2005 Atlantis Conference
Christoph Henke has prepared, in German, a comprehensive list of Atlantis criteria, available on Thorwald C.Franke’s website(a). Checklists of arbitrarily chosen criteria have been offered by a number of Atlantis theorists in an effort to bolster their particular ideas. The 2005 Atlantis Conference ended with a list of 24 such criteria[629.573], some of which, I consider misleading, while in my opinion, other, more relevant matters, have been omitted!
Seasons are sub-divisions of the year usually based on changes in ecology, weather or hours of daylight. The number of seasons varies between two (Polar) and six (India). My native Ireland has been described by cynics as now having only three seasons, as recent weather changes seem to have removed summer from our calendar.
The Egyptian year is divided into three seasons as they also did in the Indus civilisation. In an effort to make Plato’s 9,000 years more credible, commentators as early Giovanni Carli in the 18th century and Rafinesque in the 19th have suggested that Plato’s years were in fact ‘seasons’. The idea has gained further traction in more recent years with support from Axel Hausmann and Radek Brychta and most recently Rosario Vieni. Both Hausmann and Vieni presented papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference, where Hausmann proposed that the ‘years’ be treated as seasons and so concluded that the demise of Atlantis took place in 3522 BC[629.359]. However, at the same conference Vieni presented his paper entitled “11,500 years ago…..” [629.337], obviously at that stage accepting Plato’s 9,000 years at face value. Three years later, he presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference which he entitled “About 5600 years ago….” [750.347], in which he had changed his understanding of Plato’s ‘years’ to be now seasons. While his intellectual honesty is to be applauded, I must point out that because a person changes their opinion, there is no guarantee that their second choice is any more correct than the first.
I am not convinced by the ‘seasons’ explanation, as it just seems to be a rather feeble attempt to explain away Plato’s 9,000 being a reference to solar years. Supporters of this ‘seasons’ explanation appear to be forced to look for an alternative to a literal 9,000 years as that figure conflicts dramatically with the Bronze Age setting of the Atlantis narrative and runs counter to the archaeological evidence for dating the foundation of both Athens and the Egyptian civilisation.
The more popular alternative suggestion of treating the ‘years’ as lunar cycles makes much more sense, as it brings the Atlantis story into the end of the Greek Bronze Age. It also matches the time of the destruction of the spring on the Acropolis (Crit.112d) and conforms to details on the Parian Marble. But perhaps most important of all is that the use of lunar cycles by the Egyptians for calculating time was noted by Eudoxus of Cnidos (410-355 BC) and also by Plutarch, Manetho, Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.
Adamantia (Amanda) Laoupi (1968- ) is a Greek archaeologist(a) responsible for defining a new interdisciplinary field of study – Disaster Archaeology, which is concerned with a range of subjects that includes earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and asteroidal/cometary impacts, together with their local, regional and global effects. Laoupi has now expanded her views on disaster archaeology with the publication of her latest book, Pushing the Limits.
A number of her papers are available on the Internet(f), one(b) deals with comets and diseases echoing some of the conclusions of Mike Baillie as well as those of Fred Hoyle & Chandra Wickramasinghe. 2013 saw further evidence published that suggested that comets may have seeded life on earth(d). Additional confirmation came from data transmitted from comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko 67P in 2015 that revealed the existence there of sixteen organic compounds(e).
Laoupi has also touched on the subject of Atlantis in a technical paper on catastrophist mythology[0629.9] presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference. In her Disaster Archaeology website(c) she has 14 discussion headings relating to Atlantis. Her conclusion is that the Atlantis story is a mixture of fact and fiction and perhaps is best related in her own words:
“The worldwide legend of Atlantis is a multi-layered ‘anthropological’ myth with strong cross-cultural parallels that echoes humanity’s experiences on mega-archaeodisasters, that had been filtrated through different symbolic languages. So, in this point of view, Atlantis as described by Plato, didn’t exist exactly as a whole, but as hidden information of different origin (chronological, topographic, environmrental, archaeological, astronomical, etc), like the Homeric Epics and other famous literature of the ancient world.”
