Johannes Goropius Becanus (1519-1572) was a Dutch physician and linguist, although he was of the opinion that the Dutch language had been used in the Garden of Eden and was the mother of all other languages(c) ! We hope his knowledge of medicine was better than his linguistics. He was also one of the first to propose the Doñana Marshes of Andalusia as the site of Atlantis(a)(b). This can be found in the Hispanica section of his Opera published posthumously in 1580.
Tharros was an ancient city on the west coast of Sardinia. It was apparently founded by the Phoenicians, who built on top of an earlier nuraghic settlement. Tharros was first identified with Tarshish by W.W.Covey-Crump in The Journal of Theological Studies 17 (1916) (p.280-290). William F. Albright supported this view in his Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan.
While there is evidence that the Tarshish of Bible which supplied the silver referred to in Ezekiel (27.12), the majority view is that it was brought from Andalusia. However, Tharros is also a credible alternative as it had important silver mines close at hand highlighted by a town in the region named Argentiera.
Recent isotope analysis demonstrated that Solomon’s silver could have been brought from Spain or Sardinia(a).
Modern researchers, such as Federico Bardanzellu, have also opted for Tharros as Tarshish(b).
Louis Millette, is a Canadian commentator who claims to have identified the location of Atlantis in the region of the Guadalquivir River in Spain’s Andalusia, maintaining that Tartessos, Tarshish and Atlantis were all the same. He has posted a set of three satellite image(d) to support his contention, unfortunately, I cannot see anything that might be related to Atlantis. His brief video clip(e) is equally uninformative.
However, Millette is a firm believer in extraterrestrial visitors(a), which for me is sufficient reason to consider him an unreliable researcher. He also claims to have located the ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ in Nineveh, an idea already proposed by Stephanie Dailey of Oxford University as early as 1992(c).
Millette promises startling revelations regarding Stonehenge in June 2015!
Luis Aldamiz (aka Maju) is an independent Basque researcher who has concluded that the Atlantean Empire was at the centre of the VNSP (Vila Nova de São Pedro) culture in ancient Portugal(a)(b). Its capital Zambujal was situated near the modern city of Torres Vedras, just north of Lisbon. He bases his idea on a number of topographical and historical parallels between the VNSP region and Plato’s description of Atlantis(c).
In order to have Plato’s account of the Atlantean War conform to his location theory, he suggests that the Mycenaean Greeks fought alongside the El Argar people in southeast Spain against VNSP Atlanteans! The evidence for such a military alliance is at best tenuous or more likely, purely speculative.
However, the idea is not as farfetched as it might seem when combined with the views of W.Sheppard Baird who claims that Minoans had been the colonisers of Los Millares in Andalusia as early as 4000 BC. In due course, the culture of Los Millares was superseded by that of El Argar. This begs the question as whether the Mycenaeans who had succeeded the Minoans on Crete also replaced them in their Andalusian colonies!
Nevertheless, no matter how interesting the theories of Aldamiz and Baird may be, they have still to explain Plato’s claim that the Atlanteans ‘controlled’ Europe as far as Tyrhennia, along with part of North Africa, before their eastward invasion! Furthermore, the part that Egypt played in their alliance with Athens in the war with Atlantis is totally ignored by them.
Los Millares is the name given to a culture situated in Andalusia, Spain which flourished during the Copper Age which lasted until around 1800 BC before the introduction of bronze. It was discovered at the end of the 19th century and excavation continues today. The step pyramid of Monte d’Accoddi on Sardinia has been compared to the Los Millares architecture. It is also claimed that Los Millares along with other Iberian sites were Minoan colonies(a) dating from the late 4th millennium BC. Inevitably, some commentators have tried to suggest a link with Atlantis based on the existence there of a series of three concentric of battlements. However, Los Millares fails to match Plato’s description on a number of counts; it’s not an island, it’s not submerged, it had no writing, etc. It might be worth mentioning that Los Millares as the location of Atlantis does not fit with the assumption that the Pillars of Heracles were situated at Gibraltar as Los Millares is not ‘beyond’ the Pillars.
Sheppard Baird in a paper on the Sea Peoples(b) maintains that the Los Millares culture lasted until 2200 BC and was succeeded by the Argaric named after the el Argar site. He also claims the Argaric watchtowers known as ‘motillas’ inspired the development of the ‘nuraghi’ on Sardinia.
