Externsteine - Archaeology in Troubled Times

Uta Halle. "Die Externsteine sind bis auf weiteres germanisch!" Prähistorische Archäologie im Dritten Reich. Bielefeld: Verlag für Regionalgeschichte, 2002
Reviewed by: Gary Beckman, Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan.

Archaeology in Troubled Times

The Externsteine, a spectacular sandstone formation located near the small town of Horn in Nordrhein-Westfalen (Kreis Lippe), is one of Germany's natural wonders, significant enough to be included among the tourist attractions pictured on the nation's Sehenswürdigkeiten series of definitive postage stamps (Michel Katalog no. 1407). The outcropping is adorned with a bas-relief depicting the Descent from the Cross, which recent art-historical research has dated to the early ninth century of the Common Era. [1]

Already in the sixteenth century a local pastor and antiquarian had identified the Externsteine as the site of one of the Germanic shrines reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne. [2] Given that they are located in the heart of the Teutoburg district where, according to Tacitus, Arminius had defeated a Roman army, it is not surprising that the Externsteine assumed particular importance for those participants in the völkisch movement of the early twentieth century who focused their enthusiasms on prehistory. The völkisch approach to prehistory, as exemplified by the work of its founding father, Gustaf Kossinna, [3] was a tendentious one: it sought to demonstrate that the early Germans had possessed a culture at least the equal of that of the Mediterranean peoples. Its adherents resented not only the idea that the Romans had brought a higher civilization to the Rhineland, but also the dominance of Classical archaeologists in German universities and in the Deutsche Archäologische Gesellschaft (DAI). They contemptuously referred to their rivals as "Römlinge."  [4]

Most prominent among the Germanomanes concerned with the Externsteine was Wilhelm Teudt, a one-time clergyman turned amateur prehistorian who wrote widely on the site's putative sacredness and Germanic character. [5] Teudt was also instrumental in the establishment in 1934 of the Externsteine-Stiftung, whose purpose was to raise funds for and administer a kind of Germanic heritage park. [6] Joining Teudt on the board of the foundation was SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Under the patronage of this group, archaeological investigations were conducted in 1934 and 1935.

The author of the volume under review, professional archaeologist Uta Halle, conceived her project following a visit to the Landesmuseum Detmold in search of comparative material for a study of ceramics excavated at another medieval site (p. 11). In Detmold she not only came across the material recovered at the Externsteine in the 1930s, which had never been scientifically published, but she also learned that the local Staatsarchiv contained correspondence and other records generated by numerous archaeological enthusiasts of the area. She therefore undertook a double project--to detail the results of the neglected digs, and to consider the interaction of politics and science in the study of prehistory under the Third Reich.

The first subject, is of only tangential interest. Suffice it to say that Halle shows that the pottery and other small finds from the Externsteine were produced from the tenth through the nineteenth century of the Common Era , and that neither these nor the architectural remains give any indication of a religious purpose for the site. That is, there is no evidence that the Externsteine were ever a Germanic temple. [7] This disappointing result may well account for the failure of Julius Andrée, who directed the 1934 excavations, to document his work fully or indeed to produce a proper publication. In his brief note in a popular publication and in his public lectures, Andrée supported the völkisch fantasy about the site, but avoided giving details that would allow this shaky interpretation to be challenged. [8]

The remainder of Halle's book is devoted to a disciplinary history of Vorgeschichte under the National Socialist regime. Like the practitioners of many other scholarly fields, [9] in the postwar years German prehistorians were loath to examine their record and that of their discipline during the Nazi period. Indeed, the resistance the author encountered in the 1980s and 1990s, including the refusal of Teudt's family to grant access to his Nachlass, led her to consider abandoning her study . Thankfully, she pressed on.

