Brit-Am Historical Reports
9 February 2011 5 Adar-Aleph 5771
1. Max von
Oppenheim and Gozan
of Edom, Syria, and Israel.
2. Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of
Explorator 13.42
3. New Evidence that Scandinavian "Stone Age" Finds were still produced in Viking Times???
Vikings revered Stone Age objects


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1. Max von Oppenheim and Gozan of Edom, Syria, and Israel.

Relevance to Brit-Am:

Gozan on the Habor River (a northern tributary of the Euphrates) was a center of Edomites and Aramaeans and later of Israelite Exiles. In addition to this, Brit-Am studies also indicate that Israelite settlers had reached the area at an early date perhaps already in the time of Joshua and the Judges.
Max von Oppenheim was the first archaeologist to seriously examine the area and his finds are perhaps the most important that have been found there. His life and adventures are also interesting in their own right as shedding light on the historical background of the Middle East at the time of his escapades.

Map Showing Location of Gozan.
Gozan Location Map

Ancient Statue from Gozan.

Note the side-curls similar to those worn today by many Ultra-Orthodox Jews in accordance with Leviticus 19:27.
The presence of side-curls does not necessarily prove Israelite presence but it may (along with other factors) serve as an indication of it.
This was discussed by Alessandra Nibbi in "Canaan and Canaanite in Ancient Egypt", 1989.

Gozan Statue

The Spectacular Life and Finds of Max von Oppenheim

By Matthias Schulz


A new exhibition in Berlin's Pergamon Museum displays 3,000-year-old finds from Syria that fell victim to bombing in World War II and were painstakingly reassembled over almost a decade. But just as interesting is the checkered life story of Max von Oppenheim, the aristocratic German archaeologist who discovered them.

The Irish writer Samuel Beckett and Iraqi King Faisal I had traveled to Berlin to marvel at the latest sensation in the German capital. In July 1930, Max von Oppenheim -- diplomat, secret agent and frequent traveler to the Orient -- had established a private museum in Berlin's Charlottenburg district.

Griffins weighing several tons, sphinxes made of basalt and strange "scorpion bird men" were on display at Oppenheim's new museum. The mythical creatures were from a buried fortress on the edge of the Syrian desert dating back almost 3,000 years. The Bible refers to the mysterious site as "Gozan," though it is better known as "Guzana."

Like Heinrich Schliemann, the German who discovered ancient Troy, Max von Oppenheim (1860-1946) was a self-taught archeologist. As the scion of the Jewish banking dynasty Salomon Oppenheim (his mother was from a patrician family in Cologne), Oppenheim grew up in the ostentatious world of the Belle Epoque. Indeed, his parents' estate near Bonn resembled an enchanted castle.

Max showed little interest in the law, the profession his father had chosen for him. Instead, he was drawn to the Orient.

Given his colonial ambitions, Kaiser Wilhelm II needed people like Oppenheim, so he hired him to work at the German consulate in Egypt.

In addition to performing his diplomatic duties, the colorful banker's son collected 42,000 books and studied the customs of the Orient. His groundbreaking work on the history of the Bedouins was just recently rediscovered in Saudi Arabia.

Another thing that contributed to Oppenheim's glamorous reputation was his many love affairs. Instead of marrying, he pursued the Islamic custom of taking "temporary wives," and he had a well-earned reputation for flirting and short-lived affairs.

Not surprisingly, Oppenheim had his share of enemies. A British diplomat once described him as "egoistic" and "chattering."

The German adventurer met with very little success in World War I, too. To this day, the British see him as a "master spy" because he founded the magazine El Jihad in 1914 in an effort to incite the Arabs to wage a holy war against the British and French occupiers in the Middle East. But his adversary Lawrence of Arabia, whom he knew personally, was far more successful at fomenting revolts.

Still, when it came to archeology, the baron did very little wrong. He hired the best architects, and he broke new ground in the way he documented his finds. He also spared no expense in excavating Tell Halaf, the site of a lost city on a hill.

In 1911, Oppenheim set out into the desert with 1,000 camels carrying 21 tons of expedition gear, including wagons and 800 meters of rail track. It had been an unusually harsh winter in northern Mesopotamia, and the stinking cadavers of animals littered the sand.

His excavation team included up to 500 Bedouins, as well as a doctor, cooks, a photographer and several skilled excavation experts.

Just beneath the surface, the excavators found stone sphinxes, lions and dark basalt panels bearing reliefs of ships, camels and club-wielding dignitaries. The reliefs had once adorned the "Western Palace" built long ago by a mysterious King Kapara.

It is now clear that, like Jesus, the residents spoke Aramaic and lived through a prosperous era starting around 1,000 B.C. Ironically, it was during the "dark centuries," when the Assyrians, Greeks and Egyptians were faltering and the Hittite empire disintegrated completely, that Guzana's star began to shine.

A massive citadel was built there during this period, along with a palace surrounded by walls 10 meters (33 feet) high. The settlement lay next to a tributary of the Euphrates, which brought ships all the way to the Indian Ocean. The source of the city's wealth probably derived from the carved tusks of Mesopotamian elephants.

It wasn't until the Assyrians regained strength and began exacting tribute from their small neighbor that Guzana's prosperous times came to an end. The Western Palace was burned down during an uprising in 808 B.C.

