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1900 bc


Intensive Year Round Agriculture?[edit]

Intensification of agriculture began with Hassuna and Halaf (non-Sumerian) cultures in Northern Iraq. The Hadji Muhammed culture had pioneered year round cropping with irrigation, but these were arguably not civilisations (i.e. city living). To claim that intensive sedentary agriculture only appeared with Sumer is thus factually incorrect. John D. Croft (talk) 08:40, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

And your source is ...??? Don't you just love these statements taken out of thin air?!

'Sumer, the cradle of civilization' is coming from THE Samuel Kramer, prof. of Sumerology, University of Pennsylvania.

Try James Mellaart "The Ancient Near East", or any of a large number of texts going all the way back to Vere Gordon Childe himself. Or perhaps you could study the excellent Thames and Hudson series on Mesopotamia, or Gwendolyn Leisch "The Invention of the City", or..... Take your pick! John D. Croft (talk) 20:08, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

The article is baseless, full of theory and even politically motivated. "Singir League" = Sngr (Egypt) what utter garbage! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:38, 22 June 2014 (UTC)


The Sumerians called their society the "Kengir League" (Hallo & Simpson, ANE, pg. 43). The simple substitution of K --> S gives "Singir League" = Sngr (Egypt), Sanhar (Hittite), Shinhar (Bible). Cf. En-Si = En-Si-Ki; could the original name have been ~ Si-Ki-Engir ??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

This is the wrong page for indulging in personal speculation, even if you're right. There's plenty of places on the internet where you can do that as much as you like, but our talkpages are strictly for discussing improvements to the article - which is only supposed to reflect ideas found in sourced, published material. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:38, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

The Ubaid Period began 5900 BC. I suspect 5300 BC is UNCALIBRATED BC date. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:54, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

I doubt the Sumerians had a heliocentic model of the solar system. Is there proof? 22:50, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

There is no proof. In fact they were undoubtably geocentric believers as their

cosmology and their astronomical records clear show. John D. Croft 17:15, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Have changed "Sumerian speakers spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment."

to read

"Farming peoples spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment." as there is no evidence to show that the first farmers spoke Sumerian. In fact, the absence of Sumerian language in historic times in the Samaran region suggests that the first farmers were not Sumerian speaking. John D. Croft 17:15, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Have reinstalled my map, in place of the current one, as it shows sites that were not found in the one that replaced mine. John D. Croft 17:15, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

There has been some research by linguists to link Sumerian to the current language family of Hungarian and Finnish (Magyar), is this of interest to mention at all? --stasis101 22:51, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Sumerian is established now as language isolate!
First: above link points to a complete propaganda page. It has been discredited on the talk page.
Second: the page above link points to does not talk about Sumerian as a 'language isolate'.
Third: Sumerian is NOT a language isolate. It is well and alive continuing in Hungarian. This was proved by Prof. Dr. Badiny-Jos on the 29th Orientalists World Congress, 1973, Opening Session. The title: "New Lines For a Correct Sumerian Phonetics To Confirm With The Cuneiform Scripts". Prof. Badiny was a Dr. of Sumerology, a student of Anton Deimel - the Father of Sumerology. Prof. Badiny used Deimels 'system' in proving his theory. Besides Samuel Kramer himself says that Sumerian is the relative of Hungarian. Additionally Prof. Deimel agrees that Sumerian is relative to Hungarian. So why would it be dead or isolate? And yes, it is VERY important to mention this otherwise the article becomes a propaganda. (Magi)
Samuel Kramer does not assert a connection to Hungarian. He states that Sumerian, like Turkish is an agglutinative language. He speculated that it may be connected to the now spurious Uralo-Altaic family. Originally suggested in the 19th century, the hypothesis enjoyed wide acceptance among linguists into the mid 20th century. Since the 1960s, it has been controversial and rejected. Ungric is a member of the Uralic family. Even this possible distant connection with Uralic is now rejected by modern linguists. John D. Croft (talk) 06:31, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Sumerian language (which became extinct as a spoken tongue circa 2,000 BCE), is in no way related to Magyar (a language that is first found in Hungary in the 9th and 10th century after Christ!). To claim any difference runs counter to contemporary historical comparitive linguistics, and is held only by a small group of Hungarian nationalists. See the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary for reference.John D. Croft (talk) 15:48, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Although these are old comments (relatively), I'm glad someone responded to this tripe. I don't know that I'd agree that Sumerian was totally extinct by 2000 BCE, tho' - I believe priests in Sumeria kept the language alive even during Assyrian times. HammerFilmFan (talk) 22:58, 22 June 2010 (UTC)HammerFilmsFan
This is not so easy. Many scientist, researchers both in the 19th, 20th century recognized many similarities with todays living nations and their spoken languages - generally non-Semitic, non-Indo-European origin nations speaking agglutinative languages. It is as well true, that the Sumerian culture and legacy strongly affected all cultures, it's languages, but strongest link is the agglutinative, non-Semitic, non-Indo-European one. The cause of many confusions are the so-called romantic history writing beginning in the 19th century when many really fringe and nationalistic theories where established by the official Indo-European history writing thus corrupting many nations to "Indo-European" that were never ever Indo-European so far and later evidence and research also shown how dangerous it is. However, some of these theories are still living and have whole academic support and any kind of criticism or demonstration of it's impossibilities are mostly ending in a huge rejection with full inobjectivity because these theories are serving many nationalistic interests (the worst of these if they force and invent a fake and alternate history as well for their "enemies" just for political reasons). A huge revision is needed in the so-called "Indo-German" history writing involving many other linguists, scientists speaking non-Indo-European languages because they can understand, decipher language and history in an other point of view mostly with much better results. Moreover, it would be very useful and indicative chronologically to mention who had make a valuable research and what kind of results he achieved and what was his opinion about the Sumerian language and it's relationship to today's spoken languages. (KIENGIR (talk) 22:14, 21 September 2011 (UTC))
Nonsense. Any reputable linguist today considers Sumerian a language-isolate. Your OR above needs secondary Reliable Sources to gain any traction here - and you won't find any. 23:47, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, it's not a nonsense, and judging something never should depend on the reputation but on the content and value/proofs of the research work. Of course, some general views of any scientific question are influenced of the current reputation, as it always happened in history. As I did not made any change to the article - and I am not planning it in the near future - I am now avoiding adding any source, but I have to tell you by stating "and you won't find any" suggest you're not a professional in ancient history, not even lingustics, because then you would know it is the one of the most easiest thing. It is just enough to see ancient sources till the the new age, and the fundamental change mentoned above, after the modern criticism of the new approach that is now the most accepted, but still any decisive or breakthrough evidence lacking, and of course the criticist are accused being fringe or propagandastic, regardless they work or reference clearly shows the discrepancy many of the today-accepted views. As I see, unfortunately today the evaluation of history is based better on a lobby, and the most influental views are dominating. Anyway, if you speak langauges from more different types and at the same time you're carefully check all valuable works on the Sumerian language's grammar, word's, etc., at the same time you notice the greatest and most accepted Sumerologist's opinions from all corner of the world, then you know it is not a language-isolate. This designation is based only on that many interest-groups are willing to make themselves the successor of this ancient heritage, and it is easier to avoid that by stating this.(KIENGIR (talk) 19:38, 1 January 2014 (UTC))
If the "most accepted Sumerologist's" know what language family Sumerian is, I'd love to see it in some source. That would answer plenty of questions for me. If you assert that it is related to such and such a language, this should not require any "leap of faith". It should be demonstrably evident to linguists much as the relationship between any two languages can be shown through direct comparisons. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:01, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Til, I agree with you, but apart from this question, many currently most accepted theories with academic support (like the Daco-Roman theory or the Finno-Ugrian theory etc.) is still unproved and will remain like so, by these we can also see the discrepancy of politically motivated theories set approx. 200 years ago and even the modern research can show it's elemental problems. You won't believe the srength of any influence by any academy, so long it is in a way "democratically" decided which theories are accepted by the majority, you can reference or cite any work proving any theories impossible or put more certainty on an another one, if they does not gain acceptance by any reasons, it will be very easily judged as fringe or similar. As I see as reinforced by Oppert, Kramer, Deimel, Wooley, Hawkes, Bezold, Sayce, Lenormant and Jestin, etc. the Sumerian language is related to those agglutinative languages that were spoken by non-Semitic, non-Indo-European people since the ancient times in Eurasia, and their relatives (Hurrians, Subartu, Kassites, among others etc.) and their successors. Of course it got many influences from the Semitic branch, them with they co-existed (Assyria, Babilonia, etc.) mostly regarding wordage, but the structure and grammar remains solid. I know you expect a current designation, but the disputed problems of classification not just by the langauge, but language families would still cause problems according to the current interpretations (just see the varying Indo-European/Semitic/Mongolic designation of many nations/lanugages from the antiquity, reinterpreted in the New Age, mostly by assumptions and without lingustic proofs, judged by disputable cultural features and by some misinterpretations of some ancient sources). Nothing to say of the admixture of nations and cultures in Asia, the forever debate on who was first and who influenced who, and as I see it is always a fight between loyal nationals who are supporting the theory they are interested in it (see i.e. Indo-Iranian/Turkic clashes), of course like everywhere there are many professional and decent scientists who publish and openly tell opposing opinions. As I see the key are the today spoken agglutinative languages, and using them to decipher better the Sumerian texts will clarify the rate of connection, anyway a major problem is the classification of the acoustic vowels, since many words deciphered are identical - at least by consonants - but the devil is always in the little phrases and phonetics and the correct interpretation of them, and the vowels in many different contexts. The usage of the vowels of known agglutinative languages is a much more better guide than the non-agglutinative Semitic languages mostly used, as well agglutinative language speakers can better understand or recognize such things than those who are not speaking such a langauge.(KIENGIR (talk) 00:24, 3 January 2014 (UTC))

