The baked tablet that had been deciphered by Dr George. It is finely carved with a relief showing the king and tower and chiseled with text saying how people were gathered from all over to construct the ziggurat.

Ancient Babylonian Tablet Provides Compelling Evidence that the Tower of Babel DID Exist


Half the world seems to say the Bible is pure bunk, while the other half says it’s, well, the word of God. Now comes a professor who isn’t religious to say that a baked tablet from ancient Babylon gives evidence that the biblical tower of Babel was real. And his evidence is quite persuasive.

In linguistics, there is a theory that there was a single, original language spoken by humankind. The Bible’s book of Genesis, Chapter 11, hews to that line too, in the passage about the tower of Babel.

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar [Babylonia] and settled there.

The people decided to build a tower to the heavens to make a name for themselves and avoid being scattered around the world. But the Lord observed this tower’s construction and thought if his people could build this with one language, they could do anything. God decided to prevent them by scattering them around the world and imposing many languages on them.

Marten van Valckenborch the Elder - The Tower of Babel.

Marten van Valckenborch the Elder - The Tower of Babel. (Public Domain)

No doubt the Bible story is quite different from the linguistic theory.

But as for the tower, Andrew George, a professor of Babylonia at the University of London, thinks he has found solid evidence for it in an ancient baked tablet from the city of Babylon.

In a video on Smithsonian.org, he details his theory, and it all sounds very plausible:

The baked clay tablet that Dr. George examined, discovered a century ago in Babylon (now modern-day Iraq) and now privately held, shows what the ziggurat looked like, with its seven steps. It shows the king with his conical hat and staff. And below is text that describes the commissioning of the tower’s construction.

“This is a very strong piece of evidence that the tower of Babel story was inspired by this real building,” Dr. George told Smithsonian. “At the top … there is a relief depicting a step tower and … a figure of a human being carrying a staff with a conical hat on. Below that relief is a text which has been chiseled into the monument, and the label is easily read. It reads:

Etemenanki, Ziggurat Babel.

“And that means ‘the Ziggurat or Temple Tower of the City of Babylon.’ The building and its builder on the same relief,” the professor says.

A reconstruction of the tower of Babel from a Smithsonian video screenshot

A reconstruction of the tower of Babel from a Smithsonian video screenshot

The text gives an account of the people enlisted to construct the tower, as translated by Dr. George:

From the Upper Sea [Mediterranean] to the Lower Sea [Persian Gulf] the Far-Flung Lands and Teeming Peoples of the Habitations I Mobilized In Order to Construct This Ziggurat of Babylon.

The Smithsonian video says this tablet gives further proof that the tower of Babel was an actual building.

“After Darwin cast a doubt on the story of a six-day creation, people began to ask what else in the Bible might not be true,” Dr. George told Breaking Israel News. “In the 19th century there was a discovery that the Assyrian kings described in the Bible were real and corroborated by archaeological evidence, making us ask now, how much more in the Bible is true?”

Experts had already thought King Nebuchadnezzar II actually did build a ziggurat in Babylonia after he established the city as his capital. The tablet provides more evidence.

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563) (Public Domain)

The city of Babylon had been founded around 2300 BC about 80 miles south of present-day Baghdad. The Hittites sacked Babylon in 1595 BC, but Nebuchadnezzar began rebuilding the city in 612 BC, constructing the new edifice around an older tower.

Archaeologists think the tower of Babel was 300 feet along the sides and 300 feet tall. Only a fraction of the building remains, scattered and broken.

Top image: The baked tablet that had been deciphered by Dr George. It is finely carved with a relief showing the king and tower and chiseled with text saying how people were gathered from all over to construct the ziggurat. (Smithsonian screenshot)

By Mark Miller

Comments

I dispute this time frame for the Tower of Babel. This documentary doesn't take in the time frame of the Bible.
The tower of Babel was around 2000BC not 500-600BC.
The prophet Jeremiah was at the 600BC time frame.
Moses was after the Tower of Babel.

Might it have been abandoned at the time of the Early Bronze Age II collapse approximately 2181 BCE in which Mesopotamia was devastated?

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Detail of a man depicted on an Uruk vase, Pergamon Museum. The Uruk civilization arose as it expertly adapted to the new climate.
Beginning around 90,000 years ago, during an interglacial period, Anatomically Modern Humans were able to take advantage of the favorable climatic conditions and migrate throughout Africa and into Asia. Soon thereafter, identifiable culture can be found in the archaeological record. As far as can be told, it was Homo Sapiens living in Africa that would make the first symbolic paintings, but Neanderthals soon did this as well.

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article