Civilisation Collapse has occurred many times over past millennia in all parts of the world. The American anthropologist, Joseph A. Tainter defines collapse as “a rapid shift to a lower level of complexity(a) .” Societal disintegration immediately brings to mind the Maya, the Indus Valley and in what are relatively more modern times, the Western Roman Empire.
The causes are usually a combination of factors, such as, climate change, warfare, disease or excessive expansionism. Global catastrophes such as encounters with comets or asteroids are rare, while more local events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis can also be thrown into the mix. These have all been encountered from time to time, but have rarely been blamed for the collapse of a society; recovery from such limited regional events is usually possible.
The Mediterranean has seen its share of all these catastrophic events. A major tsunami on Sardinia, volcanic eruptions in Italy, earthquakes in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. Close encounters with extraterrestrial bodies have also been proposed in that region.
Perhaps the best documented civilisation collapse is that which occurred around 1200 BC and affected many societies, particularly in the Middle East(b) . Israel Finkelstein, a leading Israeli archaeologist, has attributed this event to climate change and is of the view that this disruption was global in extent.
Inevitably, Atlantis has been cited as an example of civilisation collapse, particularly supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis, who link the 2nd millennium BC eruptions of Thera with the demise of the Minoans on Crete. Also popular is the idea that Atlantis had been a large island in the Atlantic Ocean destroyed by a cometary impact or the rising sea levels as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age.
A variety of other theories have associated Atlantis with the collapse of a civilisation. For example, Frank Joseph claims that 40,000 years ago “sudden sea-level rises triggers migration from Mu around. The Pacific motherlanders settle on a large, fertile island about 380 kilometers due west from the Straits of Gibraltar. There, the newcomers merge with the native Cro-Magnon inhabitants, resulting in a new, hybrid culture – Atlantis.”
The Capsian Culture was the African counterpart of that of the Azilian people of Europe,*[dating from 8000 to 4500 BC.]* They were among a number of groups included under the umbrella title of Cro-Magnon Man. They were originally centred in the region of the Tunisian and Algerian chotts (blue area on map), spreading later across North Africa and are generally accepted as the ancestors of today’s berbers, frequently suggested to be descendants of the Atlanteans.
Louis Charpentier (1905-1979) was a French journalist with a fascination for the mysteries of ancient history. He has written books on the Basques and the Templars,*[the latter were considered by Charpentier to have built Chartres Cathedral as a repository for ancient wisdom.]*
In 1975 he produced a paper in which he speculated on the existence of Atlantis and concluded that it probably existed as a Cro-Magnon society on an island in the Atlantic that was destroyed by the Deluge.
Pelasgians or Pelasgi is the term applied to early populations of the Aegean, prior to the Flood of Deucalion and subsequent arrival of the Hellenic peoples to the region. Pelasgian Greeks are recognised as having occupied Crete at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. It is unclear from classical sources(b) exactly what regions the Pelasgians occupied, not to mention when or where they originated.
Some writers such as Densusianu have postulated a Pelasgian Empire extending over a large stretch of central Europe.
Euripides stated that the Pelasgians were later called Danaans.
Spiro N. Konda believes that today’s Albanians are descendants of the Pelasgians and has written The Albanians and the Pelasgian Problem in support of this idea, unfortunately, it is in Albanian, but some of his arguments can be read, in English, online(a).
Oliver D. Smith in his book Atlantis in Greece identified “the Pelasgians with both the Atlanteans and prehistoric Athenians – as two regional tribes at war with each other”.
A more radical, highly speculative and quite incredible, alternative definition is offered by Marin, Minella and Schievenin[0972.471], which is that Pelasgians were refugees from their homeland in Antarctica after its catastrophic destruction. They claim that these refugees were also known as Titans, Tyrrhenians and Atlanteans, among other names! They further claim that anthropology calls them Cro-Magnon!
