The circumstances behind this demise are generally brushed over by the general history books. They tell us that this magnificent civilization beget a rival in the neighbouring and equally mysterious Akkadian empire, and that around 2000 BC both the Sumerians and the Akkadians disappeared for no particular reason.
are then told that two new civilizations, the Babylonians and the
Assyrians, arose as if from nowhere to dominate Mesopotamia. With
this huge over-simplification, the matter is left to rest. And yet a
mass of evidence does exist, describing the downfall of Sumer, so
why does this evidence not appear in the history books?
We will deal with that scenario in due course, but meanwhile let us consider Sitchin’s claim that the Sumerians were decimated by the nuclear fall-out. The evidence is contained in various texts, known as “lamentations” over the destruction of various Sumerian cities.
The following translations have been published by the foremost expert on Sumer, Professor Samuel Kramer.
The nature of the disaster was such that even the Gods were powerless to resist it. A tablet named The Uruk Lament states:
In another text, named The Eridu Lament, Enki and his wife Ninki also fled their city of Eridu:
Numerous Sumerian lamentation tablets have been found and translated in the last hundred years, covering Uruk, Eridu, Ur and Nippur. These tablets suggest that all of the cities simultaneously experienced the same phenomenon. However, there is no mention of warfare - a subject with which the Sumerian chroniclers were quite familiar. On the contrary, the disaster appeared not as a destruction but as a desolation.
One scholar, Thorkild Jacobsen, concluded that Sumer had been struck not by invaders, but by "dire catastrophe” which was “really quite puzzling”. As cited above, what struck the Sumerian cities was an “evil wind” that brought death like an invisible “ghost” that had “never been seen before”.
No wonder that nuclear fall-out has been suggested as the cause. What are the alternatives? Could it simply have been an unprecedented killer disease? Whilst this must remain as a possibility, the Sumerians’ detailed descriptions of water turning bitter, people retching blood, and the effect on animals as well as humans, suggest that this was not any type of disease known to us today. Furthermore, several lamentation texts, such as the one cited above, refer to a “storm” which accompanied the invisible “ghost”.
Those who have experienced the unseen
radioactive fall-out of a
nuclear explosion could surely find no better terms to describe it.
Let us now review the evidence of that explosion.
But how many of us take it literally? Like many other important events in human history, the story has been relegated to “myth” or religious symbolism.
the Biblical account in Genesis 18-19 describes a premeditated,
controllable act, by a God who did not differentiate between the
people and the vegetation of the plain. This was a real event, as
evidenced by the description of dense smoke rising from the land the
However, it does not sound so ridiculous when we learn that several studies have suggested the term “salt" to be a mistranslation. If we were able to read an original Sumerian version of the event, we would find the word NIMUR, meaning both salt and vapour.
Thus Lot’s wife may have become “a pillar of vapour”. Several ancient texts have now been discovered, paralleling the Biblical narrative, but predating it. These accounts provide additional background details which are lacking in the Old Testament.
One of the earliest Sumerian texts clearly parallels the Biblical destruction of the evil cities by fire and brimstone:
Who were the “disobedient adversaries”, and what was the “Evil Word” that they followed?
The full significance of the Sodom and Gomorrah incident was revealed in a detailed study by Zecharia Sitchin in 1985. The background to Sodom and Gomorrah was a heated argument concerning the right of the God Marduk to return to his city, Babylon, and assume supremacy over the Gods.
Whilst Marduk’s father, Enki, defended the rights of his first-born son, the other Gods were bitterly opposed, for reasons which will become clear in due course. One God, named Erra, vowed to use force against Marduk.
A long text known as the Erra Epic, describes what happened next, as a furious Erra exited from the council of Gods with a defiant promise:
The Gods, locked in dispute, asked Anu to resolve the conflict.
Anu agreed to the use of seven powerful weapons to attack Marduk, but Gibil, a brother of Marduk, warned him of Erra’s plan:
A God named Ishum, meaning “Scorcher”, was then appointed to join Erra in the Lower World (Africa) to prime the weapons and deliver them to their targets.
Zecharia Sitchin has identified this God as Ninurta. As the son of Enlil by his half-sister Ninharsag, Ninurta was the direct rival of Marduk, the son of Enki.
As for Erra, there is little doubt that this God was Nergal, a God who was often referred to in ancient texts as the “raging king”, “the violent one” and pointedly “the one who burns”, a God of war and hunting and a bringer of pestilence. It was Erra/Nergal, an embittered and jealous brother of Marduk, who assumed the most aggressive role, vowing to destroy not only Marduk and his supporters, but also his son Nabu.
