A couple of months ago, I blogged effusively on the recent excavation of third-century inscriptions in the Basque Country of Spain (e.g., here, here, and here). Among the finds was the world’s oldest depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ — and the most ancient examples of Basque language ever found. European archeologists said it was the most important excavation since Pompeii. Independent labs in Germany and France confirmed the Spaniards’ estimated dates. The Vatican sent a representative, who was duly impressed.
And the mainstream media … wondered why they weren’t getting any follow-up stories on the Gospel of Judas or on Mary Magdalene’s genotype. Alas.
One of the Spanish papers recently ran a feature that filled in some of the blanks on the digs. For example, why was everything so well preserved, just as it had been in the third century? The initial reports were vague. Now we find out that the area had been sealed off suddenly by massive landslides. So there had been no time to pack a bag or grab a spare tunic. Everything was left in place for us to find and ponder. And ponder our Spaniard author does, as he tries to imagine what life was like in the bustling provincial city in those days before disaster struck.
There’s no English translation yet. But journalese is journalese. With my dim recollection of high-school Spanish and a little help from Babelfish, I could limp through it. Maybe you can, too.
Let me know if you hear anything more on these very important digs.