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

5 archaeological findings of data findings





3.   Tomb of Jesus

Discovered in 1555 and had been sealed since that time.

 In 2016, archaeologists were allowed to view the tomb for just a few days. During their limited time, scientists had the opportunity to take a more extensive look at the site of Jesus’ burial and examine its contents.

Often in the data world, we reopen or redesign models to produce a deeper dive or give us a different angle on what we already know. For example, data scientists who design propensity-to-buy models are constantly looking at new information to add to the models to make them more accurate.

Has the customer purchased?

What did they buy last time? When did they buy?

How much did they buy?

Who are the customers – age, ethnicity, segment of population? Using this new information allows the data scientists to develop even better models for prediction and optimization.

4. Unknown branch of humanity

Discovered as result of the genome project. A gene from a group of people from Australia and New Zealand has revealed a race previously unknown by scientists.

The race lived roughly 50-60K years ago, and it has caused us to re-evaluate what we believed was the first human on earth.

Often in data projects, we discover new sources of data that have previously not existed. The internet gave us data that we had never thought could be evaluated.  

And web data gave us new techniques for evaluating that data.

As the internet of things takes off, we are seeing new data streams that must be analyzed. AI and machine learning are new tools in that analysis allowing us to see patterns and garner understandings that had previously been unknown, causing us to re-evaluate our actions and our analyses.

5. New Dead Sea Scrolls 

Have been discovered, but scientists believe that they are forgeries.  

Unlike similar discoveries of scrolls from the area of the Dead Sea, these scrolls have created some doubt among archaeologists. This skepticism arose as some of the information in the scrolls does not jive with expectations of writings from this era.

For some in the data world, we encounter data sets every day that give us pause.  How was the data created? Was it manipulated in order to present one side of the story?

This clearly fits the area of fake news. We draw inferences from facts that may or not be absolutely correct.  Sometimes we are wrong. Our built-in human biases make us blind to the facts in front of us.

Just as an archaeologist explores how ancient civilizations interacted with each other by digging through the ruins, data scientists dig through the detritus of data left by each of us. New discoveries enrich our understanding.

Looking beyond the normal scope of inquiry leads to unexpected discoveries. Re-evaluation of previously explored information can sharpen our view of a situation or create a new angle for solving a problem.

Innovative technology opens our eyes to new sources of material. Human intuition provides a healthy dose of hesitation or even prejudice when presented with potentially dubious information.

Digging into data allows us to find and extend our knowledge of our customers and of how they interact with us, our competitors, each other.

Now, get your hands dirty.

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About the author

Theresa Kushner

Theresa Kushner is a journalist-turned-marketer and currently Executive Vice President at Dell leading their state of the art nalytics initiative. Formerly she was Vice President of Enterprise Information Management at VMware responsible for master data management, business intelligence and advanced analytics.  She and Maria Villar co-write a column for They are co-authors of Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence, published by Racom Books in 2008.