Tell Khalaf

Tell-Halaf is the so-called hill, where mysterious sculptures were found. Today, this name can be found in any scientific work devoted to the archeology of the Middle East. And then, a hundred years ago, in 1899, discoverer of Tell Khalaf Baron Oppenheim remembered only that the name of Tell Khalaf, as well as the river Havor (Havur), is mentioned in the Bible.

Tell-Halaf is the so-called hill, where mysterious sculptures were found

November 19, 1899 Max von Oppenheim began exploratory excavations on the top of the hill Tell Khalaf. He immediately was lucky: in front of him opened part of the facade of a large palace, stone statues. Undoubtedly, under the hill of Tell-Khalaf hide unusually interesting discoveries! From the ground stood the walls of the ruined palace and mighty statues-colossi, depicting sphinxes with female heads. The stone bas-reliefs found here depicted the hunting of bulls, the struggle of a lion and a bull, a man and a lion.

Excavated by Oppenheim temple on the hill Tell Khalaf existed in the 11th - 9th centuries BC, in the era of prosperity of the state of Mitanni. The fact that here at this time there are their own, very original cultural traditions, is evidenced at least by the portico of the temple: its overlap rested on the heads of three deities standing on the backs of fierce beasts with open mouths and sparkling eyes, which in general looked very formidably and solemnly.

The scientists seemed to be on the verge of mystery. But the excavations of the hill of Tell Khalaf were very slow. In a severe, unhealthy climate people fell ill, many patients had to be sent away from these baneful places. In 1914 the excavations had to be interrupted for a long time - the First World War began.

Only 14 years later, in 1927, Oppenheim returned to Tell Khalaf and continued his studies, further deepening into the bowels of the hill. And here the main, though less expressive finds awaited him...

They were amulets of the inhabitants of Tell Khalaf with images of bulls, rams and fantastic creatures - half-fish-half-man with human heads. These were the rough clay figures of squatting women, giving birth to ugly, often headless babies. It was a bright ceramic utensils of characteristic egg-shaped form. And all these finds in Tell Khalaf dated to the end of 6-5 millennium BC.

Max von Oppenheim found during the excavation of the Tell-Khalaf hill the remains of one of the most ancient agricultural cultures of the Near East. Today the term "Khalaf culture" has become firmly established in all scientific works and textbooks. Traces of this culture are met from the upper reaches of the Euphrates to the Taurus mountains in the north and the Ur to the south. Its creators were probably aliens from the north, whose original homeland was in "Turkish Mesopotamia".

The end of the Khalaf culture was laid by aliens from the south of Mesopotamia - the carriers of the Ubeid culture, who moved northward in search of new lands. The Khalaf culture was destroyed or disappeared, apparently around 4400-4300 BC, and today the material evidence of this amazingly vibrant agricultural civilization can be seen only in numerous museums, including the famous Tell-Khalaf Museum in Berlin, founded by Max von Oppenheim.