Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sumerian Origins - Tools

The Sumerians had the knowledge, resources, and skills necessary to manufacture many tools necessary for their labors and the advancement of their society. I imagine that those made of metal would have been especially useful. Their metallurgical skills were advanced for their time, but the knowledge and techniques would have been passed down from before the flood, through Noah, and developed and improved by the innovative Sumarians. 

We read: "[Their] smith worked in gold, silver, tin, lead, copper, bronze. Copper work was highly developed as early as the beginning of the third millennium B.c.; not only was copper casting well known, but also such other techniques as hammering, annealing, filigree, and granulation. The smith, or metallurgist, had at his disposal a special type of bellows which could be worked by hand or foot to raise the temperature of his furnace to a degree of heat that would melt copper. Wood and reeds were used as kindling, and it took two pounds of wood and three "reed bundles"-or six reed bundles if no wood was used-to melt half a pound of copper (1349). A metal called “sugan” (probably antimony) was used as an alloy (1349). The more common products made of copper and bronze were tools such as hoes, axes, chisels, knives, and saws; arms such as lance points and arrowheads, swords, daggers, and harpoons; vessels and containers; nails, pins, rings, and mirrors (1353)." 

So we see that these ancient peoples were not those ignorant, unskilled savages portrayed by many modern histories. Many of these tools were used in their farming and agriculture. They used the copper ax (probably copper alloy) for cutting firewood (3376). They did not rely on stone tools, even though their civilization was flourishing during the last stages of the so called "stone age."

"To make up for the dearth of minerals and stones, they learned to bake the river clay and mud, the supply of which was practically inexhaustible, into sickles, pots, plates, and jars ... Later, the Sumerians invented the brick mold for shaping and baking the ubiquitous river clay and so had no more building-material problem. They devised such useful tools, skills, and techniques as the potter's wheel, the wagon wheel, the plow, the sailboat (74)."  From the leather, manufactured from cattle, sheep, goat and pig skins they made water bags, containers, harnesses, saddles, and of course shoes and sandals (1353).

The jeweler had tools and techniques which he used to cut, form, and polish precious and semi-precious stones. The specific tools are not mentioned, but many beautiful examples have been found that give proof of the methods employed. 

Jaredite parallels: We find similar skill and knowledge among the Jaredites in the Americas. In Ether we read: "And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash. And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts. And they did make all manner of weapons of war. And they did work all manner of work of exceedingly curious workmanship (Ether 10:25-27)."

The Jaredites were skill in the ceramic arts and very beautiful examples have been discovered throughout their domains. These skills seem to have been implemented full blown here in the Americas without a period of development. In addition, they were skilled sculptors having the tools and skills to work in three dimensions. They often worked with hard stone, such as jade, which required great skill. They engaged in monumental building projects that must have required considerable knowledge and the mobilization of tremendous power and resources. 

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