An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Joining The Dots


Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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Bronze Age

Horned Helmets

Horned Helmets have been worn by various warrior groups from ancient times but , in spite of popular belief, not by the Vikings. Jürgen Spanuth, the leading proponent of a North Sea Atlantis, has identified the Sea Peoples who attacked the Egyptians as North Sea Peoples. The attack was recorded by the Egyptians on the walls of Medinet Habu and where they depicted some of the invaders with horned helmets. Spanuth claimed that “The only known Bronze Age horned helmets come from north Europe”[0015.55]. The illustrations from the Danish National Museum used by Spanuth[0015.31] were more likely to have been for ceremonial use and show no signs of having been used in battle.*A January 2018 article highlights a horned figure on the so-called Oseberg Tapestry, who appears to be leading a religious procession, contributing to the theory that the few horned helmets found so far were probably used for ceremonial purposes(e). Another textile fragment found at the same site also depicts a horned person, which to my mind is more reminiscent of a nordic shaman than a warrior.*

It is noteworthy that the ‘Gjermundbu Helmet’, discovered in 1943 in Nazi-occupied Norway, is the only helmet documented to have existed during the Viking period and is clearly hornless(d).

Furthermore, he was incorrect in claiming that horned helmets were only used in northern Europe during the Bronze Age. Archaeologist Roger Grosjean (1920-1975) has demonstrated(a) that the Torreans of Corsica did use such helmets during that period. The Sherden/Shardana, considered to be one of the Sea Peoples depicted at Medinet Habu are shown as wearing horned helmets and in every instance, except three, they include a round additional piece on the crest. The Shardana are generally accepted to be from Sardinia and are possibly related to the Torreans on neighbouring Corsica. However, the Sardinian examples do not appear to have the accoutrement at the helmets’ crest depicted at Medinet Habu.

Andrea Salimbeti’s website(b) devoted to the Greek Bronze Age has a section on the helmets used in the Aegean during that period, which depicts some horned helmets used by the Mycenaeans(c).

In conclusion, I think Spanuth’s horned helmet evidence is flawed but also that the Sardinian theory is not watertight. Furthermore, his core claim of an invasion from the North Sea into the Eastern Mediterranean is equally untenable. Bronze Age territorial expansion was always into adjacent or nearby territory. A journey of over 4,000 miles from Heligoland to attack Egypt makes no sense.

(a) https://medium.com/the-bronze-age/the-mysterious-horned-warrior-torreans-of-the-isle-of-corsica-853b5e98c677

(b)  http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/index.htm

(c) http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/helmets1.htm (Also see helmets2 & helmets3)

(d) https://thornews.com/2014/06/07/why-is-this-the-only-existing-viking-age-helmet/

*(e) https://thornews.com/2018/01/11/the-confusing-horned-helmets-depicted-in-the-oseberg-viking-age-tapestries/*

Coligny Calendar, The

The Coligny Calendar is the name given to a fragmented bronze plaque discovered in 1897 near Coligny in France. It is a calendar that has been attributed to the Celtic Sequani tribe. It is dated to the 2nd century AD, written in Roman script in Gallic and is the longest known document in that language.

Paul Dunbavin in his Atlantis of the West[099] proposed that the Coligny Calendar might be considered a lunisolar calendar. Some years later in 2005 he returned to the subject in Under Ancient Skies[101] and devoted Chapter 5 plus Appendices A & B to a discussion of Critias 119d, which relates how the kings of Atlantis met alternatively every five and six years. Dunbavin suggests that this is reflected in the Coligny ColignyCalendar and that it possibly had antecedants that would bring its functions back to the time of Bronze Age Atlantis. Dunbavin’s reaction to the Calendar is best quoted – Now it is this passage more than any other that convinces the present author (Dunbavin) of the authenticity of the Atlantis myth“.

Alexios Pliakos, a Greek student of ancient calendars, presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference entitled A hidden Calendar in the Atlantis Story. He focused on the same Critias 119d text and like Dunbavin has independently concluded that the reference to the five and six years is strong evidence “that Atlantis did not lie in Plato’s imagination.”

There has been attempts to link the Coligny Calendar with the much earlier stone engraving found at Knowth near Newgrange in Ireland(a). A extensive and more speculative discussion of the Calendar is to be found on a New Zealand website(b).

*(a) http://www.sequanicalendar.com/egg.html (Link broken Nov. 2018)

See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170305004709/http://www.sequanicalendar.com/egg.html

(b) http://www.celticnz.co.nz/Coligny/ColignyPart1.htm*

Nicholls, Melville (L)

Mel NichollsMelville Nicholls is a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado where he studies atmospheric science, mainly relating to hurricanes. In May 2013 he published Children of the Sea God[944] as a Kindle ebook. One of his main contentions is that Atlantis existed  during the early Bronze Age at the time of the Bell Beaker culture. He also contends that Britain was the large island of Atlantis described by Plato. However he also proposes that the main port city of Atlantis, with the concentric rings of land and water was situated in southwest Spain near Gibraltar. He proposes that this port was destroyed by an event such as a tsunami.

