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

katzmans yabrud jabrud

This is a Photograph taken from the Yabrud I rock shelter from Rusts 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.

For the Paleolithic, the rock shelters Yabrud I-III located around on the western face of the Skifta dry valley are the most important succession in the area. 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 managed a multidisciplinary research program at the Ahrensburg valley, excavating such important waterlogged  late Paleolithic sites like Meiendorf and Stellmoor. 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. His attitude to the National Socialist Party is not exactly known, but he was never a member of the party like 75% of his colleagues in Germany.

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. The following picture (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, “Garrod’s stratigraphical subdivision of Tabun Cave is the clearest ever made.”

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a Picture from Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License) showing the Garrod section today

Members of Garrods first multidisciplinary excavation crew at the el-Wad, Mount Carmel, 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 workers, Rust seem to have  preferred the paternalistic and colonialist attitude of a German “Herrenmensch”.

Documents from Garrods Work at Mt. Carmel:




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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome!

About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University.

Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.

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