Review of Ancient Aliens’ Craptastic Anunnaki Episode

Jason Colavito has courageously reviewed the latest ode to asininity from the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series. I strongly encourage readers to check it out. It’s an informative and fun read. It’s a cornucopia of  My favorite portion:

William Henry, who believes telephone booths are secret symbols for trans-dimensional portals, lies about Sumerian texts regarding the Anunnaki, claiming without evidence that they were described as humanoids who could “phase in” to human form, which cannot be found in any ancient text.

It’s really hard to beat William Henry for incoherence. When all others simply ignore data – like the fact that none of this Anunnaki alien nonsense can be found in the cuneiform texts – Henry is bound to take it to the next level: that of utter absurdity.1

  1. William Henry brings back some good memories. Way back in 2001 after my first appearance on Coast to Coast AM, Henry was the guy who accused me of making money off Zecharia Sitchin’s work. I responded by posting my tax returns on the internet, asking William – and Mr. Sitchin – to do the same. I did that for three years in a row – just looked on my computer – I still have the web page. I was a struggling graduate student. I’m guessing they were doing better duping the masses. Anyway, neither of them took the challenge.

Critical Edition of the Gilgamesh Epic Available Online

This is a steal, folks – especially if you can work in Akkadian. But even if not, Andrew George’s magisterial work on the Gilgamesh Epic is a must. It’s the most current scholarship on the original cuneiform text. The file features tablet transcriptions, transliteration, translation, and critical commentary on all that.

If you look this up on Amazon it’s $450. Here it is free.

Sachs, Velikovsky, and Sitchin

A short time ago I blogged about the work of C. Leroy Ellenberger, at one time a first-tier defender of Immanuel Velikovsky who later came to doubt and then refute that brand of catastrophism, sent me a link I thought I’d share with readers.

Leroy’s link was to a brief address by Abraham Sachs, a well-known 20th century Assyriologist (i.e., a scholar of Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform). The address was a refutation of Velikovsky’s use of cuneiform material to support his catastrophist theories. Here’s an excerpt:

“In searching for mathematical and astronomical texts, I myself have had the opportunity of sifting about 125,000 tablets in this country and the British Isles. As one looks back, with the advantage of hindsight, over the progress of cuneiform studies in the last century, it is evident that in the early decades, two steps forward were accompanied by one step back, in recent decades, the proportion is more like 300 to 1. In 1896, an excellent dictionary of Akkadian contained 790 pages; today, the latest torso of an Akkadian dictionary– with only one-third of the dictionary published in 8 volumes– already runs to more than 2500 pages. I mention all this only to underline the sad fact that anyone who, like Dr. Velikovsky, is not a student of cuneiform, runs the very high risk of finding non-existent facts, false translations, and abandoned theories that have foundered on the rocks of new textual material when he relies, as Dr. Velikovsky does, on books and articles that are 80, 50, 40, and in some cases, even 20 years old. . . . In Worlds in Collision, p. 161, Dr. Velikovsky says that Babylonian astronomy at one time had a four-planet system, with Venus missing. For this, he refers to a book, [quite correctly,] written in 1915. Not being a cuneiformist, Dr. Velikovsky cannot inspect the original text referred to in his 1915 source. I have read the text and I can report that it is quite true that Venus is missing in the text– but so are the other four planets. . . . Wherever one turns in Dr. Velikovsky’s works, one finds a wasteland strewn with uncritically accepted evidence that turns to dust at the slightest probe. . . . [I]it’s advisable to be [a cuneiformist] if you’re going to write about cuneiform texts. . . .”


While the address was directed at Velikovsky, the verbal spanking is also useful for directing attention to the bankrupt scholarship of Zecharia Sitchin, part of whose imaginative ancient astronaut theorizing includes catastrophism elements associated with the alleged astro-physical effects of Nibiru, wrongly identified by Sitchin as a 12th planet. This short speech (less than fifteen minutes) was given at Brown University in 1965, just a few short years before Zecharia Sitchin would pretend to know something about cuneiform tablets. Why is it that Sitchin, presumably an expert in cuneiform, was somehow ignorant of this material when Sachs was not? The answer is simple. Sitchin was no expert in this material. He was contriving a theory.

