Sumeria was one of the earliest civilisations emerging between the 6th and 5th millennia BC and was situated in what is now central Iraq.
It was unknown in Europe until the middle of the 19th century. With the discovery and the decipherment of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets the sophistication of their culture prompted the idea that Sumer had been ‘the cradle of civilisation.’ Subsequent discoveries, such as those in the Indus Valley and more recently Göbekli Tepe have now somewhat diluted that idea.
Nevertheless, there is an acceptance that the Sumerians were very advanced in the field of mathematics and astronomy. The late Ernest McClain, a professor of music, was convinced that music theory could be traced back to the Sumerians as early as 3000 BC.
The origin of the Sumerians is still something of a mystery as is their language which seems to be an ‘isolate’, unrelated to any known language group(q). The Flem-Aths in an Atlantis Rising article (Issue 95) and Atlantis Beneath the Ice [981.70] claimed a cultural and genetic linkage between the Sumerians and the Haida of northwest America. The Flem-Aths also noted [062.54] that some have linked the languages of the two peoples!
Ronnie Gallagher has suggested that migrants from the Caucasus had provided the impetus that led to the development of the Sumerian civilisation. Gallagher’s theory is supported by Jerald Jack Starr on his Sumerian Shakespeare website, who emphatically attributes a Caucasian origin to the Sumerians(l).
Emilio Spedicato has controversially suggested that the Sumerians came from the Tibetan region!(m) Equally provocative were the views of Catherine Acholonu-Olumba, who as the author of Eden in Sumer on the Niger , claimed that her book, “provides multidisciplinary evidence of the actual geographical location in West Africa of the Garden of Eden, Atlantis and the original homeland of the Sumerian people before their migration to the “Middle East”. By translating hitherto unknown pre-cuneiform inscriptions of the Sumerians, Catherine Acholonu and Sidney Davis have uncovered thousands of years of Africa’s lost pre-history and evidences of the West African origins of the earliest Pharaohs and Kings of Egypt and Sumer such as Menes and Sargon the Great.”(p)
Sumeria has now been proposed as a possible source of the Atlantis story. Dr Ashok Malhotra, a professor of Engineering, has suggested(a) that that ‘the likelihood of the Atlantis stories being of Sumerian origin is strengthened by the fact that the submergence of ancient cities was a strong part of the Sumerian mythology. It dominates their historical tradition. The destruction of the ancient city as a result of sin was also part of their beliefs.’ Malhotra then proposes that these Sumerian stories reflected actual flooding events in the Indus Valley region that were brought first to Sumeria and then were later transferred to Egypt and from thence via Solon to Plato to us.
George Michanowsky went much further and claimed that the Sumerians had known Atlantis under the name of NI-DUK-KI, known today as Dilmun[282.66]. The renowned Henry Rawlinson interpreted this name to mean ‘blessed hill’ or ‘blessed isle’. While Michanowsky’s suggestion is highly speculative, if correct, it would be the earliest known reference to Atlantis.
The Sumerian king list(e) from Larsa records eight kings (some versions note ten) before the Deluge, which may have been reflected, in a distorted fashion, in the ten patriarchs of Genesis and/or the ten kings of Atlantis! Another suggested link is with the eight generations between Adam and Noah recorded in Genesis chapter 5.
John Sassoon would seem to support Malhotra’s thesis in his book, which proposes a Sumerian origin for the Jews with possible earlier links with the Indus Valley. He is not concerned with Atlantis, just the ancestry of the Jewish people of whom Abraham was born in Sumeria around 2000-1800 BC. Sassoon’s views offer a possible transmission route for Eastern traditions and myths to have reached Egypt and subsequently through Solon to Athens.
More recently, Dr Willem McLoud, a South African researcher, commented that “we have good reason to think that Atlantis was not located beyond the pillars of Heracles in the Atlantic Ocean, as is so often propagated, but that it was actually none other than the ancient land of Sumer itself.” Mcloud is primarily concerned with the Sumerians and Akkadians, which he will expand on in a forthcoming book(n).
In 2001, a book by Radek Brychta was published in the Czech Republic in which he also advocates a Sumerian connection. He identifies Atlantis with the legendary Dilmun of Sumerian legend and locates it on the Indus civilisation island of Dholavira. Excerpts from this fascinating book are available on the Internet and are worth a read.
However, the most extreme claims came from Zechariah Sitchin who proposed that the Sumerians had been ‘influenced’ by ancient astronauts from the planet Nibiru, which information is to be found in their cuneiform tablets if Sitchin’s translation is to be believed. Similar daft ideas(g) have been put forward by Hermann Burgard but so far have only been foisted on a German-reading public.
