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2013-09-15 09:46:49   •   ID: 1106

A. Rust and D.A.E. Garrod: Different Attitudes

Figure 1
This is a Photograph taken from the Yabrud I rock shelter from Rusts extensive Yabrud Monograph (1950).

To better understand the origin of Paleolithic stone tools in Central Europe, Alfred Rust (1900-1983), at this time non-academic amateur Archaeologists, began a bike trip to the Middle East in 1930 together with a friend.

Leaving from Hamburg on 1 September, they crossed the Balkans, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, and finally succeeded at the cost many adventures and sufferings to Alexandria in Egypt.

Exhausted and suffering from disease, Rust was hospitalized at Nebek, 80km north of Damascus. During his convalescence, and for several months, he explored and excavated the Abris carved into the cliffs of the Wadi Skifta, near the small town of Yabrud.

Here he discovered, with the help of his friend and some local laborers, one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in the Middle East. The Paleolithic findings of the rock shelters Yabrud I-III located around on the western face of the Skifta dry valley remain until today one of the most important successions from the lower Palaeolithic until the Epipaleolithic in the Middle East .

These rock shelters revealed Lower (Acheulian, Yabrudian),  Middle (Levalloisian-Mousterian) and Upper Paleolithic (Ahmarian, Aurignacian) , as well as Epipaleolithic  deposits.

Rust published the results of several campaigns after the WW II in a monograph (Rust 1950). Better founded, mainly by the industrialist and early Nazi Roselius (Bremen),  Rust returned to Yabrud in 1931 and 1932. 

After his return from the Levant, Rust, who was still considered an amateur, was encouraged by his paternal friend Schwantes to manage a seminal multidisciplinary research program in the Ahrensburg-Meiendorf tunnel valley near Hamburg, excavating such important waterlogged late Paleolithic sites like Meiendorf and Stellmoor. He defined two late Paleolithic North European Entities by in situ artifacts of the „Hamburger Kultur“ below a stratum characterized by the „Ahrensburg Kultur“.

Organic artifacts, among them the oldest Arrows and For-shafts known, were highlights of these interdisciplinary excavations, which also included the pollen-analytical classification of the find horizons by Schüttrumpf, which is still valid today. With the research results of his Ahrensburg excavations, Rust habilitated at the University of Kiel in 1942.

Subsequently he became one of the most important Prehistorians in  Germany during the late 1930ies and 40ies and finally habilitated without any formal studies.

Rust was a corresponding, but not a full member of the SS-Ahnenerbe, maybe only to get better funding and to avoid conscription to the German armed forces, maybe because he adhered to the Nazi-ideology at some point.

In his popular and even scientific Publications there are many indications for a deeply internalized "völkisches Denken". Anyhow he was never a member of the Nazi party like 75% of his colleagues in Germany. A critical biography about Rust is still missing.

Dorothy Annie Elizabeth (D.A.E.) Garrod (1892–1968) is mainly known through her pioneering work on the Palaeolithic period.  Between 1925 and 1926 she excavated in Gibraltar and in 1928 led an expedition through South Kurdistan with the excavation of Hazar Merd Cave and Zarzi cave.

Her most important contribution to world prehistory was the excavation of the Mount Camel caves of the Nahal Mearot (Wadi El-Mughara ; Valley of the Caves) beginning in 1929. In total, excavations at Mount Carmel were carried out in five caves (Tabun, El Wad, Skhul, Shuqba by Garrod and her team and Kebara together with Turville-Petre) over a period of almost twenty two months, over seven seasons, recording, as Garrod suggested, an almost unbroken Palaeolithic succession from the end of the Lower Palaeolithic to the Epipaleolithic.

During the analytical work, Garrod classified and analyzed a biased sample of 92,000 artifacts. Her excavations at the cave sites in the Levant were conducted with almost exclusively women workers recruited from local villages.

The chronology for the prehistory of the Levant has inevitably altered through time, but it is Garrods groundbreaking research in Palestine, combined with that of Rene Neuville‘s in Palestine and Alfred Rust‘s in Syria, that provides the basis of the Levantine prehistoric sequence that exists today.

Figure 2
Figure 2 (GNU Free Documentation License) shows the 18 m deep Garrod section at the Tabun cave ("Tayacian"; Acheulian, Yabrudian including Acheulo-Yabrudian and early Blade ["Amudian"] industries, Levalloisian-Mousterian [Tabun D-C-B] ). According to  Avraham Ronen, leading Levantine expert, who has re-evaluated the Mount Carmel Caves, especially Tabun, “Garrod’s stratigraphical subdivision of Tabun Cave is the clearest ever made.”

The Members of Garrods first multidisciplinary excavation crew at the el-Wad, Mount Carmel in 1929 were manly women: Elinor Ewbank (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford),  Mrs Chitty, née Mary Kitson Clark (Girton College, Cambridge), Dean Harriet M. Allyn (Mount Holyoke College, USA) and Dr Martha Hackett.

Garrod and her team respected their workers and in turn the relationships with their Arab neighbors and employees were warm.  Garrod was often invited to weddings or other celebratory occasions. “She was called Sitt Miriam, Lady Mary.” “When we had a fantasia at the end, a party, the girls made a ring all around us and danced round us singing,” Kitson Clark remembered.

We have not any independent document about the relationship between Rust and the Arabian workers at Yabrud, where Rust and his friend lived, but in his monograph" Die Höhlenfunde von Jabrud", Rust mocks the Inhabitants of Yabrud as ignorant and illiterate persons. Compared to the partnership between Garrod and her female workers, Rust seem to have  preferred the paternalistic and colonialist attitude of a German "Herrenmensch".

Documents from Garrods Work at Mt. Carmel:

http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/garrod/ http://www.wesleyan.edu/archprog/collections/collection-highlights/mtcarmel.html