Zecharia Sitchin (July 11, 1920 – October 9, 2010) was born in Russia and raised in Palestine, where he acquired a knowledge of modern and ancient Hebrew, other Semitic and European languages, the Old Testament, and the history and archaeology of the Near East. Sitchin attended and graduated from the University of London, majoring in economic history.
A journalist and editor in Israel for many years, he now lives and writes in New York. His books have been widely translated, converted to Braille for the blind, and featured on radio and television. Sitchin claims that his research coincides with many biblical texts and that the biblical texts come originally from the Sumerian writings of their history.
He was an author of books promoting an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the Anunnaki, which he claims to be a race of extra-terrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune called Nibiru. He believed this hypothetical planet of Nibiru to be in an elongated, elliptical orbit in the Earth’s own Solar System, asserting that Sumerian mythology reflects this view.
Sitchin’s speculations have been ridiculed by professional scientists, historians, and archaeologists, who note many problems with his translations of ancient texts and categorize his work as pseudohistory and pseudoscience.
Similarly to earlier authors such as Immanuel Velikovsky and Erich von Daniken, Sitchin advocated theories in which extraterrestrial events supposedly played a significant role in ancient human history.
According to Sitchin’s interpretation of Mesopotamian iconography and symbology, outlined in his 1976 book The 12th Planet and its sequels, there is an undiscovered planet beyond Neptune which follows a long, elliptical orbit, reaching the inner solar system roughly every 3,600 years.