Tartessos or Tartessus is generally accepted to have existed along the valley of the Guadalquivir River where the rich deposits of copper and silver led to the development of a powerful native civilisation, which traded with the Phoenicians, who had colonies along the south coast of Spain(k).
It is assumed by most commentators that Tartessos was identical with the wealthy city of Tarshish that is mentioned in the Bible. There have been persistent attempts over the past century to link Tartessos with Atlantis. The last king of Tartessia, in what is now Southern Spain, is noted by Herodotus to have been Arganthonios, who is claimed to have ruled from 630 BC until 550 BC. Similarly, Ephorus a 4th century BC historian describes Tartessos as ‘a very prosperous market.’ However, if these dates are only approximately true, then Atlantis cannot be identified with Tartessos as they nearly coincide with the lifetime of Solon, who received the story of Atlantis as being very ancient.
The existence of a ‘Tartessian’ empire is receiving gradual acceptance. Strabo writes of their system of canals running from the Guadalquivir River and a culture that had written records dating back 6,000 years. Their alphabet was slightly different to the ‘Iberian’. The Carthaginians were said to have been captured Tartessos after the reign of Arganthonios and after that, contact with Tartessos seems to have ended abruptly!
The exact location of this city is not known apart from being near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia. The Guadalquivir was known as Baetis by the Romans and Tartessos to the Greeks. The present day Gulf of Cadiz was known as Tartessius Sinus (Gulf of Tartessus) in Roman times. Cadiz is accepted to be a corruption of Gades that in turn is believed to have been named to after Gaderius. This idea was proposed as early as 1634 by Rodrigo Caro, the Spanish historian and poet, in his Antigüedades y principado de la Ilustrísima ciudad de Sevilla, now available as a free ebook(i).
In 1849, the German researcher Gustav Moritz Redslob (1804-1882) carried out a study of everything available relating to Tartessos and concluded that the lost city had been the town of Tortosa on the River Ebro situated near Tarragona in Catalonia. The idea received little support.
The German archaeologist Adolf Schulten spent many years searching unsuccessfully for Tartessos, in the region of the Guadalquivir. He believed that Tartessos had been the centre of an ancient culture that was Atlantis or at least one of its colonies. Schulten also noted that Tartessos disappeared from historical records around 500 BC, which is after Solon’s visit to Egypt and so could not have been Atlantis.
Otto Jessen also believed that there had been a connection between Atlantis and Tartessos. Jean Gattefosse was convinced that the Pillars of Heracles were at Tartessos, which he identifies as modern Seville. However, Mrs E. M. Whishaw, who studied in the area for 25 years at the beginning of the 20th century, believed that Tartessos was just a colony of Atlantis. The discovery of a ‘sun temple’ 8 meters under the streets of Seville led Mrs Whishaw to surmise that Tartessos may be buried under that city. Edwin Björkman wrote a short book,The Search for Atlantis in which he identified Atlantis with Tartessos and also Homer’s Scheria.
More recently Karl Jürgen Hepke has written at length, on his website(a), about Tartessos. Dr. Rainer W. Kühne, following the work of another German, Werner Wickboldt, had an article published in Antiquity that highlighted satellite images of the Guadalquivir valley that he has identified as a possible location for Atlantis. Kühne published an article(b) outlining his reasons for identifying Tartessos as the model for Plato’s Atlantis.
Although there is a general consensus that Tartessos was located in Iberia, there are a number of refinements of the idea. One of these is the opinion of Peter Daughtrey, expressed in his book, Atlantis and the Silver City in which he proposes that Tartessos was a state which extended from Gibraltar around the coast to include what is today Cadiz and on into Portugal’s Algarve having Silves as its ancient capital.
It was reported(c) in January 2010 that researchers were investigating the site in the Doñana National Park, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, identified by Dr. Kühne as Atlantis. In 2011, Professor Richard Freund of the University of Hartford garnered a lot of publicity when he visited the site and expressed the view that it was the location of Tartessos which he equates with Atlantis.
A minority view is that Tarshish is related to Tarxien (Tarshin) in Malta, which, however, is located some miles inland with no connection to the sea. Another unusual theory is offered by Luana Monte, who has opted for Thera as Tartessos. She bases this view on a rather convoluted etymology(e) which morphed its original name of Therasia into Therasios, which in semitic languages having no vowels would read as ‘t.r.s.s’ and can be equated with Tarshish in the Bible, which in turn is generally accepted to refer to Tartessos. Giorgio Valdés favours a Sardinian location for Tartessos(f). Andis Kaulins has claimed that further south, in the same region, Carthage was possibly built on the remains of Tartessos, near the Pillars of Heracles(j).