Level of urbanization?[edit]

»The Sumerians practiced the same irrigation techniques as those used in Egypt.[29] American anthropologist Robert McCormick Adams says that irrigation development was associated with urbanization,[30] and that 89% of the population lived in the cities.« 

I find it hard to believe that 89% of Sumer's population lived in cites. This source suggests that at least half of the population of early Middle-Eastern civilizations lived in the countryside. Joeldaalv (talk) 09:29, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

I suspect that it's true for early Middle-Eastern civilizations overall that half lived in the countryside. But I also would say Sumer was a major exception, being an early urbanised area. That's just the way I read it to fit all the sources. Cheers Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:16, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Sumerian civilisation is associated with the disappearance of rural villages that were common during the Ubaid period, and the movement of populations into walled towns and cities. This is associated with evidence of increased violence, and possibly the beginning of professional soldiers with the beginning of the Uruk period. Uruk grew to a city of 50,000 people, the biggest in the world at that time, and had cultural if not political hegemony over the whole of Mesopotamia, creating what some have called the first "World System" (See World-systems theory. It was not by accident that Inanna, the titulary goddess of Uruk, numbered amongst her attributes the Goddess of War. It is possible that war, as we understand it, began in pre-Dynastic Uruk. John D. Croft (talk) 06:39, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Language and writing[edit]

I have edited "The Sumerian language is generally regarded as a language isolate in linguistics because it belongs to no known language family;" to "Some regards Sumerian as a language isolate in linguistics because they believe it belongs to no known language family." I did that because it is the case.

I have deleted "Akkadian belongs to the Afro-Asiatic languages." because it is irrelevant where Akkadian belongs to.This is a Sumerian page.

I have deleted "There have been many failed attempts to connect Sumerian to other language groups." because it is irrelevant. Who cares about failed attempts?

I have added info and reference about the relation of Sumerian lang. (Magi) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:47, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

The Akkadians were well mixed in with the Sumerian population, and private and off-hand remarks do not constitute a scientific basis for making Sumerian a Uralic language. Sumerophile (talk) 18:57, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
What is a private remark about a presentation on the opening session of a world congress? Regarding the private letter of Deimel to Badiny it is still an expert opinion published in a book. As it is both are within Wikipedia guidelines. Please reinstall my edits.(Magi) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
That would be, quite frankly, "crazy" - you are attempting to utilize fringe-element theories into hard scholarship that has been going on for centuries. Akkadian, while a Semitic language, incorporated the odd Sumerian here and there. The point being, Sumerian to this day has not been identified positively with any other known language group, and certainly is not based in any Semitic language. These nationalists trying to claim Sumerians as Latvians or Magyars or ______ whatever are doing a disservice to serious scholarship. HammerFilmFan (talk) 23:04, 22 June 2010 (UTC)HammerFilmsFan
Sumerian is well documented as having many words that are ancestral to all modern European languages. It is clearly an early cousin and close cousin, to the original Indo European Language that spread across the Eurasian continents. It may even be directly ancestral to many Southern European and Indo Languages. It was a superstrate language in Sumeria and was imported most likely from Anatolia along with the dominant technology that came with it. The Sumerians dominated the indigenous Akkadian and Elamite inhabitants for several centuries before they simply merged with them and Akkadian become dominant as was natural due to their larger numbers. The Hittites(Katti), an IndoEuropean people, have art religion and culture that are closely related to Sumerian.-- (talk) 14:27, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
If it were "well documented" as you say, that Sumerian is related in the same language family with Indo-European, etc, I'd think that would already be in the article .. So where exactly is all this stuff "well documented" then? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:37, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Holy cow, Batman! You've established all this as fact in the face of the mainstream scientific opinon, have you? Wow. On the other hand, set aside the dogma and delve into the solid scholarly tomes, and spend less time on the 'net looking at lunatic-fringe theorists. HammerFilmFan (talk) 21:26, 19 February 2011 (UTC) HammerFilmFan


