Hello there! My name's Paul and I'm carrying out important work to show and share with the world the location of real Garden of Eden and central site of the Agricultural (Neolithic) Revolution. I led the field walk there in November 2009 and saw the damage being inflicted and the urgent need for protection by getting World Heritage Site status, requiring public support and official investigation.
The pivotal importance of this site for both Jews, Muslims and Christians as a symbol of peace and harmony.
This location of the site was comprehensively mapped out by Christian O'Brien in his 1985 book, "The Genius of The Few" where he identified it through descriptions given in the earliest Nippur Tablets (The Barton Cylinder, etc), Atrahasis and The Book of Enoch, along with other mentions in the Bible, The Book of Jubilees, The Koran etc. The Sumerians were first recorded to have written about this site and called it "Kharsag".
Eden was located on Google Earth by Edmund Marriage, Director of The Patrick Foundation's Golden Age Project in 2006. He discovered a mile long Great Watercourse and other features in place as per O'Brien's map. I led the field walk recently in an initial survey which has provided the first video (unreleased) and photographic evidence of the site for peer review. Please see the maps for both Google Earth and Christian O'Brien's placement of the remains of structures at this REAL place identified as the starting point of the Neolithic (Agricultural) Revolution at around 9,500BC, soon after the end of the last glacial - The Younger Dryas.
"Kharsag" in the Sumerian Nippur Tablets means "head enclosure". Eden itself comes from the Sumerian word "Edin" meaning "plain" or "steppe". The entire Rashaya basin floods every 5-10 years with millions of cubic gallons of water, forming a huge lake that can still be partially seen on Google Earth from the last one in 2005-2006. We found out from the Lebanese Red Cross that they had put dye down a sinkhole near the Great Watercourse that drains the entire basin. The dye came out in the Hasbani. After seeing all this, I now strongly suspect that the people who built Kharsag's reservoir, dam and watercourse did so to control the Lebanese and Anti-Lebanese mountain run off waters and direct them out through the Wadi El-Neirab into the lowlands of "Eden", the area around and likely to the South of Kharsag, which links into the Jordan river and associated famous valley...
Professor Daniel Zohary advanced the suggestion that grain was first cultivated in one location and this should be an enticing suggestion for archaeologists to prove at this site. If there was such a massive originating site for the Neolithic Revolution, it might re-shape current theories substantially, regardless of any religious links involved in the locating of such a site.
The centre of cultural diffusion at the time was the Garden of Eden, or Kharsag if you prefer - a bounded area in the mountains, sending out water and knowledge to the grassland/steppe area around, known as Eden.The Rashaya Basin is 8 miles North of Mount Hermon, 25 miles East of Damascus, near the town of Rashaya El-Wadi and village of Kfar Qooq.
The theories about Eden being a central site of the agricultural revolution between the Tigris and Euphrates are disproven archaeologically as this area would have been unsuitable for agriculture, which required the rainfall and mountain waters of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges, not in Iraq or Bahrain... and that Sumerian civilization didn't move to Eridu, their first city until around 5,500BC. The starting point of the agricultural revolution which is currently best suggested c. 7,000 B.C by "Kurgan Hypothesis" and Colin Renfrew's "Anatolian Hypothesis", which anyone knowledgeable on finds may well speculate misses the facts by being too far north and up to 1,500 years too late.
Evidence that Anatolia is too North include the the development of agriculture at Jericho, cultivated crops are also found between 9,800 B.C and 8,400 B.C at Tell Aswad and starting at Tell Abu Hureyra, not very far to the North by 9,050BC. Cultivated figs were also dug up on the other side of Mount Hermon at Gilgal I, dated to 9,500-9,300 by Kislev et al not far from Kharsag / Eden. Perhaps the biggest problem with the Northern Theories are Dame Kathleen Kenyon's excavations of Jericho, which shows organised agriculture long before that date to the South of both Anatolia (Turkey) and Lebanon. Also of interest at Jericho is the 600 metre x 9 metre x 3 metre rock cut ditch radio-carbon dated prior to the current dating of agriculture. Tell Aswad also has revealed evidence of agriculture and was inhabited between c. 9,800-8,400 B.C.
The Great Watercourse in Eden / Kharsag looks to have been approximately the same specification - 9 metres deep by 3 metres wide and extends over a mile, the sinkhole section is shown below. I have added another image, as if you look carefully, you can see a rock cut bridge extending over this section, with a groove alligned to Mount Hermon, from which I speculate hung a giant Cedar sluice (water control) gate.
There are various accounts of the Garden of Eden outside the Bible, including the Koran. The Nippur Tablets, including the Barton Cylinder are most important source documents describing the location of the Garden of Eden, and it's inhabitants, the first Sumerian Pantheon (An, Ninkharsag, Enlil & Enki). These were dug up in the foundations of the temple and library at Nippur by John Henry Haynes in 1898 and translated by George Aaron Barton. These are the oldest religious/story texts in the world, pre-dating the pyramid texts by at least half a century. O'Brien translated these stories as the founding of an agrarian community by people, rather than Gods in a time pre-dating "religion" as we know it.
Another is the Slavonic Book of Enoch2 produced around the 2nd century BC from materials with a much older tradition, discovered by Canon Charles and translated by his friend Dr Morfill, the Professor of Slavonic Studies at Oxford. It is from Morfill's work that we have the clearest accounts of the Garden of Eden. O’Brien added to Charles and Morfill’s translations.
Also we have an Akkadian work, Atra-hasis, Tablet 1 which was copied by a scribe called Ku-aya, in the reign of Ammi-saduqa about 1635 B.C., from non-existant, earlier material. It is indicated that Ku-aya translated an earlier Sumerian tablet into Akkadian. Translations of the Akkadian text have been made by Lambert and Millard, two Oxford scholars following in the footsteps of Canon Charles. Atra-hasis tells the story of a rebellion of the workers building the Great Watercourse in The Garden of Eden and of them surrounding Enlil's Great House in a mob with tools raised. It then tells the story of the Annunaki council creating "salaried man" and causing a massive rift in our development from utalitarian to capitalist objectives as a race. From this we get various legends of "fallen angels" and another metaphor for the Agricultural Revolution.
I'm looking to promote Eden / Kharsag and protect it for World Heritage, as I can see the benefits of archaeology catching up with religion and showing it's source as scientifically as possible and helping to bring about a reason for peace between Lebanon and Israel.
What you can do to help? Well, do some reading and if you're interested and support the promotion of this knowledge. The Golden Age Project has some great information regarding The Kharsag Research Project. "The Genius of The Few" is the source book covering O'Brien's discovery of The Garden of Eden.
If anyone can assist to get a review of the above book into a major newspaper or peer reviewed journal - positive or negative - I can then go walkabout on Wikipedia again with a really big gun against the sceptics. If anyone wants the most amazing topic for a thesis, I cannot think of anything bigger than this.
Also, if anyone wants to visit, I have the contacts to help arrange a visit to the area in comparative safety and comfort. Qualified archaeologists, or students to investigate the Rashaya Basin South, funding for pollen core analysis, radio-carbon dating and geo-physical surveys surveys is required, along with further peer reviewable material and the attention of UNESCO and the Lebanese Ministry of Culture.
I like to imagine the time when that watercourse was flowing, the two great houses of life and knowledge were shining silver in the moonlight. Camp fires from the workers houses were dotted all around the slopes into the valley. People settling down for the first time and learning to cultivate plants and organise our race. When the ruins of the large irrigation system and dam we found were operational, it must have made it very lush and green back then with likely far more trees.
Let me know if you have any questions, can offer any assistance or want more photos to examine.