The City of Eridu is the Oldest on Earth, It’s Largely Unexplored
Over the past decade, there have been a number of archeological revelations pushing back the timeline of human evolution and our ancient ancestors’ various diasporas. Initially, these discoveries elicit some resistance as archeologists bemoan the daunting prospect of rewriting the history books, though once enough evidence is presented to established institutions, a new chronology becomes accepted.
But this really only pertains to the era of human development that predates civilization — the epochs of our past in which we were merely hunter-gatherers and nomads roaming the savannahs. Try challenging the consensus timeline of human civilization and it’s likely you’ll be met with derision and rigidity.
Conversely, someone of an alternative persuasion may profess stories of ancient civilizations, such as Atlantis or Lemuria, with speculative mythology recounting a lost, golden age in human history that was surely responsible for building the pyramids and other wonders of the world. They point to the writings of Solon and Plato as evidence for these ancestors’ existence, which is exciting but difficult to corroborate without physical proof.
Researcher Matt LaCroix seems to find himself somewhere in the middle of these two perspectives. While he says he’s fascinated by the Athenian clues detailing the destruction of Atlantis, he finds more compelling evidence in ancient Mesopotamia, or what academia already acknowledges as “the cradle of civilization.”
It’s here we find the ruins of the most ancient city on Earth that we have physical proof of — the city of Eridu. This archaic metropolis is well-documented in historical texts covering ancient Sumer and the Babylonian empire, but there’s also a mythological component to Eridu that may imply human civilization is far older than we believe — significant orders of magnitude older.
That mythological component comes from the Sumerian King List; a record of ancient monarchs and demi-gods dating back more than 250,000 years to the time when “kingship first descended from heaven.”
This royal chronicle ostensibly reads like mythology, with early kings said to have lived and ruled for tens of thousands of years, particularly during the antediluvian era. After the flood, however, the kings’ reigns begin to shorten to hundreds of years — much like some of the patriarchs of the Old Testament — and eventually to lifespans matching our modern mortality. Not to mention, there’s proof that the names of some of the more contemporary kings on the list did, in fact, exist.
The attempts to preserve documentation of this wildly ancient lineage trace back to the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, who ruled several thousand years ago. Thanks to his efforts compiling a massive library of Sumerian culture that was already ancient in his day, we have texts including the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Enūma Eliš that survived into modernity. Millennia later, these texts outlining the Sumerian pantheon would be discovered and translated by Austen Henry Layard, before then being famously interpreted by Zecharia Sitchin.
Sitchin’s translations inspired many to ascribe to the idea that the Anunnaki gods of Sumerian lore were an extraterrestrial race of humanity’s progenitors. LaCroix says Sitchin’s perspective intrigued him at first too, but as he dug deeper he found details the alternative scholar got wrong. Namely, the idea that humans were created as a slave species for an industrious race of alien overseers who used humans to mine precious earth minerals.
Instead, LaCroix says the texts describe an incredible effort by a subset of the Anunnaki known as the Igigi, to build infrastructure on Earth that would allow civilization to flourish before creating mankind as a perfect species with the potential to ascend to enormous power — maybe even more than the Anunnaki themselves.
According to LaCroix, there may have been a number of times we came close to reaching that potential throughout our history on this planet, but we’ve been set back by natural disasters and conflict. These setbacks have sadly continued over the past decade as the war in the Middle East has led to the destruction of precious artifacts that could give us more insight into, arguably, the most important period in human history. These artifacts, particularly the countless cuneiform tablets in places like Nineveh, have been looted and sold on black markets around the world.
And if these sites are not being destroyed by religious extremists, they’re being largely ignored by archeologists. A prime example of this is Eridu and its iconic ziggurat, the temple of E-Abzu, which remains buried in the sands of southern Iraq. According to Sumerian legend, Eridu was established by, and home to the Annunaki god Enki, himself. Here, cuneiform tablets are literally sticking up out of the sand waiting for the right people to come along, preserve them, and unlock the lost secrets of humanity.
To learn more about LaCroix’s work to help preserve these records watch Eridu: City of Gods on Open Minds with Regina Meredith.
Olmec Colossal Heads: What Are They?
Many ancient civilizations left behind intrigue even archaeologists still puzzle over today. In South America alone, we see cases of anomalous disappearances and unexplained history such as the Incas’ abandoned citadel, Machu Picchu, and the mysterious Mayans’ disappearance, which continue providing fodder for questions about what really happened to these societies.
When it comes to the Olmec people, one giant factor continues to be debated: their colossal heads.
Not of the people themselves, but the 8-ton sculptures of heads they buried underground. The Olmec heads have become yet another famous and mysterious element of ancient cultures we just haven’t solved yet.
Olmec People and Civilization
The Olmec people lived in Southeastern Mexico between 1,500 and 400 B.C., in the lowlands of what is today Tabasco and Veracruz. They are credited with being the first civilization to develop in Mesoamerica, with the Olmec heartland being one of the six cradles of civilization.
Olmecs were the first inhabitants of the Americas to settle in towns and cities with monumental architecture. Evidence has also been found for Olmec hieroglyphs around 650 B.C., as well as scripts on roller stamps and stone artifacts. The fine Olmec artwork survived in several ways, including figurines, sculptures, and of course, the colossal heads.
While the Olmecs seem to have been well-established tradesmen with routes, the civilization vanished around 300 B.C. , although its influence is obvious in the Mayan and Aztec civilizations that followed.
Olmec Colossal Heads
The Olmec colossal heads are aptly named — of the 17 uncovered in the region, the average weight is around 8 tons, standing three meters tall and four and a half meters circumference. Perhaps more than any other aspect of the Olmec heads, their size is cause for a great deal of analysis and speculation.
The heads were carved from a single basalt boulder retrieved from Cerro Cintepec in the Tuxtla Mountains. After their creation, the heads were then transported 100 kilometers to their final destination where they were buried. Most of the heads are wearing a protective helmet, which was worn by the Olmec during battle and the Mesoamerican ballgame, and it is likely they were originally painted with bright colors.
While the heads have been dated to either the Early Preclassic period (1500–1000 BC) and the Middle Preclassic (1000–400 BC) period, it is difficult to say for sure, given that many were removed from their prior contexts before archaeological excavation.