I removed the date. --Vonones 04:53, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Is there any Reliable source for an "Armenian" origin of the Sumerians? Is this theory just a rehash of the Book of Genesis, or is there some other primary source used to support this theory? If so, this should be stated. Til Eulenspiegel 04:56, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
What Armenian origin? I never said that. --Vonones 04:57, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Um, are we on the same page??? Or perhaps in some parallel universe??? Til Eulenspiegel 04:58, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
What Armenian origin? of the Sumerians? I wrote they descended from Armenia, not Armenians since there were no Armenians during that time. --Vonones 05:01, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
If you insist repeatedly that the Sumerians "came from Armenia", my friend, that is what is known as an 'Armenian origin". Til Eulenspiegel 05:02, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Well that is the region, not the people you said Armenian origin of the Sumerians, I said they descended from Armenia that is a major difference. --Vonones 05:03, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
There are claims of origin or whatever you want to call it, "Nevertheless, it may be deduced that the earliest Sumerians who introduced civilization in our world were around 85% Austric and 15% Armenian Aryans." Tracing the Origin of Ancient Sumerians By Ashok Malhotra --Vonones 05:05, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
It is not possible for Sumerians to have come from the Aryans. Arya only appeared about 1,700 BCE in the Middle East, speaking an Indo-Aryan language. This was more than 2,000 years after the evidence of the first Sumerians. John D. Croft (talk) 00:56, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
We don't want to "deduce" anything here. This is Wikipedia. It has not even been established with anything like a reliable source that Sumerians were indeed "85% Austric and 15% Armenian", as your favorite but highly questionable source asserts. Til Eulenspiegel 05:08, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
  • According to Sir Leonard Woolley's thesis (a world renowned British archaeologist who excavated in Mesopotamia for decades) The Sumerians themselves were the descendants of the Armenian Aryan settled communities in Armenia... --Vonones 05:06, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
That is pure nonsense from the mainstream POV, but it should certainly not be presebted as a fact. Til Eulenspiegel 05:08, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I know that, but I am referring to the area known as Armenia, again Armenian and Armenia are very different Armenia as in land, Armenian as in people. I brought up those references because you wanted them, I did not even add those to the article. Also the second one is pretty reliable right? you obviously do not like it though your own POV let me guess this is your expertise thats why? --Vonones 05:10, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Trust me, there are just as many "scholars" and "sources" who think the Sumerians came from the south, from the west, from the east, from the Carpathian basin, and even (yes, I'm not kidding), from outer space. There are those who say they never came from anywhere but were always there, and those who disagree. However, the available records do not allow any of these 'pet hypotheses' to be proved, and that's a fact. Til Eulenspiegel 05:13, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
My latest quick research showed it is agreed between historians that there location is not precise or it was in Mesopotamia and Armenia. --Vonones 05:22, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
It's painfully obvious that it's not your "area of expertise". At first you tried to write several times that the Sumerians descended from Armenia "1500 years ago", or in the year AD 507. Your authority for this statement is apparently the same one who claims the Sumerians were "Aryans". Does he really say this? Has he even looked at the Sumerian language vis-a-vis the Aryan languages to state this? Til Eulenspiegel 05:41, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
No that was only one source for the 1500 years ago. Thats why I removed it and rephrased it with other references. I'm not claiming it I use scholarly/historian references. --Vonones 05:46, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I thought that the most accepted hypothosis of there ancestory was they are desendent of the Ubaid culture that evolves some 7,000 years ago. Enlil Ninlil 06:56, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
The problem with that is, that "most acceptance" on this subject might be 7% of all the different theorists out there. There is NO consensus on the origin of the Sumerians. My guess is that they were probably always there (stone age ancestors), perhaps given some impetus by a small group of immigrants from the east that fused and sparked their culture. All that can be positively said is that they are not Semitic, Elamitic, or Aryan. Perhaps some day a sort of "Rosetta stone" for this culture will be found, but the answers are probably lost in time. HammerFilmFan (talk) 23:15, 22 June 2010 (UTC)HammerFilmsFan

the sumerian name for god was "dingir" dingir-tenger-tangra-tengri ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:36, August 26, 2007 (UTC)

Actually, 'dingir' means something like deity or fairy. God doesn't have a name but called as 'Creator' = 'TE-RAM-TU'.(Magi)


Physical anthropologists have studies the skulls of Ancient Sumerians and arrived to certain conclusions. However, an editor is now edit-warring to prevent the inclusion of this information:

"It can be shown that Sumerians who lived over five thousand years ago in Mesopotamia are almost identical in skull and face form with living Englishmen." (Carleton Coon, The Races of Europe, p. 83)

The 1939 Time article quoted may be anti-Nazi "propaganda" but it is certainly factually correct. The date of Coon's studies unless newer reliable sources contradict his view. MoritzB 19:23, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

