Background to this Proposal
The survey is based in and around the Rachaiya Basin South, 8 miles (12 kms) north of Mt Hermon in Lebanon (Latitude (DMS) 33° 30' 4 N Long (DMS) 35° 50' 22E). This inter-montane valley lies above the Bekaa Plateau on the anti-Lebanon Mountain range close to the Jabal Ash-Shakh (Mount Hermon) range. It has abundant supplies of fresh water and fertile soils derived from volcanically extruded and weathered rock, together with sediments within a former lake bed.
Rachaiya town is 25 miles (37.5 kms) from Damascus and 35 miles (52.5 kms) from Beirut, our main port of call for communications and liaison with the authorities and archaeological departments, with our second communication centre being Damascus, where we hope to gain support and cooperation from both Lebanese and Syrian authorities.
Kharsag translates from the archaic Sumerian as head enclosure, and is named from the Kharsag Epics, a series of clay cylinders and tablets, inscribed in cuneiform from the Nippur library, and translated by Christian O'Brien, who read natural sciences at Christ's College, Cambridge. From 1935 he spent many years as an exploration geologist in Iran, where he was involved in the discovery of the Tchoga Zambil ziggurat (French Delagation Archeologique En Iran of its findings from Mission de Susiane 1966).
In 1970 he retired as the head of the international oil operating companies in Iran, and was awarded a CBE in 1971 for his work. He then devoted his retirement to researching the many enigmas of prehistory, surveying and discovering the Integrated Astronomical Observatory Line A - Hatfield Forest to Wandlebury, near Cambridge, and the Bodmin Moor Astronomical Complex in Cornwall, England, both dated to c. 2,500 BC. He established the overwhelming mathematical probability and proof that they were designed for complex observational astronomy.
In the search with his wife Barbara Joy for the master builders who constructed them, he followed the evidence back to the land of Canaan and Sumeria, and established the need to master archaic Sumerian cuneiform, Aramaic and Hebrew texts and languages.
O'Brien became the scholar who continued the work of Samuel Noah Kramer, who was born in the Ukraine in 1897, and died in the United States in 1990. Kramer was one of the world's leading Assyriologists, and a world renowned expert in Sumerian history and language.
The cylinders and tablets, recording the Kharsag Epics, form part of the Nippur collection held at the University Museum, Philadelphia in the USA. They describe in detail the agricultural, and advanced technical activities of the primary Sumerian Gods, An, Enlil and Ninhursag. The detail within the Kharsag Epics are supported independently by the Chronicles of Enoch, and the early chapters of Genesis.
Christian O'Brien in his book The Genius of the Few, first published in 1985 and co-authored by his widow Barbara Joy, sets out the evidence that Kharsag and the Garden of Eden were one and the same, and that this record was a pre-historic reality rather than a biblical myth.
He concluded that the south Rachaiya Basin met the requirements as being the most probable location of the Kharsag/Eden site. And further that; a group of culturally and technically advanced people who settled in this inter-montane valley in the Near East had established an agricultural and teaching centre at about 8,200 BC. (Now re-calibrated to about 9,300 BC).
He derived his choice for the location of Kharsag from a wide range of disciplines, including the descriptions of the area given by Enoch when he was taken to meet the Great Lord and record all that was going on. O'Brien finally used the French surveyed 1:20,000 map of the area, to eliminate three other possible inter-montaine basins before deciding that the Rachaiya south basin site, best matched the evidence.
The Patrick Foundation Golden Age Project, set up in 1998 by Edmund Marriage, is run in partnership with Barbara Joy O'Brien, co-author of the books, with the specific purpose of continuing and promoting the O'Brien scholarship, together with protecting the author's copyrights on the wide range of subjects and discoveries made in the course of their work.
In November 2006 Edmund Marriage was able to study the area, identified by Christian O'Brien as the Kharsag/Eden site, using the Google Earth website satellite imaging facilities. His study of the images confirmed the strong physical feature of the watercourse, together with terrain and contour features, which support the accuracy of Christian O'Brien's ground plan. The Kharsag Research Project is run by Edmund Marriage in his role of an independent researcher and administrator of the O'Brien interests.
We seek permission and support from the Lebanese authorities to carry out a preliminary survey and investigation of the Rachaiya South Basin and the surrounding area.
We also seek to encourage the Lebanese authorities and if necessary others, to assist in planning and organising the necessary archaeological and environmental surveys to substantiate the evidence gathered through the research and translations of ancient texts by the authors of The Genius of the Few - Christian and Barbara Joy O'Brien
To discover whether there are physical features and dated farming evidence, to establish beyond reasonable doubt, the actual Kharsag or Garden of Eden as portrayed in the Sumerian, Arabic or Hebraic literature, at this site.
To provide the Lebanese authorities with all possible cooperation and assistance in the undertaking of archaeological and other research deemed necessary on this project.
To continue the work started by Christian and Barbara Joy O'Brien and to support the objectives of the Patrick Foundation in the pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination to the wider public.
The purpose of this preliminary survey is to investigate, photograph and film the structural features in the Rachaiya Basin and surrounding area, and if possible take a number of sediment core samples, and locate sites for geophysical studies.
To discuss the options available for funding and conducting archaeological surveys of the research area.
To discuss the options available for funding and conducting and environmental surveys of the research area.
To analyse environmental and cultural data obtained from the site in order to explore the origins of agriculture and pastoralism in southern Lebanon, from around 9,000 BC or earlier.
To build upon the works of Christian O'Brien and the Patrick Foundation, linking and networking with those able to add their support and evidence in establishing a clearer picture of our history.