Erra suggested that the weapons be used against the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where Marduk and his son Nabu were thought to be hiding, and, for reasons which will later become clear, against the Sinai space centre itself:
Ninurta tried to calm Erra with words almost identical to those used by Abraham to God in the Biblical account:
Having agreed on a plan, the two Gods then carried out the devastating attack, Ishum to the space centre and Erra to Sodom and Gomorrah:
The "Khedorlaomer Texts” confirm the details of the Erra Epic and summarize the destruction:
According to the Erra Epic, the attack by Erra not only destroyed the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah but also created the Dead Sea as we know it today:
Did crocodiles once live in the Dead Sea? It is no coincidence that nine hundred years earlier Gilgamesh was warned not to let his hand touch the “waters of death”, as his boat approached the far western shore of the “Sea of the Waters of Death”.
In modern times it is
known as the Dead Sea for a different reason because its
concentration of salt is so high that marine life cannot live in it.
The Bible clearly identifies the Valley of Siddim with the Salt Sea, suggesting that there had once been a valley where the waters now lie.” Modern reference books state that the destroyed cities were indeed once situated in the area of the Dead Sea, drawing this conclusion from Greek and Roman historians, who stated that the valley was inundated after the event.
It is no coincidence that the
name Gomorrah came to mean “submersion” in the Hebrew language, nor
that the Bible refers to the Salt Sea as the Sea of the Arabah, the
latter term in Hebrew meaning “dry or burnt up”, and thus
commemorating the attack.?’ Can all of these sources be wrong?
And secondly, to this day, lumps of
bitumen still float to the surface of the Dead Sea, which for this
reason was called Lake Asphaltites in ancient times. In addition,
the south-east shore of the Dead Sea is indeed “well-watered” and
rich in vegetation, in accordance with the Biblical description.
What physical evidence might prove that a nuclear explosion occurred
at the Dead Sea in ancient times?
To the south, in complete contrast, the waters are shallow, from only three to fifteen feet deep. Could this unusual geological feature be attributed to an explosion which breached the original Lisan and caused the previously dry “valley of the fields” to become submerged under water? To this day, unnatural levels of radioactivity are found in the water of springs around the southernmost edges of the Dead Sea.
One study confirmed that this radioactivity was sufficiently high to “induce sterility and allied afflictions in any animals and humans that absorbed it over a number of years”. Further evidence of an explosion is being revealed by the falling level of the Dead Sea, which has in recent years dropped from 1,280 feet to 1,340 feet below sea level?
The shrinkage of its surface area has exposed bizarre fissures, described by one observer as “almost architecturally articulated rock fissures”. What about the high salt concentration, more than five times the normal level? This is actually caused by the absence of any outlet from the Dead Sea other than by evaporation.
The 6.5 million tons of fresh water which pour in every day from the Jordan River erode natural salt from the Dead Sea floor, which cannot evaporate, and this increases the salt concentration. But here is a strange fact. In October 1993, it was announced that Israeli and German scientists would attempt to take samples of sediments from beneath the Dead Sea, using the latest drilling technology.
Previous attempts had
failed due to an extremely hard layer of rock salt, only a few feet
beneath the bottom of the Sea!” What unnatural event could have
formed a crust of rock salt so hard that modern technology struggled
to penetrate it?
Following up on Sitchin’s claim, I obtained a close-up satellite photo of the scar, showing an area 112 by 112 miles - Plate 44.
Whilst the thousands of tiny lines are wadis (dry riverbeds), no scientific explanation of the bright scar (situated bottom, left of centre) has ever been forthcoming.
Furthermore, in the eastern Sinai, millions of blackened stones are found strewn for tens of miles.
These stones are, without any doubt, unnatural. The expeditions to the Sinai by Nelson Glueck in the 1950s highlighted the existence of numerous blackened rocks, scattered across the landscape.
These rocks have more recently come to the attention of Emmanuel Anati, who was attracted to the region by his interest in rock art.
Following his first expedition in 1955, Anati carried out several field trips to the site of Har Karkom
(Jebel Ideid), a sacred mountain from the third millennium BC.
Anati’s book, The Mountain of God, shows many boulders, several feet
in diameter, on which ancient travellers have etched various signs
and symbols (Plate 45). Anati’s photographs clearly demonstrate that
the rocks are blackened only on the surface.
The ground beneath is a hard light-brown coloured surface, which from the air reflects the sunlight to create the appearance of bright white patches. What do the geologists have to say about the blackened rocks in the Sinai? They admit that they resemble volcanic rock, and yet this cannot be so, since there are no volcanoes anywhere near the Sinai. These stones are an anomaly - an impossibility that cannot be explained by conventional science.
