Tunisia has now offered evidence of human activity dated to nearly 100,000 years ago(d) at a site near Tozeur, in the south west of the country, where the chotts are today.
Tunisia was proposed in the 1920’s, by Albert Herrmann, as holding the location of Plato’s Atlantis, at a dried up saltwater lake known today as Chott el Djerid and was, according to Herrmann, previously called Lake Tritonis. Around this same period Dr Paul Borchardt, a German geologist, also favoured a site near the Gulf of Gabés, off Tunisia, as the location of Atlantis. He informed us that Shott el Jerid had also been known locally as Bahr Atala or Sea of Atlas.
More recently Alberto Arecchi has developed a theory that places Atlantis off the present Tunisian coast with a large inland sea, that he identifies as the original ‘Atlantic Sea’, straddling what is now the Tunisian Algerian border. Arecchi claims that this was nearly entirely emptied into the Mediterranean as a result of seismic or tectonic activity in the distant past.
*In 2018, Charles A. Rogers published a paper(f) on the academia.edu website in which he identified Tunisia as Atlantis with it capital located at the mouth of the Triton River on the Gulf of Gabes. He favours Plato’s 9.000 ‘years’ to have been lunar cycles, bringing the destruction of Atlantis into the middle of the second millennium BC and coinciding with the eruption of Thera which created a tsunami that ran across the Mediterranean destroying the city with the run-up and its subsequent backwash. This partly agrees with my conclusions in Joining the Dots!*
There is clear evidence(b) that Tunisia had been home to the last wild elephants in the Mediterranean region until the demise of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, North Africa and Tunisia in particular has been considered the breadbasket of imperial Rome supplying much of its wheat and olive oil. Roman Carthage became the second city of the western empire. Although the climate has deteriorated somewhat since then, it is still possible to produced two crops a year in low lying irrigated plains of Tunisia. These details echo Plato’s description of Atlantis and justify consideration of Tunisia as being at least part of the Atlantean confederation.
It is worth noting that Mago, was the Carthaginian author of a 28-volume work on the agricultural practices of North Africa. After the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC his books were brought to Rome, where they were translated from Punic into Latin and Greek and were widely quoted thereafter. Unfortunately, the original texts did not survive, so that today we only have a few fragments quoted by later writers. However, it is clear that Mago’s work was a reflection of a highly developed agricultural society in that region, a description that could also be applied to Plato’s Atlantis!
In 2017, the sunken city of Neapolis was located off the coast of Nabeul, southeast of Tunis. This city was reportedly submerged by a tsunami ”on July 21 in 365 AD that badly damaged Alexandria in Egypt and the Greek island of Crete, as recorded by historian Ammianus Marcellinus.” However, water from a tsunami eventually drains back into the sea, but the demise of Neapolis might be better explained by liquefaction, in the same way that Herakleion, near Alexandria, was destroyed, possibly by the same event. Neapolis and Herakleion are around 1,900 km apart, which suggests an astounding seismic event if both were destroyed at the same time!(e)
In addition to all that, in winter the northern coast of Tunisia is assailed with cold winds from the north bringing snow to the Kroumirie Mountains in the northwest(c).
Interestingly, in summer 2014, a completely new lake was discovered at Gafsa, just north of Shott el Jerid and quickly became a tourist attraction(a), but its existence was rather short-lived.
Agriculture is generally accepted as the critical foundation for the development of any civilisation. Without it man would have remained a hunter-gatherer and have lacked the potential for generating surpluses, the division of labour and the establishment of urban communities. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that if an ancient urban centre is found, it is evidence of the existence of agricultural skills in the locality at the time of its foundation. Evidence has now been gathered to demonstrate that alongside agriculture, carpentry also advanced, as shown by the improvement of woodworking tools at the same time(c). Studies published in 2013(b) indicate that farming first developed more or less simultaneously over a widespread area of the Middle East from Turkey to Iran.
A recent report has indicated that the small-seeded cereal, millet, had provided a link between hunter-gathering and agriculture(m).
At present the oldest known town is Jericho, which is now dated to around 9600 BC. Similarly, the remarkable discoveries at Göbekli Tepe, also dated to the same period, suggest a considerable settled community that would have been dependent on agriculture. There is now evidence that the first farmers grew rye and wheat in Syria around 11,000 BC.
A hugh cache of wild oats and barley, dated to 9000 BC, were discovered near Jericho in 2006(j).
In Egypt, prehistoric granaries that date back to the Neolithic era, which began around 9000 BC, have been discovered in Fayoum, south-west of Cairo.*A recent report demonstrates how millet, used today as birdseed, was brought westward from China to Europe where “Nomadic tribes were able to combine growing crops of millet with hunting and foraging as they travelled across the continent between 2500 and 1600 BC. Millet was eventually mixed with other crops in emerging populations to create ‘multi-crop’ diversity, which extended growing seasons and provided our ancient ancestors with food security.”(o)*
R. Cedric Leonard had outlined on his website(a) a range of evidence that would seem to prove that agriculture existed in Egypt before the 9600 BC date that is recorded by Plato for the war with Atlantis.
Peripheral to this, is a recent report that when hunter-gatherers encountered early farmers, they made love not war(k)!
