Arysio Nunes dos Santos
Gunung Padang is a megalithic site on the Indonesian island of Java, *[which was first surveyed in 1914 by the Dutch colonial authorities and published as Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (Report of the Department of Antiquities). A post-war Australian investigation concluded that the site was much older than previously believed. Now, with presidential support, local archaeologists are carrying out an extensive investigation of the site.]*
The site has recently been claimed as part of Atlantis. A few years ago the late Arysio dos Santos was the leading proponent of Sundaland, which included Indonesia, as Atlantis. Now Danny Hilman Natawidjaja an Indonesian geologist has made a similar claim in his Kindle ebook, Plato Never Lied: Atlantis Is in Indonesia. In it Gunung Padang plays an important role. Mount Padang has also been claimed as the world’s oldest pyramid!
Andrew Collins has now added an article to his website that examines the preliminary claim that the lower levels at the site could be 12,000 years older than Gobekli Tepe. If confirmed, it will undoubtedly require some rewriting of history books.*[Do not lose sight of the fact that radiocarbon dating has limitations, being accurate for up to around 6,000 years with increasing unreliability up to perhaps 50,000 BC after which it is generally useless.]*
We now (Nov. ’14) have a report that some type of ‘electrical device’ has been discovered at the site ‘made out of gold and copper and seems to resemble a primitive electrical capacitator.’ Until further information is available this claim must be treated with caution.
*[There are, however, dissenting voices as reported by journalist, Michael Bachelard(g), such as vulcanologist Sutikno Bronto, who says “Gunung Padang is simply the neck of a nearby volcano, not an ancient pyramid.Danny Hilman is not a vulcanologist. I am.” As for the carbon-dated cement between the stones, on which Hilman relies for his claims about the age of the site, Sutikno believes it is simply the byproduct of a natural weathering process, ”not man-made”. Other sceptics are even tougher. One archaeologist, who does not wish to be named since the President took such an interest, says the presidential taskforce is deluding itself. ”In the Pawon cave in Padalarang [about 45 kilometres from Gunung Padang], we found some human bones and tools made of bones about 9500 years ago, or about 7000 BCE. So, if at 7000 BCE our technology was only producing tools of bones, how can people from 20,000 BCE obtain the technology to build a pyramid?” the archaeologist asks.]*
Tripura is the name of a triple city in Hindu mythology that was famed for its architecture and rich adornments. Its inhabitants are reputed to have become greedy over time and were destroyed by Shiva (Mahabharata, Bk7, Drona Parva, Sec.XI). The story is almost the same as that of Atlantis and its demise. Since 1997 until his death in 2005 the late Arysio Nunes dos Santos has championed the idea that Plato’s Atlantis narrative regarding a submerged civilisation had been borrowed from the east. He also linked Atlantis with Tripura(a).
2005 not only saw the death of dos Santos shortly after the publication of his theory in book form, while in Moscow, Sergey Teleguin had his book, Anatomy of a Myth, published in Russian, in which he also identified Tripura with Atlantis. An English translation of part of his book has now been provided by Teleguin(c).
R. Cedric Leonard has also linked Atlantis with Tripura, the capital of the island of Atala(b). However, Leonard has chosen the Azores as the most likely location for Atlantis and dos Santos opted for Sundaland, a large landmass, now partly submerged encompassing, among others, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia!
Troy is generally accepted by modern scholarship to have been situated at Hissarlik in what is now northwest Turkey. However, some high profile authorities such as Sir Moses Finley (1912-1986) have denounced the whole idea of a Trojan War as a fiction in his book, The World of Odysseus.
*[The Swedish scholar, Martin P. Nilsson (1874-1967) who argued for a Scandinavian origin for the Mycenaeans, also considered the identification of Hissarlik with Homer’s Troy as unproven.]*
Troy as Atlantis is not a commonly held idea, although Strabo, the 1st century AD geographer, suggested such a link. So it was quite understandable that when Swiss geo-archaeologist, Eberhard Zangger, expressed this view it caused quite a stir. In essence, Zangger proposed that Plato’s story of Atlantis was a retelling of the Trojan War(g).
