Skip to comments.Gilgamesh Tomb Believed Found
Posted on 01/30/2005 2:51:03 PM PST by blam
Gilgamesh Tomb Believed Found
Posted 01-25-2005 10:02:40 (GMT 1-25-2005
(BBC) -- Archaeologists in Iraq believe they may have found the lost tomb of King Gilgamesh - the subject of the oldest "book" in history.
The Epic Of Gilgamesh - written by a Middle Eastern scholar 2,500 years before the birth of Christ - commemorated the life of the ruler of the city of Uruk, from which Iraq gets its name.
Now, a German-led expedition has discovered what is thought to be the entire city of Uruk - including, where the Euphrates once flowed, the last resting place of its famous King.
"I don't want to say definitely it was the grave of King Gilgamesh, but it looks very similar to that described in the epic," Jorg Fassbinder, of the Bavarian department of Historical Monuments in Munich, told the BBC World Service's Science in Action programme.
In the book - actually a set of inscribed clay tablets - Gilgamesh was described as having been buried under the Euphrates, in a tomb apparently constructed when the waters of the ancient river parted following his death.
"We found just outside the city an area in the middle of the former Euphrates river? the remains of such a building which could be interpreted as a burial," Mr Fassbinder said.
He said the amazing discovery of the ancient city under the Iraqi desert had been made possible by modern technology.
"By differences in magnetisation in the soil, you can look into the ground," Mr Fassbinder added.
"The difference between mudbricks and sediments in the Euphrates river gives a very detailed structure."
This creates a magnetogram, which is then digitally mapped, effectively giving a town plan of Uruk.
'Venice in the desert'
"The most surprising thing was that we found structures already described by Gilgamesh," Mr Fassbinder stated.
"We covered more than 100 hectares. We have found garden structures and field structures as described in the epic, and we found Babylonian houses."
But he said the most astonishing find was an incredibly sophisticated system of canals.
"Very clearly, we can see in the canals some structures showing that flooding destroyed some houses, which means it was a highly developed system.
"[It was] like Venice in the desert."
This is not a new story. I used it in a report I gave in the fall. They have discovered this a while ago.
It is a very interesting discovery.
The ancient Sumerians (Gilgamesh was Sumerian) dug irrigation ditches all over their land and these were also used as roads--as in Venice.
The city was also called Warka and there is a very famous Warka Vase in the Bagdhad Museum. It was stolen during the American invasion, but the boys who stole it were forced to bring it back by their mother. She found it under their bed and said she would kill herself if they didn't take it right back. So they did.
The Warka Vase is like the Rosetta Stone for Iraq. It is an early example of storytelling in pictures. IT is a tall vase with comicbook like frames that show pictues about the culture, agriculture, religion.
Is that where the Uruk Hai come from?
That is one theory that has been posited in an attempt to explain the otherwise supernatural characteristics of "the flood." No one knows for sure, though.
I thought the Germans were too scared to be in Iraq.
Yes/no. The Gilgamesh flood story predates the Bibical story. There are at least five different flood stories in this region. One predates the Gilgamesh story by at least five hundred years.
Outside of religious texts, the Bible etc., the first recorded name in human history was that of Gilgamesh.
Uruk Hai is where the kids of Uruk graduated before going on to college.
Holy crap! If this pans out it would be one of the most signifigant finds in archaeological history!
Its just a model.
From Kirkus Reviews
In an exhaustively researched and creatively argued reassessment of mankind's origins, British physician Oppenheimer, an expert in tropical pediatrics, contends that the now-submerged area of Southeast Asia was the cradle of ancient civilization. From time to time, scholars from various disciplines have argued for the existence of a vastly old ``founder civilization.'' Among the most famous was Charles Hapgood, who based his theory of a lost seafaring civilization on his analysis of the famous 16th-century ``Piri Re'is'' maps of the Antarctic land mass. In this tradition, Oppenheimer blends evidence from geology, genetics, linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology to argue persuasively that such a civilization existed on a submerged land mass in Southeast Asia, which geologists call the Sunda shelf. Pointing to geological evidence for the submersion of the shelf by abrupt rises in the sea level about 8,000 years ago, Oppenheimer contends that the coastal cultures of Southeast Asia were drowned by a great flood, reflected in flood mythologies scattered from the ancient Middle East (such as the biblical story of Noah) to Australia and the Americas. According to the author, tantalizing archaeological evidence exists of settlements under a ``silt curtain'' left by the sea floods in drowned coastal regions from Southeast Asia to the Middle East, while linguistic markers indicate that languages spread from Southeast Asia to Australia and the Pacific. The shared flood story is one striking example of similar Eurasian myths according to the author; the ancient Middle East and Asia share other myth typologies, conspicuously including creation and Cain and Abel myths, which point to common origins in a progenitor culture. Absorbing, meticulously researched, limpidly written, and authoritative: should be regarded as a groundbreaking study of the remote past of Southeast Asia, and of civilization itself.