George Pararas-Carayannis is a Greek-born oceanographer now living in Hawaii. His area of interest is disasters, natural and man-made, particularly tsunamis. He has a website devoted to disasters(a) which includes a paper(b) linking the Minoan civilisation and the Bronze Age eruption of Thera with the destruction of Atlantis. In a similar vein is another paper(c) that he prepared for the 2005 Atlantis Conference.
Ronnie Alonzo is a Filipino researcher who places Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean. He bases his theory on his interpretation of markings he discovered on a stone discovered in the Zimbales Mountains in the Philippines.
Alonzo formerly supported his theory with a website(a). There is also a related video clip(b) available.
Alonzo’s highly speculative ideas have found little support.
(a) http://www.keystonecode.org/ (offline 9/8/14)
(b) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zs2rUU7T-Y (Spanish)
Elephants are specifically mentioned by Plato as being indigenous to Atlantis. This must have significance for anyone trying to arrive at a credible location for Atlantis. For example, supporters of the Theran Atlantis School cannot show where such large animals could have lived on the small volcanic island. There are no physical remains, no frescos and no historical references. Rodney Castleden who supports the Minoan Hypothesis admits that “no raw elephant ivory has been found (on Thera) and very little in the way of worked ivory”[225.70]. He later speaks of the importation of ivory into Crete[p.172] having bravely denounced Plato’s description (Critias 115a) of herds of elephants on Atlantis as “false”[p.136].
Similarly, Spanuth’s Heligoland location would have been climatically unsuited to elephants. Spanuth himself admits that the elephant reference “is hard to explain“. Nevertheless, Felice Vinci who champions a Northern European origin for Greek mythology is of the opinion that Plato’s elephant reference may be a lingering memory of the woolly mammoths that inhabited Arctic regions as recently as 1700 BC. In the late 17th century Olof Rudbeck, recognising the problem that Plato’s reference to elephants presented for his Swedish Atlantis, argued that Plato had been speaking figuratively when describing the large voracious animals and had in fact been referring to wolves, the Swedish word for wolf being ‘ulf’, which sounds like the beginning of ‘elephant’!!
Elephants in Western Europe were undoubtedly represented by mammoths, remains of which have been recovered from the North Sea – Doggerland and dated to around 40,000 years ago. Coincidentally, a tool made of mammoth bone, used for making rope, has also been dated to 40,000 years ago(i)(n). Ashley Cowie recently published an interesting book on the history of rope-making. Further information on string, ropes and knots was published in March 2017(o).
Allied to the demise of the Siberian mammoths is the often repeated fib that when the remains were first discovered, their flesh was still fresh enough to eat, has recently been debunked by Jason Colavito(j). He has also unearthed the truth behind that other canard relating to a Siberian mammoth, namely that fresh buttercups were found in its mouth(j). He has now(q) traced back the earliest reference to the frozen mammoths to George Cuvier in 1822 [1586.11].
Eckart Kahlhofer, in a forthcoming book advocates a North-West European location for Atlantis, suggests that where Plato referred to elephants he really meant deer! Kahlhofer offers, as a simple explanation for this seemingly daft contention, the fact that the Greek for elephant, elephas, is very similar to the Greek elaphos which means deer. A simple transcription error by a scribe could have caused the mix-up. The elk was the largest species of deer to be found in the northern hemisphere and are still to be found in Scandinavia. The Great Irish Deer which died out around 5500 BC had an antler span of 11ft and a maximum height of 10ft.
Gene Matlock in an attempt to bolster his Mexican location for Atlantis has suggested that Plato’s elephants were in fact the long-snouted tapirs of Meso-America!(c), an idea ‘borrowed’ from Hyde Clarke
While the elephant issue should not be dealt with in isolation it does serve to illustrate the difficulties involved in analysing Plato’s text. Consider the possibility that the early date of 9600 BC for Atlantis is accepted, then the islands that are too small today to accommodate elephants may have been considerably larger and sometimes connected to each other or a mainland during the Ice Age, when sea levels were lower, and consequently capable of supporting pachyderms. In this regard, Sundaland would have been a most suitable candidate. Not only would to-day’s South China Sea’s archipelagos been a single landmass, but there would have been access to the area from the Asian mainland, home today to large numbers of elephants.
