Prehistoric Civilizations: Egyptians, Sumerians, and the Ubaid People
A Summary of Part 1 & 2
In my previous discussions, I postulate that the ancient Egyptians were not the great master builders we perceive them to be. My initial focus was on the Great Sphinx and I gave information that the head on the Sphinx was actually not the original but a substitute carving, possibly because the earlier image was destroyed by erosion or by design.
I documented the reasons I believe the Sphinx existed long before the times of the ancient kingdoms and give information as to the last date that sufficient water was available to cause the erosion seen on the side of the Sphinx.
We found out that the Sahara Desert switches from desert to grassland on a 20,000-year cycle. The last time the Sahara Desert dried up was 5,500 years ago, and this transition took place within 200 years. The age of the Old Kingdom has been established as 2600 BC or 4,600 years ago, so they carved the Great Sphinx at least a 1,000 years before the Old Kingdom.
Interestingly, we have no record of ancient Egyptian civilizations before the Old Kingdom except for Samara. Or do we?
A book in my library, The Timetables of History (copyright 1946) states that the Sumerian city of Babylon was settled about 4,000 BC. With a little online research, we find the website Ancient History Encyclopedia. This publication postulates that the oldest city was Eridu (although this is still questioned) and it was established by a pre-Sumerian tribe modern historians call the Ubaid people.
Given that the estimated founding date for Eridu is 5400 BC, we already see a civilization that is two thousand years older than the Old Kingdom of Egypt. The people who settled in this area moved from a hunter-gather nomadic existence to a settled agricultural community many years before 5400 BC.
A fascinating book
When I wrote this post, I linked to the older version. Now, the fourth edition of The Timetables of (TM) History is available. This book gives detailed timeline references of human achievements and spans millennia of human history. It offers a good easy to follow review of what was happening during important time periods in our history.
The version I used had entries for the year 1666 such as, the Dutch and French declare war on England, Antonio Stradivari labeled his first violin, Isaac Newton measured the moon’s orbit and the Great Fire of London raged from Feb. 2nd–9th.
This new version has nearly 100 pages of new material, including: -Recent breakthroughs in science and technology -New achievements in the visual arts and music -Milestones in religion, philosophy, and learning -The rise and fall of nations and the emergence of historical figures -Landmarks in the drama of daily life around the world.
A distinct style in building
As seen from this image, the great Mesopotamian structures, though large and impressive, did not use massive stones but were more brick-like structures. Where is the skill for constructing the great stone works of Egypt if not from Mesopotamia? Because civilizations steal ideas from other civilizations, the “Egyptian” knowledge of how to work massive stone monoliths would have had to come from another society.
The Egyptians did not divine the knowledge for this kind of stonework by themselves. Societies learn from previous generations and other civilizations. Where did the Egyptians learn their techniques?
Massive foundation stones that predate Sumara
There are, however, massive stone structures in Lebanon. specifically the megalithic foundations of the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek (called Heliopolis during Roman rule).
According to author and alternative history proponent, Graham Hancock, these stones predate the temple of Jupiter and quite possibly were quarried over 12,000 years ago. They are of similar age to the newly found temple of Gobekli Tepe. So somewhere between 12,000 years ago and 7,400 years ago, we lost knowledge of how to work stones of massive sizes.
In the same Ancient History Encyclopedia website mentioned earlier, the publication states the Sumerians believed that civilization resulted from the god’s triumph of order over chaos. One of their early kings (Etana) is said to have ascended to heaven on the back of an eagle and was known for superhuman feats, similar to the fabled Gilgamesh, who, among other things, killed a lion with his bare hands (can anyone relate this to the fable of Hercules?)
The Mesopotamians believed that the gods had set everything in motion, that human beings were created as co-laborers with the gods to maintain order, and Gilgamesh was believed to be part human-part god.
In ancient Sumerian tablets, The Epic of Gilgamesh relates how Gilgamesh meets Utnapishtim (the Sumerian version of Noah.) This establishes that the great flood was before the establishment of the settling of the ancient Mesopotamian cities (5400 BC.)
Myths of the Great Flood
Now, about the flood myths, our collective memories (fables and oral histories) talk about the great flood in every corner of the world. It does not limit the flood myth to Judaic traditions, but the aborigines of Australia talk of the great snake devouring the land. The Hindi of India, the ancient histories of Greece, and even in the Americas, the Mayans, all have a flood myth in their histories.
The stories related by Plato in his writings “Critias” talk of a great flood destroying the island of Atlantis over 11,600 years ago. Plato received his information from his great-grandfather Solon, who ventured to Egypt and was told the story by Egyptian priests. When Solon tried to describe history as they (the Athenians knew it), he (Solon) was admonished for his lack of knowledge of history.
The priest said to Solon “As for those genealogies of yours which you have recounted to us, Solon, they are no better than the tales of children; for, in the first place, you remember one deluge only, whereas there were many of them; and, in the next place, you do not know that there dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, of whom you and your whole city are but a seed or remnant. And this was unknown to you because for many generations the survivors of that destruction died and made no sign”. I often wonder how much we lost with the burning of the Library of Alexandria.
A study of prehistory coastlines
In a very interesting video presentation by Graham Hancock, he describes the coastlines around the world at various ages. He also describes ancient maps such as the Piri Reis map and the maps of Mercator and Oronteus Finaeus that detail the coastline of Antarctica. In our time, Antarctica was not discovered until the 1800s, so where did these people obtain remarkable maps such as these along with detailed longitude and latitude demarcations.
Geologists have developed an understanding of coastlines before the end of the last ice age. At the time of the glacial maximum (the height of the last ice age 21,000 years ago), the Gulf of Arabia did not exist but was only a river formed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The Red Sea was a dry basin. In fact, 10 million square miles of land were above sea level at the time of the glacial maximum but are below water now. One can easily imagine the great flooding caused by a sudden release of ice melt.
21,000 years ago, ice covered all of Canada, a large part of the US, a large part of northern Europe and present Russia. The Antarctic ice sheets were just as massive but did not encroach on any land masses (other than Antarctica.) We have evidence of the catastrophic nature of floods from the geological record of the Bonneville Flood.
This massive flood occurred when a lake covering 32,000 square miles broke through at Red Rock Pass in Southern Idaho about 14,500 years ago. This release of water (peak discharge of 15 million cubic feet per second (420,000 m³/s)) dropped the water level of the Bonneville lake by 344 feet (105 m) and created the massive Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho. Now, take that example and imagine a release from the Hudson Bay area of Canada.
The surface of the Hudson Bay is calculated as 470,000 square miles (1.23 million square kilometers) and at the glacier maximum, the ice sheet has been estimated to be at least 2 miles (3.4 km) thick. Now envision a catastrophic release of an area over 10 times the surface area and possibly 30 times the height of the Bonneville flood, and one can envision an unparalleled release of flood waters that would have caused a massive tsunami and a major sea level rise.
Geologists speculate that many sudden releases occurred during the time the glaciers receded and according to the ancient Egyptians, one of these “floods” happened in “a day and a night.”
I am becoming more convinced that the history of humanity is missing an enormous part. That we lost more than initially believed with the great flood and that the melting of the ice age glaciers caused massive floods and the demise of the ancient civilizations. Along with the loss of ancient civilizations, we lost untold knowledge about the world.
We have many myths that talk of strange people, and in my next post, I will discuss who these ancient civilizations might have been.
Before you leave, you might like to visit Recommendations. It is a special page with a collection of things you might find interesting.
Picture Source: Public Domain 1923
If you would like to review my previous two posts related to this subject, you can access them using the links below.