I don't see how the 1939 TIME article you are using as a reference is "anti-Nazi" propaganda; it actually sounds strikingly reminiscent of what the Fuehrer's doctors themselves were desperately telling the world, about how all the people of Ancient Mesopotamia were essentially Nordic, since no-one else could have possibly founded civilization, ho hum, yawn. It all sounds rather quaint now, considering how much vastly more we know about Sumer today. The Nazis looked long and hard trying to establish a connection between the "Nordic race" and all of the Mesopotamians peoples (Kassites, Sumerians, Hurrians, etc.) but these 1930s sources have to be taken with a grain of salt today, not proclaimed reliable. Who in the last 40 years has claimed that the Sumerians had a "Nordic skull shape"??? ROFL!!! Your TIME Magazine source doesn't even specify Sumerians per se, it merely repeats the claim circulating in numerous sources of the 20s and 30s (eg Max Muller, et al) that all "Mesopotamian" peoples were similar to Teutons. Til Eulenspiegel 21:18, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Isn't this anti-Nazi propaganda? "If Anthropologist Coon thus makes short work of perverted Nazi claims of "race purity," he also offers no help to that school of racial opinion which would combat anti-Semitism by denying that any such thing as a Jewish race exists."
Furthermore, Coon does not say that the Sumerians were Nordic. According to Coon: "The Sumerians were Mediterraneans skeletally. So were the ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Children of Israel, and the Arabs of the early Islamic period whose skeletons I had the privilege of measuring at Nippur. A Mediterranean is a white man of variable stature - as whites go, usually short to medium; his bones are light, but strongly marked for muscle attachments if these muscles have been well developed through use."
(C.S. Coon, Caravan : the Story of the Middle East, 1958, pp. 154-157)
Lastly, Wikipedia is about verifiability. The article and Coon's books satisfy WP:RS MoritzB 21:39, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Quoting Coon is like quoting Nazi scientists. Coon believed in his 1962 book, The Origin of Races, that some races reached the Homo sapiens stage in evolution before others, resulting in the higher degree of civilization among some races. He had continued his theory of five races. He considered both what he called the Mongoloid race and the Caucasoid race had individuals who had adapted to crowding through evolution of the endocrine system, which made them more successful in the modern world of civilization. This can be found on pages 108-109 of The Origin of Races. In his book Coon contrasted a picture of an Indigenous Australian with one of a Chinese professor. His caption "The Alpha and the Omega" was used to demonstrate his research that brain size was positively correlated with intelligence." Ignore this racist twaddle. John D. Croft (talk) 07:29, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Well I would disagree that a 1939 political propaganda piece satisfies RS or NPOV; the Sumerians are now known to have called themselves "the black headed people" and outdated attempts to connect them with the Anglo-Saxons are purely misleading, as any reliable Sumerologist will assure you. There is no serious consensus for Coon's views in 2007. Til Eulenspiegel 21:49, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
The original sources are C.S. Coon, Caravan : the Story of the Middle East, 1958, pp. 154-157 and Carleton Coon, The Races of Europe, p. 83. They satisfy WP:RS. I provided the Time article because it is available online, also. MoritzB 21:53, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
After reading Carleton S. Coon, I am more than ever convinced that this is far from mainstream or up-to-date wrt what we now know about Sumer. Til Eulenspiegel 21:57, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Then please provide reliable sources which prove that. Coon's views about evolutionary history are dated but that has nothing to do with craniometry. MoritzB 22:04, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
The burden is on you to find a reliable source for the more bizarre claim, not on me, my good chap. Why not look into what mainstream sources more reliable and up-to-date than a "social darwinist" like Coon say about the ethnicity of Sumerians? Til Eulenspiegel 22:09, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Donald Mackenzie said that "it seems doubtful, therefore, that the ancient Sumerians differed racially from the pre-Dynastic inhabitants of Egypt and the
Pelasgians and Iberians of Europe. Indeed, the statuettes from Tello, the site of the Sumerian city of Lagash, display distinctively Mediterranean skull forms and faces." (p.8, Myths of Babylon and Assyria) Mackenzie's work is older.
I am not aware of any later scholarship about the physical appearance of Sumerians. Thus, it seems that we have to accept Coon's/Mackenzie's view. MoritzB 22:53, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
We "have to accept" this outdated view, just because -you- are "not aware" of the scholarship? Are you a Sumerologist? How can you form a consensus on your own? In 1939, in wasn't even common knowledge yet that the Sumerians called themselves "the black-headed ones". That revelation came along with Kramer, probably the top specialist in the field of Sumerology. You should read what he wrote about their appearance and ethnic affiliations, for starters. In the meantime, I see no consensus among editors here for adopting these out of date fringe views of social darwinists. We can possibly mention them as a historical interest and state that they were views of social darwinists in the early 20th c. like Coons, but it would not be NPOV to adopt a disputed POV as if it were indisputable. Til Eulenspiegel 23:30, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Coon wrote his book years after Kramer and definitely agreed that the Sumerians were dark-haired. What is your point? Coon was the head of American Association of Physical Anthropologists and a very respected scientist.
Whether he was a "social darwinist" is irrelevant.
Besides, the Sumerians were surely dark-haired like most people in the region. Can you name any references at all which might dispute Coon's and Mackenzie's views?
Leonard Woolley's reconstruction of a Sumerian queen.
MoritzB 00:18, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
It's not irrelevant that Coons was a social darwinist; it qualifies him under WP:FRINGE. My point is that there is no consensus in the field whatsoever asserting any close affinity between Sumerians and the English or any other Teutonic peoples, and your edit is misleading to suggest there is. Til Eulenspiegel 00:24, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Carleton Coon wasn't a Social Darwinist and even if he was it would be irrelevant. Even Marxist sources are not considered WP:FRINGE on Wikipedia as it is sufficient that the studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals or by reputable publishers. MoritzB 00:44, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
A compromise: "The Sumerians were a Caucasoid people of Indo-European stock and resembled modern Arab inhabitants of the region".


Error here. There is no such thing as Indo-European stock. Indo-European is a language not a racial type. Black south Africans in South Africa speak an Indo-European language as do Chinese in Hong Kong. Your racial theories are way out of date, and would only deserve a place in an article on "Obsolete and Racist views of Early Civilisations". John D. Croft (talk) 07:34, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza speculates that Kuwaitis may be their descendants. The History and Geography of Human Genes, p. 252.
For the record, Coon also had the view that Sumerians resembled Arabs (and Englishmen) closely. MoritzB 00:46, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
"The Sumerians were a Caucasoid people of Indo-European stock and resembled modern Arab inhabitants of the region." First of all, cut the "Indo-European stock" bit. That's hogwash. Indo-European is a reconstructed language group, to which Sumerian DEFINITELY does not belong. And second, insert the word "probably" after the word SUmerians, since it is far from a certainty, and there is room for doubt. Then we might have a compromise. Til Eulenspiegel 00:49, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
"The Sumerians were a Caucasoid people and probably resembled modern Arab inhabitants of the region. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza speculates that the Kuwaitis may be their descendants." This should be OK.MoritzB 01:11, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
the whole question is flawed. there isn't a single idenfifiable "descendant" population of "the Sumerians", and I do suspect Cavalli-Sforza is being quoted out of context. The entire thing should just be removed as irrelevant and misleading. dab (𒁳) 07:22, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
No. The Kuwaitis are genetically distinct from their neighbors in some respects according to Cavalli-Sforza and he speculates that Sumerian descent might be the reason. Please read the book if you don't believe me. Scholars have also written a lot about the topic and we might include some other theories. At least the Turks claim that the Sumerians were ethnically Turkic. MoritzB 14:07, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Everyone has, Armenians, Turks, Scots etc have claimed they are descendants of Sumerians most likely nationalism or outdated context. --Vonones 01:34, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

As far back as Sumerian civilization existed, it is likely an inordinate number of different races have direct Sumerian ancestry and have sprung completely from them, of entirely different facial-cranial morphologies and skin tone colorations: Identical ancestors point. The genetic component of anyone back then is nothing like the genetic components of any group now. (talk) 16:10, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

"cuneiform ... pre-dating Egyptian hieroglyphics by at least seventy-five years"[edit]

Surely there's something wrong or missing here? Who can resolve the beginning of either of these to within seventy-five years? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:13, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