Strangely enough even the Andes, considered by some as the home of Atlantis, reveal the fact that during the last Ice Age a species of elephant called Cuvieronius lived there but became extinct around 8000 BC. These animals are to be found carved on the great Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco suggesting that they were common in the region. Supporters of an Atlantis link with Tiahuanaco have highlighted this fact. James Bailey who supports the idea of Atlantis in America believes that Plato’s mention of elephants could be a reference to the American mammoth, generally believed to have died out circa 10,000 BC, although Victor von Hagen, the American explorer, contentiously maintained that they survived as late 2000 BC. A similar idea was presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference by American researcher, Monique Petersen.
The Schoppes, in support of their theory of Atlantis in the Black Sea region, contend(l) that Indian elephants existed there until 800 BC and support this with a reference to the Egyptian pharoah Thutmosis III who killed 120 elephants ‘there’ around 1200 BC, which is a strange claim as Thutmosis did not venture beyond Syria and he died circa 1426 BC!
Elephas Antiquus (Palaeoloxodon), is a dwarf species whose remains have been found throughout the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus. All those found were dated 200,000 BC or earlier! In sharp contrast, Simon Davis, in an article in New Scientist (3 Jan.1985), dated Mediterranean dwarf elephants to as recent as 6000 BC(p). A number of writers, such as Roger Coghill, have tried to use the pygmy elephant as an explanation for Plato’s text (Crit. 114e & 115a) where we find that he describes the elephants as being ‘of its nature the largest and most voracious’. This is not a description of pygmy elephants.
However, Ghar Hasan or Hasan’s Cave in southeast Malta has paleolithic cave paintings that depict elephants, indicating more recent contact with the animals. Whether these represented full-sized or the pygmy variety is unclear. A small booklet by Dr. Anton Mifsud and Dr. Charles Savona-Ventura describes this cave system.
*In Dossier Malta – Neanderthal  Mifsud has drawn attention to another cavern, not far away, formerly known as Ghar Dulam, now Ghar Dalam, where thousands of dwarf elephant bones were discovered. Dulam means ‘small elephant’ in Arabic. This is one of the mainstays of his ‘Atlantis in Malta’ theory. Whether these diminutive creatures justify Plato’s description that they were the “largest and most voracious” of animals (Crit.115a) is clearly debatable.*For me this is not a description of pygmy elephants and so in all probability is an indication of a North African location or, as some claim, an Asian one! The Atlanteans had control in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt, which would have included what is now modern Tunisia, the home of the last recorded wild elephants in that region!
Readers should be aware that there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(e)(h). In fact the New Scientist magazine of 7th February 1985(d) outlined the evidence that Tunisia had native elephants until at least the end of the Roman Empire.
In Elephant Destiny Martin Meredith records that one of the earliest references to the African elephant came from Hanno, the 5th century BC Carthaginian explorer, who related how he came across marshes at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, which “were haunted by elephants and multitudes of other grazing beasts.” Meredith also mentions that stables for as many as 300 elephants were to be found within the city of Carthage itself.
Nevertheless, the species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(f). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare(g). It would seem to me that the North African Elephant, rather than the Asian or African species, would have been more suited to the trek across the Alps. Needless to say, the Atlas Mountains were part of the Atlantean sphere of control (Timaeus 25a-b) and so may be the reason that Plato mentioned them.
The latter half of 2010 saw a new piece of nonsense hit the blogosophere when a claim that the Atlanteans had flying machines made of elephant skins suddenly appeared and before you could say “cut and paste” it was ‘adopted’ by a variety of websites(a)(b). So Dumbo was not the first flying elephant! In fact this daft idea was just a recycling of one of Edgar Cayce’s ‘revelations’ (Reading 364-6)(m).
(a) http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Speaking-of-Atlantis/1872335 (Offline October 2017)
*Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi along with Masse were co-editors of Myth and Geology where it was noted* that “Myths are largely event-based, in that they are triggered to a large part by an event, or combination of events, that catastrophically impact society, then these myths provide a window upon those events that can be recovered, retrieved and even dated.”(b)
*The publication of Myth and Geology gave a boost to the development of the new discipline of ‘geomythology‘.*
In particular, Masse studied 175 flood myths among which two gave clues to a major event that occurred in 2807 BC, which Masse linked to a cometary impact south of Madagascar creating the Burckle Crater and producing a 600 foot tsunami that swept around the world(a) . Masse implied a connection with the destruction of Atlantis when he co-authored a paper that was presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on the Burckle Crater.