While all these features have been proposed individually as characteristics of Atlantis, Nicholls brings them together in a comprehensive theory, but not without indulging in a liberal amount of speculation.

He devotes a considerable amount of space attempting to link Stonehenge with the Atlanteans. While I was not won over by Nicholl’s book, it is worth a read and might best be studied along with Donald Ingram’s book, The Unlost Island[665].

The idea of  ‘two’ Atlantises was probably first promoted by Lewis Spence and more recently by Karl Jürgen Hepke. In fact, were there not ten Atlantises?

In November 2013, Nicholls published a second ebook, The Real and Imaginary Atlantis[945], in which he revisits his theory of a British/Spanish Atlantis and its relationship to Bell Beaker People. In conclusion, he seems to reluctantly write that “I still come down in favor of the theory that Plato invented the story as the one most likely to be correct.”

 

Copper Age, The

The Copper Age also known as the Chalcolithic Age existed for a relatively brief period between the Stone and Bronze Ages with wide local variations, in Britain around the 3rd millennium BC(a), while in Serbia it was as early as 5500 BC(b).

As recently as 1969, Lucile Taylor Hansen incorrectly wrote[572.116] “a copper age……..should precede a bronze age. It does not in Europe. Nor in the Mediterranean.” The lesson here is that if we think we know it all now, time will show that we are sadly mistaken.

(a) http://archaeology.about.com/od/cterms/g/chalcolithic.htm

(b) http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/world-s-oldest-copper-age-settlement-found/story-k9rIzW37qpM47mMbJv2lmL.html 

 

Perrone, Giacinto (L)

Giacinto Perrone was an Italian academic who wrote of Atlantis and its contribution to the Bronze Age in a 1928 book, Atlantide Leggende e testimonianze[809], republished in 1986 with the title of Atlantide, l’Impero del Bronzo[810]. He saw the Titans of Greek mythology as Atlanteans with a far flung empire. He attributes to them the invention of bronze and the exploitation of the vast copper deposits of Michigan, an idea now promoted by Gavin Menzies.

Mining

Mining as a human activity dates back many thousands of years in various parts of the world Recently, the earliest example of mining in the Americas was an iron oxide mine in Chile dating back to around 10,000 BC(a).*However, metals, such as gold, silver, copper and tin were not the only material extracted in this way, pigments, flint and salt were also mined in ancient times. The silver mines of Lavrio in Greece employed 29,000 slaves at its peak.

In the Mediterranean itself, Cyprus was an important source of copper, giving the island its name. However, the most important mineral source was probably Sardinia, which for the Romans was one of the three most important sources of metals, along with Spain and Brittany. Although there was a limited amount of tin mined in the Mediterranean region, most came from Spain, Brittany as well as Devon and Cornwall.*

Mining in Atlantis is recorded by Plato in Critias 114e where he states that there were many mines producing orichalcum as well as other metals. Mrs. Whishaw contended that the pre-Roman copper mines of Southern Spain was the source of the Atlantean orichalcum.

However, the most extensive ancient mines were probably those of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where copper mining was carried on between 3000 and 1200 BC. It has been guesstimated that up to 1.5 billion pounds of the metal was extracted. It is further speculated that much of this was used to feed the Bronze Age needs of Europe and the Mediterranean(b)(c).*This is hotly disputed by local archaeologists(d).

(a) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/uocp-auo051811.php

(b) http://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/WakefieldJS1.php

(c) http://www.superiorreading.com/copperhistory.html

*(d) http://www.ramtops.co.uk/copper.html   (offline Sept. 2017) (see Archive 2102)*

Michigan

Michigan entered the Atlantis gazetteer when Frank Joseph claimed that copper was at the heart of Atlantean wealth. He further maintained that a major source of this copper was the Michigan North Peninsula from where millions of pounds of the metal were extracted. Conventional wisdom has never Michigan Copperexplained the source of the vast quantities of copper required to feed the needs of the European Bronze Age. Researchers, such as Joseph, are convinced that the abandoned Michigan mines were exploited by pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic mariners, possibly Atlanteans, in order to satisfy the demands of the Mediterranean Bronze industry.

*A short paper in the Migration & Diffusion website(d) by Gerard Leduc in 2017, suggests a possible route that may have been used for the exportation of the Michigan copper to the Atlantic Ocean, before heading for the Mediterranean and/or Europe.

Professor Ilias Mariolakos in a 2010 paper(c) supported the idea of Old World miners in Michigan, identifying prehistoric Greeks as participants.

In 1982 an ancient shipwreck was discovered near Uluburun in Turkey. On board were 10 tons of copper ingots whose purity led some conclude that it could only have come from the Michigan mines. J.S. Wakefield has written a paper supporting this view(a), although he does not directly attribute this copper trade to Atlanteans.

However, Gavin Menzies in The Lost Empire of Atlantis claims that Minoan Crete was in fact Atlantis and that the Minoans not only discovered America but were also responsible for the extensive exploitation of the Michigan copper mines.

It must be stated that this idea of the Michigan copper mining being work of Old World traders is hotly disputed by local archaeologists(b).

