Zatoz Nondik (1945- ) is a German researcher and founder of the Prehistoric Research Society (FGUD). He supports the idea of a pole shift 13,000 years ago(a), based on the orientation of various ancient monuments such as Stonehenge, Tikal and Nazca, among others. He has also written a book about Plato’s ‘orichalcum’, From 2012 to Oreichalkos, in which he describes in detail how the orichalcum may be related to Japanese lacquer and suitable for coating walls as described in the Atlantis narrative(b).
Nondik argues that to coat walls something other than a metal or molten amber was involved. However, I can’t help being reminded of the comments of Helen O’Clery who did note[494.52] that the ancients had mixed liquid amber with an oil to produce a form of paint.
(a) http://www.polverschiebung.de/ (offline May 2015)
(b) http://www.polverschiebung.de/resultate_e.html (offline May 2015)
Günter Bischoff (1950- ) has written (in German) a number of papers(a)(b) that strongly support Spanuth’s theory, which places Atlantis in the North Sea with the royal capital on a Helgoland larger than what we have today. He believes that its megalithic influence extended from Scandinavia and the British Isles on to North West France and southern Spain and the Western Mediterranean. He also includes central Europe and the Atlantic island groups in this loose confederation.
Bischoff also blames the Phaeton encounter for the destruction of the capital of Atlantis. Dale Drinnon has given us a translation(c) of Bischoff’s extensive paper on this matter. Further information is available on the Atlantisforschung.de website(d).
In 2016, Bischoff published his ideas in book form with a volume entitled Atlantis und sein Zentrum Althelgoland (Atlantis and its center Althelgoland).
Bischoff is due to give a lecture (in German) on his search for Atlantis, entitled Plato, Phaeton and Atlantis, on Saturday, July 8th, in Dresden(e) at 18.00 hours.
(b) SYNESIS-Magazin Nr. 83 (5/2007) http://www.efodon.de/
*(c) http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.com/2011/08/fall-of-phaethon-by-gunter-bischoff.html (link broken August 2018) See: Archive 3588*
Frank Joseph (1944- ) or more correctly Francis Joseph Collin, was born in Chicago. His father was Max Simon Cohen, who is said to have spent time in Dachau concentration camp. Incredibly, in the late seventies Frank Joseph was leader of the American Nazi Party.In 1981 Joseph was arrested and convicted of molesting young boys. He was released after serving three of a seven year sentence (a)(b).
Since his release, he has established himself as an author, writing a number of books on Atlantis and Diffusionism[102–108] . He has emphasised at length the enormous quantities of copper mined in ancient times in North America that he maintains were brought to Europe to feed the demand there for bronze making. He maintains that this is clear evidence of trading contacts between the Old and New Worlds in prehistoric times. Among his more unusual claims are that Noah was an Atlantean and that the Trojan War just part of the conflict with the Sea Peoples.
One of Joseph’s early books, Edgar Cayce’s Atlantis and Lemuria, was heavily criticised in some quarters(e)including an accusation of including in the book a ‘heavily retouched’ photo of the underwater Yonaguni site.
In Joseph’s The Destruction of Atlantis he dates that event to 1198 BC quoting such sources as the Ipuwer Papyrus and temple inscriptions at Medinet Habu.
He then claims that eight years later the Atlanteans re-emerged as the Meshwesh, one of the Sea Peoples, attacked Egypt and were defeated by Ramses III . The authoritative D’Amato & Salimbeti have identified the Meshwesh as possibly being a tribe related to the Libyans [1152.8].
The author concurs with others that the catastrophe was triggered by an impact from a comet/asteroid in the region of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Joseph supports an Atlantis located in the Atlantic of which the Canary Islands and Azores(g) among its remnants. He draws attention to the fact that The Laws by Plato also refers to the ‘Great Deluge’. In the same book Joseph returns to his hobbyhorse of the huge amounts of copper mined in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in prehistoric times. He is convinced that Atlanteans carried out this massive extraction and transported it to the east to feed the emerging Bronze Age. This book is useful for someone coming to the subject for the first time but it contains little that new and is really just a reworking of existing material.
His next offering was promoted as an encyclopaedia of Atlantis related references, yet it omits any mention of many of the leading theories and their promoters, which is not what you would expect from a serious work on the subject. He followed this with Survivors of Atlantis, a sequel to The Destruction of Atlantis, which focuses on four global catastrophes linked to the cyclical return of a comet, which led to the destruction of Atlantis and the subsequent dispersal of its survivors and their influence on the cultures of their adopted homelands. As usual he returns to the mystery of the Michigan copper mines, but covers a wide range of global prehistory speculating on possible links with Atlantis. Unlike its prequel, ‘Survivors’ does not include an index.
For a number of years, Joseph was editor-in-chief of Ancient American magazine(c), owned by Wayne May, a Mormon, whose church has a vested interest in demonstrating the existence of early, advanced pre-Columbian peoples in America. A one-hour lecture given by Joseph in 1997 is available on YouTube(h), in which he outlines a number of very early pre-Columbian contacts between West Africa, particularly Mali and the Americas that led to the giant stone heads being carved by the Olmecs.
In 2008 Joseph published Unearthing Ancient America in which he revisits the pre-Columbian remains of North America. As usual he denounces orthodox archaeologists as a means to bolster his own extreme ideas. For example “Louisiana’s Poverty Point, the ‘oldest city in North America’, is a dead-ringer for Plato’s description of Atlantis…[108.178]”
With his book The Opening of the Ark of the Covenant Joseph moved into slightly different territory, linking the Ark with Atlantis and the Templars. Joseph co-authored this book with Laura Beaudoin who claims to be a descendant of the founder of the Knights Templar in Jerusalem.
Not one to miss an opportunity, the prolific Mr. Joseph then jumped on the 2012 bandwagon with the publication of Atlantis and 2012. As the world did not end, Joseph revised this book and republished it as Atlantis and the Coming Ice Age in 2015. An excerpt is available online(i).