Oppenheim's life under the Nazis was hardly any less adventurous than before.

On Jan. 30, 1933, when Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Reich Chancellor and his supporters marched through the Brandenburg Gate in a torchlight procession, Oppenheim was sitting with the New York press magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt in a nearby dance hall. All of a sudden, half-drunk men burst into the establishment and shouted: "Jews out!"

It was a horrible signal, and one that would not leave Oppenheim unaffected. Indeed, the 1935 Nuremberg Laws on race classified him into a "half-breed of the first degree," a group occupying a gray zone between tolerance and persecution.

Oppenheim quickly felt the brunt of the brutal shift. Berlin's highest-ranking museum official scoffed at his family, saying it was a "Jewish contamination" of European nobility. But the official's real goal was to take all the credit for the treasures of Tell Halaf.

Despite these problems, Oppenheim still enjoyed good connections, and friends in the Foreign Ministry and the financial world protected him.

When the owner of a private bank used anti-Semitic slurs against him, Oppenheim challenged his rival to a duel with pistols and began practicing his marksmanship. The case eventually went before a Berlin court of honor, which ordered the banker to apologize.

Indeed, Oppenheim did everything he could to defend his legacy. In a speech before Nazi dignitaries, he went so far as to flatly ascribe his statues to the "Aryan" culture, and he even received support from the Nazi government.

In March 1939, a 78-year-old Oppenheim made his last trip to the Orient. Little is known of the trip, though the purpose was reportedly to resume his dig in Syria before his permit expired.

Still, there are some questions about whether there was more to it than that. The trip was paid for by a special fund administered by Hermann G?ing, the head of Germany's air force and leading Nazi, who collected stolen paintings and antiques from all over Europe.

Once back in Germany, Oppenheim lived in Munich, where he witnessed the demise of the Third Reich in person. His finds had been bombed to bits in Berlin, and he had few treasures left to his name. Soon thereafter, in 1946, he died of old age.

2. Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of Explorator 13.42

Relevance to Brit-Am:

Relevance: Shows several articles of historical interest from a Brit-Am perspective.

From: david meadows <>
A Byzantine church find might also be the site of the tomb of Zechariah:

Interview wit Leen Ritmeyer about the dimensions of the Temple:

A pile of sites in Saudi Arabia identified via Google Earth:

Talking about Mesopotamian women:

Dr Leen Ritmeyer's Blog:


Archaeologist at Large:
On the possible Syrian origins of the myth of Orion:

Visit our blog:
Another henge at Stonehenge:

The high density of hunter-gatherers in northern Europe slowed the influx of

Vikings apparently had a thing for stone objects:

... and a theory about their methods of navigation:

Excitement over some Norwegian petroglyphs:

The 'bog girl' Moora is the latest to get the facial reconstruction

Possible Neolithic remains under a Guernsey park:

Latest DNA study looks at Polynesian origins:


They've unearthed some chess pieces at James Madison's country estate:

Looking for various aspects of the war-filled times of the Kayenta Anasazi:

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has put up a database of slave baptisms:

There's still a WWI vet alive in the US (!):

This week's tree-ring study connects droughts and rises and falls of
civilizations in Mexico:

Time Magazine has a feature on the 'Top 25 Political Icons':,28804,2046285_2045996_2045906,00.html

... while elsewhere we have a list of the 10 most powerful women in history:

... and a list of five famous philosophers greatest hypocrises:

On the history of encyclopedias:


Taygete Atlantis excavations blogs aggregator:

Time Machine:

Atiqot 65:

AJA Reviews:

Jewish artifacts stolen from a synagogue in Milan:

Second Temple coins and jugs found during a weapons search in Galilee:

Teaching Resources for Ancient Assyria:

3. New Evidence that Scandinavian "Stone Age" Finds were still produced in Viking Times???
Vikings revered Stone Age objects

February 2, 2011  

New archaeological findings suggest that the Vikings considered Stone Age objects to have magical qualities, and that such "antiques" were more important in Viking culture than previously understood.

Relevance to Brit-Am:

Possible an important article. Shows that Viking graves contained "Stone Age" items. Suggests that Vikings revered these objects that originated in ancient times.
An alternate explanation however is in line with the view that the so-called Scandinavian Stone Ages actually took place not before but parallel to the Bronze and Iron Ages! The finds could therefore have been contemporary products of Viking times.


Examinations of around 10 Viking graves found in Rogaland, southwest Norway, revealed Stone Age items, such as weapons, amulets and tools.

The latest revelations are linked to discoveries from Vikings who had travelled to Iceland, and who have been found carrying Stone Age items with them. Previously, such findings were not considered to be significant, but recent analysis links them to similar, earlier-overlooked evidence from several locations over the former Viking lands.

As well as being buried with the dead, as were some of their ships, Stone Age arrowheads and daggers were sometimes buried under Viking houses. Hemdorff suggests that "by including objects from their ancestors, the Vikings legitimized and gained 'control' over the past."

The custom of burying Stone Age treasures has also been identified in Iron Age communities and excavations from the age of migration (400-600 BC [should be CE i.e. a.d.) found in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Indeed, the practice is mentioned in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, where it is stated that flint, pottery, round stones and shards are thrown into Ophelia's grave.

Hemdorff speculates that Shakespeare "probably built his own description on an old custom that we now know goes back to Viking times."


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