Halle sets the stage with a consideration of the attitudes of leading National Socialist ideologues to the early past of their nation. Alfred Rosenberg and Heinrich Himmler were enthusiastic about what they thought their forefathers had accomplished, while Hitler was an admirer of ancient Rome [10] and referred to his Germanophile colleagues as "crazy apostles of early times (spinnige Jenseitsapostel)". The author reasonably concludes that there was no unified Nazi view of prehistory.
Halle sets the stage with a consideration of the attitudes of leading National Socialist ideologues to the early past of their nation. Rosenberg and Himmler were enthusiastic about what they thought their forefathers had accomplished, while Hitler was an admirer of ancient Rome [10] and referred to his Germanophile colleagues as "crazy apostles of early times (spinnige Jenseitsapostel)". The author reasonably concludes that there was no unified Nazi view of prehistory.

Halle sketches the development of prehistoric archaeology in Germany, with special attention given to the rivalry between the followers of Kossinna and the experts on provincial Roman material active with the Römisch-Germanische Kommission (RGK) , a competition that would continue into the final year of the Third Reich.

With the Machtergreifung of January, 1933, partisans of Germanic archaeology felt that their time had come, and indeed under the National Socialists new chairs in prehistory were established in many German universities. Among the eager applicants for these posts was prehistorian Hans Reinerth, [11] who was, however, shunned by many in the field because they (probably mistakenly) believed that he was responsible for the opening of an investigation into peculation by his mentor, R. R. Schmidt. Shut out of university posts, Reinerth insinuated himself with Alfred Rosenberg, becoming his advisor on Vorgeschichte. From his post on the Amt Rosenberg, Reinerth goaded his master to importune Hitler for the creation of a Reichsinstitutfür deutsche Vorgeschichte, an institution that the officers of the DAI and RGK perceived as a threat to their position and worked hard to forestall, enlisting in this effort Himmler and the SS-Ahnenerbe. Thus partisans of differing views as to the future of German archaeology, the Young Turk Germanic prehistorians on the one hand and traditional Classicists on the other, involved two of the most ambitious Nazi Bonzen in their struggle. In Halle's considered opinion, it was the scholars who attempted to make use of the influence of the Party in this dispute, rather than the National Socialists who intervened in an academic dispute on their own initiative.

Another front in the struggle between Rosenberg and Himmler encompassed the excavation and administration of the Externsteine. After Reinerth early in 1933 had exerted the influence of the Amt Rosenberg over the local antiquarian society in Lippe, Teudt turned to Himmler as a counterweight and guarantor of his own interests in the supposed Germanic temple, and had him appointed to the governing body of the Externsteine-Stiftung. In turn, Teudt was co-opted into the Ahnenerbe.

Characteristically, the Reichsleiter soon assumed total control of the foundation, commenting "Whoever has a problem with this will be shot (Wer jetzt noch dagegen meckert, wird erschossen)" . By 1935 Teudt had lost his position on the Externsteine board , and in February, 1938 he was dismissed from the Ahnenerbe. He died in 1942. Despite this shabby treatment at the hands of the Nazi authorities, Halle judges that the old man had made a real contribution to the triumph of the National Socialists by preparing the way for the acceptance of a significant aspect of their ideology in his writings.

Reinerth's fate was ironic and contradictory. In February, 1945, a Party court expelled him for "impugnable conduct unbecoming a National Socialist in regard to the Jewish question (anfechtbares, eines Nationalsozialisten unwürdiges Verhalten in der Judenfrage)", primarily because of dealings he had once had with non-Aryan archaeologists before he cast his lot with the Nazis. [12] It mattered not at all that Reinerth had later denounced some of the same associates and had helped engineer their dismissal from their posts. He was imprisoned for several years after the war and became a scapegoat for the sins of prehistorians under the Third Reich. Conversely, Reinerth's initial condemnation as "a guilty party (Schuldiger)" in his denazification trial of 1949 was overturned by a Freiburg court in 1953 on the grounds that he had resisted the "fantastic Germanic doctrine (phantastische Germanenlehre)" of Himmler! [13] He was active in the running of open-air prehistoric museums until his retirement in 1973.

Halle concludes that neither the Amt Rosenberg nor the SS-Ahnenerbe really controlled the excavations of the Externsteine, and that on the contrary, the real scandal surrounding the study of this monument is that the archaeologists brought about "a displacement of a technical scholarly problem into the political arena (eine Verlagerung eines fachwissenschaftlichen Problems auf die politische Ebene)"..

