The hypothesis that the flood levels at Kish and Shuruppak represent the same event is no more than an assumption. Flood events occurred with frequency throughout southern Mesopotamia, as the two separate early flood levels at Kish indicate. Even more so than the Ur flood, the flood levels at Kish and Shuruppak fail to fulfill the biblical or even the Mesopotamian literary descriptions. In the degree to which those descriptions are "rationalized," any criteria for distinguishing between the biblical Flood and virtually any other flood disappear. The flood remains at Kish and Shuruppak are hardly imposing. The silt at Kish averages less than ten inches thick, and the deposit at Shuruppak is about fifteen inches-in comparison to up to eleven feet of material at Ur (Raikes, 1967, pp. 52-63). The severity of a flood cannot necessarily be deduced from the thickness of an isolated sample of the flood deposit. It is nonetheless suggestive that thicker, more impressive deposits from another flood have been discovered at Kish, dating too late to be identified with the innundation of the Bible and Mesopotamian literature, and yet that later flood left no record in history (Watelin, 1934, pp. 41-43; Mallowan, 1964, pp. 78-79 and plate XX). All that remains is the possibility that the Kish and Shuruppak materials do represent the same event and coincide chronologically with the date of about 2900 BCE for the Flood of Mesopotamian literary tradition.
The flood materials from Ur, Kish, and Shuruppak were excavated over half a century ago. Woolley's description of the flood level at Ur is far from scientific. It is not even possible to be sure of the exact number of sondages in which he found flood remains. While attempts to dismiss the remains of the Ur flood as merely windblown sand are unsubstantiated and probably unsubstantiatable, the two "scientific" examinations of materials from the Ur flood stratum are, by modern standards, vague and inconclusive. The same situation prevails at Kish and Shuruppak (Raikes, 1967, pp. 52-63). In all probability, the finds do represent floods, but the exact character of those events—fluvial or marine, rapid or slow deposition, unitary or episodic—remains unknown. The hydrology of southern Mesopotamia is very complex. Renewed excavation and modern scientific techniques could probably solve many of these questions, but current political and military conditions would seem to preclude any such activity in the near future. Until the situation changes, there are no compelling grounds on which to conclude that the Flood story found its ultimate beginning in an actual event that has been identified at Kish and Shuruppak or anywhere else in Mesopotamia.
The endemic character of flooding in southern Mesopotamia may well have been sufficient to generate the story about a supreme Flood, and the attachment of that story to a specific, long-passed, ill-known historical context may, in fact, be late and unreliable. The earliest edition of the Sumerian King List certainly includes no list of antediluvian kings, and the presence of reference to the Flood is in doubt. It may first have been added much later, during a period in which the Flood story was popular (Civil, 1969, p. 139). Ultimately, the search for a local Mesopotamian flood upon which a rationalization of the Bible story can be based may prove as illusionary as the search for Noah's ark.