Shhhhh! Bloody Peasant!
The following analysis shows that the Biblical story must have been the original and Gilgamesh borrows from it.
That's probably the oldest book in Texas.
"From the early days of the comparative study of these two flood accounts, it has been generally agreed that there is an obvious relationship. The widespread nature of flood traditions throughout the entire human race is excellent evidence for the existence of a great flood from a legal/historical point of view.20 Dating of the oldest fragments of the Gilgamesh account originally indicated that it was older than the assumed dating of Genesis.21 However, the probability exists that the Biblical account had been preserved either as an oral tradition, or in written form handed down from Noah, through the patriarchs and eventually to Moses, thereby making it actually older than the Sumerian accounts which were restatements (with alterations) to the original."
LOL No Doubt!!!
I teach this epic.
Gilgamesh was a harsh king who raped other men's brides, so the gods heard the prayers of the people and sent Gilgamesh a cave man named Enkidu to absorb his energies. They go an a quest.
Gilgamesh and his sidekick Enkidu slay a giant named Humbaba who guards the cedar forest. The god of light, Shamash, helps them prevail by sending winds from four sides that pin down the giant. Humbaba controls fire, so this is like the Greek Prometheus legend. Gilgamesh conquers fire when he kills the guardian of the forest Humbaba.
Enkidu has a dream about a gloomy underworld where even kings eat dirt and work as servants. He dies having complained about how unfair it is that he must go to the gloomy underworld even tho' he slayed Humbaba with the help of the god of light, Shamash.
After Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh goes on a quest for eternal life as a man. He is 2/3 god and thinks he deserves more than the underworld. He visits the Mesopotamian Noah, Unapishtim, who was given eternal life as a man (he lives forever) because he survived a flood. Gilgamesh wants Unapishtim's advice about how to get eternal life.
The gods sent a flood because man was too noisy. However, one god, Ea, the sly god of the waters, warned Unapishtim the flood was coming. Ea was not supposed to tell the gods' plan, but he was also loyal to Unapishtim; so he told Unapishtim's house walls, and the walls told Unapishtim in a dream. This is more understandable when you know that their houses were made of woven reeds. Basically giant upturned baskets. Whatever Ea said to the walls would have gone right into the house.
Unapishtim builds an ark like in the Bible. The other gods are horrified by the flood and the death of mankind. They get mad at the mean god Enlil who sent the flood. Unapishtim gets eternal life on earth as a man from the remorseful gods.
Gilgamesh is tested by Unapishtim and is found undeserving of eternal life. He can't stay awake for even a week, so how could he live forever?
Still, Unapishtim relents a bit tells Gilgamesh where he can get a flower that gives man eternal life. Gilgamesh gets this flower under a deep channel in the water, but a snake steals it when Gilgamesh is taking a nice bath.
Gilgamesh is devastated. He had wanted to be a savior to his people and give them eternal life. (Get that?) Initially Gilgamesh had started his quest for his own immortality, but he had matured and wanted to give his people eternal life.
Gilgamesh is very sad, but when he gets to his walled city in a boat on a canal, he shows the ferryman all the magnificent features of the wall.
The narrator suggests that Gilgamesh had a kind of immortality because he built a wall that protected his people.
In 5600 BC, the Black Sea, which had been a fresh water lake, was innundated by salt water from the Medeterranean.
Russians and American scientists have proved this because all the freshwater shellfish at a certain depth in the sea bed died at the same time.The water flooded a lot of land around the Black Sea. This happened very fast.
