Indiana Jones of the 22nd Century: Data, Not Dirt…

Top 5 archaeological findings of 2016 can be aligned with our data findings today.



I’ve often likened the work that we do as data scientists and analysts as a form of archaeology.  Instead of painstakingly digging through dirt, we painstakingly dig through data. Data are the new bones, relics, and scrolls of our modern society.

Think about it:

You will be remembered for the emails you left behind, the transactions that were completed online, the posts you made on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the photos and videos uploaded to YouTube and Instagram.  They are not easily forgotten or even deleted from the environment.

Ask anyone who has had a loved one die and has tried to remove her Facebook page.

In 2016, there were several new findings for civilization unearthed by archaeological groups around the world. When studying these finds, I discovered similarities to the data issues that we face every day in business.

These top five archaeological findings of 2016 can be aligned with our data findings today:

1. Noah’s Ark Mosaic

Located in a Huqoq, Israel synagogue, depicts animals parading into the ark two by two.

We’ve all heard the Bible story of Noah’s Ark, and there is a common belief that, at God’s command, Noah loaded two of each species of animal into his ark. On the walls of an ancient building is a mosaic that portrays that scriptural tale.

Whether fact or a factual illustration of fiction, the mosaic is a data point for historians to consider.

In data terms, we are constantly looking for “mosaics” like this.

We have a hypothesis and look to our data to confirm or, at least, give us more context around it. We use data to help in providing a complete picture of “facts” from the past. The new-found data enriches our understanding of a known problem or provides us a new avenue to explore.

2. Kazakhstan site 

Revealed a 1500-year-old stone complex, similar to Stonehenge.

The site, equivalent in size to 200 American football fields, appears to have been built by the Huns and contains previously undiscovered information about the Hun civilization. We had not looked in this desolate region before this discovery. The finding may alter the path of future investigations.

Today, in the world of data, analysts and data scientists continually make discoveries of information that had been previously unknown or unseen.

For example, data scientists might find a dataset that appears to be complete. On closer examination, they discover there are elements of the data not available or previously uncollected. Locating data to fill this hole provides a new direction and sometimes a completely different understanding.

Next page- Data findings #3 through  #5

Theresa Kushner
Theresa Kushner
Theresa Kushner is a self-styled data-vangelist who brings her passion for all things data into her consultancy. Having held positions in F100 companies for most of her career, she now dedicates her time to helping start-ups and small/medium businesses scale using their customer information. She applies the skills she acquired as an executive at Dell EMC, VMware, Cisco Systems and IBM to help leaders apply data governance and 21st century data management techniques to their business intelligence and advanced analytics programs. She helps companies determine whether they are ready to take advantage of advanced techniques such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process engineering. She also helps guide companies in using more effectively for customer experience the data they collect on a daily basis. Ms. Kushner co-authored “Managing Your Business Data from Chaos to Confidence” with Maria Villar in 2009 and 2015 collaborated with Ruth P Stevens on “B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results.” Ms. Kushner is a graduate of the University of North Texas where she received a Master of Arts in Journalism. She serves on the Advisory Boards of UNT Mayborn School of Journalism as well as

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