Syrian archaeological site endangered — a look at Ebla

During the course of the bloody civil war in Syria we have heard of damage to various archaeological sites such as Aleppo and Palmyra. A recent article in The New York Times here includes a report specific to Tell Mardikh in northern Syria, about 30 miles SW of Aleppo.

The headline tells the story, “Grave Robbers and War Steal Syria’s History.” An excellent video illustrates what both of these factors (vandalism and war) are doing to destroy the ancient site.

Tell Mardikh, ancient Ebla, and one of the tablets discovered in 1975. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tell Mardikh, ancient Ebla, and one of the tablets discovered in 1975. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We have previously written about Ebla, and the Ebla tablets, here, and here.

More than 17,000 cuneiform tablets were discovered in 1975. They date to the mid-third millennium B.C. when Ebla was the capital of a great Canaanite empire. Scholars state that there are important affinities between the Eblaite language and biblical Hebrew, both being members of the Northwest Semitic family.

The first golden age of Ebla is dated to 2400–2250 B.C. This is long before the time of Abraham who lived north of Ebla at Haran in Padan Aram for a time. Haran is about 150 miles north of Ebla.

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  (Genesis 12:4 ESV)

The death and destruction that has been going on in Syria is almost beyond comprehension. When we destroy our ancient history we become what Elton Trueblood called the Hippie generation, “a cut-flower generation.”

3 responses to “Syrian archaeological site endangered — a look at Ebla

  1. When we destroy our ancient history we become what Elton Trueblood called the Hippie generation, “a cut-flower generation.”

    What is being criticized here? The cut flower industry? Florists? Hippies? Are you comparing robbers and vandals to florists and hippies? Fairly ridiculous statement.

  2. Perhaps I overestimated my readers, or I should have included a reference to Trueblood’s article (Christianity Today, May 23, 1980). I understood the simple analogy to mean that cut flowers are without root, and soon wilt. Actually, I see that Trueblood had specific reference to Western Society as having previously had a rich heritage, but has lost its root. Sounds much like Francis Schaeffer’s Escape From Reason.

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