This could have been the source of the flood story. On the other hand, massive flash flooding is a big problem is Mesopotamia. The rivers have changed their channels many times because of it. This caused cities to die and new cities to be born.
They had all these canals to keep water for agriculture.
The need to cooperate to build the irrigation ditches may have prompted the creation of cities.
The British Museum has the Gilgamesh clay tablets. The writing is cunieform. The Flood Story is on display just opposite the Rosetta Stone.
Yes---this is the book I was citing from. The authors also wrote an article in a magazine. Perhaps Science/Nature.
This is a very interesting book.
The Black Sea flooded about 5600 BC.
The ancients did date everything before the Flood and after the Flood, just as we date everything from before Jesus and after Jesus.
Being Hai was one of the reasons some kids didn't graduate from Urak Hai.
What I meant was that this discovery didn't just happen. I only know because I gave a speech that included this story last fall.
Say, I've heard that the world's smartest woman, the
Senator from New York, speaks cunieform.
I thought Helen Thomas' diary was the oldest book in history.
Their are multiple ancient versions though, most with minor differences but apparently there are a couple with major divergences according to translators although they hadn't published the full texts last I heard.
No I meant the female senator, the one who's a
Nah, it's only the German politicians and military. German archeologists are fearless.
Cunieform is a wedge-shaped writing; it's not a language.
This is the written version that has the flood story.
It's the authoritative version. This is the one in the school books.
The flood story excited the archeologists who dug up the clay tablets in the ruins of the Assyrian King Asherbanipal's library.
The story survived three cultures--Sumerian, Babylonians and Assyrian. (Susan B. Anthony).
The Sumerians had Gilgamesh stories but the Babylonians put them into a unified epic.
The one I'd heard reports of are also written cuneiform tablets, form Iraq over the last few years although still incoplete. I'll have to see if I can find the link.
In my view, there is no doubt that the Utnapishtim story preserves an oral tradition of Noah--you don't have too much difficulty with that because Noah and his family who all had first hand knowledge lived long after the flood.
The difficulty is presented by Gilgamesh himself. Who was he?
Noah lived 350 years after the flood. His son Shem, was still alive at the age of 446; Noah's grandson Arphaxad was 346 years old at the time of his grandfather's death.
Falstich has the Post Flood Summarian King's List starting less than 100 years after the flood but the first king is in Kish; the Sumarian's are united under the King in Urak about 75 years later so in Falstich's timeline, Gilgamesh would fall somewhere between 100 and 175 years after the flood.
Assuming 25 year generations (birth of the father to birth of the son), Gilgamesh could have been four or five generations removed from Noah and might well have located his great-great-great grandfather to have received the account denominated Utnapishtim.
Sure the Utnapishtim story is a little off the precise account in Genesis which Moses received from God but Noah was old; Gilgamesh was writing with a chisel, not a word processer.
Hapgood's analysis is intesting but speculative. The Summerian King's list (prior to the flood) has Summer in the same area. Other descriptions such as the rivers out of Eden; Eve's tomb in Mecca; and other artificats that predate the flood imply a common location.
The stories in Southeast Asia and the Pacific presumably migrated there with the population expansion. No doubt though that the flood is in the common history of ancient man--and the flood is not some local flood in the Black Sea.
Yes, I have been persuaded by Oppenheimer's argument. Prior to this change, I was a Black Sea as Noah's Flood story person
"The stories in Southeast Asia and the Pacific presumably migrated there with the population expansion. No doubt though that the flood is in the common history of ancient man--and the flood is not some local flood in the Black Sea."
The amazing thing, the expansion came from SE Asia. The original Caucasians probably came from China. And, Oppenheimer says the Gilgamesh writings mentions immigrants from the east ("wise men from the east"), I've not read Gilgamesh.
Dr Robert Schoch, (geologist/geophysist), has a book titled, Voyages Of The Pyramid Builders, that essentially has the same theme, that the world's first/great civilizations were 'seeded' from SE Asia, 7-8,000 years ago. (That was when the last Ice Age melt/surge occurred.) Both interesting and thought provoking books. I've just completed Oppenheimer's most recent book too, Out Of Eden.