New Old Or Old Old?

Reports of important archaeological finds often come it rapid succession. Countries like Israel, Egypt, Syria and others depend to some extend on these finds, or at least their announcement, to stimulate tourism. Part of the problem is what to do when there really isn’t much to report. Well, one can do what Global Arab Network did today. Announce finds whose discovery is a more than two decades old.

Syria (Hasaka) – Archaeological discoveries in the Tell Lilan site located 120 km northeast of Hasaka indicate to the historic significance of the site which dates back to the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC.
. . .
The castle found in the lower area of the site contained an archive of 650 cuneiform tablets written in the old Babylonian dialect, with the texts including administrative and economic texts, political messages and treaties that shed light on developments in the area following the fall of the city of Mari (circa 1759 BC).

Wow! But there is a little problem. A Yale led team discovered the majority of those tablets in 1987. I suppose the publication, officially last year, of Jesper Eidem, Lauren Ristvet and Harvey Weiss, The Royal Archives from Tell Leilan: Old Babylonian Letters and Treaties from the Eastern Lower Town Palace (Yale Tell Leilan Research; Yale University Press, 2010) is what motivated today’s announcement. I don’t have easy access to this volume as yet but my guess is that the letters and treaties that Eidem, et al, published number about 650 tablets. By the way, 18 school tablets came to light in 2002 but these are certainly not among those in the new old report.
Except as an example, I’m not really picking on Syria here. Other examples of this kind of old old news can be found from just about everywhere. When I was in marketing and we were without anything new to say, we always presented the old stuff, in a larger font and brighter colors.

One thought on “New Old Or Old Old?”

  1. In the olden days, they’d call that a lie but we’ve evolved beyond logic. In modern CorpSpeak, “lie” is replaced with “marketing tool” just as “death” is replaced with “sacrifice” and “environmental disaster due to hateful negligence” is translated as “unpreventable and unfortunate accident”.
    It’s like this stupid article from the New York Times even back in 1987 announcing that “Paleontologists ponder their fossils, archeologists turn over ancient stones, and now scholars of linguistics are joining the search for human origins with a systematic analysis of the roots of the world’s known languages.”
    “And now”? Perhaps we should more accurately define “now”. What the reader learns from this stunted article is that the reconstruction of Proto-Nostratic just started in 1987 and not, say, more than 80 freakin’ years beforehand!

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