Science: A New Third World

Historians have long regarded Egypt and Mesopotamia as the major civilizations of the biblical Near East. Now they must recognize an ancient "third world." A pair of Italian scientists has uncovered a veritable treasure trove of clay tablets at Ebla in northern Syria. Their discovery does more than provide documentary evidence of a little-known kingdom that existed between 2400 and 2250 B.C.; it also provides the best evidence to date that some of the people described in the Old Testament actually existed. To some scholars, the find may ultimately rank with the 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The existence of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!