Due to the perceived “impossibility” of nuclear weapons four thousand years ago, the debate goes no further. But it cannot be denied that the black, charred rocks are there in the Sinai, as is the enormous scar. The only possible explanation is that provided by Zecharia Sitchin - an unnatural explosion. In this context, everything begins to make sense.
The incontrovertible physical evidence not only confirms the
reliability of the Erra Epic, but also the reliability of all the
other evidence in chapter 8 which identified the Sinai as the
geographic location of the space centre !
The Dead Sea and the space centre in Sinai are indeed located to the west of Sumer. Other references pinpoint the Sinai specifically:
It only remains to offer a convincing explanation of why the Gods permitted such extreme force to be used.
In order to understand the full story of how the Gods
decided to sabotage their own space facilities, we must begin with
the Tower of Babel incident in which the God Marduk attempted to
rebuild his pre-Flood city in Sumer.
After the Flood, however, when the Earth was redivided, territorial disputes arose to prompt a bitter war of the Gods, the evidence for which we have seen at the Great Pyramid and Jebel Barkal. As a result of that war, supremacy among the Gods lay with Enlil and particularly his firstborn son Ninurta. In due course, when the flooding had subsided sufficiently from the Tigris-Euphrates plains, the Gods decided to re establish there the olden cities in their original locations.
But this territory was now
assigned to the Enlilite Gods. Of the Enkiites, only Enki himself,
by prior agreement, was allowed to rebuild his pre-Flood city
(Eridu). Marduk’s pleas to rebuild his pre-Flood city of Babylon
were met with no sympathy whatsoever.
Remembering (from chapter 6), that a shem means “sky vehicle” rather than “name”, let us re-examine what Marduk’s supporters were up to, by correcting the translation of the Biblical account:
It now becomes apparent that Marduk’s plans were both ambitious and controversial. Furthermore, Zecharia Sitchin has highlighted the existence of an Akkadian text, which parallels the Bible’s account of what happened next.
Various clues in that text confirm that Marduk was the rebel, whilst the most telling verse identifies the Biblical “God” as Enlil, who:
It is not at all clear whether the languages of mankind were actually changed during this incident, but the Akkadian tale does confirm that Marduk’s people were indeed scattered.
However, in contrast to general perceptions of the Biblical account, the Tower of Babel must be seen here as a fairly localized incident, which only affected one relatively small group of people. What was the chronology of the Tower of Babel incident?
Zecharia Sitchin dates it
shortly prior to Marduk’s return to his Egyptian homelands, where he
was known by the name Ra. The latter event can be dated very roughly
to around 3450 BC, the time when Egypt entered 350 years of chaos
prior to the beginning of its civilization c. 3100 BC. The
incident at Babylon would certainly not have been any earlier than
that of the first Sumerian cities of Eridu and Nippur. Thus we can
place it with some confidence between 3800-3450 BC.
The opportunity existed for an embittered Marduk to return to Egypt and vent his frustration. It is highly likely that Marduk/Ra’s return to Egypt coincided with the death of Dumuzi, whose tragic tale was related in chapter 6. If Marduk assumed power in Egypt at that time, he was doing so in defiance of the peace treaty, and his authority was arguably illegal. We can now begin to understand why Dumuzi’s accidental death resulted in such a harsh punishment for Marduk.
It would seem that, following his escape from the Pyramid, Marduk went into a self-imposed exile as Amen (“the Hidden One”) to his supporters and persona non grata to his enemies. His principal enemy was Inanna, who, as a result of her husband Dumuzi’s death, had turned from a Goddess of love to a Goddess of war, with a bitter hatred of Marduk. Inanna had always had ambitions, but now those ambitions were intensified.
As described in chapter 6, she was not satisfied with her dominion over the new Indus Valley civilization, nor with her low-ranking Sumerian city of Uruk. In approximately 2350 BC, her powerful ambitions were fulfilled. Armed with the enigmatic “MEs” which she had dispossessed from Enki, she found a man whom she named Sharru-kin (“Righteous Ruler”).
This man, known to us as Sargon, was the founder of the Akkadian empire and its capital city Agade.
As we shall see in the next chapter, this
“destiny determining time” was not a whimsical dream but a
scientific reality. And the timing of the Akkadian empire can thus
be seen as a deliberate attempt by Inanna to counter the ambitions
of her arch enemy.
In so doing, he took great care not to alienate the other Gods of the Near East. Initially, his conquests avoided Enlil’s city of Nippur, Ninurta’s city of Lagash, the disputed site of Babylon and the strategic sites of the Gods at Jerusalem and Baalbek.
