Another reason to be sceptical about stories on the internet surfaced late last year, with images of a clay object that looked a lot like an old Nokia style mobile phone, complete with Sumerian style cuneiform characters on clay buttons. Turned out of course that it was simply an art piece that someone had taken the photo of and wrapped a fake story around it. Was pretty obvious it was a hoax to begin with but it's sad how quickly these stories can be circulated at face value, without any form of fact checking.
Not sure how or why I missed this, but late last year the Iraqi transport minister (Kazem Finjan) held a press conference and claimed the worlds first airport was built by the Sumerians in 5,000BC, roughly 370km south east of Baghdad. It gets better - apparently it was used to launch space ships to travel to other planets. Ah, science.
Amazingly, he's still around. Most recently he was accused of pushing his way into the cockpit of a commercial airline carrying 200 passengers, demanding to land the plane himself. i like the quote "The minister did not do a good job. He slammed the front of the plane into the ground, sending the passengers into a panic". Perhaps planes were easier to land 7,000 years ago....
In April 2003, the Iraq Museum was looted with an estimated 15,000 (and possibly more) objects stolen or destroyed. It was a terrible moment in our world history, and a tragic loss. I could never condone what happened, but I can understand what drove some of the people to steal valuable objects at the time - they needed food to keep alive, this was a way to get money, it was a period of great uncertainty, and people are more important than objects. More recently, the murder of innocent people and destruction of Palmyra in Syria was a crime against all humanity, and sadly that amazing historical site is gone now forever, our only record of its existence being the photos taken before it was destroyed.
The good news however is that since the Museum in Iraq was looted, many of the objects have been recovered. The museum has now reopened, although many items are still yet to be recovered, and in fact may never be recovered. Some information about what has happened is here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35774900
Lugalbanda lies idle in the mountains, in the faraway places; he has ventured into the Zabu mountains. No mother is with him to offer advice, no father is with him to talk to him. No one is with him whom he knows, whom he values, no confidant is there to talk to him. In his heart he speaks to himself: "I shall treat the bird as befits him, I shall treat Anzud as befits him. I shall greet his wife affectionately. I shall seat Anzud's wife and Anzud's child at a banquet. An will fetch Ninguenaka for me from her mountain home -- the expert woman, who redounds to her mother's credit, Ninkasi the expert, who redounds to her mother's credit: her fermenting-vat is of green lapis lazuli, her beer cask is of refined silver and of gold; if she stands by the beer, there is joy, if she sits by the beer, there is gladness; as cupbearer she mixes the beer, never wearying as she walks back and forth, Ninkasi , the keg at her side, on her hips; may she make my beer-serving perfect. When the bird has drunk the beer and is happy, when Anzud has drunk the beer and is happy, he can help me find the place to which the troops of Unug are going, Anzud can put me on the track of my brothers."
Well, there seems to be a recent influx of people sending messages to [name]@ninkasi.com. Way back when I could be bothered, I used to reply to these people and say "please check with the person you are trying to talk to, and confirm what their email address is, as whatever it is it does *not* end with "ninkasi.com". I was doing this again this morning when I finally gave up as yet another "testing" message came through. These are all now going to go straight to the bit bucket. Again, this site and domain name has nothing to do with any specific brewery, but rather is a homage to ninkasi herself!