This blog entry was originally going to be a summary of Zecharia Sitchin’s research on Sumerian ancient knowledge and cosmogony. However, while researching the internet for his work I came across a few websites which were established with the aim of disproving Sitchin’s work. This wasn’t really surprising as unconventional research is never welcomed with wide arms in the mainstream science. However, as I read the material on the websites (especially one of them), it seemed to me that the author was knowledgeable and was making a sincere effort of setting the record straight rather than simply trying to gain publicity. So now, like a true, rational scientist, I’m going to present a summary of both sides of the story in my blog. And leave it to my readers to decide which one they think is “correct”. Since I have neither read any of Sitchin’s books (my knowhow is based on his website) nor studied Hebrew or Cuneiform script, I’m unable to decide for myself which side to lean towards. But I’m happy that I at least got to know that there are two sides to this story.
Zecharia Sitchin is a well-known name for researchers and followers of ancient knowledge. He first gained fame in 1976 after publishing the book ‘The 12th planet’ based on a radical new idea that the ancient Sumerian texts, which are considered by scholars as allegorical myths about wars between Gods of the Sumerians, were in fact realistic records of cosmological events. He went on to publish 11 more books, the latest one in 2007, which extend the idea further and delve deeper into the texts and records left behind by the ancient culture of Sumer. He claims to have studied various clay tablets on which the texts in question were scribed in Cuneiform script as well as ancient artefacts found in excavations.
The main idea that sparked Sitchin’s research and publications was the record of a large-scale celestial event in the Mesopotamian Epic of Creation (Enuma Elish). When our solar system was still in formative stage, a rogue planet (Nibiru/Marduk) ejected from another solar system got pulled into ours by gravitational force. It then collided with a planet Tiamat (old Earth) causing it to split apart. Larger part became our Earth as we know today; the other part got spread into the belt of asteroids we see between Mars and Jupiter. Tiamat’s original orbit was between Mars and Jupiter (hence the big gap and asteroid belt between them) which got deflected to the orbit of Earth today. Our Moon was the satellite of Tiamat (Kingu) which remained with the newly formed Earth. The external planet, Nibiru, got captured into a very eccentric orbit into our solar system and hence visits the “inner planets” only once every 3600 years. The advanced life-forms from Nibiru, called the Annunaki, are the reason for technological knowhow and progress of the Homo sapiens on Earth. They visited Earth in ancient times and changed us from cave-dwellers to pyramid-builders. Sitchin’s theories and books received the typical response any esoteric, unconventional research receives; tremendous interest from the general public and no serious attention from the main stream scientists and scholars.
Even today, the criticism continues unabated and some of it seems bolstered by modern research. Linguistic scholar Michael Heiser’s website is one of the best resource of the objections to Sitchin’s translations of the Sumerian cuneiform script as well as his understanding of the texts. The material on his website is well-researched and well-written. As one reads through pages of his various papers one definitely begins to take these “objections” seriously, if not become completely convinced. The “solar system-like” depiction on Sumerian cylinder seal VA 243 is the backbone of Sitchin’s ideas. He claims the depiction shows central Sun and 12 planets around it thus proving Sumerians knew of 12 planets (hence the title of his first book). Heiser shows from his research that this interpretation is wrong and central body is not Sun but a star and so are the other 12 dots. Also, the word “Nibiru” is not used to name a specific planet but more like an adjective according to Heiser. There are further examples of words which are said to be misinterpreted by Sitchin and thus not support his theory. I will leave it to those interested to check out Heiser’s website themselves.
However, what makes Sitchin’s ideas interesting to me is the fact that some of the ideas he put forth decades ago (which in turn Sumerians recorded thousands of years ago) seem to be corroborated by new astronomical findings. The presence of an additional planet/oid in our solar system in the regions far beyond Pluto has been hinted at by modern astronomers. Sitchin’s website claims connection of his ideas to many more modern astronomical discoveries. This is the reason why the whole Planet X/Nibiru research has been taken up by young inquisitors like Jason Martell. Another point that came to my mind (and I’m sure others would have thought of this) was about the size of our Moon. According to Sitchin’s interpretation of Sumerian texts, our Moon was the satellite of Tiamat (Kingu) which remained with the newly formed Earth. Could this explain why the Moon is too big for Earth to be a satellite? May be it was the correct size as satellite for the larger Tiamat? Well, those are just the two cents of my inquisitive mind.