Pytheas was a 3rd century BC navigator from the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles) and is best known for his voyage in the north Atlantic, possibly around 240 BC. His trip took in the British Isles and as he ventured further north and claimed to have reached Thule. An assertion that has generated volumes of debate regarding Thule’s location. Pytheas described Thule as lying six day’s sail to the north of Britain. Iceland, Norway and the Faroes along with the Scottish Shetland and Orkney Islands have all been proposed as Thule.
Rhys Carpenter devoted an interesting chapter of his Beyond the Pillars of Hercules in which he suggested that Pytheas’ voyage was undertaken with commercial objectives in mind, but on that level it was unsuccessful. However, as a voyage of discovery, it was an unparalleled achievement earning for Pytheas Carpenter’s accolade of ”antiquity’s Greatest Explorer”.
Carpenter favours the idea that the term, ‘Pillars of Hercules’, when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world.”[p156]
The Bell Beaker People identified by their distinctive pottery existed from around 2800 BC until 1800 BC. They occupied large areas of Iberia, Central Europe and the British Isles as well as some of the western Mediterranean islands. Associated with them are the Wessex people divided into Wessex I and Wessex II, who are found in western Europe and southern Britain, the latter, dated to 1650-1400, were involved with the construction of the later stages of Stonehenge.
Uwe Topper associates the beginning of metallurgy with the Bell-Beaker People(e).
Melville Nicholls and others(b) have linked Atlantis with the Bell Beaker culture, identifying a location near Gibraltar as the site of Atlantis. He published his views in Children of the Sea God, a 2013 Kindle ebook(a)and a second ebook, The Real and Imaginary Atlantis generally reprising the first, later the same year!*Further comment from Nicholls can be found on an internet forum(f).*
The Beaker People are also claimed to have crossed the Atlantic, where they have been linked to the Adena culture of North America. A leading exponent of this theory is undoubtedly Jay S. Wakefield, co-author of How the SunGod reached America . He has reprised his views in a 2018 paper on the Diffusion & Migration website(c) . Others have expanded on his concepts(d).
(b) http://widespreadblyss.blogspot.ie/2013/02/platos-atlantis-and-bell-beaker-culture.html (link broken Sept. 2018)
João de Almeida (1873-1953) was a Portuguese military officer who held the final rank of General. In 1901 he wrote his undergraduate thesis on the subject of Atlantis, which he published in 1931 as O Espírito da Raça Portuguesa na sua Expansão Além-Mar(a), where he identified the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores, Madeiras and Canaries as the remnants of Atlantis. He included two hypothetical maps showing Atlantis as a very large landmass extending westward from mainland of Europe and North Africa and incorporating those three archipelagos as well as the British Isles.
The Atlantis Researches , by Paul Dunbavin, discusses in great detail the myths of the British Isles and, in particular, the Welsh legends that refer repeatedly to sunken kingdoms. Dunbavin concludes that these myths are a memory of a submerged Neolithic civilisation around the coasts of the British Isles.
The author is convinced that the destruction of this civilisation was the result of a change in the Earth’s axis, as a consequence of a cometary impact, around 3100 BC. This date coincides with the conclusions of other writers who have also identified this date as one of global cataclysmic events. However controversial his ideas may be, the book is well worth a read.
This book was republished in 2003 as Atlantis of the West.
Vittorio Castellani (1937-2006) was born in Palermo, the capital of the
Italian island of Sicily. He received his degree in Physics at the University of Rome in 1962 and was a renowned Astrophysicist and earned wide praise as a teacher.
He has written a work that places Atlantis in the North Atlantic on the continental shelf that today is home to the British Isles. He suggests that prior to the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age, Britain, Ireland, Denmark and France were all connected making it relatively easy to launch invasions of the Mediterranean. He dates the submersion of large areas of this continental shelf and the Baltic to around 6000 BC. He believes that the megalithic remains spread across northern Europe are the remnants of Atlantis, a view shared by others.
However, in 2004, Castellani retracted his earlier belief(a) and following the publication of Sergio Frau’s book two years earlier, he added his support to the idea of a Sardinian Atlantis.
Copper was obviously a vital commodity in the Bronze Age Atlantis described by Plato. The source of this copper has led to frequent speculation among Atlantologists. Frank Joseph 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, claiming that there is no trace of it in North America!
Joseph’s wild claim runs counter to the evidence offered by one of the leading mining engineers of his day, T.A. Rickard (1864-1953)(m). In 1934, Rickard published an extensive paper in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland entitled The Use of Native Copper by the Indigenes of North America (n). Rickard notes how early European colonists observed the native Americans using copper for tools and ornaments. A more recent entry(o) in Wikipedia offers further details reinforcing Rickard’s contention.
In another article in Atlantis Rising magazine Joseph proposed that the exploitation of the Michigan copper began in the sixth millennium BC with the arrival of the Red Paint People from Europe!(i)
J.S. Wakefield has written an extensive article(j) linking the Michigan mines with Poverty Point in Louisiana, where, he contends that, the copper was cast into oxhide ingots. In the same article he identified the Sea Peoples as the Atlanteans and their allies. Wakefield is co-author with Reinoud de Jonge of Rocks & Rows: Sailing Routes Across the Atlantic and the Copper Trade.
Roger Jewell has written an important book on this same historical mystery but dates the early mining to 2500 BC and estimates the quantity of copper mined at 20 million pounds. Jewell offers a range of evidence that point to Minoan traders, an idea taken up recently by Gavin Menzies, who quotes estimates of between three and five hundred million pounds, while others have suggested as much as 1.5 billion pounds have been extracted. These wild speculations have been derided by commentators such as Jason Colavito(b).