As if that was not bad enough, we now (Oct 2016) have the Iraqi Transport Minister claiming, among other matters, that the Sumerians launched spaceships 8,000 years ago(h)!
Jim Allen, the leading advocate of ‘Atlantis in the Andes’ has also claimed(b) a Sumerian connection with South America citing Ruth & Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, who include in their book[838.293] three pages of Sumerian words compared with the language of ancient Peru as well as other cultural aspects there. They also believed that Sargon (2369-2314 BC) was known in Peru as the deity Viracocha! Their fanciful idea stems from an account of Sargon sailing to the West and spending three years there! Zhirov supported this claim[458.23] describing it as ”a seemingly semi-fantastic theory”. My reason for considering this claim to be nonsensical, is simply that Sargon was continually engaged in expanding his empire and constantly dealing with rebellions in the various city-states that he ruled over. The idea that he took three years out to visit America, 14,000 km away, is in no way credible.
Nevertheless, the idea of Sargon in South America persists with James Bailey repeating it in Sailing to Paradise[0150.66] and more recently by the Afrocentrist, Clyde Winters in an article on the Ancient Origins website(f) in which he quotes Bailey and the Verrills as supporting Lake Titicaca as the Lake Manu of Sumerian tradition. A further article(j) on the same website begins with the forceful claim that “it is becoming increasingly clear that the Sumerians had established a colony in South America called Kuga-Ki.” The paper is based on a series of questionable artefacts, the Fuente Magna Bowl, the Crespi Collection and the Pokoyia monument!
The Fuente Magna Bowl is frequently offered as evidence of a pre-Columbian link with the Sumerians in America(c), although its provenance is unclear and there are suggestions of a hoax. A sceptical view of the ‘Bowl’ by Carl Feagans(k) is available.
Other commentators have suggested that the Sumerians reached Spain. Dr Paul Haupt (1858-1926}, an early Assyriologist proposed that the ‘two rivers’ in the story of Utnapishtim, a Noachian equivalent, were the Guadalquivir and Guadiana of Andalusia(r). Mario Mas Fenollar is a modern advocate for Sumerians in Spain.
The very existence of Sumerians has recently been attacked in an appendix to The Three Ages of Atlantis by Marin, Minella & Schievenin. They maintain that the Sumerian ‘language’ “could be an artificial construct created by Akkadian priests” to be used for liturgical purposes. These ideas were first expressed at the end of the 19th century by the respected Orientalist, Joseph Halévy. Andi Zeneli has expressed comparable ideas(d) regarding the Sumerian language.
Uwe Topper’s son Ilya has also put forward the idea that the Sumerians did not exist(o). His paper is a critique, originally in Spanish, of Gunnar Heinsohn’s Die Sumerer gab es nicht.
(a) In Search of Atlantis — Getting Closer (archive.org)(new link)*
The Oera Linda Book, sometimes referred as the Ura-Linda Chronicle, is a highly controversial book from Holland that occasionally is referred to in books and articles relating to Atlantis. It is claimed to be one of the oldest books ever discovered.
>The Oera Linda Book came to light in 1867 when Cornelis Over de Linden (1811–1874) handed the manuscript, which he claimed to have inherited from his grandfather, via his aunt, over to Eelco Verwijs (1830–1880), the provincial librarian of Friesland, for translation and publication. Verwijs rejected the manuscript, but in 1871 Jan Gerhardus Ottema (1804–1879), a prominent member of the Frisian Society for History and Culture, published a Dutch translation. Ottema believed it to be written in authentic Old Frisian(r).<
While a Dutch translation appeared in 1871, it was not until 1876 that the first English translation of the Oera Linda Book by William R. Sandbach was published by Trubner & Co(k). This was allegedly a translation of a 13th-century Frisian manuscript based on much earlier traditions.
The book tells the story of the destruction of a large landmass in the North Sea known as ‘Atland’ following earthquakes and tidal waves. Atland means Old Land in Frisian. It dates this catastrophe to 2193 BC. However, the current consensus is that the landbridge between the Shetlands Isles and Norway was submerged around 5500 BC and not the date given in the Oera Linda Book.
Nearly seventy years were to pass before the book came under scrutiny again in Britain, when Harold T. Wilkins wrote an article in Egerton Sykes’ first issue of Atlantis magazine, supporting its authenticity. Thirty years later another English writer, Robert Scrutton, wrote two books on the Oera Linda Book. These again opened up the controversy regarding the authenticity of the book.
