posted on Dec, 21 2008 @ 02:18 PM
I think there's something missing here in the time frame -- an assumption that an archaeologist walks up to a site and suddenly says, "golly wow!
I've found HappaRappaGa the 4th!!!"
Doesn't happen like that, which is why I keep encouraging people to join local archaeological associations and participate in public digs.
You find a site, start digging, collect the evidence. While you're collecting evidence, you're also doing dating and looking for clues on who's
there and what it all meant. If you come across writing with names and dates, you have to figure out if it's consistent with the rest of the site or
if you've got a site that was used over centuries.
The "site used over a period of years" is common, and not that unusual even in the Valley of Kings." Dig in one section and you find something.
Dig 10 feet away and it's technically the same site but you've found something else that dates to another time period.
So... to recap:
* they don't announce sites the day they find them because they don't have enough data to declare what they've found. Work on a single site can go
on for 10 years or more.
* they don't announce finds until they're dead sure what they've got and at least one other scholar has agreed with them. People like Schimmler
(who "found Homer's Troy") usually end up being wrong if they announce without other confirmation (he dug through the layer with Homer's Troy and
went back to a much older version of the city.) Nobody likes to look stupid, so they wait for other experts to chime in.
* they frame their announcement with the laws of the land and the state and the site which vary (even here in the US.) Some sites are reported to the
government (Native American burials in the case of US findings) but are not reported in newspapers although a reference may show up to them in a paper
* often a press release won't give the boring details of "well, we saw this back in 1980 and went to look at it but time and the weather didn't
permit a better look and so it lay dormant until one of our grad students decided it might make a good project and then did a better survey in 1992
and we finally got grant and a team together to do a preliminary dig in 1993 and the findings were interesting but we ran out of money and in 2002 we
finally got a team and money and went out to dig and we've dug every season until then and now we know we found... whatever."
I know this for a fact, because in October there was a Nova special on polar dinosaurs. One of the bones I worked on was shown during the episode.
It sounded like an exciting new find (the way it was presented) but in fact I'd worked on that one two years before and the (still ongoing during
summers) dig that it came from has been going on for about 5-6 years.
[edit on 21-12-2008 by Byrd]