April 2012 saw Joseph editor of Lost Worlds of Ancient America which is an anthology of articles describing various pre-Columbian visitors from both east and west. It also includes a suggestion that the Bahamas had the landmass to match Plato’s description of Atlantis. Jason Colavito, a well known sceptic, has written an extensive and highly critical review(f) of this collection of articles culled from the Ancient American magazine. While the book has little to do with Atlantis, Colavito’s comments cast doubts on Joseph’s credibility as well as that of the other contributors.
Before Atlantis was published by Joseph in 2013, in it he focuses on the ‘aquatic ape theory’(k) and the existence of ‘pre-human cultures’ going back 20 million years. Atlantis plays a minor part in this offering and it is probable that it is only in the title to assist sales! In May 2017, we have a report(l) of pre-human remains dated to 7.2 million years ago being discovered in the Balkans. How Joseph can apply the term ‘culture’ to such primitive creatures is hard to understand.
Joseph then followed ‘Lost Worlds’ with Lost Colonies of Ancient America in 2014, receiving rave reviews on Amazon, while Bradley T. Lepper(j) cites Larry Zimmermann(n), an archaeologist from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, who offered a different view in the July/Oct 2015 edition of American Antiquity.
In 2014, Joseph republished Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds as a paperback and a Kindle book. which is just a recycling of some of his earlier material and adds nothing of value. His reliance on speculation rather than evidence has not diminished. While his conjecture is bad enough, his misquoting of Plato is unforgivable. One example is his claim that Atlantis had 14,400 naval personnel, for 1,200 ships, which would mean that each ship had only a crew of just 12! The only ships mentioned by Plato were triremes, which had a crew of 200(m). What Plato actually said (Critias 119a-b) was that in time of war each of the managers of the 60,000 allotments on the plain of Atlantis, had to supply four men for naval duty, which amounts to a total of 240,000 and matches the number of men required for 1200 triremes. This is just one of a number of similar errors in that passage. However, the same book also sets a record for the number of mistakes that Joseph managed to squeeze into a single sentence. At this point, I decided to look back at all my references to Joseph’s work and was shocked to find that he has been consistently guilty of at least sloppy research, if not dishonesty, and for me, must therefore be considered unreliable.
I was recently perusing the Kindle version of Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds and discovered a number of obvious inaccuracies. For example, Joseph refers to a G.R.Corli as a French astronomer, whereas in fact his name was Carli and he was born in Capodistria, formerly Italian, but now part of Slovenia (loc.2511). Joseph claims that Carli believed that a fragment of a comet had hit the Earth, when, in fact, he had only postulated that a close encounter with a comet had occurred.
He added a ‘d’ to Edgerton Sykes name (loc. 2543, 3573) and removed the ‘e’ from that of Arthur C. Clarke (loc.2783).
His section on the Atlantean Army and population(loc.312) is full of numerical errors. He has the whole population of Atlantis at over one million, whereas Plato tells us that on their own, the Atlantean armed forces totalled around a million, including 480,000 foot soldiers, 120,000 horsemen, 160,000 manning the 10,000 heavy chariots and 60,000 light chariots, and 240,000 sailors. From this, Otto Muck extrapolated a total population of between 20 and 40 millions for Atlantis. Joseph proposes that the 1,200 Atlantean ships were serviced and manned by 14,400 men (just twelve each). However, the triremes referred to by Plato, each required a crew of 140 rowers!
Joseph ends the book with a Bibliography, but heads it Biography!
This book was clearly not proof-read and its research slipshod. Unfortunately, this does not appear to have been an isolated example. I therefore decided to review all Atlantipedia entries that referred to Frank Joseph.
Amber is not exclusive to the Baltic and can be found in the Americas, Lebanon, Siberia, Australia and Japan. A highly prized blue amber is to be found in the Dominican Republic. Frank Joseph in an effort to support his speculations regarding mythical Electra claims[0636.109] that the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries are one of the two major sources of amber. This is blatantly untrue, as revealed in a comprehensive website(a) by Susie Ward Aber, a mineralogist at Emporia State University, Kansas. Amber sources worldwide are listed, but nothing in the Atlantic. Mr. Joseph has, once again, some explaining to do.
However, there is also another trend becoming more obvious, which is that there are an increasing number of instances, particularly on the internet, of the Ark of the Covenant being linked to Atlantis. There is, of course, no evidence ever offered to support such speculation. One of the most recent of these is Opening the Ark of the Covenant, co-authored by the inventive Frank Joseph, where he traces the Ark back to Atlantis. There are probably few people that don’t accept that the Ark had been a real artefact, while many doubt the reality of Atlantis. It is possible that by linking the two, the authors hope to achieve credibility transference from one to the other!
In his Atlantis Encyclopedia, Frank Joseph has suggested[104.33] that Atalya or Atalia was, through time, transformed into Italy, adding that Atalia means ‘Land of Atlas’. This entry has been copied on a number of websites. However, the etymology of ‘Italy’ is not clear, but the most common proposal is that “Latin Italia may derive from Oscan víteliú, meaning “[land] of young cattle” (from Latin vitulus “calf”, Umbrian vitlu), via Greek transmission (evidenced in the loss of initial digamma). The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes”. In passing I should mention that Plato tells us that the Atlanteans who controlled southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia also had a bull cult.
The following excerpt from a paper entitled Atlantis and the Great Pyramid from the July/August 2006 edition of Atlantis Rising magazine. “They (the Egyptians) somehow foresaw some inevitable celestial catastrophe with a potential for extraordinary destructiveness. As the object’s orbit began to noticeably decay, ground-observers concluded that an impact with our planet was unavoidable, and began to prepare for the event by constructing a device that would bolster earth’s ionosphere, thereby deflecting the course of the falling object. The pyramid builders erected their geo-transducer because they understood that the earth was periodically endangered by recurring cycles of celestial bombardments. The Great Pyramid was built to guard against future collisions from outer space.”