Andrew Collins has written a short paper(g) casting doubt on the authenticity of the book.
Now Anthony Radford presents a new review of the Book and offers the first edition of his book free online (f).
Andi Zeneli, the Albanian researcher, has used the text of the Oera Linda Book in an attempt to support his claim of an Albanian connection with Atlantis. Georg Lohle also follows the Oera Linda Book in suggesting a North Sea location for Atlantis.
The English text of the book is available on the internet(b)(c) with the original 212 Frisian language pages, which is accessible on a Dutch site(d). A recent (2012) vindication of the OLB is now available online(h).
It is reported(p) that when Heinrich Himmler was given a translation of the OLB by his friend Hermann Wirth he was totally besotted with its contents and it became known as ‘Himmler’s Bible’. However, even within the Nazi party, there were many sceptical voices, which led to much dispute. Finally, “The two opposing camps officially “squared off” during a panel discussion centred on The Oera Linda Book that took place on May 4th 1934 at the aforementioned University of Berlin. The discussion turned into a heated debate, but in the end, The Oera Linda Book was officially declared “a hoax” by the NSDAP, and “Himmler’s Bible” receded once again into obscurity.”
I must mention that the American neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement has taken an interest in the Oera Linda Book(e), promoting it as ‘positive’ reading material!
*The late Antonis Kontaratos was favourably disposed to quote the OLB in support of Atlantis, in a paper delivered to the 2005 Atlantis Conference [629.435], although he also noted that “the authenticity of the Oera Linda Book still awaits official approval or disapproval”.*
Alewyn J. Raubenheimer has theorised that an asteroid impact created the Burckle Crater in the Indian Ocean which in turn generated a megatsunami recorded in the bible as Noah’s Flood and in the Oera Linda Book as the flooding of Atland in 2193 BC. With regard to Atlantis he states categorically (p.49)“that no attempt is made here to equate Atland with Atlantis although there may be a connection.” His defence of the Oera Linda Book has been hailed by some as an important scholarly contribution(i) while others have endeavoured to discredit the book’s authenticity(j).
James Nienhuis also accepts the historicity of the OLB(n), but today’s leading proponent of its authenticity is arguably Jan Ott, a Dutch researcher, born in West Friesland, who has released video and audio interviews on YouTube(l)(m) in support of his views. A list of all translations of the OLB can be accessed on his website(o) as well as many other aspects of Oera Linda studies. Ott has been interviewed on Red Ice Radio, a Swedish right-wing broadcaster.
>A 2022 critical review of the OLB by an Indian researcher, Bipin Dimri, added support to the more generally accepted view that the OLB is a forgery. He suggests that “Either Cornelis Over de Linden or Eelco Verwijs (or possibly an acquaintance of both men) are the two most likely authors, writing a comedy text to poke fun at an overtly nationalistic audience in the late 19th century. It was likely never to be taken seriously(q).<
Albania has not been excluded from the quest for links with Atlantis. Andi Zeneli had a website that delved into the ancient history of Albania which from the 10th century BC was part of Illyria. He makes great use of the controversial Oera Linda Book and linguistics in order to produce a convoluted association between Albania and Atlantis.
Zeneli had a separate website, also defunct, that dealt more specifically with the history of the ancient Illyrians.
There was also an ancient kingdom of Albania in the Caucasus between Iberia and and the Caspian Sea, approximately where Azerbaijan is now situated. It was once thought that the Adriatic Albanians had originated there but this was disproved on linguistic grounds in the 19th century.
A more recent claim is that satellite imagery has revealed a network of lines near Durrés, west of Tirana, which are the remnants of Plato’s Atlantean canals, with co-ordinates of 41.08-41.02 N and 19.23 E. A blogsite(c) is also home to a number of articles adding further support to the Durrés theory.
The Albanian hypothesis, however interesting has so far failed to answer many of the critical questions raised by Plato’s dialogues. Where were the Pillars of Heracles? What evidence is there for Albanian (Illyrian) influence extending to Tyrrhenia and Libya? Why did Plato not simply say that Atlantis had been located next door in the western Balkans? Without an answer to these and other questions we are forced to consider the Durres location is, at best, speculative.
However, in a desperate attempt to bolster this theory it has been pointed out(e) that the Illyrian tribe in the region was called Taulanti and the region itself Taulantis, inferring that it was modified to ‘Atlantis’!
A YouTube clip(d) offers a more graphic presentation of the theory while another link(f) offers a number of satellite images of Durres.