This wording seemed ludicrous to me too. I have Been Bold and deleted it from the article. (talk) 09:52, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I think the contributor must have meant Sumerian Hyroglyphics, which are well know to pre-date Egyptian hyroglyphics and which were most certainly imported into Egypt via Sumeria/Syria.-- (talk) 15:04, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Sumer City List[edit]

I have recently created the Sumerian city articles Kuara, Kisurra, Dilbat, and Marad and moved all coordinates to their appropriate pages. Therefore I have removed the unneeded coordinates for the cities in this Sumer article. I have created a list that looks better, but may need to be modified, as I do not know how to create a two-column list to discern Major cities and Minor cities. Thank you. -Kain Nihil 13:35, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi, I would propose moving Awan and Hamazi to the "major column", since at one time these were independent city-state kingdoms with dynasties of their own, while Borsippa perhaps ought to be "minor" for the same reason... Til Eulenspiegel 13:41, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Actually looking over the list, a few others on the "minor list" were once proper city-states, while a few on the "major" list weren't, like Girsu. Surely Umma was quite powerful at one time to be "major". Really I would like to see a listing of all the city states that were ever sovereign, followed by the ones that never were. Til Eulenspiegel 13:50, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Whatever you feels appropriate. Awan does not have an article though just a disambi. page. If no one makes one soon I'll get around to creating another sumer (major) city article. -Kain Nihil —Preceding comment was added at 13:53, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


Can anybody extend the caption of the gold statuette with a reference to where it can be found? Baghdad? Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:08, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

City Population[edit]

What was the size of the Sumerian city population ?

--Blain Toddi (talk) 16:13, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Which city population? NJMauthor (talk) 00:42, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

City populations are variously estimated by the size of the city and the density of houses per hectare. Uruk is believed to have maintained a population of 50,000 for a long period, making it the biggest in the world at that time. Mesopotamian cities were generally larger than those elsewhere. If you are interested I'll send you the spreadsheet on city size. John D. Croft (talk) 03:59, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Lugal-Ane-mundu and Eannatum - First Empire?[edit]

Til Eulenspiegel brings up an interesting point, for which I don't have the answer and would like to ask about here: did Lugal-Ane-mundu of Adab precede Eannatum of Lagash? From what I know of the king list and archaeological date ranges, I can't tell. And also did LAM's conquests extend beyond Sumer and become an empire? Sumerophile (talk) 00:35, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

From what I know, Eannatum reigned just before Lugal-Ane-Mundu. Lugal-Anne-Munda (c.2400-2310) conqueror of Adab while Eannatum reigned (2455-2425). I have computerised the Sumerian kinglist as a spreadsheet I can send to you if you want it. My email is John D. Croft (talk) 07:43, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Passing off Akkadian, Babylonian, Hurrian, Elamite, Assyrian sources as Sumerian sources[edit]

It is well known that the Sumerian pantheon, mythology and culture was in many ways adopted by Sumer's predecessors and neighbors. However, retroactively labeling sources from the above cultures as "Sumerian" is simply falsehood.

We have no idea of the religion of Sumer's predecessors. Most early Gods have good Sumerian names, although Inanna, the Sumerian goddess par excellence has a non-Sumerian name, possibly related to Hurrian Hannahannah. It may have come from Hurro-Urartuan speaking Subartu, who may have been the original farmers of the region. John D. Croft (talk) 07:48, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

For example: The Enuma Elish, Akkadian and Babylonian versions of Ziusudra's flood myth, Akkadian and Babylonian versions of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Hammurabi's Code, etc. are all NOT Sumerian documents and must be labeled as non-Sumerian sources if used in this article.

Documents with the names Ishtar, Nergal, Marduk, Ea, Anu or other Babylonian and Akkadian name variants or singular dieties are also suspect. If a "Sumerian" document features the fully-developed city of Assur, something is amiss. If, in the "Sumerian" document, the Absu or Tiamat are anthropomorphized, something is probably off.

Thanks for taking the time to check your sources, people. We can make this article on Sumer a whole lot better if it's about Sumer. NJMauthor (talk) 00:52, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Sumerian cities[edit]

Is there a reason for the cities to be listed from North to South?

The progression of settlement and culture in Sumer was broadly from South to North. If there are no objections, I'd like to reverse the order of the cities. Sumerophile (talk) 18:43, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

A good idea. Feel free. John D. Croft (talk) 03:57, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Contradictory derivations of KI.EN.GIR[edit]

I have corrected the contradictory origins of the word KI.EN.GIR. John D. Croft (talk) 01:07, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


John, why are you changing the reference to Shinar to make it sound factual? NJMauthor (talk) 06:15, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Sumer may not be the oldest Civilization[edit]

The statement, "land of the Sumerian tongue"[2][3] possibly Biblical Shinar), located in southern Mesopotamia, is the earliest known civilization in the world" cites Sumer as the oldest civilisation in the world. However there are earlier known civilisations like the Indus Valley Civilisation (pls read Mehrgarh) whose cities predate those of the Sumerian Civilisation. Eridu, which dates to 5400BC is considered one of the oldest cities of Sumerian Culture. However, Mehrgarh existed around 7000BC, which is about 1500 years earlier. Mehrgarh not only had proper townplanning and roads, but also one of the oldest granaries ever discovered. Perhaps you should change Sumer to "One of the earliest known civilisations in the world". Ambar wiki (talk) 11:57, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

The problem is that timestamps had not yet been implemented in the 6th millennium BC - so there is room for disagreement among scholarly sources on questions like "who was there first". I agree that "one of the earliest" is safer for NPOV though. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:44, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

It also heavily depends on one's definition of civilisation, something also not in anything near agreement. No doubt European scholars have often tweaked the word's definition to be moulded on European civilisation, and similarly the Indians and Chinese do the same; if not on purpose, because what one associates with any language's equivalent of the term 'civilised' is dependent on one's own. Despit the etymology, a city as archeologists use the term today is not sufficient for civilisation, but e.g. writing may or may not be necessary. Dividing cultures up into civilisations" and "barbarian hordes" may be tradiational but it's been very harmful land is too simplistic to convey the vast ammount of prehistorical development of everything from language, agriculture, increasingly advanced settlements and even basic astronomy. Perhaps a division between 'literate' and 'pre-literate' cultures is more telling, especially as history tends to be biased towards those who have written it. In this case, Sumer is usually taken to be the oldest, based on current evidence, though this may change if archeologists uncover more finds. At the moment, Sumer seems the most probable. Besides, no one (not even Iraqis, non-Sumerian speaking and mostly Muslim) can really have that vested an interest in puffing up Sumer. Since there are no Sumerians left and their very language family has been wiped out, it's as close to a neutral party as can get - no viciously patriotic Sumerians are about to corrupt Wikipedia's pages on them or whinge forth with dubious interpretations of their own history or archeology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:56, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Later Mesopotamian Gods[edit]