Then, in his old age, he made the fatal mistake of removing “sacred soil” from Babylon to somehow “legitimise” Inanna’s city of Agade. It would seem that this sacrilegious act prompted Marduk’s return to Babylon. The ancient texts state that Marduk destroyed Sargon’s people by hunger, and afflicted Sargon himself with a “restlessness” that led to his death after a reign of 54 years.
Reassembling his scattered people, Marduk rebuilt Babylon and, according to the ancient texts, constructed a sophisticated waterworks system. This is an interesting detail, since the site of eighteenth century BC Babylon does indeed lie underneath the present-day water table, preventing its excavation. It is my view that Marduk avoided this flooding by pumping water out of Babylon into the surrounding areas.
The surrounding cities quickly grew reliant upon these fresh
supplies of water from Babylon, since the average rainfall in
Nergal provided Marduk with convincing evidence that his “destiny-determining time” had not yet come.”
Marduk eventually agreed to leave, but on the condition that no-one interfered with Babylon’s waterworks system:
After Marduk’s departure, Nergal entered the secret chambers of Babylon and, in a surprising act of animosity, upset the precious waterworks.
As forewarned, there was a serious drought in the surrounding cities. Nergal ended up being severely chastised by the elder Gods.
Around 2250 BC, following Marduk’s departure from Babylon, and the ensuing drought, Inanna once again decided to flex her muscles - this time with the grandson of Sargon, called Naram-Sin. His name clearly indicates that Inanna had won the support of her uncle, the God Nannar/Sin. This time it would seem that Inanna was determined to see just how far she could extend her powers.
The Mesopotamian texts provide a long list of Naram Sin’s
conquests, including Jericho, Baalbek, Dilmun-land (Sinai) and
In Egypt too, an incursion by foreigners is confirmed at this time in history by a long poem known as “the Admonitions of Ipuwer”. As for Naram-Sin’s alleged conquest of the Sinai space centre, could this incident be the one commemorated on the famous stele of Naram-Sin, now on display at the Louvre museum in Paris.
The central feature in Plate 51, which many believe to be a mountain, looks more like the rockets with which Dilmun land was associated.
The horned tiara, worn by the victorious Naram-Sin, was a symbol of the Gods, and suggests that this was a victory in the most sacred region where Gods alone were allowed to rule.
It would seem, however, that Naram-Sin made one conquest too many. Whether it was the space centre, the Enkiite territories or both, we cannot be sure, but the council of the Gods decided to arrest Inanna and put an end to her aggrandizement.
A Sumerian poem known as The Curse of Agade relates that Inanna fled from her city Agade.
The Gods then stripped the city of its powers, possibly including some of the “MEs” stolen from Enki:
The texts state that Marduk’s brother Nergal had also assisted the conquests of Naram-Sin, and thus acted in an unlikely alliance with Inanna to prevent Marduk’s return. We can only guess at the reasons for this brotherly enmity.
Shortly afterwards, Inanna and Nergal staged a major revolt against the authority of the elder Gods, a revolt which ended in failure and the catastrophic destruction of Agade. The Curse of Agade blames the destruction of Agade on Naram-Sin, who allegedly attacked Enlil’s city, Nippur, desecrating its sacred Ekur.
We know from a Sumerian poem entitled
Hymn to Enlil that this Ekur was the resting place for “a fast
stepping bird” from whose “grasp no-one can escape”, and the spot
from where he could “raise the beams that search the heart of all
the lands”. The attack was thus not just a symbolic insult to the
highest God on Earth, but also a physical disabling of his powers.
It is a fact that Agade is one of the few
ancient Mesopotamian cities whose location has never been discovered
by the archaeologists, whilst historians are puzzled at the fall of
such a mighty empire which collapsed c. 2200 BC as suddenly as it
had once begun.
Meanwhile, between 2200-2100 BC, several Sumerian and Elamite cities declared their independence, and entered a new era of prosperity that would prove to be their swansong.
The Elamite state of Ninurta was first to emerge as a dominant force,
centered on its capital city of Susa in south-east Mesopotamia. Its
powerful defenses and highly-trained army had enabled it to escape
conquest by military alliance with Naram-Sin. However, after Naram-Sin’s death, its ruler Puzur-Inshushinak declared independence
and, to emphasize the point, assumed the title “King of the
The famous (and final) Third Dynasty of Ur took Sumerian achievements to new heights in art, foreign trade and temple-building. The God in charge was Nannar/Sin, a move perhaps aimed at keeping his niece Inanna in check. We now enter a period where historic dates can be established with a high degree of accuracy.
