“Ancient Sumerian Biologists: Did the Sumerians know about the genetic code?”

by Joop Van der Miel (Archaeological Unit, University of Amsterdam)

I acquired a Mesopotamian pot several years ago in an auction, the original owner a German collector who had found the pot on an excavation of Tell ‘Uqair about eighty miles south of Baghdad, back in the 1920s.

The pot contains 5 clay tablets, immaculately preserved, each inscribed with clearly visible cuneiform.  In the Mesopotamian region it is quite common to find remains of pots in the ruins of a settlement.  The place had been sacked and burned to the ground.  This had the effect of firing the clay tablets, rendering indelible any writing.

Most Sumerian writing, characteristically wedge-shaped markings, is sun-baked onto the clay tablets.  After thousands of years, the inscriptions on these sun-baked tablets become un-readable. But when a village perishes in flames it often provides archaeologists with a valuable treasure: written records of the civilisation.

The Sumerian script was deciphered several decades ago. Thousands of tablets have been translated, providing a rich understanding of the myths, religious life, accounting practices and culture of the ancient civilisation, believed to be the oldest on Earth.

But there are still thousands of clay tablets which are as yet undiscovered, untranslated, or simply too damaged; indecipherable.

The fifth  Tell ‘Uqair tablet is of particular interest because it uses twenty symbols or ‘logograms’, whose meanings are known. Yet this tablet uses the logograms in an entirely novel context.

Sumerian language, like some modern languages such as Hungarian (but unlike ancient Mayan), is ‘agglutinative’.  Words are built up by stringing forms together. Therefore, a basic word, symbolised by a collection of markings known as a ‘logogram’, can be made more complex by the serial addition of different vowels and consonants. These quite literally build up as additional markings on the original logogram.

Together, the additional markings and the original ‘root’ logogram, now convey a new meaning. Sometimes, two different logograms are be combined to create a composite logogram, with a new meaning.

All five of the Tell‘Uqair tablets appear to deal with matters of medicine and the treatment of various ailments.

The fifth tablet contains twenty logograms with ‘supplementary signs’ to help clarify any ‘polyphony’.

Polyphony is when there is more than one meaning for a given word. It was used in some ancient languages as in modern, ancient Mayan writing included.  For example, the English word ‘fleet’ which can mean ‘speedy’ but also it can mean a collection of ‘naval vessels’.

In Sumerian writing, polyphony is widely used. Supplementary signs appear as modifications to certain logograms where more than one meaning was possible.  These modifications help place the logogram into the correct context. For example the logogram for the word ‘naga’, when modified in a certain manner could signify ‘raven’, instead of ‘soap’.

The supplementary signs on the twenty logograms inscribed on the fifth  tablet from Tell‘Uqair are totally unknown, different to any which has already been observed on this set of logograms.

The meaning of the logograms must be something entirely different.
The question is: what?

Decipherment of the fifth Tell ‘Uqair tablet
The logograms are grouped into seven groups.  The numbers of logograms in each group are one of six, two of three and four of two.  Alongside each logogram on the tablet is a brief description, translated into phrases such as:

entukumše igi – ‘As long as the first’.

On the reverse side of the tablet the entire list of logograms appears again. This time they are not grouped but simply ordered according to a single property.

For example: ‘ul eš’ meaning ‘love of water’ or perhaps more precisely; solubility.

There are twenty of these strangely modified logograms and their groupings.

Thanks to the collaboration of Dr. Valencia and Dr. Poborsky, I was able to make the following leap of insight:

Proteins are made from twenty amino acids grouped as follows:
•    one group of six amino acids (known by modern biologists as ‘aliphatic’)
•    two groups of three amino acids (‘basic’ and ‘aromatic’)
•    four groups of two amino acids (‘acidic’, ‘hydroxlyic’, ‘amidic’, ‘sulphur-containing’)

The exact same number and sizes of groups as that of the twenty mysterious logograms on the fifth tablet from Tell‘Uqair

Could it be that the unusually modified logograms actually represent twenty amino acids?

The descriptions appended to each logogram, seem to compare each of the logograms to the others in the group, comparing properties such as their length, and alkalinity.  Finally, the entire list as it appears on the reverse of the clay tablet, can be used to place the logograms in order of inherent solubility.

This is analogous to comparing the molecular lengths, alkalinity and solubility of the carbon-based amino acids. Using this rudimentary guide to the relative properties of each amino acid it was possible to work out which of these specially modified logograms represents which amino acid.

A good place to research ancient writing is Ancient Scripts.

Here are some links to Websites where you can translate ancient languages:

The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project

Dictionary of Mayan Hieroglyphs

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyph Translator

In Search of a ‘Fifth Codex’ of the Ancient Maya

by Mary Carmen Valencia* and Andres Garcia**

reproduced by permission @archaeologyconspiracies.com

*Department of Archaeology, Universidad IberoAmericana, Sante Fe, Mexico City, Mexico
**Department of Archaeology & Aquinas College, Oxford, UK

Ever since the discovery of the Grolier Codex in a cave in the 1970s, the world has been wondering. Could there be yet another lost Mayan codex?

Burning the Books

The story of the Mayan codices is a sad one. The only first culture to develop writing in the Americas, the Ancient Maya had written many bark-paper books, inscribed by hand in colour by the scribe class.

When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, Bishop Diego de Landa ordered that all the Mayan writings be collected. He’d learned enough of their content to be convinced that the writings were blasphemous.

So he ordered that the inscriptions be burned. The leaders of the Maya people stood by and watched all their culture go up in flames. De Landa acted without permission. He was punished by his Abbot back in Spain.

