Ancient metal plates found in Middle East

Published: Thursday, March 31 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

One blogger, RogueClassicism.com, called the enthusiasm "silliness" and pointed out many of the contradictions in reports — such as some reports saying there were 70 books and others saying more than 20.

Another blogger, Zwinglius Redivivus, said, "Not buying it." The blogger continued, "A bevy of tests need to be administered, the 'script' needs to be deciphered and translated, and the materials must be independently authenticated as ancient before we can even begin to talk about some astonishing discovery. And even then, since the little objects were 'found' and no archaeological context for their discovery is available, they will nonetheless always remain tainted as untrustworthy. Without provenance, without context, there is no meaning. This is true of both texts and artifacts."

Others point to Elkington's involvement as a factor to instill doubt. This push of information seems to come out of a forthcoming book on the topic. His previous book was "In the Name of the Gods" which examined the vibrations of the universe. His bio says, "For 20 years David has been led on a revelatory trail through world mythology, linguistics and philology into geophysics, architecture, acoustics, music, neuro-physiology, theology and still further into the all-encompassing, resonant atmosphere of the planet."

A press release from Elkington said: "Initial metallurgical tests (spectrographic and crystallographic) indicate that the books made of lead could date from the first century AD, based on the form of corrosion which has taken place, which experts believe would be impossible to achieve artificially."

Chadwick thinks, however, that in situations like this it is best to see how many legitimate scholars are working on the discovery. Here, he said, that is lacking. At best they have a few scholars looking at them who, although perhaps good in their particular fields, do not have the particular expertise to pass judgment on these items.

But even if the reality does not match up to the hype on BBC and Fox News, Chadwick sees something positive in the interest it and other discoveries have generated. "It illustrates how very interested we are in the discovery of new things," he said. "I don't think it is a bad thing for people to have an interest in this. It does fall to us, both in the academic world and in the world of reporting to really get the facts right before we release stuff."

EMAIL: mdegroote@desnews.com TWITTER: twitter.com/degroote

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