A more radical idea was put forward in 2012 by the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, who proposed(g)(h) that the Tarshish of the Bible was to be found on the coast al region of the Indus Valley, but that Tartessos was a colony of the Indus city of Lhotal and had been situated on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar!
There is an extensive website(d) dealing with all aspects of Tartessos, including the full text of Schulten’s book on the city. Although this site is in Spanish, it is worthwhile using your Google translator to read an English version.
The Stade was an ancient Greek measurement of distance. The origins of the stade are not totally clear. One opinion claims that at first it was the distance covered by a plough before turning. Later it was the length of a foot race in a Greek Stadion (Roman Stadium) or 157 meters. A number of ‘standard’ stadia existed in various city states of ancient Greece ranging from 157 to 211 meters.
*Some commentators have treated the stade as a synonym for the British ‘furlong’ (one eight a mile or 220yards – approximately 201 metres), which was an old Anglo-Saxon measure for a ‘long furrow’.*
Most commentators on Plato’s Atlantis seem to accept a value of 185 metres (607 feet) to the stade. Thorwald C.Franke argues for a value of 176 metres – ” It is confusing: The building called “stadion” had been 185 meters, but the measure “stadion” not. We can conclude that the Athenians once had a shorter building, but decided to build a bigger building in later times. It is the same story for the “stadion” of other cities.” (private correspondence)
Jim Allen who is the leading advocate for a Bolivian location for Atlantis has used a value for the stade that is half the conventionally accepted 185 metres. He bases this on the fact that the ancient South Americans used a base of 20 rather than 10 for counting. He offers an interesting article with impressive images on his website(a) in support of his contention.
Dr. Rainer Kühne, who recently publicised that a site in Andalusia, identified by Werner Wickboldt from satellite photos, suggested that Plato used a stade that was probably 20% longer than what is normally accepted, since the dimensions of the Spanish site are greater than those given in Plato’s text. This idea is not satisfactory as so many other dimensions of the city’s features already suggest over-engineering on a colossal scale. To add a further 20% would be even more ridiculous.
If the dimensions of Atlantis did originate on the pillars in the temple at Sais, the unit of measurement used was probably Egyptian (or Atlantean) and so their exact value must be open to question. The values given by Plato relating to Atlantis have long been ammunition for sceptics. They argue that Plato’s topographical data suggests either a degree of over engineering that was improbable in the Bronze Age or impossible in the Stone Age and must, therefore, be a fantasy.
The late Ulf Richter has recently proposed a simple solution to this problem(b), namely that the unit of measurement originally recorded was the Egyptian Khet. This was equivalent to 52.4 metres or approximately 3.5 times less than the value of the stade. The acceptance of this rational explanation removes one of the great objections to veracity of the Atlantis narrative.
Spain has been a favoured as a probable location of Atlantis by a sizeable number of investigators, principally Spanish and other Europeans. For about a century attention has been focused on the region of Andalusia although one writer, Jorge María Ribero-Meneses, has opted for Cantabria in Northern Spain. The most vocal proponent today of a Spanish Atlantis is arguably Georgeos Diaz-Montexano who has just begun the publication of a series of books on the subject.
Richard Freund is a latecomer to the question of Atlantis and recently foisted himself on the excavators in the Doñana Marshes, announcing that the site was related to Atlantis/Tarshish and garnering widespread publicity ahead of the publication of his own book on Atlantis!
One commentator has suggested that the origin of the name of Spain itself was derived from the Semitic language of the Phoenicians who arrived in Spain around 1500 BC. Apparently they referred to the region as ‘span’ or ‘spania’ which means hidden! Cadiz, equated with Plato’s Gades, is frequently cited as the oldest colony of the Phoenicians. The date appears to be based on tradition rather than hard evidence. Archaeology puts the date closer to 800 BC.
The oldest Phoenician remains, found in the vicinity of Malaga, were discovered during the recent building of a second runway. Occupation of the site is dated at around 700-600 BC.