Masse is a leading member of the Holocene Impact Working Group.
Rosario Vieni (1941- ) is an Italian Professor of History who was born in Messina, Sicily and currently lives in Pistoia in Northern Italy. He has studied the Phaistos Disk and published a calendrical interpretation of that artefact(e)(f).
Vieni also presented a paper(a) to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos entitled “11,500 years ago….” He proposes that prior to the ending of the last Ice Age; the Mediterranean was 150-200 metres lower than at present. He also suggests that the Strait of Messina was closed and that a landmass extended south to encompass the Maltese Islands.
He was greatly annoyed that Sergio Frau has claimed to have been the first to make this assertion a couple of years after he did(g). Which explains why, when Vieni subsequently published his theories in book form in 2011, he entitled it Atlantide e le Colonne d’Ercole (Atlantis and the Pillars of Hercules).
Although Vieni does not opt for any particular location for Atlantis, the focus of his paper is on the matching of Plato’s description with the central Mediterranean. The title of his 2005 paper clearly indicates his support for the very early date for Plato’s Atlantis.
Not content with the Atlantis controversy, Vieni ventured into even more heretical territory when he indicated support for the Expanding Earth Hypothesis. James Maxlow, a leading proponent of this theory claims that the concept, sometimes referred to as Earth Expansion Tectonics, explains all existing physical geological data better than Plate Tectonics(b).
Obviously Vieni came to realise that Plato’s mention of 9,000 years could not be taken as a reference to solar years and therefore to suggest that Atlantis was destroyed 11,500 years ago was no longer tenable. Consequently, when he addressed the 2008 Atlantis Conference he revised the title of his paper to “about 5,600 years ago….” in which he offered strong arguments in support of the idea that when Plato wrote of 9,000 years he was referring to ‘seasons’ of which there were three in the Egyptian solar year. This idea is not new having been suggested by the naturalist C. S. Rafinesque in 1836, referring to even earlier sources[896.231]. These included Giovanni Carli who dated Atlantis at 3890 BC.
He also suggests volcanic activity as the probable cause of Atlantis’ demise, pointing to the ongoing volcanic activity in the central Mediterranean.
*(a) http://www.world-mysteries.com/11500yearsago.pdf#search=’Rosario%20Vieni’ (offline Nov. 2017) See Archive 3424*
(e) http://www.world-mysteries.com/LeDisquedePhaestos.pdf (French)
(f) http://www.antikitera.net/articoli.asp?ID=85 (Italian)
*[(g) http://www.antikitera.net/articoli.asp?ID=28 (Italian)]*
This view led Galanopoulos to conclude that the Pillars of Heracleswere therefore located at the western entrance to the Aegean.
Obsidian, a volcanic glass, principally native to Melos, has been found all over the Aegean as well as mainland Greece and has been dated to 13,000 BC implying that that extensive seafaring was possible at that time(a). However, during that period, sea levels were much lower than at present, as the Ice Age glaciations were still in place. This would have led to greater land exposure in the Aegean with shorter distances between islands, which were easily crossed with relatively primitive boats.
A major conference on Atlantis was held on the island in July 2005, entitled The Atlantis Hypothesis: Searching for a Lost Land. At the conclusion of the conference a majority of the attendees supported a 24-point list of criteria that must any candidate for the location of Atlantis must satisfy. These are listed under The Atlantis Conference2005 entry.
Zdenek Kukal (1932- ) is a respected geologist and oceanographer who works at the Czech Geological Survey, Prague. He wrote a volume debunking the more extreme ideas regarding the Bermuda Triangle and was theauthor of Atlantis in the Light of Modern Research (Earth Science Reviews Vol 21, 1984) translated by Cesare Emiliani. Kukal favoured Santorini as the ‘inspiration’ behind the Atlantis story but as he stated, in a paper delivered to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos, the story is fundamentally ‘pure fiction’.