This book is exhaustively researched, with extensive quotation of original records and facsimile reproductions of many key documents. The author's evenhandedness and willingness to confront an embarrassing chapter in the history of her own discipline is to be commended.


[1]. Walther Matthes and Rolf Speckner, Das Relief an den Externsteinen: Ein karolingisches Kunstwerk und sein spiritueller Hintergrund (Ostfildern: edition tertium, 1997), pp. 184-187. A beautiful photo of the Byzantine-influenced relief is found on p. 15.

[2]. See UtaHalle, "Die Externsteine--Symbol germanophiler Interpretation," in Prähistorie und Nationalsozialismus: Die mittel- und osteuropäischeUr- und Frühgeschichtsforschung in den Jahren 1933-1945, ed. AchimLeube (Heidelberg: SynchronWissenschaftsverlag derAutoren, 2001), pp. 235-236.

[3]. Heinz Gruenert, "Gustaf Kossinna--ein Wegbereiter der nationalsozialistischen Ideologie," in Prähistorie und Nationalsozialismus, pp. 307-320. The title of Kossinna's 1912 book, Die deutsche Vorgeschichte, eine hervorragend nationale Wissenschaft, is indicative of his ideological standpoint.

[4]. See Klaus Junker, "Research under Dictatorship: The German Archaeological Institute 1929-1945," Antiquity 72 (1988): pp. 282-93.

[5]. For example, "Die Geschichte der Externsteine," in Wilhelm Teudt im Kampf um Germanenehre: Eine Auswahl von Teudts Schriften, ed. Rudolf Bünte (Bielefeld: Delhagen & Klasing, 1940), pp. 65-78. On Teudt's career, see pp. 69-79 of the book here reviewed.

[6]. The "Kultstätte" was dedicated in the summer of 1935. Jews and their "Genoßen" were forbidden entry on the grounds that they were incapable of summoning "the necessary understanding of the Germanic shrine"; see p. 359 of Halle's book.

[7]. The idea that the Externsteine have sacred significance lives on among New Agers. 

[8]. "Zu den Grabungen und Untersuchungen an den Externsteinen bei Horn i.L.," Aus der Vorzeit 2 (1934): pp. 25-29.

[9]. For anthropology, see Gretchen E. Schafft, From Racism to Genocide: Anthropology in the Third Reich (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 222-246.

[10]. See John T. Quinn, "The Ancient Rome of Adolf Hitler," Classical Bulletin 76 (2000): pp. 141-156. Given the Führer's enthusiasm, it is not surprising that fervent National Socialists were to be found among German Classicists; see Jürgen Malitz, "Römertum im 'Dritten Reich': Hans Oppermann," in Imperium Romanum: Studien zu Geschichte und Rezeption. Festschrift für Karl Christ zum 75.Geburtstag, ed. Peter Kneissl and Volker Losemann (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998), pp. 519-543.

[11]. Gunter Schöbel, "Hans Reinerth. Forscher - NS-Funktionär - Museumsleiter," in Prähistorie und Nationalsozialismus, pp. 321-396.

[12]. The ludicrous world of scholarship and research under the Third Reich is well illustrated by an earlier charge of Judenfreundschaft leveled against Reinerth: In the 1936 reprinting of an archaeological report originally published in 1929, he had not had a Jewish colleague airbrushed out of a photo of the site! See pp. 452-453.

[13]. Schöbel, "Hans Reinerth," pp. 358-359.

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The Institute for Germanic Archaeology was created in 1938.

Himmler saw the potential of archaeology as a political tool.

He needed archaeology to provide an identity for his SS, but Himmler also believed that archaeology had a certain religious content.

There were excavations; there were myths and legends, a feeling of superiority.

He believed by drawing on the power of prehistory one would achieve success in the present day.

Archaeological excavations were conducted in Germany at Paderborn, Detmold, Haithabu, and at Externsteine.

Haithabu, which is still recognized by archaeologists as an important site for medieval Norse artifacts, is in an area of northern Germany near the Danish border, and is very close to Detmold and Externsteine, the site of a much-reputed Aryan temple and which some legends connected with Yggdrasil, the "World-Ash" of Norse mythology.

