The Central Mediterranean is a very geologically unstable region containing as it does all of Europe’s land-based active volcanoes(a), regular seismic(b) activity with the attendant risk of tsunamis. It is now estimated that a devastating tsunami will hit the Mediterranean every 100 years(c). While the Aegean region experiences the greatest number of earthquakes, the Central Mediterranean, particularly around Sicily is also prone to regular tremors.
The idea that Atlantis was situated in this region is advocated by a number of researchers, including Alberto Arecchi, Férréol Butavand, Anton Mifsud, Axel Hausmann, as well as this compiler. Plato unambiguously referred to only two places as Atlantean territory (Crit.114c & Tim 25b) North Africa and Southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) plus a number of unspecified islands.
The area between Southern Italy and Tunisia has had a great number of sites proposed for the Pillars of Herakles, while possible locations for Gades are on offer with a number places still known today by cognates of that name.
Plato clearly includes continental territory as part of the Atlantean domain as well as a number of important islands. Within a relatively small geographical area, you have two continents, Africa and Europe represented by Tunisia and Italy respectively, as well as the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Malta together with a number of smaller archipelagos, matching Plato’s description exactly. The later Carthaginian Empire also occupied much of the same territory apart from eastern Sicily and southern Italy which by then was controlled by the Greeks and known as Magna Graecia.
For me, the clincher is that within that region we have the only place in the entire Mediterranean to have been home to elephants up to Roman times – Northwest Africa.
*(b) The Europeam Mediterranean Seismic Centre – EMSC, records all activity in the region.*
(c) https://www.tsunami-alarm-system.com/en/content/vorkommen-mittelmeer (German & English)
Fred Woudhuizen (1959- ) is an independent researcher who studies ancient Mediterranean languages and scripts, particularly Luwian and Cretan. He has collaborated with Eberhard Zangger in identifying the Sea Peoples as originating in Western Turkey although Woudhuizen also includes some Central Mediterranean inhabitants among its membership(a) .
He has published many papers on the academia.edu website(b) including one entitled Atlantis in Space and Time(c), in which he claims to have found a reference to Atlantis (ta-ru-nu) in some Cretan hieroglyphics. Jason Colavito was not impressed by Woudhuizen’s convoluted argument(d) .
Erytheia is recorded by Hesiod (8th cent. BC) as one of the Hesperides, a sunken island beyond the Pillars of Heracles.Pherecydes of Athens (5th cent. BC), is considered to be the first to identify Erytheia with Gádeira (Cadiz) according to Strabo (Geog. Bk. III). Some commentators have found many of its characteristics comparable with that of Plato’s Atlantis. Herodotus (Hist. 4.8) also describes it as an island that was located beyond the ‘Pillars’ near Gades. Avienus also supported this idea while Solinus described it being on the Lusitanian coast (Portugal).
N. Zhirov agreed with Adolf Schulten in identifying Erytheia with Tartessos. However, while Schulten located Tartessos at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in South West Spain, Zhirov argued that the story of Hercules taking from Erytheia, the oxen of Geryon, indicated a distance of around 60 miles from the coast. He points out that since Hercules had to get from Helios the ‘golden cup’ in order to show direction by day and night, it would not have required a compass had the island been close to land. Similarly, he reasoned that Erytheia could not have been more than one or two day’s journey since their small boat could not have carried enough food and water for the animals on a longer journey.
Isla de León is a large piece of land between the city of Cádiz and the mainland and accepted by some as having been the home of the mythical giant Geryon and his cattle.
Gades(a) and Erytheia(b) have both been placed on the Map Mistress website in the Central Mediterranean and since they have both been associated with the ‘Pillars of Heracles’, is she suggesting a location in that region for Atlantis?
The Red, White and Black stone which Plato said had adorned the buildings of its port city, have led Atlantis seekers to eagerly follow up this apparently obvious clue. However, as with so many aspects of the Atlantis story, this particular detail does not provide us with anything like a clear pointer to any specific location.
Jürgen Spanuth relates[015.125] how the ancient Canarians decorated their temple with red, white and black rock, the colours of tufa, pumice and lava. The cliffs of Santorini are also known to display red, white and black rock. These three materials are frequently found in the vicinity of volcanoes(b) and may be considered a valuable clue to the location of Atlantis.*[However, this combination of rock colours is not exclusive to volcanic localities as Jim Allen has demonstrated at Pampa Augallas in the Andes and Peter Daughtrey at his Silves site in Portugal[0893.120].]*
Although Atlantis was destroyed by an earthquake, volcanoes are often located in the same general region such as in the Central Mediterranean which is both seismically and volcanically very active and, in my opinion, the prime candidate as the home of Atlantis. This view is endorsed by Plato himself who twice (Tim.25b & Crit.114c) told us that the territory of the Atlantean alliance stretched from North Africa as far as Tyrrhenia in Italy. I further propose that this was on a north/south axis.
Jim Allen has found the same three rock colours at his Bolivian site and further afield, Ian Wilson points out that red, white and black bricks were used extensively in Çatal Hüyük. Not to be excluded, Diaz-Montexano has produced photos on his website of pre-Roman structures near Gibraltar that incorporate red, white and black blocks in their construction. Jonas Bergman has indicated that similarly coloured stone is to be found in Morocco. Other locations include the Azores, Algeria and Sardinia.
Some(a) have sought to link the red, white and black of the Nazi swastika with Plato’s reference.
Geology is one of the many ‘ologies’ brought into play by modern Atlantis studies. Plato records that the stone quarries of Atlantis produced red, white and black rock that was extensively used to adorn the capital port city.
Stone with all these colours are usually associated with volcanic eruptions in the form of tufa, pumice and lava. The Central Mediterranean is home to the most seismically and volcanically unstable region in that entire 2,300 mile long sea.
Plato also notes that “at a later time” following exceptional earthquakes (Tim. 25d), Atlantis was devastated by inundation and the Athenians wiped out by being “swallowed up by the earth”. The proponents of the Iberian Atlantis, such as Diaz-Montexano, will have to explain the geology that would simultaneously cause such destruction at two points separated by over 1,500 miles assuming that if they were that far apart and that the two events were concurrent.
However, the answer may lie in the fact that before Plato the terms ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Pillars of Heracles’ had meanings other than what we understand by them today. The western Mediterranean was known to some as the Atlantic Sea and the straits of Sicily and Messina, between Africa and Italy, were, among other locations, referred to as the Pillars of Heracles. In order to share the consequences of even severe earthquakes would place Atlantis at it nearest to Athens somewhere in the vicinity of Malta, only 500 miles away. There is clear evidence of such seismic convulsions in that region.
Another view of Atlantean geology is offered by Carl Martin(a). He opts for the Azores as the remnants of Atlantis which was destroyed by post-glacial crustal adjustments. He speculates that Atlantis “might have suffered from the effect of rebound compensation?”, and wonders if it “could have been “sucked” down to make up for the crustal rise in North America and Northern Europe?”
R. Cedric Leonard also advocates the Azores as Atlantis based mainly on the oceanographic surveys of over half a century ago(b).
The announcement in May 2013 that part of a previously unknown mini-continent had been found in the Atlantic, 900 miles off the coast of Brazil, immediately got some of the print media linking it to Atlantis(c). It should be kept in mind that Plato never described Atlantis as a continent, but consistently referred to it as an island, which along with other islands led to a continent. Even today travellers going from Sicily to Southern Italy, refer to going to the ‘continente’.