The Annunaki are referred to prominently as deities or gods in the mythology and symbolism of ancient Mesopotomia. This area is known today broadly as the near east. It consists of modern day Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria and south western Iran. The word Mesopotamia derives from an ancient Greek word meaning land between two rivers. Those two rivers are the Tigris and the Euphrates.
The people that inhabited this region starting from around 3,000 BC, the beginning of written history. They established enough of a food surplus to be able to form sophisticated urban centers. They also invented writing. These writings make reference to the Annunaki, also known as Anunna, Anunnaku, Ananaki and similar variants. These terms refer to a group of gods recognized by various ancient civilizations including the Sumarians, Babylonians, Akkadians and Assyrians.
Mesopotamia is often described as the cradle of human civilization. During the bronze age, it was controlled by the Sumarians, Babylonians, Akkadians and Assyrians. These civilizations mark the start of recorded (written) human history. Control of the region alternated between these four civilizations until Babylon was eventually captured by the Achaemenid empire in 539 BC. It was then conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Following his death, Mesopotamia became part of the ancient Greek (Seleucid) empire.
One of the best known references to the Annunaku is in the Babylonian creation myth titled Enuma Elish. In this work, the Annunaku are referred to as great gods. Some of these figures existed in the heavens as heavenly gods, but other existed on earth as earthly gods. According to the Babylonian myth, humans were technologically inferior and their relationship with the Annunaku was largely subservient, almost slave-like.
For the Sumarians, the Annunaku were something slightly different, but nevertheless reconcilable perhaps with their Babylonian conception of them as gods. According to the Sumarians, the Annunaku were more alien space travelers than gods. They appeared on earth as giant humanoids, about eight feet tall. They had very broad and muscular, but nevertheless well-proportioned and attractive, physiques. The Sumarians referred to the home planet of the Annunaku by various names including the Planet of the Crossing, Niburu, Marduk, the Destroyer, Wormwood the Red Star and the 12th Planet. Modern commentators refer to this planet as Planet X.
Some commentators believe the Annunaku built the great pyramids in Egypt. The giant stature of the humanoids allowed them the strength to move the massive stones used to construct the pyramids. The Annunaku designed the pyramids as ultra-large structures in order to prevent them from being overwhelmed by shifting desert sand.
According to these commentators, the pyramids were used by the Annunaku as navigational devices to assist their inter-planetary travel. In particular, the earth-bound Annunaku used the pyramids to determine when the 12th Planet was close to the earth. Were this to be true, it would have been a critical task since the respective orbits of the two planets brought them into close proximity only once every 3,600 or so years. With the 12th Planet close by, in astronomical terms, the earth-bound Annunaku would be able to launch themselves from earth to conveniently rejoin their home planet.
This objective is believed to have been achieved by the Annunaku building a long small tunnel, no bigger than a rat, that extended from the outer surface of a pyramid and then deep within it. The tunnel was strategically positioned so that a shaft of light would reflect off the 12th Planet when it orbited near to earth. No evidence of such a tunnel has ever been found in the pyramids.
The Annunaku are covered in some detail in the well-known book titled Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia.This book is designed as an illustrated dictionary with all entries extensively cross-referenced. The book was first published in 1992 by Texas University Press and authored by Dr Jeremy Black (Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford University) and Dr Anthony Green (Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in Near Eastern Archaeology, Free Universitat Berlin). Both Black and Green are well-respected experts in the field with deep knowledge of the Anunnaku.
Some commentators believed that the Annunaku established several lasting prophecies that have survived through the ages. One of these predictions is that the earth would cease to exist after 2012. Its demise would be the result of a cataclysmic collision with a large a planet or similar astronomical object. This theory is often associated with the writings of Zecharia Sitchin (1920-2010). He refers to the astronomical object as Nibiru. The writings of Sitchin are dismissed by academics and scholars of oriental studies as unsupported by evidence and largely based on speculation.