DUE OUT IN 2020

Ancient Mesopotamia... perhaps the definitive cradle of civilisation.
Who discovered its various remains? What did they find?
And what does the archaeological and textual evidence tell us about the elements of modern living that were introduced for the first time...
as much as 5000 years ago?

Several hundred years ago many people believed that Old Testament cities such as Ur, Erech/Uruk and Nineveh were simply fabrications. But then from the middle of the nineteenth century a succession of intrepid archaeologists began to discover the ruins not only of these three sizeable cities, but of others too - such as Eridu, Lagash, Nippur, Shuruppak and Kish. We can thank trailblazers such as Austen Henry Layard, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson and Leonard Woolley for revealing the magnificent buildings and streetscapes of these earliest 'city-states'.

They also discovered some of the oldest literary texts in the world, written on clay tablets using early pictographic script and, later, the distinctively tight-packed cuneiform. These were then painstakingly deciphered by scholars such as Edward Hincks, Jules Oppert, Alexander Heidel, Samuel Noah Kramer, Thorkild Jacobsen and Stephanie Dalley, revealing historical details of not just the later Assyro-Babylonian civilisation but also its earlier Akkadian and even earlier Sumerian forerunners. They recount too the mythological adventures of gods such as An, Enki, Enlil, Ninhursag, Inanna, Ninlil, Ninurta and Marduk, and the epic adventures of heroes such as Atra-Hasis, Adapa, Etana and Gilgamesh. Perhaps even more important we learn that the biblical story of the flood and its hero Noah was based on precedents that predated it by as much as several thousand years.

Nor can we discuss these texts without mentioning the former New York journalist Zecharia Sitchin, who reinterpreted them to claim that humankind was genetically created by extraterrestrial visitors called the 'Anunnaki' from the planet 'Nibiru'. The books in his Earth Chronicles series have sold in their millions all around the globe, and his work still exerts a strong influence on alternative researchers and audiences today. But was he really, as he claimed, one of the few scholars to be able to interpret early Sumerian and later Akkadian script... or was he wowing his worldwide army of followers with what he knew to be works of complete fiction?

CONTENTS

To read extracts click on the links below.

PART 1: ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA

1 INTRODUCTION: emergence; civilising elements (waterways and irrigation, shipping and transport, architecture and city-states, agriculture and farming, writing and printing, culture and the arts, legal and political systems, metalwork and smelting, schools and education, astronomy and mathematics, medicine, science in general, brewing); character; excavation, discovery and decipherment; reconstructing history (votive inscriptions, royal lists, law codes, court decisions); historical summary.

2 THE PANTHEON OF GODS

3 THE LITERARY TEXTS

4 THE SUMERIAN TEXTS: Sumerian myths (The Eridu Genesis/The Flood Myth, Enki and Ninmah/Ninhursag: The Birth of Man, Enki and Ninki/Ninhursag: a Sumerian Paradise Myth, Inanna and Enki: the Transfer of the Arts of Civilisation from Eridu to Uruk, Enki and the World Order: the Organisation of Earth and its Cultural Processes, Inanna’s Descent to the Netherworld, Dumuzi Texts, Enlil and Ninlil: the Birth of the Moon God, The Ninurta Myth/Lugal-E: the Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta, other myths); Sumerian epics (Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, Enmerkar and Ensukushsiranna, Lugalbanda epics, Gilgamesh epics, Gilgamesh and the Land of the Living, Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld, Gilgamesh and Aka of Kish); Sumerian divine hymns (Hymn to Enlil, Hymn to Inanna as Warrior, Star and Bride, Hymn to Nanshe, other divine hymns); miscellaneous Sumerian texts (The Babel Story, The Gudea Temple Inscriptions, The Cursing of Akkad: the Ekur Avenged, Royal Love Songs).

5 THE AKKADIAN TEXTS: introduction; Akkadian myths (The Epic of Creation, Atra-Hasis, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Adapa, Etana, The Epic of Anzu/Zu, Erra/Nergal and Ishum, Nergal and Ereshkigal).

PART TWO: ZECHARIA SITCHIN

6 INTRODUCTION

7 SITCHIN’S SCHOLASTIC APPROACH

8 WHAT’S IN A SHEM? text extracts (Genesis 6:4 , Genesis 11:2-8 , Isiah 56:5, Gilgamesh and the Land of the Living, Hymn to Inanna, Gudea Temple Inscriptions, Epic of Etana, Anzu, Epic of Creation, untraceable passages); conclusion.

9 SITCHIN’S COSMOLOGY AND ‘PLANET X’: the creation of earth; visitors from elsewhere; more on 'planet Nibiru'; the search for 'Planet X'; life on Planet X; the 'Nibiru cataclysm'; conclusion.

10 SITCHIN’S PANTHEON OF GODS

11 CONCLUSIONS