Externsteine is also close to Paderborn and Wewelsburg, and the entire sites compromised for the Ahnenerbe a mythological heartland where the Saxons resisted the Romans and their heirs, the Franks of Charlemagne.

The area was also sympathetic to the ideology of the Ahnenerbe, as Detmold was one of the first German states to elect an NSDAP government, and Paderborn and Wewelsburg were strongholds of Prussian beliefs.

During the war, archaeological expeditions were sent to Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Poland, and Rumania with the collaboration of local authorities.

The Ahnenerbe also conducted similar operations in occupied Russia and North Africa.

They were also very active in the Far East, mostly in Tibet and the Ahnenerbe send an expedition to Kafiristan.

Die Externsteine ​​im Winter

The Externsteine are a distinctive rock formation located in Ostwestfalen-Lippe of northwestern Germany, not far from the city of Detmold at Horn-Bad Meinberg.

The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills.

The name probably means "stones of the Egge", Egge meaning ridge.

The Externsteine were a centre of religious activity for the Teutonic peoples and their predecessors prior to the arrival of Christianity in northern Europe.

Gustaf Kossinna

Gustaf Kossinna was born in 1858 in Tilsit, East Prussia, the son of a schoolteacher. He started his education in 1875 and went to Göttingen, Leipzig, Berlin, and Strassburg. He attended many lectures on classical philology but later became interested in German philology, local history, and art history. Kossinna has been held responsible for the Nazis using prehistoric archaeology to prove Germany’s master race. However, Kossinna died before he could accuse the Nazis of misusing his theories.

In 1902, at Berlin University, Kossinna studied and taught prehistoric archaeology. Kossinna was one of the first people to make prehistory an academic discipline. While at Berlin University, he developed the siedlungsarchaeologische Methode and presented it at a meeting of the Anthropological Society. His method was for finding ancient settlements by looking at the spatial distribution of artifacts. This method was focused on European prehistory.

In 1911 Kossinna wrote a book called The Origin of the Germans: On the Settlement Archaeological Method. The book states the retrospective method of ethnic conditions of present to infer situations in prehistory by looking at the development of historic continuities in particularly settled areas. Kossinna believed that Germany was the center of prehistoric developments.

Kossinna’s reputation was later destroyed because his theory of people and race got involved with Germany’s Master Race. Hitler used archaeology to try and prove Aryan supremacy. As mentioned earlier, Kossinna died in 1931 and couldn’t accuse the Nazis of misusing his ideas about Germany being the center of prehistory. Still, others believe that Kossinna was part of an academic community that helped Hitler try to prove the case for Aryans.


Bahn, Paul. Collins Dictionary of Archaeology
Fagan, Brian M. Oxford Companion to Archaeology

Wilhelm Teudt (7 December 1860 - 5 January 1942) was a völkisch lay archaeologist searching for an ancient Germanic civilization. His 1929 work Germanische Heiligtümer continues to have some currency in esoteric and neopagan communities.

He trusted in his paranormal faculty of picking up the "vibrations" of his ancestors helping him visualize ancient sceneries of the sites he was researching. Teudt joined the NSDAP aged 73, in 1933.

Teudt was particularly interested in the Externsteine, which he suggested was the location of the Saxon Irminsul. He led the German excavations at the site until 1940 when it was turned over to the Ahnenerbe's control.

Julius Andrée (April 2, 1889 - 20 November 1942 ) was a German Professor of the prehistory at the University of Halle , and researcher for the Amt Rosenberg of the National Socialists.

Andrée studied geology and paleontology in Greifswald and in Münster from 1910 to 1914. During the first World War he was a volunteer and as army Geologist in the rank of Lieutenant. In 1917 received his doctorate he became Dr. rer. NAT. In 1919 joined aas a volunteer Assistant at the Geological Institute in Münster. From 1919 to 1920, he received a leave of absence, to study ancient history in Berlin with Gustaf Kossinna. Then in 1922 he became a regular Assistant in Münster. in received his habilitation in 1934 there.

in 1931, he was appointed in Münster as a Professor of Prehistory. 1932 was the coming to power of the Nazi party. In 1933 the Director of the Geological Institute of Münster coerced Andrée into voluntary termination for reasons of professional inability, but immediately he was given a lectureship in Berlin for Prehistory. A planned move to Halel was initially refused by the local Director of the Institute for Prehistory Walther Schulz , but then arranged. in 1938 Andrée taught "Racial History" in Halle and was suspended in 1941 to sift prehistoric finds in the occupied territories of Belgium and France.