For me the Trojan Atlantis theory makes little sense as Troy was to the north east of Athens and Plato clearly states that the Atlatean invasion came from the west. Troy would have been well known to Plato, so why did he not simply name them? Furthermore, Plato tells us that the Atlanteans had control of the Mediterranean as far as Libya and Tyrrhenia, which is not a claim that can be made for the Trojans.
A very unusual theory explaining the fall of Troy as a consequence of a plasma discharge is offered by Peter Mungo Jupp on The Thunderbolts Project website(d) together with a video(e).
Zangger proceeded to re-interpret Plato’s text to accommodate a location in North-West Turkey. He contends that the original Atlantis story contains many words that have been critically mistranslated. The Bronze Age Atlantis of Plato matches the Bronze Age Troy. He points out that Plato’s reference to Atlantis as an island is misleading, since at that time in Egypt where the story originated, they frequently referred to any foreign land as an island. He also compares the position of the bull in the culture of Ancient Anatolia with that of Plato’s Atlantis. He also identifies the plain mentioned in the Atlantis narrative, which is more distant from the sea now, due to silting. Zangger considers these Atlantean/Trojans to have been one of the Sea Peoples who he believes were the Greek speaking city-states of the Aegean.
Rather strangely, Zangger admits (p.220) that “Troy does not match the description of Atlantis in terms of date, location, size and island character…..”, so the reader can be forgiven for wondering why he wrote his book in the first place. Elsewhere(f), another interesting comment from Zangger was that “One thing is clear, however: the site of Hisarlik has more similarities with Atlantis than with Troy.”
An American researcher, J. D. Brady, in a somewhat complicated theory places Atlantis in the Bay of Troy.
To confuse matters further Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos, a leading proponent of Atlantis in the South China Sea, places Troy in that same region of Asia(b).
*[Furthermore, the late Philip Coppens reviewed(h) the question marks that still hang over our traditional view of Troy.]*
Felice Vinci has placed Troy in the Baltic and his views have been endorsed by the American researcher Stuart L. Harris in a number of articles on the excellent Migration and Diffusion website(c). Harris specifically identifies Finland as the location of Troy, which he claims fell in 1283 BC.
Sundaland is the name first used in 1964, by the biologist Professor Desmond Sydney Johnson (1924-1972), to describe an area of South-East Asia, which had been above sea level during periods of Ice Age glaciation and partial inundated during warmer times such as the present. It is worth noting that it is now generally accepted that South East Asia was probably the entry point of modern humans from Africa. Human traces have been found in Papua New Guinea that have been dated to around 40,000 BC.
Some authors have specifically claimed a clear link between Sundaland and Plato’s Atlantis. The Sunda Sub-Oceanic Plain is large enough to match Plato’s description of Atlantis. Its topography, climate, flora and fauna together with aspects of local mythologies, all permit a convincing case to be made to support this idea.
*[C.W. Leadbeater (1854-1934) who was a prominent theosophist was perhaps the first to suggest a link between Atlantis and Indonesia in his book, The Occult History of Java  , which is now available online(f).]*
Other investigators have written on the prehistory of the region of whom the best known is probably Stephen Oppenheimer who firmly locates the Garden of Eden in this region, although he makes little reference to Atlantis. More recently, Robert Schoch, in collaboration with Robert Aquinas McNally, wrote a book in which they suggest that pyramid building may have had its origins in a civilisation that flourished on parts of Sundaland that are now submerged.
The first book to specifically identify Sundaland with Atlantis was written by Zia Abbas. However, prior to its publication the Internet offered at least two sites that discussed in detail the case for Atlantis in South East Asia. William Lauritzen(a) and the late Professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos(b) developed extensive websites. Lauritzen has also written an e-book that is available from his site, while Santos developed his views on an Asian Atlantis in another recent book. Dr Sunil Prasannan has an interesting essay on Graham Hancock’s website(c). A more esoteric site(d) also offers support for the Sundaland theory.
An Indonesian researcher, Panji R. Hadinoto, has published on his website(e) a 32 point checklist purporting to ‘prove’ that Atlantis was located on Sundaland. Unfortunately, this checklist is not original but copied from the work of Professor dos Santos.
