Official opening of “The Tell Halaf Adventure” exhibition


On 27 January, the Museum of the Ancient Near East's major exhibition, 'The Tell Halaf Adventure', was officially opened in a ceremony held in the Pergamonmuseum on Berlin's Museum Island and attended by over 1000 guests, including Riad Ismat, Culture Minister of the Syrian Arabic Republic, and Christopher Freiherr von Oppenheim, from the board of trustees of the Max Freiherr von Oppenheim Foundation.

The exhibition marks the long-awaited conclusion of the largest restoration project to be undertaken in the last few decades. Within the space of nine years, some 27,000 fragments from over 40 monumental sculptures and relief panels were pieced together again. The works were originally excavated by the German diplomat and Middle East scholar, Max Freiherr von Oppenheim, on the slopes of Tell Halaf in north-east Syria and subsequently brought to Berlin. After being destroyed by an aerial bomb in the Second World War, the sculptures were long considered irretrievably lost.

Today's exhibition now sees the salvaged sculptures gathered together and uses archaeological records and historical documents to tell the story of the discovery and excavation of the Ancient Near Eastern artefacts, as well as the tragic fate that befell the collection in November 1943 and its subsequent recreation as part of a restoration project of a kind never seen before.