But for Mayan writing it was too late. By the time the Spanish arrived, writing was already becoming a forgotten art.

Fourth Codices Saved

Much later, codices of the Maya began to turn up in old houses of European aristocrats. Not all the Spanish soldiers had obeyed De Landa’s order, it seemed. Some of them had kept the Mayan books and taken them back to Spain. Suddenly, these ancient writings were appearing in auction houses, where they were sold to libraries in Dresden, Madrid and Paris.

Then in the 1970s, a fragment of a codex – just 11 pages – came into the hands of one Joseph Saenz – under mysterious circumstances. Saenz would only say than that he’d been taken to a secret meeting place where he’d received the codex – allegedly found in a cave.

Right from the beginning the fourth codex divided Mayan scholars. Was it real? Or was it the cleverest hoax yet?

Sir J. Eric Thompson, the distinguished British Mayan archaeologist, was convinced that it was a fake. But after his death in 1975, opinion began to turn.

Now, the Grolier Codex is accepted as the fourth surviving codex of the ancient Maya. It is thought to date from the 13th century.

However, there MAY BE A FIFTH.

Rumours of a Fifth Codex

Recent discoveries in Calakmul, Mexico, have started a new rumour of another Mayan Codex. The authors spoke to one epigrapher who prefers to remain anomymous. She received a message offering to sell her some inscriptions taken from stelae stolen from Mayan ruins. The stelae were in now in the hands of ‘private collectors’ who had obtained them illegally. The epigrapher in question – one of the world’s experts on Mayan writing – was keen to see the inscriptions at least. She accepted the offer.

Our epigrapher friend was not allowed to take photographs or even a rubbing of the inscription. Here, however is her recollection:

“The stone came from a hieroglyphic staircase I suspect. It was similar to what I’ve seen from Dos Pilas. I was able to read the first part of the inscription very easily. It said something like this:

The Book of Ix was brought to Yuknoom Che’en. Many died, much pain. It was hidden, the forbidden text of Ix.

There was more, but I didn’t have time to see it. I think there may be another Mayan codex out there.”

The authors are well aware that rumour cannot be counted as evidence

And yet all ancient discovery begins somewhere – an unfounded rumour, whisperings of truth. Just as with John Lloyd Stephens hearing of the legendary Mayan ‘living city’ of white towers, which eventually led to the discovery of Tikal.

Perhaps this is the first hint of a fifth codex – the legendary Book of Ix.

Who Were the Anunnaki?

In the mythology of Ancient Mesopotamia the Annunaki are a group of Sumerian and Akkadian deities.

The Annunaki appear in a creation myth, Enuma Elish. Marduk, after the creation of mankind, divides the Anunnaki and assigns three hundred in heaven, three hundred on the earth.

When Do We First Hear This Story?

The Anunnaki are first mentioned in the ‘Atrahasis’, the original source of the story of the Great Flood. (The one in the biblical story of Noah’s Ark.)

The original clay tablets of the Atrahasis date back to 1700BC.  But parts of the same story have been found on even older tablets.  The Atrahasis is probably a retelling of an oral tradition – storytelling from person to person. So the story may well have been passed on for hundreds or even thousands of years.

When the gods instead of man
Did the work, bore the loads,
The Gods’ load was too great,
The work too hard, the trouble too much,
The great Anunnaki made the Igigi
Carry the workload sevenfold

This ancient text seems to say that the Anunnaki were of extra-terrestrial origin – creatures made by the gods, but not the same as human beings.

Gods and Goddess of the Anunnaki

An (god of heaven)
Ki (goddess of Earth, also known as Ninhursag)
Enlil (God of wind)
Enki (God of the watery abyss)
As well as being the names of deities, ‘An’ and ‘ki’ also refer to heaven and earth as places.

Sumerian Cuneiform Writing

‘An.un.na.ki’ can also mean as ‘those who came from Heaven and Earth’.

Writing has been invented only three times in human history. The Sumerians invented a way of writing by marking clay tablets with wedge-like inscriptions known as cuneiform.

Here is an.un.na.ki written in Sumerian cuneiform symbols:

Anunnaki Extraterrestials?

A Russian writer named Zecharia Sitchin translated many Sumerian writings about the Anunnaki. Sitchin’s theory is that the Anunnaki were not human, but a race of human-alien hybrids who were sent to help humans build a civilisation.

Whether or not you believe Sitchin, the timescales written about in ancient Sumerian writings are incredible. They speak of events in the far distant past.  As if civilisation was much older than we know. The Ancient Maya also write of events which seem to take place long before there would have been towns, buildings or writing.

For example, there is a very famous document known as the Sumerian King List – inscribed on the Weld-Blundell Prism, part of the collection at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.  It claims to list all the rulers since the beginning of time.  Here’s how it begins:
After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridu. In Eridu, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years. Alaljar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridu fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.

Eridu refers to a place in modern-day Iraq known as Abu-Shahrain.

As for those ancient dates – maybe they are made-up or mis-remembered.

But it is also possible that they are true.

That human civilisation is far older than we believe. Could the rest also be true? Were the Anunnaki more than a story, a myth? Were they really sent to Earth by some other-worldly ‘Gods’? Were they helpers of men – or as Sitchin believes, were they our overlords?

If so…were did the Anunnaki go? Did some Anunnaki remain hidden amongst the human race? Are they The Watchers, as some believe, waiting to take over the world at a fateful moment in human history…perhaps 22 Dec 2012?

That is certainly what some believe.

The Anunnaki, the Reptilians, the Illuminati.

One and the same? And most important of all – friend or foe?