Ancient Aliens Debunked: The Official Trailer

I’m guessing all PaleoBabble readers know about the Ancient Aliens series put out by the Fantasy Channel (still though of by many as the History Channel). I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be interviewed later this summer for the documentary film response, Ancient Aliens Debunked. If you visit the link you can sign up for email notification when the documentary is released. It will be FREE and viewable online. The trailer is below. The film is being produced by Chris White. Since the documentary will be free, all of the expense incurred by Chris is his own. This has been true of his online and YouTube ministry since its inception. Please visit his site to donate and help support this project!

Cuneiform Astronomy: The Planets in Mesopotamian Cuneiform Sources

I get asked all the time, “How do you know Sitchin is wrong about aliens in Sumerian tablets?” Short answer: Because I get my information from the actual ancient scribes. Here’s one example among many that could be offered.  It’ s a free PDF paper (28 pp) on the planets in Mesopotamian sources (i.e., the actual cuneiform astronomical texts — also known as the stuff Zecharia Sitchin hides from his readers).  I thought those of you interested in divine into the actual source material for this sort of thing might like it. If you are committed to the ancient Anunnaki astronaut nonsense already, you might want to avoid that link. Actual sources have a way of demolishing this belief system.

A few things to notice as you read:

1. Take this information back to Zecharia Sitchin’s works and check and see if the way he explains the gods and astronomical bodies align with the source texts (Hint: it doesn’t — but don’t rely on my word).  Then ask yourself why Sitchin didn’t get this right. I’ll leave it to you to speculate on why.

2. Look at page 9 – the list of planets and their deity names. Notice anything? Count them. According to Sumerian sources, the Sumerians did *not* know twelve planets, contra Sitchin. And the chart shows no knowledge of a planet beyond Saturn (they are all visible to the trained naked eye). This is devastating proof that from their own tablets that the Sumerians had no advanced astronomical knowledge from aliens.

More Fun with Zecharia Sitchin: Looking for Rocket Ships in Sumerian Texts

Squint real hard, you might see them.

This video is longer (19:00) because I go through the major lexical resources for Akkadian and Sumerian — all publicly accessible — to show that (surprise!) Zecharia Sitchin’s translations (“rocket ship”; “fiery rocket”) for SHU.MU (shumu) in Sumerian and Akkadian are bogus.

Enjoy (or grind your teeth).

Fun with Zecharia Sitchin: Let’s Search for the Anunnaki

Okay, this probably isn’t going to be fun (especially to followers of Zecharia Sitchin), but I’m trying.

Those of you who know of Sitchin and his work know that one of his major claims is that the Sumerian deities, the Anunnaki, were actually extraterrestrials. That’s right . . . aliens. Sitchin has published millions of copies of his various books that detail how the Anunnaki are from a planet (or is is a ship?) called Nibiru. And the really cool thing is that all this is right there in the Sumerian texts!  Uh . . . well . . . no it’s not.  Despite the fact that the New York Times ran a story on Sitchin just two weeks ago (he’s 89 now) and he says “I’m not making this up; it’s in the texts,” he IS making it up (hope you’re not shocked).

But how can I prove this to you, my dedicated PaleoBabble readers? (Wracking my brain . . . ). Oh, I know. There’s this website called The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL) . . . that lets you search for Sumerian words.  Maybe that will help.

Yeah; it helps. This is the place where any loyal Sitchinites who come across this post may want to leave. Truth is about to send the Anunnaki home.

It ain’t exciting, but here is a video of me searching the ETCSL for the word “Anunnaki”. If you want a PDF of the search results, here it is. Better yet, after you watch it you can head over to the site and repeat the search so you can know by experience that I’m not the one making things up . . . that would be someone else.