The Balearic Islands of the Western Mediterranean were not occupied until around 2200 BC. Although the two larger islands of Majorca and Minorca have many megalithic monuments, principally taulas and talayots, they have not, so far, been part of any Atlantis location theory. The only mention that I can find is the unsubstantiated claim by Frank Joseph[0104.66] that the early settlers were invaders from Atlantis.
Frank Joseph erroneously claims[0108.117] that the only known ‘Cerne’ was Cerne Abbas in England, the site of the famous naked giant carved into the chalk. There is certainly no suggestion of any Amazon invasion there and the physique of the giant was certainly never matched by even the most butch Amazon. There is also the island of Cerne of the west coast of Africa and mentioned in the voyage of Hanno. Furthermore, Cerne is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus (iii.54) and considered by some to be the Tunisian island of Kerkennah. Clearly, there was more than one Cerne known in ancient and so, not for the first time, Joseph is blatantly wrong.
Joseph also proposed that copper was the foundation for the wealth of Atlantis. He is convinced that there is evidence of enormous copper mining activities in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula around 1000 BC. He refers to these miners as Atlanteans and maintains that the extracted copper was brought to the Mediterranean, as he claims that there is no trace of it in North America. Joseph offers no real evidence.
Frank Joseph incorrectly claimed in the July/August 2011 issue of Atlantis Rising magazine that DeCamp “formerly a staunch disbeliever in Atlantis, was later convinced it did indeed exist in south-coastal Iberia.” No evidence offered for this wild claim.
Frank Joseph echoed others with the idea that “the Etruscans were themselves nothing more than the late Atlanteans who colonised western Italy, so their surviving material culture offers us a glimpse of Atlantis at is cultural height.”[0636.21] This is an odd claim as Plato twice, unambiguously, placed Tuscany (Tyrhennia) beyond Atlantean control (Tim.25b & Crit.114c).
Evaemon (Euaemon) is the name of one of the fourth pair (with Ampheres) of twins who became the first kings of Atlantis. Frank Joseph identifies Euaemon with the ‘pre-Celtic’ king of Ireland, Eremon! This is somewhat incorrect as the Milesians are generally accepted as having been Celtic, with Eremon being one of eight Milesian brothers who invaded Ireland from Spain and defeated the Tuatha dé Danaan.
I found more of Joseph’s entries relating to Ireland that were, for me, particularly annoying. The first was his entry in his Encyclopedia for ‘crannóg’ where he attempts to link it with a sunken city. Crannógs are small artificial islands built in lakes for defensive purposes. When abandoned they usually became covered in small trees. The word is derived from the Irish word crann that means a tree, while óg means young or small. There are many such crannógs to be found among the numerous lakes of County Leitrim where I live. My second gripe is the entry ‘Tir-nan-Og’, which should in fact be ‘Tir na nÓg’ which means Land of Youth, implying land of perpetual youth. There is no connection with Og or Ogygia. I respectfully suggest that Frank Joseph and anyone else should tread more warily when trying to link similar sounding words from different languages.
Frank Joseph has related speculative ideas claiming that “the early date for New Grange, its circular construction, sophisticated solar orientation and mythic tradition all point to Atlantean origins.” [0636.70] A nonsensical conclusion based on nothing but his fertile imagination
Frank Joseph erroneously claims that Plato could not have been influenced by the Helike disaster, because according to Joseph the Atlantis dialogues were written 25 years before the obliteration of Helike[1074.14], when in fact Plato wrote his last dialogues about 25 years after the demise of Helike.
Lemmings are small rodents that primarily live in northern regions. Early zoologists and the more gullible readers assumed that the creatures have been seen committing mass suicide in an attempt to find their ancient homeland, Atlantis. Unfortunately, Frank Joseph[0102.51], among others, has chosen to perpetuate this canard. It should be obvious that if Atlantis had been destroyed 12,000 years ago, as Joseph claims, the lemmings should have all died out millennia ago due to their alleged destructive homing instinct.
Frank Joseph contends[0636.42] that the Phaistos Disk was ‘a sophisticated astrological chart’ and ‘is an example of Atlantean Bronze Age technology’.
Christopher Volpe records that in 1906, Alexander Strath-Gordon founded the Atlantean Research Society, in East Orange, New Jersey. This date conflicts with the foundation date of 1928 proposed by Frank Joseph. A book published by Strath-Gordon in 1934 confirms the 1906 date on its cover and records him as the founder and life president of the Atlantean Research Society.
In view of the above, it quite reasonable to classify Frank Joseph as unreliable.
(b) http://www.robertghostwolf.com/kimball.htm (offline July 2015)
*(i) http://disinfo.com/2015/03/historical-atlantis/ (link broken Sept. 2018) See: Archive 2627 *
(j) http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/science/2015/09/20/01-book-about-americas-discovery-gets-it-all-wrong.html (link broken June 2018) See: Archive 2694
Eridanus is the name of a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere as well as the name of the only Atlantean river named by Plato (Crit. 112a). It has been identified with a number of waterways(b) including the Nile (Eratosthenes), the Eider (Spedicato)(d), the Rhine(f), the Istros (Danube) of Hungary(g) and the Po (H. S. Bellamy). Mythology has fiery Phaëton crashing into the Eridanus, which means ‘early burnt’.
Adding to the confusion is the existence of the River Eridanos, referred to by
Plato (Phaedrus 229) which is a tributary of the Ilissos and still partly visible in the centre of modern Athens(e).
Jürgen Spanuth was convinced that it was as either the Elder or the Eider, which flow into the North Sea opposite Helgoland. Emilio Spedicato echoed Spanuth’s views in a number of more recent articles(c) and opted for the Eider as the original Eridanus. The similarity of the two names also adds some credence to this idea.