In September 2012 a report(a) revealed that at the La Bastida site in Murcia, Spain, fortifications dated to 2,200 BC had been discovered and heralded as “Continental Europe’s First Bronze Age City” and “is comparable only to the Minoan civilisation of Crete”.
Late November 2018 saw Merlin Burrows, a British surveying company, claim to have found Atlantis in Spain close to the Doñana National Park (b). M.B.’s head of research, Tim Akers, claimed that “laboratory analysis of material recovered from Spain showed evidence of a type of cement not seen before.” This and evidence of ancient metallurgy was enough for him to conclude that it has come from Atlantis! So now it seems that if something previously unknown is found, it must come from Atlantis! That something has been found is not doubted, but it is more likely to have been Phoenician who extensively exploited the rich mineral deposits in the region. Another website offers a more extensive report from Merlin Burrows(g) as well as a review of other failed Atlantis claims.
The report contains wild speculation, particularly when claiming that this new discovery dates back to the end of the Last Ice Age, when Athens or Egypt did not have structured societies and so could not refer to Plato’s Atlantis. There is little doubt that a number of interesting sites over the 100-mile stretch have been located, but they do not include Atlantis. Expect a flurry of media responses (c) for a while as they await the next wild claim. Meanwhile Merlin Burrows have had their publicity.
The Doñana National Park was extensively investigated some years ago and was the subject a National Geographic documentary, Finding Atlantis. In fact nothing remotely Atlantean was found. For my part, I prefer to follow Plato and point to the only territory named by him as Atlantean, namely Southern Italy, N.W. Africa and some of the many islands in the region.
The Doñana story took a new turn yesterday (22.11.18) when Georgeos Diaz-Montexano published a paper on the Academia.edu website, in Spanish and English (d)(e), which completely debunks the foundations of the Merlin Burrows claim. It is interesting to read of the arrogance of the video makers when challenged by Diaz-Montexano. The following day Díaz-Montexano re-posted (f) the paper with additional comments by Professor César Guarde-Paz, a distinguished Spanish academic, who also denounced the Merlin Burrows claims.
(d) ¿LA ATLÁNTIDA FINALMENTE DESCUBIERTA? Leer el artículo en http://atlantisng.com/blog/la-atlantida-finalmente-descubierta-segun-nuevo-documental-britanico-hoax-publicitario-o-el-mayor-de-los-ridiculos/ (link broken Dec. 2018)
(e) http://atlantisng.com/blog/atlantis-finally-discovered-an-analysis-of-the-three-fundamental-cornerstones-of-the-documentary-atlantica-by-ingenio-films/ (link broken Dec. 2018)
Dr. Rainer Walter Kühne was born in Braunschweig, Germany in 1970 and has a PhD in Physics (Dortmund 2001). He has proposed a modification of Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), which predicts a second kind of photon (’magnetic photon’) and a second kind of light (’magnetic photon rays’). He has also offered evidence for the existence of a rotating universe. He lectured in the Institute of Physics at Dortmund University.
Kühne had studied Plato’s Atlantis story and concluded that many of its elements are fictional although based on three historical but unconnected sources. For example, on the basis of Plato’s description of the Acropolis at the time of the ‘Atlantean’ war that it can be dated to around 1200 BC, not 9600 BC. He linked the Atlantean war with the invasion of the ‘Sea Peoples’ recorded by the Egyptians and locates Atlantis in Andalusia in Southern Spain and places its capital in the valley of the Guadalquivir, south of Seville. Satellite photos of this same area have recently revealed rectangular structures surrounded by parts of concentric circles with dimensions similar to Plato’s description of Atlantis. Werner Wickboldt, a teacher, who lives in Braunschweig (Kühne’s birthplace) announced the discovery of these features on January 8th 2003. These structures include a rectangle of size 180 meters x 90 meters (Temple of Poseidon?) and a square of length 180 meters (Temple of Poseidon and Cleito?). Concentric circles surround these two rectangular structures, so that the site closely resembles Plato’s description of the Atlantean capital. However, the dimensions of this location are approximately 20% larger than Plato’s figures, so Kühne has suggested that the unit of measurement used by Plato, the stade, may have been greater than usually accepted.
It was a surprise to many when, in their June 2004 edition, the highly respected journal Antiquity published details of this discovery and Kühne’s interpretation(a).
An outline of Kühne’s theories, in English, is also available on the Internet(c).
(a) http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/kuhne/ (if offline, see Archive 2081)