(a) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?id=174

(b) http://www.ramtops.co.uk/copper.html

(c) http://www.geology.upatras.gr/files/diavgeia/geology_congress/XLIII,%20Vol%201.pdf

*(d) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2017&id=528*

 

Brogger, Anton Wilhelm (L)

Anton Wilhelm Brøgger (1884-1951) was a leading Norweigan Anton_Wilhelm_Brøggerarchaeologist during the first half of the 20th century. He was also a museum director, politician and a member of the board of the National Theatre. He was imprisoned during the Second World War.

He was convinced that extensive developments in seafaring during the Bronze Age led to the very early discovery of America by Europeans and that this ‘New World’ was the factual kernel within the Atlantis story recounted by Plato.

Writing in Atlantis

Writing in Atlantis. The text of Plato makes it quite clear that writing was a feature of Atlantean culture. This is just another element in the overall picture presented by Plato of Atlantis as a Bronze Age civilisation, although there is always the possibility that the inclusion of writing might be a Platonic addition, designed to enhance the underlying core tale of a very ancient civilisation destroyed by flooding. If this flooding coincided with the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age then it could be dated to around 9500 BC, a date that is in agreement with Solon’s apparent date for the demise of Atlantis.

R. Cedric Leonard(a) has developed the idea that an even older writing system in Western Europe, such as that found on the Glozel Tablets may have had a link with Atlantis. These tablets have been dated to as early as 10,000 BC, but I have some reservations regarding the reliability of this date. Similarly, the writing of the Vinca culture of Eastern Europe is believed to date from around 5500 BC.

However, an article in New Scientist (20.02.10) reports that a study of cave markings at 146 sites in France revealed that a total of just 26 signs were used with varying frequency between 33,000 BC and 8000 BC. The symbols were only found in Southern France as much of the north was glaciated for much of this period. If these findings are substantiated it will raise questions regarding the date of the arrival of modern man into Europe.

There is no evidence of any developed writing system until around 3500 BC in Harappa in the Indus Valley, while a few hundred years later the Sumerians were using a sophisticated cuneiform script and the Egyptians had developed a system of hieroglyphics(d).

Crete had crude writing around 3000 BC, but it would be another 1000 years before the earliest alphabetic inscription discovered so far would be inscribed on a rock, in what is now Southern Egypt. This has been dated to the 1900’s BC, two hundred years earlier than expected. This particular epigraph has prompted speculation that what we know as an alphabet originated in Egypt, but it is not unreasonable to think that this revision will not be the last. However, in the March/April 2010 edition of the respected Biblical Archaeology Review has an article that identifies the early alphabet as a development of hieroglyphics(c).

Although the Phoenicians have often been credited with the invention of the precursor to modern Western scripts around 1,100 BC, it now appears more likely that they were responsible for the adaptation of an even earlier character system. The earliest known Hebrew writing has now been dated to the 10th century BC(b).

In Meso-America the Olmecs appear to have been the first to develop a writing system around 900 BC, 600 years earlier than the Maya.  However, the late emergence of a script there would appear to argue against a common Atlantean source for cultures on both sides of the Atlantic.

The insistence by some on the great antiquity of ancient scripts is driven by those Atlantis researchers who blindly accept the 9,600 BC date for the destruction of a literate Atlantis given by Plato. If an early date for writing cannot be more fully substantiated then Plato’s date must be reappraised.

(a) http://www.atlantisquest.com/classical.html  (offline March 2018)

(b) http://phys.org/news/2010-01-ancient-hebrew-biblical-inscription-deciphered.html

(c) http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=36&Issue=02&ArticleID=06

(d) http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s17999.htm

 

Two Atlantises (L)

Two Atlantises have been proposed by some commentators in order to explain some of the difficulties in Plato’s text. While the concept has been adopted in principle, the locations chosen vary.

Lewis Spence was probably the first to suggest the idea, followed by D. Duvillé, while more recentlyJürgen Hepkehas followed suit. The Russian Atlantologist Vladimir Scherbakov has promoted the idea of one Atlantis in the Atlantic and a second one incorporating major cities in the Eastern Mediterranean. He believed that migrants from the Atlantic original had peopled the second one.

It is clear that Plato describes two Atlantises separated by both time and geography. One was the Stone Age culture, briefly referred to by Plato and the other was the Bronze Age society that he describes in much greater detail. This apparent contradiction is easily explained if we accept that the original Atlantis was preliterate and in common with all very ancient peoples their achievements would have been clouded by the mists of time before committed to writing. Not unreasonably, to make up for a lack of detail, Plato would have overlaid the oral tradition with the attributes of an advanced civilisation of his own era, something that his audience could identify with. Such a literary device would have been within the bounds of artistic licence at that period.

Pauwels & Bergier in their book, The Morning of the Magicians[910], also proposed two Atlantises, an earlier one at Tiwanaku in the Andes and a later one in the Atlantic destroyed by “waters from the north”, recorded as Noah’s Flood in the Bible!

Not content with two Atlantises, Diego Marin, Ivan Minella & Erik Schievenin went one further in 2013, when they proposed three Atlantises in their book The Three Ages of Atlantis[972].