Recent Online Dissertation on the Sumerian Deity Enki

Today I came across this published (2010) doctoral dissertation on the god Enki by Peeter Espak. it is entitled, “The God Enki in Sumerian Royal Ideology and Mythology.” I decided to blog the link in the name of offering something useful to all those who want to read actual scholarship on Sumerian mythology and religion, as opposed to the ancient astronaut tripe. We try to be useful in multiple ways here.

Though a dissertation, the work is quite readable (don’t let the transliterated Sumerian and Akkadian distract you; just skip all that and read the prose). I ran a quick search on “Annuna” (the Anunnaki gods) and read through the 30 occurrences and relevant discussion. Some good material, as the Anunnaki are discussed in various scenes in relation to the larger subject matter. (The longer term “Anunnaki” also occurs once). Sorry, no spaceships, extraterrestrials, or fiery rocket journeys to or from Nibiru. (I’m still getting over the shock). The dissertation rebuts certain conclusions (some shared by Samuel Noah Kramer) about the frictional relationship between Ea and Enki (another blow to ancient astronaut theory’s “retelling” of the Sumerian epics).

At any rate, for those interested, enjoy this fine resource.

“We Couldn’t Build the Great Pyramid Today” – We Could Do Better

I’m nearly finished with the book by David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914. I don’t ever want to hear any such nonsensical statement again about how the Great Pyramid is beyond modern reach.  Ever. To not laugh when I hear it would be to suffer a fool, and that wasn’t my strong suit before I read the book.

Just one statistic will suffice for this post. It has been estimated that, if the Great Pyramid were built today it would require 3 million cubic yards of concrete. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? A drop in the bucket compared to the Panama Canal.

In just the American phase of the construction (1903-1914) a total of 238,845,587 cubic yards were excavated. In 1907, men were moving 1,000,000 cubic yards every month. Three million cubic yards pales in comparison. It would have been a vacation for the tens of thousands of men working in Panama. And the cubic yardage doesn’t even begin to describe the engineering logistics and obstacles, not to mention this was all done through waves of malaria and yellow fever.It’s truly a colossal feat of engineering.

But, Mike, you say, it’s not a fair comparison. The people building the canal had machines like steam shovels and trains. Uh … that’s my point. We *could* build the Great Pyramid today and it wouldn’t require aliens, just like it didn’t back in ancient Egypt. As impressive as the Great Pyramid is, its engineering problems are known and solvable. Sure, a couple of dim-witted scientists in a NOVA television special weren’t up to the task — which only shows they weren’t up to the task. Engineers like Jean Pierre Houdin have articulated in great (and coherent) detail how the pyramid could have been built without modern machinery. Other engineers (namely Davidovits and Barsoum) have proposed that the pyramid blocks were fabricated ancient concrete. Scholars of Egyptian engineering are well informed in Egyptian construction methods, including the pyramids.

And isn’t it odd how ancient astronaut theorists never seem to talk about the failed pyramid projects, like the pyramid of Huni (the Meidum collapsed pyramid), built during the reign of Sneferu, the father of Khufu? Maybe the aliens were on vacation for that one. And also the Bent Pyramid . . . and the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which was built in stages after altering the non-pyramid burial mastaba style. These are all examples of human engineering — the Egyptians learned how to build pyramids gradually, trying new techniques and learning from failures. Pyramid engineering evolved through various transitions. The pyramids themselves demonstrate this quite clearly. To say they needed alien help is just insulting.