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an ancient people inhabiting southern Mesopotamia. Judging from the existing scanty linguistic and toponymic data, the Sumerians were not indigenous to the region, although they had inhabited it as early as the fifth millennium B.C. Anthropologically they belonged to the Mediterranean and Balkan-Caucasian races of the major Europeoid race.

In the middle of the third millennium B.C., the Sumerians began to intermix with the Akkadians, an eastern Semitic people who had settled in the northern part of southern Mesopotamia. In the second half of the second millennium B.C., the Sumerians merged with the eastern Semites into a single Akkadian people. The Sumerian language remained the language of scholarship and religion in Mesopotamia until the second or first century B.C. The Sumerians were the inventors of the first writing system in Mesopotamia, the cuneiform writing system.


D’iakonov, I. M. “Narody drevnei Perednei Azii.” In Peredneaziatskii etnograficheskii sbornik, fasc. 1. Moscow, 1956.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the northern celestial hemisphere the Sumerians placed a celestial Plow, Apin, which apparently consisted of Gamma Andromedae plus our classical Triangulum, with the plow's narrow tip at Alpha Trianguli.
The three oldest perfect alphabets, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, are Sumerian, Arabic and Hebrew, and date back to 1,500 BC'.
It was not that the Sumerians had been forgotten; rather, they most probably never existed--or hardly so--as a conceptually distinct ethno-linguistic population in Babylonia.
With a plentiful food supply, many Sumerians gave up their nomadic (wandering) existence.
The discoveries at Kazane Hoyuk and Tell Baidar indicate otherwise and suggest that the Sumerians were not only responsible for establishing cities as a form of human settlement but also for spreading the idea to the rest of the Middle East and across the world.
Over the past 15 years, Schmandt-Besserat has formulated a theory favoring the gradual evolution of the first writing system, which appeared roughly 5,000 years ago among the Sumerian people living in what is now Iran (SN: 12/24&31/88, p.
Sumerian religious texts from around 2200 BC refer to a processional magur-boat sacred to Enki and say that this boat had a goat's-head prow.
The kind of myth we have in EWO consists largely of "analogical thinking" about the regular realities the ancient Sumerians faced.
But for mapmakers, the most important feature of Sumerian civilization can fit in the palm of your hand.
The Sumerians grew barley, from which beer can be made, and Sumerian writings indicate that beer served as their "preferred fermented beverage," McGovern says.
One of the leaders in this change in the direction of research has been Herman Vanstiphout, who has spent his entire scholarly career studying Sumerian literature as literature.
At Buto, however, Egyptians may have copied temple decorations shown to them by Sumerians more than 5,000 years ago, suggesting "direct and complex influences at work" between the two societies, O'Connor observes.