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Did the Ancients Live Longer?
Methuselah is said to of lived 969 years (Genesis 5:27). Allum, the first Sumerian king, ruled for 28,800 years, but the numbers in Genesis 5 and the Sumerian King List may be based on the sexagesimal system of the base 60 which the Sumerians invented. That is why we have 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour. The oldest known way was to count each day, so if one divides by 360 (the number of days in their year), one will come up with the number of years he ruled which is 80 years. The next set of reigns after the great flood in the Sumerian King List is much lower and is probably based on lunar months (or 60), and the final set is most likely solar years (see also Walton, 1981, 207, and 1989, 129; Herodotus I:32).
Robert Best argues that scribes mistranslated the archaic Sumerian time sign U4 for year as "shar" meaning 3600 (1999, 118). Land sale documents were usually dated with the regnal year, month, and day (Ibid., 121). This may be the original way that the Sumerian King List should be understood, so 18 shar would equal 18 years. For more information see his Website and click on How old was Noah? at http://www.noahs-ark-flood.com/.