The late Walter Baucum quoted[183.159] the Swiss historian and geographer, Frederic de Rougemont (1808-1876), who, in his 1866 book, L’Age de Bronze, ‘proved’ that originally the Rhine had been known as the Eridanus.
Apollonius of Rhodes in his Argonautica refers to the River Eridanus as flowing into the Cronian Sea(a), generally accepted as the North Atlantic. The Eridanus is frequently referred to in ancient Greek texts as an amber rich river in Northern Europe. Amber was claimed by Spanuth to have been the Orichalcum of Plato’s Atlantis.
Kai Helge Wirth, a German geographer, has advanced the controversial theory that the configuration of the constellations were chosen to conform with the outlines of various Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts and were used as navigational aids to ancient mariners. As part of this radical idea, Wirth has pointed out that the constellation Eridanus closely follows the meandering Eider rather than the Po.
Geologists have given the name Eridanus to a river which flowed where the Baltic is now located. Claudius Ptolemy identified the River Duna, which flows into the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic, as the Eridanus.
Orichalcum is one of the many mysteries in Plato’s Atlantis narrative. It is mentioned five times in the Critias [114e, 116c-d, 119c] as a metal extensively used in Atlantis. I am not aware of any reference to it anywhere else in his writings, a fact that can be advanced as evidence of the veracity of his Atlantis story. Plato took the time to explain to his audience why the kings of Atlantis have Hellenised names. However, he introduces Orichalcum into the story without explanation suggesting that the metal was something known to the listeners. It is therefore natural to expect that metals might play an important part in determining the credibility of any proposed Atlantis location.
*Bronze was an alloy of copper and tin, while brass was a mixture of copper and zinc, their similarity is such that museums today refer to artefacts made of either refer to them as copper alloys.*
According to James Bramwell[195.91], Albert Rivaud demonstrated that the term ‘orichalcum’ was known before Plato and not just invented by him. Similarly, Zhirov notes that both Homer and Hesiod refer to the metal[0458.46], , as does Ibycus, the 6th century BC poet, who compares its appearance to gold suggesting a brasslike alloy. Thomas Taylor (1825) noted that in a fragment from a lost book of Proclus, he seems to refer to orichalcum under the name of migma(c). Wikipedia also adds that “Orichalcum is also mentioned in the Antiquities of the Jews – Book VIII, sect. 88 by Josephus, who stated that the vessels in the Temple of Solomon were made of orichalcum (or a bronze that was like gold in beauty). Pliny the Elder points out that the metal had lost currency due to the mines being exhausted. Pseudo-Aristotle in ‘De mirabilibus auscultationibus’ describes orichalcum as a shining metal obtained during the smelting of copper with the addition of ‘calmia’, a kind of earth formerly found on the shores of the Black Sea, which is attributed to be zinc oxide.”
Orichalcum, or its equivalent Latin Aurichalcum, is usually translated as ‘golden copper’ referring to either its colour or composition (80% copper and 20% zinc) or both. However, Webster’s Dictionary translates it as ‘mountain-copper’ from ‘oros’ meaning mountain and ‘chalchos’ meaning copper.
Sir Desmond Lee described the metal as ‘imaginary’ without explaining away the classical references or the fact that ”In numismatics, orichalcum is the name given to a brass-like alloy of copper and zinc used for the Roman sestertius and dupondius. Very similar in composition to modern brass, it had a golden-yellow color when freshly struck. In coinage, orichalcum’s value was nearly double reddish copper or bronze. Because production cost was similar to copper or bronze, orichalcum’s formulation and production were highly profitable government secrets.”(m)
Modern writers have offered a range of conflicting explanations for both the origin and nature of orichalcum. A sober overview of the subject is provided by the Coin and Bullion Pages website(d).
In 1926 Paul Borchardt recounted Berber traditions that recalled a lost City of Brass. Salah Salim Ali, the Iraqi scholar, points out that a number of medieval Arabic writers referred to an ancient ‘City of Brass’ echoing the Orichalcum covered walls of Plato’s Atlantis.
Ivan Tournier, a regular contributor to the French journal Atlantis proposed that orichalcum was composed of copper and beryllium. Tournier’s conclusion seems to have been influenced by the discovery in 1936 at Assuit in Egypt of a type of scalpel made from such an alloy(e).
An unusual suggestion was made by Michael Hübner who noted that “small pieces of a reddish lime plaster with an addition of mica were discovered close to a rampart” in his chosen Atlantis location of South Morocco. He links this with Plato’s orichalcum, but does so without any great enthusiasm.
Jim Allen, promoter of the Atlantis in Bolivia theory, claims that a natural alloy of gold and copper is unique to the Andes. Tumbaga is the name given by the Spaniards to a non-specific alloy of gold and copper found in South America. However, an alloy of the two that has 15-40% copper, melts at 200 Co degrees less than gold. Dr. Karen Olsen Bruhns, an archaeologist at San Francisco State University wrote in her book, Ancient South America, “Copper and copper alloy objects were routinely gilded or silvered, the original colour apparently not being much valued. The gilded copper objects were often made of an alloy, which came to be very important in all of South and Central American metallurgy: tumbaga. This is a gold-copper alloy which is significantly harder than copper, but which retains its flexibility when hammered. It is thus ideally suited to the formation of elaborate objects made of hammered sheet metal. In addition, it casts well and melts at a lower temperature than copper, always a consideration when fuel sources for a draught were the wind and men’s lungs. The alloy could be made to look like pure gold by treatment of the finished face with an acid solution to dissolve the copper, and then by hammering or polishing to join the gold, giving a uniformly gold surface”.
Enrico Mattievich also believed that orichalcum had been mined in the Peruvian Andes(b).