If Plato’s Atlantis existed, it is clear that agriculture was an important part of its economy. We are informed (Crit.118E) that two crops were harvested annually, thanks to rain in winter and irrigation canals in summer. Plato also mentions horses and cattle (Crit.117b). These references are written in the context of a need to feed a large city, not to mention its enormous army (and navy). Plato offers no suggestion than that this advanced agricultural system was anything other than part of an advanced Bronze Age society.
North African Algeria, Egypt and particularly Tunisia, were the ‘breadbasket’ of Rome and may also have been so for the Atlanteans who had control from North Africa to Tyrrhenia! Although, conditions have deteriorated over the past few millennia, Tunisia can still produce two crops a year in low-lying irrigated coastal regions.
The commencement of what we would recognise as agriculture began around the 10th millennium BC. So is theoretically possible that agriculture had developed somewhat by the early date of 9600 BC given by Plato for the war with Atlantis. However, the existence of anything over and above the level of subsistence farming, at this early date, is highly improbable. It would seem clear that Plato has described the agriculture of a Bronze Age civilisation because he would have had no clear idea regarding its state of development in preceding millennia.
A 2013 paper(h) from Tübingen University has demonstrated that studies “show that the origins of agriculture in the Near East can be attributed to multiple centers rather than a single core area and that the eastern Fertile Crescent played a key role in the process of domestication.”
In 2008, archaeologist Melinda Zeder offered evidence that the domestication of animals began around the same time as the management of crops in the 9th and 10th millennia BC in the Near East. These new skills gradually spread throughout the length of the Mediterranean. In the same year Dr. Robin Allaby of Warwick presented a paper in which he pushed back the date for the gathering of wild cereals to before the last glacial maximum (18,000-15,000 years ago).
Even more dramatic is a more recent claim(i) that the dawn of agriculture can be pushed back to 23,000 years ago.
It is interesting that Plato also lists (Crit.115b) produce that possibly grew wild or may have been cultivated:
- Fruits having a hard rind providing drinks, meats and ointments
- Chestnuts (no evidence of cultivation before 2000 BC)
- Fruits that spoil with keeping
- The ‘pleasant’ kind of dessert
It would be worthwhile to investigate whether all the products mentioned by Plato are consistent with the same geographical latitude. Diodorus Siculus recorded that the Atlanteans did not know the fruits of Ceres – cereals. In fact, according to Wikipedia, cereals were unknown to American Indians. Rand and Rose Flem-Ath have an interesting chapter[062.12] on the subject of agriculture and its development in the context of their own theories. In 2013, Rand Flem-Ath republished(d) his paper on the origins of agriculture that first appeared in The Anthropological Journal of Canada in 1981.
Dale Drinnon’s website has a series of extensive articles(l) on the development of agriculture globally.
Similarly, the Golden Age Project website, now run by Edmund Marriage has a lengthy paper(n) by Steve Gagné on the spread of agriculture.
A more recent article considers the possibility that the introduction of agriculture may have inadvertently led to the endangerment of some early civilisations. The author, Annalee Newitz, editor-in-chief of io9.com cites the abandonment of Catal Höyuk as an example(g).
(c) See Archive 2250
(d) See Archive 2247)
(l) See: Archive 3344
When the Sky Fell: In Search of Atlantis , by Rand & Rose Flem-Ath, astounded the world when first published, with its bold claim that Antarctica was the home of Atlantis. The Flem-Aths were inspired by the analysis of ancient maps carried out by Charles Hapgood and his students, combined with his theory of earth crustal displacement, which they refer to as ‘mantle’ displacement. It prompted them to look again at Plato’s Atlantis tale in the light of an ice-free Antarctica. They studied the extinction of species around 9600 BC in addition to the high altitude development of agriculture around the planet at approximately the same time. They perceived clear evidence of a global catastrophe in the tenth millennium BC in worldwide myths. Taking Posnansky’s studies at Tiahuanaco and Schoch’s investigation of the Sphinx together with views of Bauval and Gilbert’s dating of the orientation of the Giza pyramids, the Flem-Aths feel that there is a prima facie case for claiming the existence of an advanced civilisation at least as early as the 10th millennium BC. However, it must be mentioned that the dating conclusions of Posnansky, Schoch, Bauval and Gilbert are all hotly disputed.
In 2009, When the Sky Fell was revised and republished as an e-book(a) with a modified sub-title. A new revised and expanded hardcopy edition, entitled Atlantis Beneath the Ice, was published in April 2012.
In November 2009, news came from Sweden(b) that the remains of ancient settlements had been discovered in the far north of the country near the border with Finland, that were radiocarbon dated to 9000 BC. This is totally at variance with accepted theory, which has the region completely covered by ice at that time. However, this new discovery would appear to support the idea of earth crustal displacement at the end of the last Ice Age as described by the Flem-Aths in their original book.
However, we must keep our feet on the ground and realise that while this new discovery may be evidence for crustal displacement, it does not add to the concept of Atlantis in Antarctica. I think we will have to find settlements in the southern polar region to confirm that theory.
*Subsequently, Rand teamed up with the late Colin Wilson as co-authors of The Atlantis Blueprint . The book only dealt with the idea of Atlantis in Antarctica in the first couple of chapters. , but then generally wandered off into other areas for the rest of the book. Some time later, Wilson abandoned his support for the Antarctic location and opted instead for Sarmast‘s proposed site off Cyprus.
(a) http://www.mobipocket.com/en/eBooks/eBookDetails.asp?BookID=186866 (Link broken)
(b) http://www.thelocal.se/23546/20091129/ (article deleted)