Sitchin, Zecharia
Zecharia Sitchin, an author of books offering an alternative
history of the extraterrestrial origins of ancient humanity, was
born in the 1920s in Baku, Russia. Soon after his birth his family
moved to Palestine, where he grew up. He learned a variety
of Near Eastern languages including Hebrew and Sumerian.
He moved to England for college and attended both the London
School of Economics and the University of London, from
which he graduated with a degree in economics. He returned
to Palestine, where he became a journalist. During World War
II (1939–45) he served in the British Army. He moved to the
United States in the mid-1950s.
In the 1970s, Sitchin’s lifelong interest in the archeology of
the Middle East culminated in a book, The 12th Planet, published
in 1976. It appeared at the height of the ancient astronaut
controversy that had been generated by claims of Erich
von Däniken that he had discovered evidence of the presence
of UFOs and extraterrestrials in the artifacts from various ancient
cultures. Sitchin, out of his knowledge of ancient languages,
proposed a new option concerning ancient history and
lifted the debate to a new level. While the debate generated by
von Däniken was largely resolved, Sitchin’s hypothesis survived
and has continued to be the subject of a series of books through
the 1990s.
The von Däniken approach centered upon pictures from
ancient sites that, taken out of context, could be seen as resembling
contemporary astronauts and objects similar to items reported
as unidentified flying objects. Sitchin started with a
somewhat different hypothesis, that ancient mythology should
be read as historical documents, as reports of actual occurrences.
His starting point was the biblical book of Genesis,
chapter 6, and the cryptic references to the sons of God marrying
the daughters of men and the giants or nephilim who were
on Earth in the era prior to the biblical flood. Using a variety
of ancient documents, though primarily the Babylonian epic
known as ‘‘Enuma Elish,’’ he hypothesized the existence of another
planet in our solar system, which he named Nibiru, that
travels an eliptical orbit that brings it into the area between the
orbits of Jupiter and Mars every 3,600 years. The planet is inhabited
by a humanoid race called the Anunnaki, who created
homo sapiens.
A war in the heavens, as described in the ancient Sumerian
chronicles and the Bible, Sitchin believes, accounts for the ancients’
knowledge of information that had only become available
to modern science in recent centuries, especially the existence
of the outer planets, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. He
believes that the Anunnaki first arrived on Earth almost half a
million years ago, their arrival motivated by the problem of an
eroding atmosphere. They established a large gold mining operation
in South Africa, and gold was shipped to Mesopotamia
where the space port was set up to transport it to Nibiru. The
Anannaki created humans to work the mines, then later intermarried
with their creation. The near approach of Nibiru
around 11,000 B.C.E. led to the destructive flood recounted in
Genesis. Noah and his family escaped in a submersible ship.
After the flood, life began again with the Anunnaki’s assistance.
Given the hypothesis of human interaction with the Anunnaki,
Sitchcin has been able to present an alternative reading
of ancient history that, while ignored by the mainstream of
modern archeologists and astronomers, has found a broad
popular audience. The 12th Planet has been followed by five additional
volumes, collectively termed the Earth Chronicles, that
expand and undergird the original hypothesis. The most recent
volume, The Cosmic Code, appeared in 1998.
Sitchin’s hypothesis was given additional credibility by a
lively debate among astronomers in the 1970s over the possible
existence of an additional planet in the solar system, commonly
referred to as Planet X. Sitchin identified Nibiru with the hypothesized
Planet X. The astronomical debate, however, proceeded
without reference to Sitchin, and by the 1990s astronomers
had abandoned the search for Planet X. At the end of the
1990s, Alan F. Alford, whose 1998 book Gods of the New Millennium
had been most supportive of Sitchin, attempted independently
to verify Sitchin’s hypothesis with his own research. In
the end, however, he too abandoned Sitchin after encountering
astronomical data suggesting the impossibility of some of
Sitchin’s claims about the way that Nibiru’s close approach affected
the Earth. He subsequently has produced a significant
variant hypothesis that nevertheless retains much of Sitchin’s
alternative approach to history.
Sitchin resides in New York City. He has an Internet site
httpwww.crystalinks.comsitchen.html. There are a number
of additional sites that discuss Sitchin’s work.
Alford, Alan F. Gods of the New Millennium. 1998. Reprint,
London Hodder and Stoughton, 1999.
———. When the Gods Came Down. London Hodder and
Stoughton, 2000.
Sitchin, Zecharia. The Cosmic Code. New York Avon, 1998.
———. The Stairway to Heaven. Santa Fe, N.Mex. Bear &
Co., 1993.
———. The 12th Planet. 1976. Reprint, Santa Fe, N.Mex.
Bear & Co., 1991.
———. The Wars of Gods and Men. Santa Fe, N.Mex. Bear
& Co., 1992.