In addition to his academic teaching activities and special research operations, he worked at the excavations at the Externsteinein 1935 for Heinrich Himmler's Ahnenerbe . Later, he joined the staff ofar of Alfred Rosenberg and the "Amt Rosenberg". He died in 1942 in Paris.

ée postulated the existence of a high culture in Germany 250,000 years ago and its spread across the globe. Alfred Rust 1942 attacked these theses.

Alfred Rust (July 4,1900 - August 14, 1983) was a German archaeologist and prehistorian. Self-taught, he became a pioneer in the study of culture in Hamburg (late Paleolithic culture in northern Europe), especially through his excavations in northern Germany.

B.E. Roveland, University of Massachusetts Amherst, commented about the self-taught archaeologists who had played a major role in 1930 and onwards in the archaeological discoveries in northern Germany, specifically citing Alfred Rust as "the most effective of these amateurs, whose work on the now classic sites of Meiendorf and Stellmoor launched the study of the Hamburgian period."

Coming from a very modest family, raised by his single mother, Alfred Rust loved observing nature in the moors and marshes surrounding the city of Hamburg as a child. As a young man he trained as an electrical worker, but enrolled in night classes at the Institute of Archaeology of Hamburg (Volkshochschule zur Archäologie). He was hard working and passionate about prehistory, drawing the attention and kindness of his teachers.

To better understand the origin of Paleolithic stone tools in Central Europe, (and no doubt attracted by the discovery in 1928 by Dorothy Garrod of the Natufian culture in Wadi en-Natuf in the current West Bank) Rust began a bike trip to the Middle East in 1930 with a friend. Leaving from Hamburg on 1 September, they crossed the Balkans, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, and finally succeeded at the cost many adventures and sufferings to Alexandria in Egypt. Exhausted and suffering from disease, Rust was hospitalized at Nebek, north of Damascus. During his convalescence, and for several months, he explored and excavated the caves carved into the cliffs of the wadi (valley) of Skifta, near the small town of Yabrud. He discovered, with the help of his friend and some local laborers, one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in the Middle East. The adventurous story of this discovery and the results of his excavations at Yabrud were published by Rust between the years 1931 and 1933 in Offa, the journal of Archaeology led by Gustav Schwantes (Rust's mentor) and Herbert Jankuhn.

After his return to Germany, Rust worked for an electricity company and pursued his vocation as an amateur archaeologist. He was encouraged by the pre-historian Gustav Schwantes, who was also self-taught in his youth. With hard work and the spirit of innovation, Rust used new methods (soil coring, excavation in floodplains with drainage by pumps) to examine the layers of peat around the areas left by the melting of the ice sheet which currently form the Meiendorfer Ahrensburg valley, near Hamburg (in the district of Stormarn, State of Schleswig-Holstein).

In the 1930s, Rust discovered the remains of Paleolithic settlements (tents, homes, carving reliefs etc. ...) in particular Meiendorf, the type site of the Hamburg culture.

Rust showed (which was denied at the time) that groups of hunter-gatherers frequented the tundra stretching to the foot of the huge glaciers that covered northern Europe during the Ice Age. He found numerous flint tools (awls, scrapers, chisels for working bone and antler, pairs of blades for mounting on a pair of scissors) and carved stone, wood or bone weapons (spears). He also discovered the bones of sacrificed animals, especially deer, found intact except for a large stone which was placed intentionally in the thorax of each animal. Among his other notable discoveries: an amber plate with a hole and engraved figures (horse, bird, fish), a finely carved and incised stick, and a baton decorated with a large pair of reindeer antlers.