Ur’s first ruler Ur-Nammu is generally dated to c. 2112 BC.56 Ur-Nammu instigated a new legal and moral code, and began a restoration programme throughout Sumer which returned the temples of the Gods, including the Ekur at Nippur, to their former glories. Not only the temples had to be restored but also the trust of the people in their Gods.
After two hundred years of chaos, the people of
Mesopotamia had become independent and unruly. Sumerian texts record
that Ur-Nammu was given a remit by Enlil to bring these rebellious
city states to heel.
Towards the end of his reign we see
the first signs of trouble for the last Sumerian dynasty. Shulgi
became engaged in a series of battles to put down uprisings in the
outer provinces, c.
2054-2047 BC. In order to strengthen his position, he obtained by
the marriage of his daughter, an alliance with the Elamites. In
exchange for control of the city of Larsa, Shulgi engaged the
services of the notorious Elamite troops as a kind of foreign legion
under the command of Khedorlaomer.
According to Zecharia Sitchin’s chronology, in 2048 BC Marduk was about to enter the land of Hatti (the land of the Hittites in Anatolia) where he would rest for 24 years, awaiting a “favourable omen” for his return to Babylon.
The presence of an Egyptian God in Anatolia at this time is indeed confirmed by the archaeological record. At the site of Alaca Huyuk (an important city dating to at least 2500 BC) the entrance to the city was found to be flanked by Egyptian-style sphinxes, dating to around 2000 BC.
After Shulgi’s death c. 2047 BC, his son Amar-Sin faced a continuing struggle to assert the authority of Ur, and the Sumerian texts record in the seventh year of his reign, c. 2040 BC, a major campaign to subdue an uprising in four western lands.
The dispatch by Amar-Sin of troops under Khedorlaomer to quell the rebellion is dealt with both in the Old Testament and in the Khedorlaomer Texts, which both confirm the rebellion as taking place in the thirteenth year of rule from Ur. What was the cause of the rebellion? The Khedorlaomer Texts make it clear that the rebellion was a change of allegiance from Sin, the God of Ur, to Nabu, the son of Marduk.
Sin’s son, Shamash claimed that the people had betrayed their covenant with his father:
The change of allegiance to Nabu in Canaan is commemorated today by the various names in the region - Mount Nebo to the north-east of the Dead Sea, and the large town of Nabulus to the north-west.
In later times, the name Nabu took on the meaning “speaker/announcer/prophet”, reflecting the role that Marduk’s son had played in stirring up the rebellion. But what was the nature of this rebellion that caused it to be preserved in history as such a major event?
The answer comes from a scrutiny of the battle which took place in the following year.
According to Genesis 14:
This sequence of battles is also confirmed by the Khedorlaomer Texts.
It is only after this grueling tour that the kings of the east finally confront the kings of the evil cities whom they had been sent to punish.
So why the delay, and why waste their time with a long out-of-the-way excursion into the desert? As Zecharia Sitchin has pointed out, the only possible significance of El Paran (Nakhl) and Kadesh-Barnea is their strategic location in the restricted land of the Gods - the space centre in the Sinai desert. Why else would the invaders target an oasis town in the middle of nowhere?
A Sumerian cylinder seal cited by Zecharia Sitchin (Figure 35) gives a remarkably accurate visual portrayal of the space centre incident, although my interpretation differs from that of Sitchin.
It is my conclusion that the Canaanite kings, incited by Nabu, had marched south to occupy the space centre.
Then, when they heard of the formidable strength of the approaching eastern alliance, led by Khedorlaomer, they fled to Kadesh-Barnea.
Thus did the invaders turn back from Nakhl to Kadesh, as described in Genesis 14, in order to pursue their fleeing enemy. From Kadesh, the kings of the east chased the kings of the west back to the Valley of Siddim, where the latter were forced to make a stand in their homeland and were heavily defeated.
The cylinder seal shown in Figure 35 identifies the space centre location by the sign of Sin’s crescent moon and a tower with wings. However, there is no battle scene (as suggested by Sitchin) but only a depiction of four kings marching in and five kings marching out in the opposite direction! My interpretation of these events illustrates the desire of Marduk to take possession of the space centre in addition to his return to Babylon.
This is vital to an understanding of the extreme actions which were later taken against him and his son Nabu. According to Zecharia Sitchin’s chronology, it was a mere 16 years later that Marduk returned to Babylon and the nuclear weapons were used.
those sixteen years, the last two kings of Ur, Shu-Sin c. 2037-2029 BC, and
Ibbi-Sin c. 2028-2024 BC, turned to desperate defensive
measures to protect a crumbling empire in times of great
The last records of Sumer describe numerous oracles of imminent invasion from the west, the cessation of tributes from the outer provinces and finally the cessation of foreign commerce in the third year of Ibbi-Sin’s reign. No inscriptions of his reign have been found beyond the fifth year, c. 2024 BC. In that year, a prince by the name of Ishbi-Irra instigated a rebellion in the key city of Mari, which protected the western approach to Sumer.
