Nothing New Beneath the Sun

The sun blazed overhead so much that the sand itself seemed to radiate a steamy heat that added to the scorching temperature. Marisol Ramirez had awoken early that morning knowing that the day would soon become a blistering inferno. The heat in the desert of Iran was not like the heat of other deserts. In this place it seemed to cook one alive even beneath the shade of canvas meant to protect the inhabitants from the harmful effects of the sunrays. Dressed in khaki shorts, and a white tank top Marisol looked like the average archaeologist working on an average day dig, but something about this day was different. It was as if the very air itself held a mystical quality that spoke of the strange outcome the afternoon would unveil. The crew had been working the dig for two months already, and so far they had come across several different relics, but nothing extremely fascinating.
Yet as all things passed Marisol still believed there was much to be found at the site, and with her boyfriend, David to make the days go by faster the team made the most of their job. She sat beneath a table dusting off various pottery pieces, and musing of the craftsmanship that had lasted through several ages, “You know something, Molly? I don’t think we have found the Ark of the Covenant, or the Holy Grail, but I feel as if there is something to these pieces. I’ve traveled across the entire world, and something about these artifacts just seems different to me. Maybe I am wrong?” These were the types of odd statements that Marisol had become infamous for saying, and it was this mentality that kept the rest of her crew engaged. Always believing that someday they would be the next team to uncover the remains of the Titanic, or something or equal value to the world. Today would be the day that Ms. Ramirez’s team did precisely that, and it came about the moment that James called across the terrain to the two women sitting idly beneath the canvas tent.
“Mari, Molly come see what David, Sam, and I just uncovered!” His voice echoed across the flat, and rocky plain so much that Marisol jumped out of her seat in shock. Whatever he had found obviously must have been important because James was usually fairly quiet, and reserved. He was the interpreter, and hieroglyphics specialist for the team with experience with twelve known languages, and a specialization in cuneiform. It had been that degree of specialty that added to his resume when he was hired. Marisol found his professionalism, and his collected nature refreshing, but today he seemed to be behaving like a child on Christmas morning. The excitement exuded him as the two women jumped to their feet, and ran towards the sectioned-off dig site. Molly trailed behind Mari only slightly, and it was only because Marisol had instantly sped off in a sprint to see what the fuss was. As soon as the two women came to stand at the edge of the hole their mouths fell open in surprise. Each of the three men stood in parallel to two large tablets approximately 2 feet long by a foot, and a half wide. Across the tablets was the familiar scribing of Ancient Sumerian cuneiform, and it appeared each of them was in perfect condition. It seemed as if silence had overtaken the entire crew, and quietly they stood over the hole unable to formulate words as their eyes bore into the rock carved tablets.
“Well, say something, Marisol.” David finally interrupted her thoughts with a query about her expertise on the matter, “What is it, or do you have any idea?” He continued. Mari still stood starting at the tablets with an inquisitive look, and after a moment she finally spoke.
“It looks like cuneiform, and the tablets appear to be historical documents. I can’t say from this position, and I am sure that James would be able to more accurately explain them than I can. This is beyond my expertise. I will say that they are definitely Sumerian in nature. I can’t see them being any other cultural language from the cuneiform. It is definitely consistent with Mesopotamian culture.” Jumping down into the hole Marisol knelt beside the tablets and scanned them closely. Molly slid down the side of the hole, and also knelt beside her. She had been just as equally esteemed in languages as James was, but nowhere near his level of experience with only five years in field service. She gave a slight nod, and murmured in agreement.
“I would have to agree with Mari. It definitely appears to be consistent with Babylonian culture to me. I’ve seen similar tablets, but not as large as these two are. If I didn’t know any better I would have assumed they were the Ten Commandments due to the size. It is really unbelievable that they are not cracked, or worn in the least bit.” Her eyes fanned over the tablets in amazement, and Sam finally piped up.
“Moving these is going to be a real pain in the butt you know? We are going to have to contact the Iranian authorities, and I am not so sure they are going to be willing to let us move them out of the country.” Sam always seemed to be the logical one, and he often worried about upsetting Middle Eastern authorities due to the nature of their work, and them not being Muslim. It was still a dangerous area of the world whether one was working for the government or not.


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