in those societies. Not proven. How could it be? And from the earliest mythologies we have of those cultures, never to be proven. The best we can do, from
very good evidence of the earliest Sumerian prayers, letters, legends, etc.,\there was EQUALITY between sexes (women could own and run businesses, be priestesses, etc.).
IF there ever was a matriarchy in Europe, it vanished like the culture, leaving
nothing but images we cannot form a whole picture with.