Ibbi-Sin’s last records spoke of a deep
penetration by the Amorites into Sumerian territories.
These Amorites were destined to become the first dynasty of the new kingdom of Babylon. Who were these Amorites, and why did they support Marduk?
Since the invasion of Sumer came from the west, it is not very helpful to find that the term Amorite, derived from the Akkadian word Amurru, simply means “Westerners”. Biblical studies, however, have identified the Amorites as the dominant tribe among the Canaanites, and thus descended from the line of Ham. The final battle was thus based on racial loyalties - Shemitic easterners defending their territory against Hamitic Africans who were supporting an African God, Marduk.
By the same token, we would expect the native Egyptians to rally to Marduk’s cause. What then was happening in Egypt c. 2024 BC? This date falls between the end of the Old Kingdom c. 2100 BC and the beginning of the Middle Kingdom c. 2000 BC. Egyptologists refer to this time gap as the “First Intermediate Period” (FIP), signifying a time of chaos, during which the country was divided between rival dynasties.
The collapse of the Old Kingdom is generally attributed
to “social revolution”, and as I shall suggest in a later chapter,
it is likely that these first Egyptian pharaohs were in fact
Sumerians. Was the timing of the FIP simply a coincidence, or could
it have signified an internal rebellion by the native Africans in
preparation for Marduk’ s return to power?
Geographically, these supporters were expanding northwards, towards the delta area and the Sinai peninsula. Would Marduk once again attempt to take control of the space centre?
The exile of Marduk is described in a partly damaged tablet, found in the great library of Ashurbanipal. Its significance went unnoticed until Zecharia Sitchin placed it into historical context - a final countdown of 24 years from 2028 to 2024 BC, at which time Marduk finally returned to Babylon:
The ancient texts record a short-lived victory for Marduk.
In the chaos of battle, various temples were destroyed, including the shrine of Enlil at Nippur.
Enlil, who was somewhere “loftily enthroned”, sped back to Sumer and demanded an explanation. Although the Babylonian accounts blamed the desecration on the God Erra (Nergal), other Gods accused Marduk of the sacrilegious act. It was at this time that the council of Gods met to decide what action to take, and at this council that the God Erra stormed out with a promise of vengeance.
And, chronologically, it was at this time and in this context, that another deity, the Biblical “God”, decided to drop in on the city of Sodom “to see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me”. The outcome, as discussed earlier, was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Sinai space centre.
At this point it should be recalled that the change of allegiance of the “evil cities” had occurred 17 years previously, in 2041 BC, and been dealt with by Khedorlaomer.
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was thus a different punishment for a separate incident. What was the second crime of Sodom and Gomorrah, the “outcry” of which had reached the ears of God. In view of the previous attempt of the Canaanite kings to seize the space centre, and in view of the expansionist threat from Marduk’s supporters in northern Egypt, there can surely be only one conclusion - the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were once again preparing an army to march on the space centre.
It is against this background that one must
understand the radical decision of the Gods to use nuclear weapons
against Marduk and his son Nabu. We can only speculate on what
Marduk might have intended to do with the space centre, but the
texts related that he and Nabu must be stopped at all costs.
One of the aims of Erra/Nergal was to kill them both, but according to the ancient texts they were both warned of the attack on Sodom and Gomorrah and thus escaped. Nevertheless, it would seem that Nergal may have had another attempt. A mere 50 miles to the north, in a separate incident, also dated to c. 2000 BC, the town of Tell Ghassul was utterly destroyed.
So powerful was the force used, that this town was once thought to be the site of ancient Sodom. Archaeologists have been unable to explain the cause of the extensive damage and the thousands of blackened stones which they found strewn across the site. Once again, however, Marduk and Nabu escaped.
According to legend, Nabu
became the God of a Mediterranean island, whilst Marduk himself was
finally allowed to assume the Lordship of the Gods from Babylon.
was the Biblical patriarch, Abraham, and what role did he play in
this crucial period of the world’s history? Most scholars have
overlooked or discarded the possibility that, since Abraham came
from Ur, he might actually have been a native of Ur. Several studies
have indeed concluded that he was a Sumerian.