Jürgen Spanuth tried to equate Orichalch with amber. Paul Dunbavin links Orichalcum with Wales. Robert Ishoy implies a connection between obsidian and Orichalcum, an idea also promoted by Christian & Siegfried Schoppe, while Felice Vinci equates it with platinum.
Albert Slosman thought that there was a connection between Moroccan oricalcita, a copper derivative, and Plato’s orichalcum. Peter Daughtrey has offered [893.82] a solution from a little further north in Portugal where the ancient Kunii people of the region used ori or oro as the word for gold and at that period used calcos for copper.
Thorwald C. Franke has suggested[750.174] that two sulphur compounds, realgar and orpiment whose fiery and sometimes translucent appearance might have been Plato’s orichalcum. His chosen location for Atlantis, Sicily, is a leading source of sulphur and some of its compounds. I doubt this explanation as realgar disintegrates with prolonged exposure to sunlight while it and orpiment, a toxin, could not be described as metals comparable with gold and silver as stated by Plato.
Frank Joseph translates orichalcum as ‘gleaming or superior copper’ rather than the more correct ‘mountain copper’ and then links Plato’s metal with the ancient copper mines of the Upper Great Lakes. Joseph follows Egerton Sykes in associating ‘findrine’, a metal referred to in old Irish epics, with orichalcum. However, findrine was usually described as white bronze unlike the reddish hue of orichalcum.
Ulf Erlingsson suggested [319.61] that orichalcum was ochre, which is normally yellow, but red when burnt. He seems to have based this on his translation of the text Critias116b. In fact the passage describes the citadel flashing in a fiery manner, but it does not specify a colour!
Other writers have suggested that orichalcum was bronze, an idea that conflicts with a 9600 BC date for the destruction of Atlantis since the archaeological evidence indicates the earliest use of bronze was around 6000 years later.
Thérêse Ghembaza has kindly drawn my attention to two quotations from Pliny the Elder and Ovid that offer possible explanations for Plato’s orichalcum (see Document 091011). The former refers to a Cypriot copper mixed with gold which gave a fiery colour and called pyropus, while Ovid also refers to a cladding of pyropus. She also mentions auricupride(Cu3Au), an alloy that may be connected with orichalcum.
Zatoz Nondik, a German researcher, has written a book about Plato’s ‘orichalcum’, From 2012 to Oreichalkos, in which he describes, in detail, how the orichalcum may be related to Japanese lacquer and suitable for coating walls as described in the Atlantis(b) narrative!
The fact is that copper and gold mixtures, both natural and manmade, have been found in various parts of the world and have been eagerly seized upon as support for different Atlantis location theories. A third of all gold is produced as a by-product of copper, lead, and zinc production.
It is also recorded that on ancient Crete, in the Aegean, two types of gold were found, one of which was a deep red developed by the addition of copper. Don Ingram suggests that the reddish gold produced in ancient Ireland is what Plato was referring to.
Irrespective of what orichalcum actually was, I think it is obvious that it was more appropriate to the Bronze Age than 9,600 BC. Furthermore, it occurs to me that Plato, who was so careful to explain or Hellenise foreign words so as not to confuse his Athenian audience, appears to assume that orichalcum is not an alien term to his audience.
The result of all of this is that Orichalcum has been advanced to support the location of Atlantis in North and South America, Sundaland, Ireland, Britain and the Aegean. Once again an unintentional lack of clarity in Plato’s text hampers a clear-cut identification of the location of Atlantis.
A fascinating anecdote relating the use of a term similar to ‘orichalcum’ to describe a mixture of copper and gold was used by a metalsmith in Dubai as recently as 2007 and is recounted on the Internet(a) .
The Wikipedia entry(f) for ‘orichalcum’ adds further classical references to this mysterious metal.
2015 began with a report that 47 ingots of ‘orichalcum’ had been found in a shipwreck off the coast of Sicily and dated to around 600 BC(g). What I cannot understand is that since we never knew the exact composition of Plato’s alloy, how can anyone today determine that these recovered ingots are the same metal. Thorwald C. Franke has more scholarly comments on offer(h). Jason Colavito has also applied his debunking talents to the subject(i). In June of the same year, Christos Djonis, in an article(j) on the Ancient Origins website, wrote a sober review of the media coverage of the shipwreck. He also added some interesting background history on the origin of the word ‘orichalcum’.
An analysis revealed(k) that those ingots were composed of 75-80% copper, 15-20% zinc, and traces of nickel, lead and iron, but no proof that this particular alloy was orichalcum. The recovery of a further 39 ingots from the wreck were reported in February 2017 and the excavation of the sunken ship continues.
The most recent explanation for the term comes from Dhani Irwanto who has proposed that orichalcum refers to a form zircon(l) that is plentiful on the Indonesian island of Kilimantan, where he has hypothesised that the Plain of Atlantis was located [1093.110].
(e) Atlantis Research Vol 2. No.6, Feb/Mar 1950, p.86
*(g) http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/atlantis-legendary-metal-found-in-shipwreck-150106.htm (link broken Oct. 2018) See: Archive 2460*
Obsidian is a glassy rock produced as a consequence of rhyolitic volcanic eruptions. It was highly prized during the Stone Age when it was found to produce good sharp edges, suitable for tools and weapons, when fractured. Michael Grant remarked ”it is the first traded substance of which there are material remains”.
Recent excavations in Northern Israel have revealed the use of obsidian tools over six thousand years ago(e). The nearest source of obsidian was Anatolia, so these pre-Canaanite people must have had trade links that extended at least that far.
In 2011 it was reported(b) that a new technique, which permitted the dating of obsidian, revealed that the Greek island of Melos saw the mining of obsidian as early as 15,000 years ago and its exportation throughout the Aegean and beyond, which also is evidence of extensive marine travel at that early date. However, 13,000 BC saw sea levels much lower than at present, as the Ice Age glaciation was 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.
