Dossier: Archaeology

Max von Oppenheim in his tent in Djebelet el-Beda, Syria, 1929 (photo: Max Freiherr von Oppenheim-Stiftung)

The German archaeologist and explorer Max von Oppenheim


Enchanted by the Myth of the Orient

Max von Oppenheim was an astute observer of the Near East. He was also captivated by its history, culture and way of life. In fact, Oppenheim's entire adult life is an illustration of how difficult it is to reconcile the captivating dream of the Orient with the sober political reality of the region – a difficulty that remains to this day. By Kersten KnippMore

The golden dome of the Dome of the Rock as seen from the Mount of Olives (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Dispute over planned archaeological museum in Jerusalem

Strife at the foot of the Temple Mount

In East Jerusalem, a planned archaeological museum, which has already been approved by the building authorities, is causing controversy. The seven-story building is to be constructed on the outskirts of the Palestinian district of Silwan and only 20 metres away from the south wall of Jerusalem's Old City. By Joseph CroitoruMore

Gardens in Islam

A Metaphor for Heavenly Paradise

Given the often extreme living conditions in the arid areas of the Islamic Orient, it comes as no surprise that oases and irrigated gardens have a very special status in the Muslim religion, the statements of the Prophet, and the holy scriptures. An essay by Eckhart EhlersMore

The burial mask of Tutankhamun (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Tutankhamun – His Grave and His Treasures

Replicas that Dazzle and Impress

The treasures discovered in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun are some of the most significant finds in the history of archaeology. A replica of the pharaoh's burial chamber is now on display in the German city of Nuremberg. By Sonja HegasyMore

Historic photography of the ruins of Al-Madrasa Al-Afdhaliya in East Jerusalem's former Moroccan (or Mughrabi) Quarter (photo: American Colony/Library of Congress)

Islamic Archaeology in Israel

A Sea-change in Attitudes

A group of Israeli historians and archaeologists is calling for a radical rethink in the way the region's past is viewed. They want a stronger focus on Palestine's Islamic eras, which have in the past been neglected in favour of its Jewish history. By Joseph CroitoruMore

 Ernst Herzfeld, excavation photograph 1911-1913 (photo: © Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

Islamic Archeology

Samarra, Centre of the World

With his excavations in Samarra, the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld founded "Islamic Archaeology". On the 101st anniversary of his excavations in the city, which is situated in modern-day Iraq, a special exhibition marking his work has opened its doors in Berlin. By Jannis HagmannMore

Stone figures of humans dating from the fourth millennium BCE on display at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin (photo: dpa)

The ''Roads of Arabia'' Exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art

Saudi Arabia's Surprising Treasures

An exhibition entitled "Roads of Arabia", which runs at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin from 26 January to 9 April, is showcasing the archaeological heritage of Saudi Arabia. This striking collection contains some surprising and sensational treasures and reveals a desert kingdom in transition. By Marian BrehmerMore

Silhuette of Jerusalem (photo: Jan Zappner)

Jerusalem's 'Tolerance Museum'

The Middle East Conflict Fought Out on an Ancient Muslim Cemetery

Arab, Israeli, and Western archaeologists demand the cancelation of plans to build a Tolerance Museum in Jerusalem – a project that has already been hotly debated for years. Joseph Croitoru reportsMore