This term, the origin of the word “Hebrew”, is usually translated as ,’wanderers” or “those who crossed over”, but in Sumerian it meant “natives of IBR”.”’ The place name IBR is indeed linked to the verb ibri, meaning “to cross", but as one authority has pointed out, it is also closely connected to the original Sumerian name for the city of Nippur NI.IB.RU, literally translated as “The Crossing place".
We encountered this city in chapter 8 as the original mission control centre of the Gods, and it thus took its name from the planet NIBIRU, the “Planet of Crossing”.
The Biblical Ibri are therefore the Sumerian “ni-ib-ri” - the natives of Nippur. And Nippur was Sumer’s foremost religious city. Nor did Abraham come from a family that were typical Nippurians. On the contrary, the evidence suggests that he was from the most noble, priestly class.” The ease with which Abraham commanded respect, even in foreign lands, tends to support this view. What was a Nippurian priest doing in Ur?
obvious conclusion is that the move coincided with the rise of the
Third Dynasty of Ur under Ur-Nammu in 2113 BC. The Sumerian texts
record that Enlil, the God of Nippur, had entrusted the safe-keeping
of his city to Sin, the God of Ur. The timing of Terah and Abraham’s
departure from Ur to Harran would have been close to the time when
Ur-Nammu came to his untimely end, c. 2095 BC.
According to the Old Testament, Abraham’s first action back in Canaan was to approach the altar he had built and again “call on the name of the Lord’’. The year was approximately 2042 BC just one year before the Canaanite kings rebelled against Sin, and thus a time when Nabu would have been actively lobbying for their support.
In 2040 BC, following the Battle of the Kings, Abraham demonstrated the alliance he had forged with the local nobility.
He took 318 trained Amorite soldiers and rescued Lot from the homebound kings of the east quite an achievement at the grand old age of 83! Three years later Hagar bore him a son, Ishmael. The Biblical record is then blank until 13 years later, when at age 99, Abraham entered a covenant with God, who promised him a child the following year (another fine achievement!).
Before that year had passed, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed; the date was 2024 BC. Thus, as the Amorites invaded Abraham’s homeland to the east, God promised to Abraham’s descendants the lands of the west. Was Abraham simply a pawn in the game, or did he earn his prize? Let us now review his movements in the context of the threat from Marduk.
First, Abraham moved to Harran, the northernmost outpost of Ur, on the border with the Hittite lands, where Marduk was shortly to arrive. In 2048 BC, the same year that Marduk arrived for his 24-year stay, Abraham left Harran but his father stayed behind. This move may have been prompted by the death of Shulgi, king of Ur, and the prospect of further turmoil in his empire’s western provinces.
In any event, Abraham headed for Egypt and consulted with the northern pharaohs who were desperately resisting Marduk’s supporters in the south. Can it then be a coincidence that Abraham returned to Canaan only one year before the rebellion of the kings?
I do not subscribe to the view which has been expressed by Zecharia Sitchin that Abraham played a military role in the Battle of the Kings.
As I suggested
earlier, there was no battle in the Sinai, only a tactical
withdrawal. Abraham’s military involvement, as it appears in the
Bible, is restricted only to the subsequent rescue of his nephew
Lot, in what was probably a surprise raid. There is nothing to
suggest anything beyond that. However, there is evidence to suggest
that his role was one of espionage!
There is no doubt that such a spy existed in Canaan, for the Bible records the fact:
Having gained the confidence of the Canaanite kings, Abraham was in a perfect position to report on the political situation and possible troop movements.
I have suggested earlier that Nabu motivated the kings of the west to form an army to capture the space centre in the Sinai in 2041 BC.
It was at that exact time that Abraham returned to
Canaan to watch what they were up to. The “altar” which Abraham
built in Canaan, where he called on the name of the Lord, was thus a
means to keep Sin informed of events.
The nuclear fall-out in Sumer caused many survivors to become refugees.
Their migrations were accompanied by a high level of culture and technology, hence explaining many of the mysterious breakthroughs c. 2000 BC which archaeologists have uncovered all over the world. We will discuss some of these migrations further in chapter 15. However, whilst some Sumerians fled thousands of miles, others preferred to stay closer to home. One such refugee was Abraham’s nephew Lot.
Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.
One day the older daughter said to the younger:
This incestuous tale of Lot and his daughters demonstrates the scale of the catastrophe which had befallen the region.
Although the Gods sometimes practiced similar acts of incest, it was not a widely accepted custom of the people at that time. It can be understood only in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.
ourselves might contemplate
unthinkable acts only in the most extreme circumstances; examples of
survivors of plane crashes in remote areas prove the point. Lot and
his daughters, who
witnessed the nuclear holocaust, may well have believed that they
were the only survivors.