April 2015 saw further support for an Indonesian Atlantis with the publication of a book by hydraulic engineer, Dhani Irwanto, who endeavours to identify features of the lost city with details in Plato’s account with a site in the Java Sea off the coast of the island of Kilmantan.
(d) http://www.tylwythteg.com/atlantis/southchina.html (offline June 2015)
Heracles was a Greek mythical hero(c), later known to the Romans as Hercules.*[He is one of a number of mythical heroes who were reportedly abandoned as babies(f).]* He has also been identified with biblical Samson(a), the Phoenician Melqart and the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh(b). Dos Santos has decided that Hercules was originally the Hindu hero Vishnu[320.129], quoting Megasthenes (350-290 BC), the Greek geographer, in support of his contention. Others have referred to Megasthenes identifying Hercules with Krishna(e).
He is usually portrayed as brandishing a club and wearing a lion’s head as a helmet, probably because he, like Samson, reputedly unarmed, overcame lions and since lions were not part of the fauna of ancient Greece it reasonable to assume that at least this part of the tale had an Asian or African origin, but the similarities don’t end there(a).
Euhemerists has suggested that he was a real historical figure, possibly a former king of Argos.
A more controversial suggestion has been made by Emmet J. Sweeney, in his 2001 book, Arthur and Stonehenge, in which the blurb for the book claims that “Arthur himself, he was the primitive bear-god “Artos”, the Celtic version of Hercules. Originally portrayed with a bear-skin over his head and shoulders and carrying a great oaken club, he became the prototype of the Greek Hercules when Hellenic traders, braving the wild waters of the Atlantic in search of tin, heard his story from the Britons.”*[However, Sweeney also identifies Moses “as an alter ego of Hercules.” in his Atlantis: The Evidence of Science[700.198].]*
There appears to have been a cult of Heracles that may have extended as far as Britain, where the Cerne Abbas chalk figure is sometimes claimed to represent him(d).
The term ‘Pillars of Heracles’ was used by the ancient Greeks to define the outer reaches of their limited seagoing range. This changed over time as their nautical capabilities improved. Some of the earlier ‘Pillars’ were located at the entrance to the Black Sea and the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Messina. Later the term was applied exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar.
Indonesia in recent years have seen an increasing number of supporters for the idea of Atlantis being located in the vicinity of today’s archipelago, prior to the ending of the last Ice Age, on the submerged continental shelf now frequently referred to as Sundaland. The redating of cave paintings on the island of Sulawesi suggests that they are as old as any in Europe(h), possibly stretching back as far as 40,000 years.*[A 2016 report(j) has now pushed back the earliest human occupation on Sulawesi to 100,000 years ago.]*
As far as I can ascertain the earliest suggested linkage between Atlantis and Indonesia came from the leading Theosophist, C.W.Leadbeater (1854-1934). In a booklet, The Occult History of Java(f), published in 1951 he proposed that Java had been an Atlantean colony.
However, it is reported(g) that Sukarno (1901-1970), the first president of Indonesia, spoke of Atlantis nearly half a century ago when he located it in the Atlantic
William Lauritzenwas probably the first to advocate this idea of a Sundaland connection on his website, but it seems that the concept was given a huge boost by the publication of the late professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos’ book Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found.
The idea was given a boost in February 2012 when it was reported(a) by a somewhat incredulous Jakarta Post that the Indonesian president had given his support to a search for an ancient sunken civilisation in Indonesian waters following meetings with researchers including British author Stephen Oppenheimer.
May 2013 saw The Jakarta Post report(b) the publication of a book by local geologist, Danny Hilman Natawidjaja in which he claims that Atlantis was part of prehistoric Indonesia. In the book, entitled Penemuan Atlantis Nusantara (The Discovery of Atlantis in the Archipelago) he claims to base his theory on Plato’s text. However, commenting on the book the Indonesian archaeologist Daud Aris Tanudirjo said that Natawidjaja’s claim was ‘premature’, pointing out that the author had only an English translation of Plato’s text to work with and suggesting that Natawidjaja had no knowledge of ancient Greek. Further background information was subsequently made available(c).