*Massimo Rapisarda has noted that the only obsidian west of the Aegean in the Mediterranean, is to be found in the Central region on the islands of Lipari, Palmarola, Pantelleria and Sardinia(g) . A graduate thesis(f) by Barbara A. Vargo, explores in detail the characteristics, history and distribution of Pantellerian obsidian.*
Robert Ishoy who advocates a Sardinian location for Atlantis suggested(a) that obsidian, “commonly used on ancient Sardinia” was in fact the mysterious orichalcum referred to by Plato. On the other hand. Christian and Siegfried Schoppe, who support a Black Sea location also identify obsidian as orichalcum. This is quite improbable, as obsidian would not easily lend itself to being used as a wall cladding. This idea is even more impractical than Jürgen Spanuth’s proposal that orichalcum was a reference to amber. Apart from that orichalcum was described by Plato (Critias 116b-d) as a metal not rock.
Dr. Ellery Frahm at the University of Sheffield has now developed a method whereby a piece of obsidian can be traced, not only to a particular volcano, but to a specific quarry at the volcano(c).
In September 2013 Frahm revealed(d) that a new technique had been developed that permits the sourcing of obsidian artefacts in just 10 seconds.
Amber was known to the ancient Greeks as electron and ancient myth has it that it was first created when Phaëton drove across the heavens. In Germanic languages it is called Bernstein meaning ‘stones that burn’. From ancient times it was brought from northern Europe to the Mediterranean. Jürgen Spanuth[002.47] was convinced that amber was in fact the orichalcum that Plato claimed to have adorned the walls of Atlantis. Spanuth’s theory is based on the fact that amber was mined in large quantities in the Baltic region as well as
Eiderstedt opposite Heligoland where he was convinced that Atlantis had been located. In ancient times amber was second only to gold in value. Although Spanuth’s location theory is carefully argued and was initially well received, it has received diminishing support in recent years.
My initial reaction to the idea of amber as orichalcum, was one of incredulity, but this was somewhat assuaged when I read the following comment in Helen O’Clery’s book “It was well known to the ancients that amber could be liquefied by heat and that by adding oil was possible to use it as a paint”[494.52]. Spanuth also noted this use of liquid amber[017.92].
Ellis Peterson notes(b) that an Egyptian tomb inscription records that around 1500 BC the Haunebu, claimed by him to be the (North) Sea Peoples sent a gift of 8943 pounds of amber to ThutmosesIII.*There were a number of amber trade routes between the Baltic and the Mediterranean, dating as far back as the middle of the fourth millennium BC indicated by beads were found in pharaonic tombs.(f) Traffic was apparently two-way as Egyptian beads from 3,400 years ago have been discovered in Denmark and thought “to be from the workshop that made the blue beads buried with the famous boy-king Tutankhamun.” (g)
Amber is not exclusive to the Baltic and can be found in the Americas, Lebanon, Siberia, Australia and Japan. A highly prized blue amber is found in the Dominican Republic(c). Frank Joseph in an effort to support his speculations regarding mythical Electra claims[636.109] that the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries are one of the two major sources of amber. This is blatantly untrue, as revealed in a comprehensive website(a) by Susie Ward Aber, a mineralogist at Emporia State University, Kansas. Amber sources worldwide are listed, but nothing in the Atlantic. Mr. Joseph has some explaining to do.
In August 2018 a paper from the University of Cambridge published in Plos One offered evidence that amber found in Iberia had come from Sicily two thousand years before Baltic amber reached the Mediterranean. It also appeared that the Sicilian amber had not been traded directly with Iberia but had been routed through North Africa.(e)
A report in 2010 revealed that the 3,550-year-old skeleton of a teenage boy discovered 5 km from Stonehenge was adorned with an amber necklace, indicating his high status and perhaps just as interesting was that a study of his teeth revealed that he had come from the Mediterranean(d).
Over three thousand years later the King of Prussia presented Peter the Great of Russia with an Amber Room which was eventually installed, using 100,000 pieces, in the Catherine Palace in Pushkin near St. Petersburg. It was looted by the Nazis during the war and was never found again, although still thought to be somewhere in Germany. Nevertheless, a replica was reconstructed and after 25 years was opened to the public in 2003. It required $11 million to reproduce what was once described as the “Eight Wonder of the World”
Stonehenge is part of what is now arguably the most extensive and complex megalithic site in Europe. It was actually purchased in 1915 for a sum equivalent today to £680,000 by Cecil Chubb, who later gave it to the nation(aa).
Two depictions of Stonehenge exist which go back as far as medieval times, with a third recently added by Professor Christian Heck(ai). Little serious study of the monument was undertaken until the 17th century antiquarians, predecessors of the archaeologists, took an interest.
What is not generally known is that the monument has been subjected to numerous ‘restorations’ over the past hundred years and what we see today is actually a 20th century vision of the original site. One website(au) shows a large series of images recording some of these renovations. There is evidence that at least one stone was re-erected a metre and a half from its original position.
Photos from 1867 show parts of Stonehenge, before later ‘restorations’ altered their earlier positions(ax), originally released by the UK’s Ordnance Survey(ay).
New technology has now revealed the existence of another henge less than a kilometre from Stonehenge (BBC Focus October 2010). We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball bearings may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Other recent discoveries in the vicinity include the 3,550-year-old skeleton of a teenage boy buried with a rare amber necklace – a clear indication of status. Furthermore, dental analysis revealed that he had come from the Mediterranean region.
Stonehenge is not the only site to have its area of interest expanded in recent years. The 2018 drought in Ireland and the UK had produced evidence of a previously unknown henge situated not too far from Newgrange, our best-known megalithic site(az).*This new location has been dubbed ‘dronehenge’.*
Similar sites have been revealed throughout these islands as a result of the current (July 2018) dry period.
October 2015 gave us a report(ad) that a semi-permanent structure was discovered about a mile east of Stonehenge and dated to be 1,300 years earlier than megalithic edifice.
