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Biblical Archaeology Review 4:1, March 1978

Assessing Ebla

By Paul C. Maloney

No archaeological find since the Dead Sea Scrolls has so excited the public imagination as the recently-discovered and already famous Ebla tablets.

Newspapers like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post, national magazines like Time and Newsweek, archaeological journals like the Biblical Archaeologist and Archaeology have all devoted major space to the discoveries at Ebla and their implications for Near Eastern history, especially Biblical history. The Biblical Archaeology Review, the first in the field to take note of the findsa, has already published three, albeit short, reports on the thousands of cuneiform tablets unearthed at Tell Mardikh in northern Syria between 1974 and 1976.

The young University of Rome archaeologist who heads the expedition at Ebla, Paolo Matthiae, and his University colleague, epigrapher Giovanni Pettinato, have made several international tours to report their finds to scholars. The Italian pair’s lectures at scholarly meetings drew audiences of thousands and taxed the capacity of large convention centers.

A bibliography of articles I am compiling which mention or discuss Ebla or its tablets beginning with the discovery of the name in 1882 already numbers more than 200 entries. And it is clear that this is barely the beginning.

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