While I’m a skeptic of all things that go bump in the night (theist or otherwise), I do run into the occasional surprise that taxes my analyses…
Among the subjects that hold my interest are anthropology, archaeology and ancient history. An intriguing area of study was the ancient civilization of Sumer. That Empire developed from a series of city-states in the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley.
The Earth is 4½ billion-yrs-old; humanity only some 200,000-yrs; and its male-dominated class system, some 10,000-yrs.
As our species spread out from Africa some 70,000+yrs ago (the most likely scenario), population groups clustered around fertile river valleys.
It’s a safe bet that humanity has a distance yet to go to achieve any significant measure of common social maturity and responsibility … assuming of course that we last long enough. I’m not taking any bets…
Practically all that we’ve learned about ancient Sumer we’ve learned since the 19th century discovery of vast cities and libraries of cuneiform clay tablets buried in the sands of Mesopotamia.
Over a million such tablets have been excavated and most reside in museums around the world. Less than 5% have ever been deciphered and fewer still published. There are only a few hundred qualified cuneiformists in the world.
Emerging populations became more complex to manage, giving an increasing need for rulers to keep records in order to assess taxes to maintain their privileges and power, thus writing was invented.
At first, it was in the form of pictographs, which became more simplified into representational symbols for items, rulers and gods. It eventually developed into logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic and syllabic signs.
Cuneiform writing was gradually replaced by the Phoenician alphabet. By the 2nd century CE, cuneiform script had become extinct, and all knowledge of how to read it was lost until it was rediscovered and began to be deciphered in the 19th century.
One of the reasons that Sumer is traced by the West as The Cradle of Western Civilization is because Abraham, credited w/being the Founding Father of the Judaic-Christian-Islamic peoples, is from the Sumerian city of UR.
He traveled w/his extended clan circa 2,000 BCE to the already well-populated Land of Canaan (Phoenicians and others), claimed it for the tribal god he worshiped and carried over much of the Sumerian Epics.
The composite assemblage of Genesis is mostly a parsed-down version of the Epic Sumerian Creation Myths of Adam & Eve, the Garden of Eden, the Flood, etc.
Without the recent discovery of the Sumerian versions thousands of years older than Abraham, that source may have remained unknown. (Albeit, the Sumerians themselves cite the original source of their Epics as even more ancient and largely unknown.)
For those interested in the stories, they can get more details by reading the Sumer Epics. Personally, I found that what was left out by Abe is far more interesting…
In addition to scientific studies, I also acquired the works of Zecharia Sitchin. Born in the USSR in 1920 to Jewish parents, Sitchin was raised in Mandate Palestine and moved to New York in 1952.
While his books have sold millions in 25-different languages, they’ve been generally rejected by scientists and academics as pseudoscience.
I find his works to be quite entertaining. But more importantly, I think that the world is generally well-served by his conjectures and provoke deeper consideration of ancient Sumerian history.
Since there are more than enough links here, I won’t bore the reader w/a rendition of what all I find of immense interest. The 6-part BBC video-series will give the reader plenty to consider.
I will speak to two facets of Sumerian history that most pique my curiosity. The first is the general cosmology of their “religious” belief system, and the second concerns certain clay tablets.
The cosmology that I find quite compelling, is that aside from the usual heroic episodes of probably-historical figures (e.g., Gilgamesh), the foundation of the Sumer religion is not based on “gods,” but a description of quite extraordinary, possibly even alien, mortal beings.
The early Asian “religions” followed this practice, as exampled by Confucius, Lao Tzu, Gautama-Buddha, etc. Except for some of their followers deifying them, none of these figures claimed god-hood.
Ironically, many people believe that the further we go back in time, the more superstitious are the beliefs, when actually, the exact opposite is true! Just turn on the news…
In addition to the Solar depiction (?) shown here, my final item is an extremely old and rare circular clay tablet.
When I first opened to that page (274) in Sitchin’s The 12th Planet (1978), I was rather startled to see what appears to be the plate of an IFR back-course, or a missed-approach plate. Any IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) pilot would be familiar with it if they found it in their flight bag. Except, of course, looking somewhat strange and written in an unknown language.
This tablet was found in the ruins of the Royal Library at Nineveh in the mid-1800s and is apparently a copy of an even far older version.
(The ancient site of Nineveh is across the river from Mosul in northern Iraq; today it’s occupied by the latest superstitious cult of terror, ISIL, which is apparently destroying the site as we speak.)
Sitchin admits that numerous scholars over the years have attempted to decipher it, but the best they’ve come up with is that it’s probably a quite early astronomical calendar of some sort, but unlike any previously or since known. It may have been originally on a semi-spherical object depicting a 360° view of the sky, or timeline.
Back in 1880, two scholars of Assyrian language and artifacts referred to it as a planisphere; the reproduction of a spherical surface as a flat map. The names of some stars and planets have been translated, but the 45° segmentation w/other symbols remain a mystery.
I would expect that if an ancient non-technical witness viewed such a device or depiction (map/photo) and attempted to make a copy, this is pretty much what we’d expect.
The segmentation? Well, it would be what I’d expect if one were landing from any variety of directions with reverse missed-approaches also shown. If we had the missing parts we might be able to pinpoint the center in ancient Babylonia. That would be interesting … what might we find?
A number of translations also appear to depict directions, point-set turns and repeated repetitions of certain words, including sky, hills, tops, city, press, sight, path, mountain, return, and others … in addition to a third of the plate that was copied being missing.
Had there been ancient alien visitors, I would expect them to certainly dazzle the locals, but not leave any specific artifacts, other than descriptions and attributions of which we’re still trying to make sense.
Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD) December 2014…