The two big questions relating to Stonehege are its exact purpose and the method of construction.
Allied to that is the question of how the ‘bluestones’ were transported from Wales. Was it by humans or glaciers(aj). However, an early theory proposed that the ‘bluestones’ were deposited by glaciers much closer to the Stonehenge site. This idea was quickly debunked, but has once again surfaced in a new book by Brian John.
What may have been a much earlier precursor to Stonehenge’s calendrical features, tentatively dated as 10,000 old, has been identified in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire(f). This is now arguably the world’s oldest lunar calendar.
We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball-bearing may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Stone balls were also discovered near a megalithic monument in Scotland and in Malta, stone balls have been found in the vicinity of the ancient temples there – some still in situ under the stones. In 2004, Gordon Pipes put forward a radical new method of construction(ac), which requires minimal manpower and equipment. In 2009, Pipes expanded on his ‘stone-rowing’ idea in book form.
*The Ancient-Wisdom.com website has an interesting item regarding the use of balls and tracks in 1770 to shift very heavy weights, noting that “The largest stone ever (recently) recorded to have been moved purely by human power alone is the famous ‘Thunder Stone’ from Russia, which was moved to St. Petersburg from the gulf of Finland. It was rolled along on small balls placed on a track (Only 100m in length) at a rate of 150m per day.”(ba)(bb).*
More discoveries are expected as investigations continue. In 2014 it was announced that although most attention is focused on the rising sun at the summer solstice, it is now thought that Stonehenge was more likely to have been concerned with the midwinter setting sun(m).
In the 1960’s it was Gerald Hawkins who set a cat among the pigeons with the publication of his Stonehenge Decoded. in which he proposed that the monument was in fact used as an astronomical computer. Many of the leading astronomers and archaeologists of the day offered apoplectic responses. Hawkins went as far to suggest that the 56 Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge were also eclipse predictors, an idea endorsed by Fred Hoyle.
Another theory has recently been advanced by Thomas O. Mills which suggests that Stonehenge was aligned with the position of the North Pole as it was situated around 10,000 BC as proposed by Charles Hapgood.(u)
Paul D. Burley has published a two-part paper(q)(r) on Stonehenge, which draws attention to the fact that most commentators have focused on the solar or lunar significance of the site’s alignments that that he feels is in stark contrast to other European megalithic monuments that would appear to have been designed with stellar alignments in mind. Burley is the author of Stonehenge: As Above, So Below.
In 1995 Duncan Steel suggested in his book, Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets, that Stonehenge I had been constructed as a predictor of the Earth’s intersection with the path of a comet and its attendant debris, which had a 19-year periodicity(x).
Stonehenge, among other megalithic structures, has been linked by various writers with Plato’s Atlantis. One extreme example of this is the suggestion that if the number of Aubrey Holes, 56, is multiplied by the diameter of the Aubrey Circle we get 16,200 feet which is “the exact diameter of Plato’s Atlantis”. Now a ten minute search on the Internet reveals FIVE different figures for the diameter of the Circle, ranging from 271.6’ to 288’. Combine that with the uncertainty attached to the value of the unit of measurement employed by Plato, it is clear that any claim of a connection between the Aubrey Holes and Atlantis is at best tenuous and at worst foolish.
Jürgen Spanuth suggested that the five trilithons “most probably represented five sets of twins.” [0015.85], an idea echoed later by Dieter Braasch(as). Spanuth was adamant that a commonly held view linking Stonehenge with Hyperborea was incorrect as Hyperboreans had come from Jutland.
The late Philip Coppens echoed(b) the views of a fellow Belgian, Marcel Mestdagh, that there might be a connection between monuments within the Stonehenge Heritage Site and Atlantis, namely Woodhenge, which comprised of posts arranged in six concentric circles. The suggestion being that this arrangement is in some manner a reflection of the concentric features in Atlantis described by Plato. I can only consider this to be highly speculative, somewhat akin to the suggestion(c) that Stonehenge I was an earthquake predictor.
For those interested, a recently reconstructed German counterpart of Woodhenge has had the original dated to 2300 BC(aq).
However, in the meanwhile we will have to be content with a recent book by Professor Mike Parker-Pearson, Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery , which includes all the discoveries revealed by the recent ten years of investigation.
A 2014 offering from Professor David P.Gregg, The Stonehenge Codes, throws further light on the mathematics used for the building and development of Stonehenge over a 1500 year period was consistently the same polygon geometry. Gregg has also identified an earlier Babylonian influence. His book has a considerable numerical content that many will find heavy going. The text of the book is available online(j). The July 2014 edition of the BBC Focus magazine offers evidence that the history of the Stonehenge location can be traced to nearer the end of the Ice Age.
It has been generally accepted for many years that the bluestones (spotted dolerites) at Stonehenge had been brought from the Preseli Mountains of Wales. Now (Nov.2013) evidence has been presented that identifies the precise outcrop, Carn Goedog, as their source(h). Further investigation has produced the claim by Paul Devereux that the rock there was chosen because of its acoustic qualities(I), raising the possibility that Stonehenge was the site of the first ‘rock’ concert. A more wide-ranging essay on the subject of archaeoacoustics is available online(ak).
However, in November 2015, a report threw doubt on the existence of a Neolithic quarry in the Preseli Hills(ag). Confusingly, the following month it was reported(ah) that studies carried in Wales suggested that the stones had been erected there first before their transportation to Wiltshire.In May 2016 the controversial matter of the method of transportation from Wales was claimed to have been resolved when it was demonstrated by students from University College London, supervised by Parker-Pearson that the bluestones could have been mounted on a sycamore sleigh and dragged along timbers requiring far less effort than was previously expected.(ao) Parker-Pearson believes that originally the stones had been part of a Welsh tomb which was dismantled and brought to Wiltshire as the successors migrated westward(ap). There is now a search underway tp locate the site of the original monument in Wales.
