posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 12:18 AM
Long Drought May Have Killed Sumerian Language
A 200-year-long drought 4,200 years ago may have killed off the ancient Sumerian language, one geologist says.
Sumerians invented the first written language and revolutionized how humans can live and prosper together through shared labor and trade. Their
written language, Cuneiform, was so influential that many of their neighbors in the region (at least those not absorbed into their empire by force)
adopted it so as to be able to engage in commerce and trade with them. Yet for all their innovations and advances, the Sumerians constantly suffered
invasions and displacement by other cultures, even those who 'borrowed' their culture from the Sumerians in the first place.
The collapse of Sumer is something of a mystery. Sumer was always under tension from outside forces (such as the Elamites), and internal forces as
well (Akkadians), past texts have suggested an invasion from the Elamites succeeded only because the Sumerians were weakened by a long drought, and
this researcher places more emphasis on the affect of the drought than previous researchers. I've read in the past that as the drought increased, so
too did the Sumerians irrigation efforts. Irrigation counts as one of their greater innovations on the Sumerian's path to civilization, but one that
would have a consequence, namely increasing the soils salinity and damaging future crop production. Archeologists have identified a large population
shift taking place at the time of this drought, which bordered on being an exodus from the southern cities to the north. Perhaps the Elamite invasion
of Ur was simply them taking advantage of the retreating Sumerians.
Like the Maya, it seems that civilizations that flourish perhaps too quickly can meet their demise when Mother Nature stops cooperating and cities
full of people find themselves starving. Does make one wonder what the next 100 years holds in store for modern civilization...