Who Decides History Starts When We Write Sumarian?

The history I learned named Mesopotamia, located in the “fertile crescent” as the cradle of civilization. Researching historical timelines, I find it astounding that this is still taught as fact. No question Mesopotamia was a great civilization, if you were alive in 3500 BC, Mesopotamia was the place to be. Credited with the first written language ( Sumarian ) the first recorded religion, remarkable groundwork in mathematics and astronomy, including the 24 hour day,  7 day week, and 365 day year. Mesopotamia had libraries, irrigation, were said to be the first metal and copper workers, worked with glass, made lamps, had temples, and awe inspiring palaces.

The history I learned presented these  facts as if prior to Mesopotamia the world was nothing but trailer parks and tent cities. At one time the world was also thought to be flat.

So lets ponder – who decides historical fact or fiction? At what point do we cease to re-print textbooks,  opening minds instead to further possibilities? Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is estimated to be 6 – 7 thousand years older than Mesopotamia. At Varna in Bulgaria  almost 300 graves dating 2 thousand years before Mesopotamia have been excavated. These graves contained almost 3000 pieces of gold, the earliest known gold in the world, including a gold penis sheath. They’ve found weapons, and evidence of a highly structured society. Derinkuyu is another baffling site. Located in Turkey its an underground city, built to house 20,000 people, complete with stables, breweries, shops, and lets not forget the elaborate ventilation system, impenetrable stone doors, and no idea who, when, or why it was constructed.

We may not have found their libraries, but they deserve pondering in that dusty old high school history text.


Grave 43, full of gold, from the Varna Necropolis.

Photo from the above link. Grave at Varna.

4 thoughts on “Who Decides History Starts When We Write Sumarian?

  1. Woah! I’m in a World Cultures/History Class right now and I’m going through a chapter about Sumeria. Do you have any more information about the social/government structures of these civilizations? I’m super interested in actual social contracts formed from a state of nature like these would have been, and I’m working on a case study about civilizations like these, would you be interested in helping me out with some of the research components? Great post, by the way 😀

    • Thank you for your comment, and my apologies for not responding sooner. I’m not sure how much I could help you, but am willing in any way I can. 🙂

      I’m simply a middle aged woman with a passion for ancient history, and civilizations lost.

  2. The Sumerians invented writing – and accountancy – but they came at the end of maybe 4000 years of civilisation, city states and other developments. The ‘classical’ view of our ancient past as consisting of the Sumerians-Egyptians-Hittites, then the Greeks-Egyptians-Romans, then us, discounts the way civilisation also spread through the Indus valley and in China. One of the weirdest ones I’m aware of is Catal Huyuk, a ‘city’ – really, town sized – with a completely different organisational structure, in that the houses are all jammed together, from c6500 BC.

    • I’m a huge fan of Catalhoyuk, also Derinkuyu – an underground city in Turkey; completely man made, 11 stories deep and estimated to house up to 35,000 people. Air vents, remarkable rolling stone doors, ridiculous accomplishment for the time.(between the 5th and 10th centuries).
      I completely agree with you on how the `classical`view discounts China and the Indus valley.
      I marvel at ancient mysteries because they reinforce my belief that ancient man was so clever.Hard to explain yet for lack of better words – I take comfort knowing what we are capable of. 🙂

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