Why does the image "Geneology of Later Mesopotamian Gods" belong in this article? This is an article about Sumer, not Babylon or Assur. NJMauthor (talk) 04:03, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

As the author of the graphic, it contains all the names in Sumerian of the Sumerian divinities, as well as their Akkadian names and functions. John D. Croft (talk) 03:55, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

"Earliest known civilization" POV yet again[edit]

I know this has been discussed at length, but an anonymous editor is repeatedly altering the intro to state that Sumerians are not "among the earliest", but undisputedly "THE earliest" civilization. The only problem is, that POV is not undisputed. In fact, it is hotly disputed. Therefore we have to adopt the more neutral language explaining that it is "among" the earliest, which no one should seriously disagree with, since this wording does not specify if it is the strictly earliest to "qualify" or not, which is unknown. I suggest reading the article "civilization"; a major requirement for it, similar for the requirement for "history" as opposed to "prehistory", is the development of writing and records. We have to be consistent with our other articles stating the accepted view that the Sumerians and Egyptians (and perhaps others) developed writing roughly within a few hundred years of 3500; therefore this is the final requirement for "civilization", and the edits stating that they were the first "civilization" in 7000 BC or 5000 BC (when there are no written records) is inconsistent with the definition of civilization as including literacy. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:48, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

The anon is clearly not interested in taking part in discussion or in responding to my above paragraph; but rather, despite having been blocked once already, he continues to edit war his substandard version relentlessly, at first commenting with half-baked racial insults blindly directed at me, and now with no kind of explanation whatsoever. There is no chance this juvenile behavior will be tolerated here; any changes to the status quo of the lead information will need to be accompanied with at least some discussion or explanation at a minimum, if they are to be longstanding ones. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:23, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Ready for upgrading the quality of the article yet[edit]

Hi folks, what do you think? John D. Croft (talk) 04:01, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

The paragraph, "Alternatively, the Sumerians may have been an indigenous culture of hunter-fishers who lived in the reedy marshlands at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, as the Marsh Arabs do today. This culture contributed to a cultural fusion with northern agriculturists, creating Sumerian language and civilisation.[citation needed]" under the heading "Population" should be deleted. A) It is yet another attempt to associate the Sumerians with an extant people. B) Unsourced "alternatively"s can be multiplied endlessly. C) The "cultural fusion" speculated is prima facie absurd.
The link "[ Living Sumerians , the marsh arabs in southern Iraq" placed under "External links" should also be deleted. A) It explicitly claims that Marsh Arabs *are* Sumerians. B) Whatever "Laputan Logic" is, it doesn't belong in the same list as the other links which are serious Sumerian resources. Dram Attruth (talk) 20:30, 23 February 2009 (UTC) Dram Attruth
I agree. (talk) 02:01, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels' Impact Event[edit]

Could not find this via search. Thinking that this would be a huge add on for Ancient Astronomy and the Cuneiform script or under Sumer page. The meteor clipped a mountain! [1] Thanks, Marasama (talk) 05:31, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

highly dubious. A 7th century BC document giving details of a 32nd century BC(!) event? Academic reviews are needed. dab (𒁳) 10:46, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Unfortunately Sumer, like most mysterious ancient civilisations is a favourite for the David Icke-/Tor Heyerdahl- like produce one sees is seedy bookstores with titles like "UNCOVERED!! HOW ATLANTIS INFLUENCED SUMER AND EGYPT WITH ADVANCED INTERSTELLAR MATERIAL!!!". Please let's keep these articles free of this rubbish.

February 2009 Edits[edit]

Subsequent to my previous comment, I made the following deletions: 1) The paragraph beginning, "Alternatively, the Sumerians may have been ..." under the section "Population". 2) The link to "Marsh Arabs" under "See Also". 3) The link "[ Living Sumerians , the marsh arabs in southern Iraq" under the section "External Links - Language". Dram Attruth (talk) 15:53, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

"Black-faced foreigners"[edit]

According to Babylonian historian Berossus, the Sumerians were "black-faced foreigners".[ref],+black-faced+foreigners#PPA242,M1 Man, God and Civilization

Is there any source for this besides John G. Jackson, who is a non-neutral Afrocentrist.[ref] There seems to be no source for or information regarding this quote on the Internet. The given source itself says only that "They are described in the Assyrio-Babylonian inscriptions as a black faced people[...]." It makes no reference to Berossus or gives an example of any of these claimed descriptions. Searching for this on Google gets only 427 total hits, most mirrors or quotes from Wikipedia. On the third page, Google displays "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 27 already displayed." "Berosus" with one "s" gets only two hits. I can find no sources for this quote and if anyone can find them, please post them. I have removed the quote since the book does not use those exact words or give an Assyro-Babylonian inscription that says this. (talk) 00:53, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Someone reverted this edit and put the "quote" by Berossus (which does not occur anywhere in the referenced book) back into the article. After reading more of this book, I am sure that it is an Afrocentric book. Jackson claims that the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Indians were "Negroid" and "of Kushite race" and asserts that Sumerians have an Elamite origin. On page 246, he also claims that Sumerians were from Africa, and that similarities with the Egyptian religion is due to a common Ethiopian origin. Since I cannot find the supposed quote anywhere (including this book), I have removed it. (talk) 20:55, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

We need to be on guard for this kind of afrocentrist falsification. Izzedine (talk) 17:58, 21 November 2009 (UTC)


"Sumar" IS a valid alternate spelling, and I made the original edit in good faith in an effort to improve the page. It is true that Sumer is the most common spelling, however "Sumar" has been gaining increasing acceptance among scholars as far back as 1987. I can only assume that Til is from the old school. In an effort to keep Wikipedia up to date, I have changed the article back to Sumar and also added a valid reference which clearly uses the alternate spelling of "Sumar." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kraftwrk5 (talkcontribs) 23:16, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

  • No, "Sumar" is not a widely used alternate spelling, nor is it even a neologism, but probably an uncommon misspelling, and your POV-pushing and personal attacks on editors is disruptive behaviour. Izzedine (talk) 18:23, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I have yet to see that spelling ANYWHERE, let alone a reputable scholarly source. What the ...HammerFilmFan (talk) 23:32, 22 June 2010 (UTC)HammerFilmsFan

Sumerian read right to left[edit]