Rust, through his discoveries in the field excavations at Meiendorf, showed that reindeer hunters belonging to the Hamburg culture in the late Paleolithic were hunting in this region about 15000 years ago. During a period of warmer climate, about 13400 years ago, hunters belonging to the Magdalenian culture also lived at the foot of glaciers until a new cold period, 12,700 years ago, after which appeared the reindeer huntering Ahrensburg culture.

In Stellmoor ("marshy place" in German), a site representative of the Ahrensburg culture, by studying the weapons and their traces on the bones of game (perforations of the scapula in particular) Rust brought to light that the weapons and mode of hunting had evolved from the spear with a large blade to the smaller arrows made of pine with sharp points. Rust deduced that these different types of weapons matched a different hunting technique (as well as a social organization and lithic size): the spear was powerful but imprecise (used in killing large herds of reindeer driven by many beaters) and gave way to bow and arrows used in stalking, probably oriented thin by over-hunting and climate change.

Rust was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Kiel on 1 June 1940. In the words B.E. Roveland "Researchers [German archaeologists at sites in northern Germany] were followed with passion by a fascinated public, and in the socio-political and economic context of inter-war Germany, they caused a powerful movement of regional and national pride."

Rust had to yield to the entreaties of Wolfram Sievers (Director of the SS Ahnenerbe) and he joined the "Institute of ancestral heritage," which allowed him to escape conscription.

Rust was a member of the research department for Prehistory (Landesamt für Vor-und Frühgeschichte) and worked on other tools of the Paleolithic. He also worked with the archaeologist Gustav Steffens in a series of excavations conducted on the "Stufe" (degree, escarpment) of Altona, near Wittenberg, and made important work on other cultures ("dating the Clactonian by the typology of tools, and Treene through geological stratigraphy").

Many of Rust's scientific findings were opposed from the year 1950 and scientific terminology that Rust had developed and he published in 1950 was abandoned in favor of the one established by a British archaeologist, Miss Dorothy Garrod: "....ainsi la terminologie scientifique que Rust avait élaborée et qu'il publia en 1950. [according to Marc Groenen, in his book Pour une histoire de la Préhistoire: le Paléolithique, éditions Jérôme Million6] She continued his prospecting in the Holy Land where she had individualized Natufian culture in 1928, had excavated a site (the Mugharet el Emireh) in Lower Galilée. French archaeologists, F. Bordes and D. Sonneville-Bordes also searched the site at Yabrud in the years 1954-55.

However in the 1990s, the originality of the work of Rust in Syria was recognized, especially his discovery of "previously unknown lithic industries, such as the Yabrudian and pre-Aurignacian.

And in the same year 1990, an excavation mission from Columbia University also made excavations at the site of Yabrud and its conclusions did justice to the vision of Rust, especially in the individualization of 45 layers of different cultures that had occupied it.

For his participation in the Ahnenerbe, Rust suffered criticism in his later years.

Rust was awardes an honorary doctorate in 1940 from the University of Kiel. In 1965, the town of Ahrensburg made him an honorary citizen. The baton decorated with a reindeer antlers discovered by Rust appears in the arms of the city, under the representation of the castle.

The Alfred-Rust-Wanderweg ("Promenade Alfred Rust"), from the station to Ahrensburg and east leading to Gute Stellen, was inaugurated in 2005.

A conference room for shows and exhibition, located Wulfdorfer Weg 71, 22926 Ahrensburg, was named "Alfred Rust Saal."

Alfred Rosenberg (12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) was a Nazi Party ideologist who supported excavation and the study of provincial Roman Germany. He stated, as a summary of his research and thoughts, that “An individual to whom the tradition of his people and the honor of his people is not a supreme value, has forfeited the right to be protected by that people.” Rosenberg’s perspective on German prehistory led mainly to racist distortion of data which did not directly apply to the Germanic people. Rosenberg’s book Der Mythos des 20. Jahrhunderts (The Myth of the Twentieth Century) gave support to the concept of a new Germanic religion. Rosenberg’s theory, Weltanschauungswissenschaften, was implicit in the idea that Germany had the right to crush other nations - or even exterminate them - since German culture was "superior". He also tried to prove that the Nordic-Aryans originated on a lost landmass identified with Atlantis, and that Jesus was not a Jew but an Aryan Amorite.