*Parker-Pearson published a paper in the February 2019 edition of Antiquity in which he reports on his research at the Welsh site, where he found some of the tools used to extract the pillars and determined the method of transportation(bc).*
After centuries of being described as one of the wonders of the megalithic world, the construction skills of Stonehenge’s builders have been harshly criticised by Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University, who went as far as to describe them as ‘cowboy builders’(n).
In 2012, Gordon Freeman, a Canadian scientist, published Hidden Stonehenge in which he offers an extensive study of a native American “medicine wheel” in Alberta and compares its astronomical alignments with that of Stonehenge, revealing ‘incredible’ similarities. His book highlights the use of sophisticated astronomical knowledge at both locations, in the very distant past suggesting cultural links millennia before Columbus!
A somewhat cruder but equally effective winter solstice alignment was recently identified in the Chilean Andes(aw).
A site in Australia discovered in the first half of the last century by Frederic Slater (President of the Australian Archaeological Society) and dubbed as ‘Australia’s Stonehenge’ was bulldozed in 1940 on the orders of the Australian Government! The location, obviously, never as impressive as its namesake on Salisbury Plain, has been again identified and with drawings made over seventy years ago has enabled a computer generated image of the site to be made(t). A father and son team, Steven & Evan Strong have recently relocated the damaged site(af).
In May 2013, Melville Nicholls published a Kindle ebook, Children of the Sea God, in which he argues strongly for a Stonehenge built by Atlanteans, better known as the Bell Beaker People!
Robert John Langdon has now proposed(g) that Stonehenge was constructed by megalith builders, around 8500 BC, who had migrated from Doggerland/Atlantis as it became submerged and that the Altar Stone at Stonehenge points to Doggerland!
Shoji Yoshinori has suggested that Stonehenge was intended as a model of Atlantis(k). as had the late Philip Coppens(b).
It is quite obvious that more convincing evidence is required if any claim of a Stonehenge/Atlantis connection is to gain greater traction. In 2018, David L. Hildebrandt published Atlantis – The Awakening , in which he has endeavoured to do just that with a mass of material that he claims supports the idea of Atlantis in Britain and Stonehenge as the remnants of the Temple of Poseidon. He suggests that the five trilithons represent the five sets of male twins, an idea voiced by Jürgen Spanuth and more recently by Dieter Braasch. Even earlier George H. Cooper proposed Stonehenge as the Pillars of Herakles. I am not convinced by the spirited defence of his hypothesis, as I consider his date too early and the location too far from Athens or Egypt to consider them to be within ‘easy striking distance’ for the purpose of invasion.
As recent as the summer of 2014 evidence was accidentally discovered(o) that suggested that the Stonehenge megalithic stones form a complete circle. Commenting on the discovery Susan Greaney from English Heritage said “A lot of people assume we’ve excavated the entire site and everything we’re ever going to know about the monument is known, but actually there’s quite a lot we still don’t know and there’s quite a lot that can be discovered just through non-excavation methods.” An extensive digital mapping project carried out at Stonehenge by researchers from the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Vienna has revealed “that the area around Stonehenge is teeming with previously unseen archaeology and that the application of new technology can transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand one of the best-studied landscapes on Earth.”(p)
December 2014 saw an encampment site just 1.5 miles from Stonehenge have its date confirmed at around 4000 BC(s).
Marden Henge, situated between Stonehenge and Avebury is reckoned to be ten time bigger than Stonehenge and has now (2015) seen the start of a three-year, £1,00,000, dig by 80 archaeologists hoping to unlock its secrets(a). Dr. Jim Leary, a leading archaeologist working at the site is convinced that Marden may turn out to be more significant than Stonehenge(w).
Earlier in 2015 Tim Daw, a steward at the Stonehenge site, has claimed that he had discovered a previously unknown alignment, involving a line of stones at 80 degrees to the axis of the monument. His theory is that the tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the midsummer sunset and has been observed to be correct(v).
The archaeological importance of Stonehenge was boosted further in September 2015 with the announcement that a line of nearly 100 buried stones had been discovered just a mile away, beside the Durrington Walls ‘superhenge’(y). There are images available, including a short video clip relating to this new discovery(z).
In November 2015 the New York Times published an updated overview(ae) of the various excavations that have taken place in the vicinity of Stonehenge.
Sarah Ewbank has now offered us a fascinating new theory regarding the original purpose and plan of Stonehenge. In a fully illustrated website(al) she reveals that the structure was conceived as “a ‘Cathedral-like’ building with a massive oak-framed roof, and a huge hall at it’s centre.”
Further discoveries are listed on the Heritage England website(ab). What is not listed there is the information that Stonehenge was constructed by giants on the instruction of the Devil! This b.s tidbit was imparted to us in April 2016 by Dr. Dennis Lindsay on the TV show of disgraced US evangelist Jim Bakker(am). Another blog from Jason Colavito exposed further Stonehenge nonsense, this time from New Zealander, Ted Harper, who has recently claimed that the Wiltshire monument together with the Great Pyramid, both warn of a meteor strike in 2020.
Theories relating to Stonehenge and Atlantis seem to proliferate at comparable rates. In a new book, The Memory Code, by Lynne Kelly, she proposes that the Wiltshire monument is a giant mnemonic(ar) and that other megalithic sites also were.
July 2017, saw a BBC review of the recent acceptance of Stonehenge as just a part of a huge complex of monuments, with a hint of more to come(at).
(b) http://www.philipcoppens.com/stone_ave.html (offline Dec. 2017) (See Archive 2140)
(m)BBC Focus Magazine, July 2014, p.51
(x) http://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba45/ba45feat.html (offline Mar. 2016) see Archive 2657
(ai) http://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba92/feat1.shtml (offline Mar. 2016) see Archive 2832