The mysterious lost city of Petra is located less than sixty miles directly south from the southern part of the Dead Sea where Sodom and Gomorrah are believed to have once stood. It was thus within reach of, and a safe distance from, Lot’s initial destination of Zoar, the small town which had been spared from the destruction.
As I studied the maps of the area, it was clear that Petra was located in a mountain range that extended all the way south from the Dead Sea almost as far as the Gulf of Aqaba, which is then surrounded by mountains on both sides. Anyone fleeing south had little choice but to seek refuge in these mountains.
Hachette’s Guide to the Middle East describes Petra as:
Petra, literally meaning “Rock”, is entered via a narrow Siq one mile long and as narrow as six feet across, beneath two cliffs which rise up to 260 feet in height.
This dusty trail was featured in the film Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. As one exits the Siq, one enters what has rather aptly been described as a “fairy city of pink sandstone”.
Over a site of eight square miles, a fantastic array of temples and tombs has been carved out of the sandstone rock. As I studied the history books on Petra, I came up against a complete blank. Having been “discovered” in 1812 by a young Swiss explorer named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, little progress has been made in our knowledge of this once important site. As one book admits: “almost nothing is known about its origin or nature”.
Nevertheless, the extensive collection of carved temples and tombs at Petra is generally attributed to the Nabateans, a people of mysterious origin, who gradually infiltrated the area around 500-400 BC.
These Nabateans became wealthy on account of Petra’s position as an important crossroads of two important trade routes, and it is thus naive to think that previous travellers and occupants did not also leave their mark. Indeed, Petra contains a bewildering variety of different styles and different cultures.
On the one hand there are
numerous depictions of step-pyramids, indicating a Mesopotamian
link, on the other obelisks and serpents indicating an Egyptian
connection. The Romans, too, could not resist the urge to build a
huge amphitheatre here.
The Ed Deir (“the Monastery”), in contrast, is impressive, standing 135 feet high and 150 feet wide. Its upper parts are carved in three dimensions, and the main artistic feature is a splendid urn which is itself 30 feet high.
The Monastery is dated to around AD 40, which may be a reasonable estimate, since it has suffered little erosion despite its exposed position in the side of a hill.
However, although well-carved and well-preserved, the simple style and imposing size of the Monastery bear no comparison to “the Treasury”. To me, El Khazneh (“the Treasury”) stands out clearly from the rest of Petra as a work of vastly superior quality. As shown in Plate 53, the detailed three dimensional carving is stunning, and would be unthinkable for an artist to undertake today.
It bears comparison with the great Sphinx of Egypt.
Once again, an urn is the main feature and accounts for the name of the Treasury.
Elsewhere in Petra, there are many poor quality and badly eroded reliefs which appear to be copies of the Treasury. In contrast to these later copies, however, the builders of the Treasury took great care to undertake a preliminary excavation deep into the cliff face prior to carving.
This technique, combined with a careful positioning of the
Treasury in a sheltered spot surrounded by cliffs on all sides, has
minimized the risk of erosion. For this reason, it is possible that
archaeologists have under-estimated its age by more than a thousand
The question is: who might have had the motivation to dedicate so much time and care in this secluded location? When one tries to research into the history of Petra, all discussions of its inhabitants begin with the Edomites. These are the people descended from Esau, who are thought to have occupied the area from around 1000 BC.
No-one claims that the Edomites actually founded Petra, and yet the historians seem reluctant to search any further back in time. Why?
Here is my theory of Petra.
After the nuclear destruction in 2024 BC, Lot and his daughters travelled south and discovered the entrance into the mountains. In those days, Petra was surrounded by forests of cedar and pine, in contrast to the arid desert of today. At the end of the Siq, they found the cave in which, according to the Bible, they took up residence.
After the death of Lot, his sons (by his
daughters) Moab and Ben-Ammi dedicated themselves to commemorating
their father (and perhaps their father’s wife who was turned to
vapour) by the elaborate carving of the building now known as the
Treasury. The urn (the symbolism of which no-one has explained)
signified the ashes of their dead father, and was perhaps also a
memorial to their father’ s wife.
The other son, BenAmmi, became the father of the Ammonite tribe - the city Ammon today stands just 90 miles north of Petra.
In later times, the Edomites and Nabateans came to the area. Some emulated what they saw, sometimes with their own artistic, cultural bias, but none applied the same diligence as the original artists.
Over thousands of years, the site lost its importance and the knowledge of its origins was restricted to a chosen few. Those few clues which were handed down then became enshrined in the Biblical myth of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Could this be the
reason why scientists are reluctant to search for the origins of