Amt Rosenberg, a smaller, more professional group of archaeologists than the Ahnenerbe, at least in their background and training, was led by Rosenberg and part of his Amt Rosenberg organisation, the Reichsbund für Deutsche Vorgeschichte. It was staffed with archaeologists who signed on to some of Rosenberg's later thinking and theory. Rosenberg saw world history as shaped by the eternal fight between the 'Nordic Atlantic', the pure-blooded Nordic people of Atlantis, and the 'Semites', or Jewish people. To him, only the Germanic people brought culture to the world, while Jews brought evil. He speculated that the people of Germany were survivors from Atlantis who had migrated to Germany. He saw Germans as a distinct race, not only in biological terms but in mental phenomena and in their 'will to live'. Hence, he advocated 'race materialism', stating that only the fittest race (Aryans) should survive, a tenet that would later shape the Nazi policy on the Final Solution. The Amt Rosenberg was dedicated to finding archaeological evidence of the superiority of Germanic culture and of Atlantis, and in this it was much aided by (and in turn, gave aid to) the Thule Society.

Hans Reinerth (13 May 1900 - 13 April 1990) was a German archaeologist. He was a pioneer of modern settlement archaeology, but is controversial for his role before and during the time of national socialism .

The very rapid graduatuation pf Reinerth with a doctorate in Tübingen in 1921 resulted in his habilitation in 1925. The Tübingen prehistoric Research Institute under the direction of Rudolf Robert Schmidt conducted at that time extensive excavations at the Federsee. Reinerth took over an important role here soon. Among his examinations was the bronze age Wasserburg Buchau, the publication of his excavation wasnot done during his lifetime.

Reinerth was a member of the nationalist minded, anti-Semitic Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur and in 1931 joined the Nazi party . From 1933 until the end of the Second World War he was head of the Reich Association of German Prehistory.

In 1934, Reinerth succeeded Gustaf Kossinnas as Chair at the University of Berlin. He was editor for the journals Germanen-Erbe und Mannus, Zeitschrift für Deutsche Vorgeschichte and was head of the Department for pre-and early history in the Nationalsozialistischen Kulturgemeinde, the successor of the Kampfbund. In 1936 he was instrumental in the building of the Archeological Museum in Oerlinghausen. in 1937, he wrote in the journal Volk und Heimat: "those who revile or minimize our Germanic ancestors no longer face the scattered ethnic fighters, but the closed front of Nationalsocialist Germans". With Baden Gauleiter Robert Wagner, Reinerth in June 1938, inaugurated a Museum designed by him with 14 reconstructed stone age huts in Radolfzell. In 1939 in Alfred Rosenberg's Überwachungsdienststelle he became Beauftragter des Führers in the monitoring of the entire intellectual and ideological training of the NSDAP. From 1940 he was head of the PreHistory Department of Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, which robbed in particular so-called "undocumented heritage of Jews".

Reinerth was expelled from the Nazi Party on February 27, 1945 by the Supreme Court of the party . Reason was that he "maintained friendly relations with Jews". The real reason was likelly the competion battle between AmtT Rosenberg and the SS Ahnenerbe organization, and Reinerth belonged to Amt Rosenberg.

After the Second World War, Reinerth was Director of the Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen, which long presented a very conservative view of prehistory. He was one of the few Nazi connected archaeologists who could not continue their career in the post-war period. in 1949 he was expelled from the scientific community of Prehistory and Early History Experts by colleagues, among them several former SS members like former SS-Obersturmbannführer Herbert Jankuhn, later Professor of Prehistory and early history in Göttingen, Germany, at a meeting in Regensburg because of "emotionally and tendentious science of prehistoric times".

Reinerth was the first Chairman of the newly formed Verband Deutscher Sporttaucher [Union of German Scuba Divers] Between 1954 and 1958. in 1958, he was appointed the Honorary President of the VDST. From 1954 to 1961, he led the Department of Underwater Research within the Association. About his research on the dwellings in Unteruhldingen, Hollis has published several articles in the Dolphin, the Member magazine of the VDST during these years.