Dale Drinnon has an extensive entry on the Michigan copper mines on his wide-ranging website(c). Philip Coppens also wrote a speculative article on the possible part that Michigan’s copper plated in global trade around 3000 BC(g).
The America Unearthed TV series, presented by Scott Wolter, also examined the idea of Minoans mining in Michigan (S1 E3). Jason Colavito wrote a highly critical review of the episode(k), while an even more extensive critique can be found on the Archyfantasies.com website(l).
It is claimed that the local Indians have folk-memories of the mines being worked by ‘light-skinned’ men, suggesting a possible European or Mediterranean connection. Frank Joseph implies that these natives had little interest in copper although one of the cultures in the Great Lakes region were known as the Old Copper Indian because of their extensive use of copper for weapons, tools and ornaments(h). Furthermore as early as 1585 British settlers on Roanoke Island noted that the indigenous people there put a high value on copper.
A more conventional analysis of the Michigan copper mining mystery is presented by local archaeologists. They point out that the views of commentators such as Frank Joseph are very generous with speculation but somewhat mean with evidence. Dr. Susan R. Martin of Michigan Technological University has published a point by point refutation(a) of the many wild claims that have been made about the Michigan mines in The Michigan Archaeologist [41 (2-3) p119-138. June-September 1995].
Even more extreme was the suggestion made by Reinoud M. de Jonge in a 2009 paper(e) where he boldly claimed “that during the whole period of the (Michigan) copper trade, America was part of the Egyptian Empire” and during the Old Kingdom “this huge empire was known as Atlantis”!*De Jonge expanded on this in a 2012 paper, justifying his claims with an incredibly detailed interpretation of the Phaistos Disk, which appears to be highly speculative(p).*
In the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, taking its name from copper, provided much of that metal, which enabled the development of the Bronze Age there. In the central and Western Mediterranean ancient copper mines have been identified in Iberia, Morocco and Sardinia as well as sources of tin.However, an 1982 paper(f) claimed that Laurion in Attica, Greece was equally as important as Cyprus as a source of Bronze Age copper.
The earliest known metal mine in the British Isles was on Ross Island , near Killarney in Ireland. Copper was mined there from 2400 BC until 1900 BC(d) and the site is thought to have been the principal source of the metal for the two islands at that time.
Supporters of an earlier date for Atlantis can point to evidence of worked metal around 9000 BC discovered in Anatolia, Turkey. More recently there were metal beads discovered in Bulgaria tentatively dated to 6000 BC.
(a) See Archive 2547
(c) See: Archive 3597
(g) See Archive 2724
(i) See Archive 3389
Stephen Oppenheimer (1947- ) qualified in Medicine from Oxford University in 1971. He moved to the orient where he specialised in tropical paediatrics. He was Professor of Paediatrics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1990 to 1994. Much of his research focused on malaria and the unique genetic mutations that protect against it. Since these mutations act as markers Oppenheimer found that they held strong evidence for the migrations caused by the extensive flooding following the last Ice Age. This led him to investigate the cultural origins of the peoples of South East Asia.
Oppenheimer wrote a book, which identified the South China Sea as the original location of the Garden of Eden. Although he makes little reference to Atlantis, the book is of great interest to those that favour an oriental rather than a western location as the inspiration for Plato’s legendary land.
R. Cedric Leonard has drawn attention to an article by Oppenheimer in a 2006 edition of Prospect magazine(d) with a follow up contribution in the June 2007 edition(e). In them, he proposes that the early immigrants into the British Isles were more likely to have been Basques rather than Celts. Leonard speculates(f) that the Bretons (Britons) were Basques, who in turn were Atlantean refugees!
A critical review of Oppenheimer’s volume by Koenraad Elst(c), the Belgian orientalist, as well as the more recent supportive views of Dale Drinnon can be found on the Internet(a).
Oppenheimer has also written a further book that looks at the origins of modern mankind in Africa and its spread throughout the rest of the world.
In February 2012 it was reported(b) that the president of Indonesia was encouraging a search for an ancient civilisation in Indonesian waters. This apparently followed meetings with local researchers and Stephen Oppenheimer. President Yudhoyono has also given his support to the extensive research being carried out at Gunung Padang(g).
Oppenheimer in conjunction with the Bradshaw Foundation(h) has produced a valuable interactive genetic map showing how the world was peopled(i).
In 2014, Oppenheimer endorsed(j) the conclusions of Stanford and Bradley who propose that the Clovis people were related to the Solutrean people of western Europe who had crossed the Atlantic during the last Ice Age.
See also Sundaland.
(a) See Archive 3581
(b) See Archive 2976
Donald Alexander Mackenzie (1873-1936) was a renowned mythologist of the early 20th century who referred to Atlantis on a number of occasions. He seemed to be inclined to place Plato’s island in the Atlantic and saw the submergence of land around the British Isles at the end of the last Ice Age as the most likely explanation[459.90].
In his Myths and Traditions of the South Sea Islands,he dismisses the idea of a lost Pacific continent as existing only “in the imaginations of writers untrained in scientific method.”[1030.5]
William Blake (1757-1827) an eccentric English poet and artist, had his own distorted vision of Atlantis
in which the legendary British King Albion had once ruled Atlantis before it was destroyed by a deluge, leaving as remnants, the British Isles. The author Anthony Roberts was very taken with Blake’s poetic view of Atlantis and frequently quoted him.
George Mills Harper (R.O. Lawton) (1915-2006) was a Distinguished Professor at Florida State University, who has written a paper on Blake’s interpretation of the Atlantis story and how he was influenced by the work of Thomas Taylor(a).