This article has recently been edited by Classical Esther to claim that sumerian was read right to left. I removed the claim immediately, since it's obviously false. However, my reversion was reverted. Izzedine, you are apparently asking me for a source? However, I just want to remove the incorrect statement. If you want to keep it, you find a source :-) Wilstrup (talk) 21:02, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Provide a reference for what you are claiming. Simple as that. Izzedine 21:59, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
    • What am I claiming? It seems to me that you are defending the statement that sumerian was read right to left, which it wasn't. I'll leave the claim in the article for a few days. If it's still unreferenced by then, I'll remove it again.Wilstrup (talk) 22:07, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
      • You're insisting you know the truth, so back it up with a reference. Otherwise don't complain about being reverted. Izzedine 22:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
It is the information appearing in the article that requires a source, Izzedine. No source is required to remove it, if none is provided.
That said, I am now looking at sources to try to find what direction Sumerian was read in, and am finding all kinds of contradictory information. Apparently, as far as I am able to learn, cuneiform could be written in either direction at first, but they finally settled on the left-to-right standard around the time Sumerian faded and Akkadian grew in prominence. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:33, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
C'mon Izzedine. You've been a vigilant guardian of this page for years. I'm sure you know the direction of sumerian script. You just made an honest mistake, and reverted my change, without noticing that my change was itself a revert. Removing factual errors, like I did, does not require citations. Reinstating them, like you did, does. But peace. Let's leave the right-to-left claim for a while, and remove it if it's still unsourced in a week. Okay? Wilstrup (talk) 22:36, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm removing the right-to-left claim now. The reason I'm not replacing it with the real picture - initially top-down, later left-right - is that this seems to me to be a minor detail, and it is already adequately explained in the main article: Cuneiform. Wilstrup (talk) 12:36, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I realise I have some responsibility to explain my recent changes.

The hatnote I believe ought to be non-controversial, it follows from changing Sumeria to a redirect to this article.

I do not believe that this article is unduly short, it is already fairly lengthy, although possibly some parts could do with improvement. I also made some basic copyedits. PatGallacher (talk) 00:44, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Note that we are now discussing at Talk:Sumeria whether that page ought to be a disambig or a redirect. Third opinions welcome. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:36, 6 December 2009 (UTC)


The cities of Sumer were the first to practice intensive, year-round agriculture, (from ca. 5300 BC). Should this the The cities of Sumer were the first civilization to practice intensive, year-round agriculture, (from ca. 5300 BC). Because agriculture is older than Sumer and may well have been intensive and year round for Millennia depending on the meaning of intensive and year round. Also can the claim of first plough be substantiated? I understand agriculture to have spread from Lebanon east slowly downstream from the upper Tigris and Euphrates river valleys until it eventually was taken up in Sumer.

Shatt al-Arab[edit]

I am removing the following sentence from the opening: "particularly along the waterway now known as the Shatt al-Arab, from its Persian Gulf delta to the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates." First of all, all the maps in the article clearly show that there were no cities along Shatt al-Arab. And as I remember(and what is supported by one of the maps), it is because this river didn't exist back then, Persian Gulf was in its place coming deeper into land. RlyechDweller (talk) 16:08, 21 April 2010 (UTC)


What is the correct English pronounciation of the word 'Sumer'. Exactly the same as the season , summer ? Or different ?Eregli bob (talk) 15:32, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

I always assumed it was /SOO-mer/. I think it comes from an earlier pronunciation /SHOO-mer/ in Assyrian. What does say? The Egyptian form was probably pronounced like /SAHNG-ar/. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:16, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Ubaid period[edit]

The Neolithic Ubaid period should of course be mentioned as the predecessor culture, but the history of Sumer is not usually taken to include it. There was a cultural break between the Ubaid and the Uruk periods, and "Sumer" usually covers the Uruk period plus the dynastic period of the 3rd millennium. --dab (𒁳) 07:54, 29 September 2010 (UTC)


Under religion there is the line "Sumerians believed that the universe consisted of a flat disk enclosed by a tin dome." If they were in the chalcolithic stage then they likely did not yet use tin. Perhaps this is a typo and the word "thin" is intended. If so then this begs the question "Why thin?" Was there some other space (Heaven?) outside this dome. Some elaboration would be helpful Alexselkirk1704 (talk) 23:28, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

How do they know?[edit]

How do people know the Ubaidans did not speak Sumerian? As they did not write I find this claim highly suspect. Further, the Britannica article does not cite the source; it only quotes two books as contributing to the article, and I suspect the authors of the article and/or the books have an agenda. Britannica, or so I've heard, is extremely biased.

As there can be no DEFINITIVE proof of the language of ANY pre-historical people, I'm removing all references to the language(s) of pre-Sumerians. You cannot deny that I am correct and that the Ubaid language portions are highly speculative. If you do then you are BIASED. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:42, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Gee, if I say you are wrong, no matter what evidence I have, I must be biased? Although I don't like using encyclopedias as sources, it is considered a reliable source by editors here. I've replaced what you deleted but provided a different source. If you don't like that one, complain at WP:RSN, don't keep deleting material you don't like. Dougweller (talk) 10:12, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Britannica's claim smells extremely fishy to me, too. For any subset of scholars to proclaim to have inferred some knowledge from such barest threads, about what language was like in prehistoric times before written records existed, just smacks of the extreme of scholarly hubris and recklessness. The Ubaids very well could have spoken Sumerian or anything for all we know.

The origin of Sumerian language is a contentious topic with multiple scholarly opinions, not one about which there has ever been any kind of unanimity, so all povs in the article should be rewritten in "attrib style", not "endorsement style". Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:00, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Note that there are two issues here, not one. The origin of the Sumerian language is one issue, the language spoken by their predecessors another. They may be related of course, but they aren't necessarily the same issue. Dougweller (talk) 15:48, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Acient Mesopotamia: new perspectives By Jane McIntosh:[2] "Southern Substrate. A handful of words with no affinity to any known language occur in Sumerian texts. These include the names of some plants, animals, and natural features, and a few other words, including some associated with date cultivation. It is thought that these words belong to a substrate language spoken by the indigenous pre-Sumerian inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia." Is it really controversial to say that the pre-Sumerian inhabitants didn't speak Sumerian? If it is, then we need a reliable source saying it is. Dougweller (talk) 16:11, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Hi Dougweller. Your post is widely discussed amongst Sumerophiles and there are contradictory theories held there. Many believe that in addition to plants and rivers, the names of both the Tigris and Euphrates are of non Sumerian origin, as was the name of Inanna and many agricultural and artisanal crafts (eg Tibir = metal-worker/smith). These have been equated with the proto-Euphratean or proto-Tigrean, although others claim these categories do not exist. Certainly the Sumerians speak of three groups co-existing in Southern Iraq, themselves, the nomadic Martu, and the mountain dwelling Subartu. Some have seen these as coming from an early Hurro-Urartuan language which makes sense if we think as some do that Hurro-Urartuan languages come from the first farmers in the region and spread down in the Zagros foothills. Sumerian language at the same time is sometimes claimed to be the indigenous language of fisher-hunter people with farming introduced as an ad-stratum. Certainly, the indigenous culture of hunter-gatherers in the area belonged to the Arabian bifacial tool culture, and had links all around the eastern Arabian shore of the Persian gulf as far as Oman. Sumerians themselves claimed to have come from Dilmun which is equated with Bahrein (although Rohl attempts to identify it with Armenia and Ararat). John D. Croft (talk) 08:11, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

swastika on Samarra bowl discussion[edit]

dispute of claim that swastika is a reconstruction (citation 10) - "Stanley A. Freed, Research Pitfalls as a Result of the Restoration of Museum Specimens, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 376, The Research Potential of Anthropological Museum Collections pages 229–245, December 1981." This implies the swastika was painted on to the bowl by someone at the Pergamon Museum, which I'd be very surprised at.