Natawidjaja also claims that a site at Gunung Padang, 120km southwest of Jakarta may be more than 9,000 years old! Graham Hancock has expanded on this claim(e).
In 2015 Dahni Irwanto published Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea, in which he located the biblical Garden of Eden and the legendary island of Taprobane on the Indonesian island of Kilimantan (Borneo) and placed Atlantis off its coast.
*[A short April 2016 blog(k) suggests that Quranic Archaeology may be used to support the idea of an Indonesian Atlantis!]*
(a) http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/02/03/president-s-men-quest-find-atlantis.html (offline Apr.2016)
Zia Abbas, according to his own website(a), is a computer scientist and works as a freelance software engineer and consultant for many companies. He is the author of Atlantis: The Final Solution in which he claims to prove that Plato’s Atlantis is to be found in the South China Sea. The core proposal of this book is that Atlantis was located on the continental shelf in the South China Sea, known as Sundaland, which was exposed before the end of the last Ice Age, when it was inundated as the glaciers retreated. According to Zia Abbas, this large landmass contained the original Atlantis and was known as Idress. It is quite probable that early urban settlements did exist along the coast and at the river mouths of Sundaland, and were subsequently flooded. However, it is quite improbable that the flooding of these towns and villages were the inspiration for the Atlantis of Plato. Remember that at the same time, similar inundations were taking place much closer to home in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and these events are more likely to have been remembered in the legends and myths familiar to Plato. The prehistoric flooding of the Sundaland region is covered extensively in Stephen Oppenheimer’s Eden in the East.
Abas is no trailblazer, as the idea of Atlantis in this region has been advocated since 1997 by investigators such as the late Professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos(b) and William Lauritzen(c). Abbas’ theory is just a poor rehash of their ideas and his particular book has done little to advance their acceptance.
On the first page, Abbas claims that Atlantis was a republic, which seems rather strange for a confederation ruled by ten kings. He states that Athena was a ‘god’ of Atlantis, a claim that would have surprised Plato. Abbas also asserts that Atlantis is to be found in the Old Testament under the name of Enoch!
Further incongruity is encountered when we find that Abbas’ website includes a technical paper on Gravitation and Special Relativity.
This book is high on speculation and low on science. For many, the author’s credibility will completely vanish as soon as they encounter references to reptilian aliens a la David Icke, artificial structures on Mars or a hollow Earth. This is all a far cry from the Dialogues of Plato and probably explains the poor reviews that the book has received. Abbas also provides a website(c) that does very little to add to his cause.
(c) http://www.geocities.com/zia abbas/index.htm
Arysio Nunes dos Santos (1937-2005), was a highly qualified engineer with many patents to his credit. He was Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, and had also worked as a geologist and climatologist. He was also an amateur linguist who had mastered Greek and Sanskrit among others. Apart from his professional interests, Santos has written on a diverse range of subjects including Symbolism, Alchemy, the Holy Grail and Comparative Mythology and Religion. His studies led him to conclude that Atlantis and the biblical Eden were the same and more controversially that it had been located in the South China Sea. An even more contentious idea of Santos was his claim that the seven sacraments of Christianity have an Atlantean origin(a). There is an interesting website(b) promoting his theories and in 2005 his ideas were published in book form, but sadly, Professor Santos passed away just weeks after it was launched. Since then his work has been championed by his son Bernado and Frank Joseph Hoff, who had done research for Santos over a number of years(c). Hoff has promoted dos Santos’ work in a number of radio interviews that can be heard online(g)(h).
An extensive two-part document by dos Santos, entitled The Atlantean Symbolism of the Egyptian Temple can be read online(e)(f).
Understandably, Santos’ basic theory has received considerable support from Asian commentators.
Nevertheless, some of the geological aspects of his theories were criticised by the Indonesian geologist Dr. Awang Harun Satyana(d).
(c) http://www.atlan.org/important_announcement.html (offline July 2015)
(d) http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/03/23/indonesia-the-lost-atlantis.html (offline Apr. 2016) (see Archive 2794)