1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech." 8 So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. –Genesis 11:1-9 ESV
The term "Sumerian" is an exonym first applied by the Akkadians. The Sumerians called themselves "the black-headed people" (sag-gi-ga) and their land "land of the civilized lords" (ki-en-gir). The Akkadian word Shumer possibly represents this name in dialect. The Sumerians were a non-Semitic people and were at one time believed to have been invaders, as a number of linguists believed they could detect a substrate language beneath Sumerian. However, the archaeological record shows clear uninterrupted cultural continuity from the time of the Early Ubaid period (5200-4500 BC C-14, 6090-5429 calBC) settlements in southern Mesopotamia. The Sumerian people who settled here farmed the lands in this region that were made fertile by silt deposited by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.
The challenge for any population attempting to dwell in Iraq's arid southern floodplain, where rainfall is currently less than 5 inches a year, was to manage the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to supply year-round water for farming and drinking. The Sumerian language has many terms for canals, dikes, and reservoirs, and this indicates that Sumerian speakers were possibly farmers who moved down from the north after perfecting irrigation agriculture there. The Ubaid pottery of southern Mesopotamia has been connected via Choga Mami Transitional ware to the pottery of the Samarra period culture (c. 5700-4900 BC C-14, 6640-5816 BC calBC) in the north, who were the first to practice a primitive form of irrigation agriculture along the middle Tigris River and its tributaries. The connection is most clearly seen at Tell Awayli (Oueilli, Oueili) near Larsa, excavated by the French in the 1980s, where 8 levels yielded pre-Ubaid pottery resembling Samarran ware. Sumerian speakers spread down into southern Mesopotamia perhaps because they had developed a social organization and a technology that enabled them, through their control of the water, to survive and prosper in a difficult environment then occupied by the fisher-hunter-gatherer population using a pre-pottery Arabian bifacial toolkit in the marshlands near the Persian Gulf and proto-Akkadian nomadic pastoralists.
Ancient name for Akkad (or ACCAD, "which see"), one of the chief cities of Babylonia (Gen 10:10), and the capital city of Sargon, who lived and ruled in Babylonia circa 3500 BC. Together with Shunir it formed part of one of the royal titles: "kings of Shunir (Sumer) and Accad."More...