Oct 05, 2022
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An ancient tablet believed to depict the Biblical Tower of Babel has been deciphered 100 years after its discovery and may represent the first-ever image of the real tower when it stood in Babylon during Biblical times.

The amazing tale of the tablet is told in a series produced by the Smithsonian. For scholars, the tablet offers proof that the Tower of Babel wasn’t just a work of fiction, the series argues, but “an actual building from antiquity.”

The sixth-century BCE tablet, found a century ago but, as part of a private collection, never studied or exhibited until now, depicts a Babylonian tower known as a ziggurat. After deciphering the tablet, Dr. Andrew George, an expert on ancient Babylon, became convinced it shows the true source of the famed Biblical story.

The relief carving of the tower on the tablet (Screenshot)

The amazing tale of the tablet is told in a series produced by the Smithsonian. For scholars, the tablet offers proof that the Tower of Babel wasn’t just a work of fiction, the series argues, but “an actual building from antiquity.”

In the first installment of the series, Dr. George, a professor of Babylonian at the University of London, examines the tablet, showing an image of the ziggurat, a massive stepped structure, and a figure holding a staff. The professor translates the inscription, which identifies the structure as the “Tower of Temple of Babylon”.

The inscription confirms the building was a Mesopotamian-style tower and illustrates the seven tiers of the ancient megastructure. Significantly, it also identifies the man behind it, depicted next to the tower – Mesopotamia’s most famous ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar II. Dr. George’s translation of the tablet reveals a detailed account of the tower’s construction by the Babylonian king.

The engraving of the tower and Nebuchadnezzer II (Screenshot)

“It reads, ‘from the Upper Sea, which is the Mediterranean, to the Lower Sea, which is the Persian Gulf, the far-flung lands and the teeming people of the habitations, I mobilized in order to construct this building.’”

The inscription was one of the keys to identifying the ziggurat described in the tablet as the Biblical tower. Dr. George believes that its builders, hailing from all over the region, could represent the Biblical ‘multitudes’ of languages which led to the tower’s destruction.

“The myth about the multitude of tongues comes from the context described in the stele about the multitude of peoples enlisted in the construction of the tower,” Professor George told Breaking Israel News in an interview. “There were many languages spoken on the construction site. From that it may be that the Bible got the idea of the confusion of tongues.”

Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. Genesis 11:7

“As an Assyriologist, I don’t deal in the Bible, and I am not a religious person, but in this case, I can say there is an actual building which does seem to be the inspiration for the Biblical narrative,” Dr. George acknowledged to Breaking Israel News.

More and more, archaeologists are finding proof that Biblical stories relate to historical events. Dr. George sees no contradiction between science and the Bible. The professor described how this schism between science and religion is gradually being reconciled in his field.

Dr. Andrew George, Professor of Babylonian at the University of London (SOAS)

“After Darwin cast a doubt on the story of a six-day creation, people began to ask what else in the Bible might not be true,” Dr. George said. “In the 19th century there was a discovery that the Assyrian kings described in the Bible were real and corroborated by archaeological evidence, making us ask now, how much more in the Bible is true?”

Archaeologists generally agree that the site of the tower is in the ancient city of Babylonia, an area known today as Al Qasr, approximately 80 miles south of Baghdad. The original city, believed to have been built in 2300 BCE, was sacked in 1595 BCE by the Hittites. In 612 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar II rebuilt the city, turning it into his capital. He constructed a large ziggurat  around the original ancient tower.

Nebuchadnezzar’s ziggurat, referred to by archaeologists as the Etemenanki, is believed to have been almost 300 feet tall, with a square base measuring 300 feet on each side. It encased the earlier structure, made of sunbaked bricks, inside a 49-foot -thick wall of oven-baked brick.

Until the US incursion into Iraq in 2003, the site was neglected, due to local people stealing the ancient bricks for construction. Saddam Hussein reconstructed part of ancient Babylon in 1985, destroying sections of the ancient ruins. Hearkening back to the ancient practice, he added his own inscription, stamping into its bricks, “This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq”, and installing a huge portrait of himself alongside the Biblical king.

WATCH: Evidence the Tower of Babel is Real