The ancient Sumerians, builders of the first known civilization in the world, are a mystery to us. Settling on what is now called Southern Iraq in about 5400 BC, they produced a written language, a complex system of mythology, stunning architecture and a lost world that kept regional hegemony for thousands of years. We do not know where it came from their language; not even know where they came from their genes. We have no idea who their modern descendants, and have never been able to test the remains of the Sumerian DNA.
Well, at least until now. A complete skeleton found in Sumerian capital, Ur, dated about 4500 BC, was recently rediscovered in the Penn Museum - and his teeth intact include soft enough to allow a DNA test.
Nicknamed "Noah", the skeleton seems to have survived the ancient deluge and everything that came after:
The staff of the [British archaeologist, Sir Leonard] Woolley found 48 or more tombs in a flood plain; an area that is regularly subject to flooding. The skeletons were there, very unusual shape ancient, dating back to a bygone era known as the Ubaid (6.500- 3800 BC) period, but only one of them was intact and can be removed. The skeleton was excavated, along with the land around them, given a coat of wax and sent first to London. However, upon arriving at Philadelphia in the USA, he was forgotten.
Until recently, the earliest advocates for the Sumerian DNA test have been followers of Zecharia Sitchin, who believed that the ancient Sumerian civilization socialized with aliens and alien genes could be loaded. But there are many other reasons for the controversial study of Sumerian DNA: it will tell us where they came the first builders of cities and who are their contemporary descendants. The migration of Sumerians is one of the great hidden stories of human civilization. If our goal is to discover this, this DNA test is the best tool we have