dicussion on this here: (talk) 14:39, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

"Civilization" word needed as the article title[edit]

Please rename the article as "Sumer Civilization". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Why - for what purpose? Fine like it is, I says! HammerFilmFan (talk) 00:11, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Kurdish Sumer[edit]

Kurd Sumerians? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Orjins (talkcontribs) 07:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Hardly. The Sumerians weren't Kurds, far too early. Dougweller (talk) 10:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Lead section note[edit]

Usually we put the foreign-language text directly in the lead sentence instead of in a footnote. Here, I'm ok with not doing that if we can't just go (Sumerian: X; Akkadian: Y) but have to give a complicated gloss of the names. BUT: We shouldn't just repeat the exact same topic in an out-of-the-way footnote and a #Name section. The footnote should be removed from the lead altogether and the native names just merged into the #Name section. — LlywelynII 16:31, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Agree. The Name/Origin of name/Etymology section should contain what's now in that footnote and the Sumerian/Akkadian names can be added to the lead without further explanation.--Zoeperkoe (talk) 07:43, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Piora oscillation - conflict with another Wikipedia page[edit]

This page says: The end of the Uruk period coincided with the Piora oscillation, a dry period from c. 3200 – 2900 BC that marked the end of a long wetter, warmer climate period from about 9,000 to 5,000 years ago, called the Holocene climatic optimum.

But the Wikipedia page titled Piora oscillation says: The Piora Oscillation was an abrupt cold and wet period in the climate history of the Holocene Epoch; it is generally dated to the period of c. 3200 to 2900 BCE.

Which is it? WET or DRY? I don't have access to the book cited on this page, so I can't check it, but either the cite is off, or perhaps the info on the Piora oscillation page is newer, because WET makes more sense with other happenings of the time. Hawa-Ave (talk) 18:38, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Hawa-Ave

I might see if I can find it and check it, but in the meantime I wouldn't really trust the page on Sumer, it's sort of quite a mess... --Zoeperkoe (talk) 07:43, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
The Holocene Climatic Optimum was wet and warm. The Piora Oscillation was colder and drier. Hope this helps. John D. Croft (talk) 07:41, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

Sargon Transferring Hegemony to Babylon[edit]

Could someone give us the citation for this. Sargon of Akkad existed long before the hegemony of Babylon. I have also added references and removed the unreferenced section comment from 2012. John D. Croft (talk) 07:41, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

The source would probably be the original Assyrian Babylonian Chronicles (ABC), the picture they paint is that Sargon established the city near Akkad to replace Nippur as the holy city, for which sin he was reviled by the gods, as well as the neo-Sumerians who promptly restored it to Nippur. This should not be confused with Babylon's political hegemony, which was indeed later. (talk) 12:47, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

which specific cuneiform tablet was dated to 3000 bc?[edit]

We often see non-specialist and wholesale sources like throwing around a date like 3000 bc for the first cuneiform, as though we have records from that long ago for Mesopotamia. If you User:Y-barton or anyone else has a link to an actual cuneiform artifact thought to date that long ago, I'd love to see it. Hopefully there would be an article about that artifact, as there is say for the Narmer Palette, more or less the earliest example of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, from ca. 3100 bc. If you want to see the oldest cuneiform tablets themselves, I suggest the cuneiform digital library initiative or cdli website. Warm regards, Colin Kjak íkøst (talk) 17:43, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

Dear Colin, here we have the earliest cuneiform,
"Stylus impressed clay tablet from Jemdet Nasr, dated to the Uruk III period (c.3200–3000 bc). 8.1 cm × 7.7 cm. BM 116730. © Trustees of the British Museum". In Kathryn E. Piquette and Ruth D. Whitehouse, Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium. Ubiquity Press, London, 2013 Y-barton (talk) 17:54, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
Oh, that. Those pictographs are not counted as cuneiform, because cuneiform readers are unable to read it or provide any translation. They call it proto-writing as they are not even confident it represents a writing system. So the earliest cuneiform records kept by people who know how to write is actually still c. 2500 bc Colin Kjak íkøst (talk) 20:40, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Possible theory about their origin[edit]

There exists also other theories about their origin. There have been made studies on connecting the Tamil language to the Sumerian language, hypothesizing that the Sumerians were a Proto-Dravidian civilization.[1][2][3][4]

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Muvendar (talkcontribs)


  1. ^ Iyengar, P. T. Srinivasa (1929-01-01). History of the Tamils from the Earliest Times to 600 A.D. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120601451. 
  2. ^ Acholonu, Catherine Obianuju (2014-01-06). Eden in Sumer on the Niger: Archaeological, Linguistic, and Genetic Evidence of 450,000 Years of Atlantis, Eden and Sumer in West Africa. Chinazor Onianwah. 
  3. ^ S, Senthil Kumar A. (2012-04-14). Read Indussian: The Archaic Tamil from c.7000 BCE*. Amarabharathi Publications & Booksellers, Tiruvannamalai. ISBN 9789380733029. 
  4. ^ "The Austroid Origins of Ancient Sumer". Retrieved 2016-05-30. 
This is a fringe theory. The sources you cite aren't modern research-based reliable sources. The century old PTS Iyengar book is obsolete. Catherine Acholonu's Afrocentric theories (Atlantis, magical Homo erectus etc.) are considered pseudo-history by mainstream historians. Same goes for Snethil Kumar - no decent historian believes that Tamil was spoken in 7000 BCE. The Austroid Origins of Ancient Sumer is self-published. utcursch | talk 22:05, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

lanugage of dolphins[edit]

the article as is now says that "sumer was the language of dolphins and fishermen". Seriously? Either "dolphins" here is a special archealogical term that non-specialists like me have never heard of and it refers to a tribe of humans, or that sentence really really needs to be expanded upon... (talk) 20:53, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

Fixed this. Someone had replaced the word 'hunter' with 'dolphins'. Foonarres (talk) 09:11, 10 September 2016 (UTC)