R. Cedric Leonard (1934- ) is from Oklahoma and has worked as an electronic technician, initially in the U.S. Navy and later in private industry, from which he retired in 1990. He has studied Comparative Religion, Sanskrit and Classical Greek and has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. He is also self-taught in Egyptian, Canaanite and Phoenician inscriptions. He has also speculated on the possibility of the Phoenician alphabet having its origins in Atlantis and possibility of a connection with the Glozel Tablets(c).
His Sanskrit studies led him to investigate stories of the vimanas or ancient Hindu flying machines. He has produced several booksand scientific papers on the subject of Atlantis and ancient India. He has also written on the existence of UFO’s in ancient Egypt(d), Mesopotamia(h) and the Bible, particularly the Book of Ezekiel(e). He has also produced a paper(f) about archaeological mysteries in general.
Although retired, he still maintains his very interesting Atlantis website(a), which covers a range of subjects including connections between Cro-Magnon Man and ancient Egypt with Atlantis.* Unfortunately, his website has now (2019) gone offline.*
He locates Atlantis along The Mid-Atlantic Ridge and offers geological, mythological, linguistic and paleontological evidence to support this idea and for its destruction following worldwide catastrophes around 10000 BC. He has also written a paper(g) on the asteroid/comet impact around the same time, which created the Carolina Bays and its possible connection with the destruction of Atlantis. This encounter was brought to the notice of a wide audience by Richard Firestone and his colleagues by their book, The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes.
Leonard himself recognises that his belief in prehistoric flying machines may lead some readers to dismiss his carefully thought out theory on Atlantis, but he is adamant that both existed. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that Leonard is one of the few writers on the subject who has produced original material to support the idea of Atlantis’ existence.
Some of Leonard’s work can be found plagiarised on the Internet, most blatantly by the artist, Charles Alexander Moffat(b).
(h) See: Archive 2881*
Guanches and Canarios were the names given to the natives of the Canary Islands when conquered by the Spanish in the 15th century following a hundred-year campaign. They are generally considered to be of Cro-Magnon origin having fair or red hair and blue/grey eyes, characteristics that are still to be seen today. Many writers have been convinced that the Guanches were the remnants of the Atlantean civilisation. Recent DNA studies(j) reveal a diversity of origins for the descendants of Guanches, comparable with the general Canarian population today.
However, a number of recent genetic studies(l)(m) have established a clear relationship with the Berbers of North Africa. Furthermore, it is claimed that the aboriginal language of the Guanches is related to one of the Berber dialects(n).*Further evidence favouring a Berber connection was provided in 2017(o). A 2018 paper develops this further with particular reference to the Lybico-Berber script(p).*
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans it is claimed that the population numbered over 20,000. It is not commonly known that in the 15th century many of the Guanches were abducted and brought to the Madeiras to work as slaves(g).
The Guanches were reported to have had no boats or maritime heritage. If they were all that was left following a catastrophic event, the Guanches were probably the descendents of mountain people who had no sea going heritage. This view was queried by Henry Eichner who claims that this idea was generated by the faulty assumptions of one of the first Spaniards to visit the island, Nicoloso de Recceo. In 2013, Sergio Navio decided to disprove this notion with a practical demonstration. The plan is to use a basic raft-like boat, named ‘Ursa Minor’ to sail from Lanzarote to La Palma, a distance of 250 miles(f).
The Spanish conquerors of the Canary Islands may have been able to shed more light on the subject, had they been more interested in history than in territory. According to these early explorers, the natives were surprised to learn that other people had survived the disaster that had flooded their world and submerged much of their homeland. They excitedly asked the conquistadors for help translating ancient inscriptions left by their ancestors that they could no longer read, but unfortunately – for the natives and for history – the Spanish exterminated their tribe before any more information was learned about their history and legends. Their inscriptions remain undeciphered.
The Guanches have been linked with both ancient Egypt and America on a number of grounds including similar methods of mummification(i) and the step pyramids found at both locations(d). Perhaps the most radical idea to emerge in recent times was the suggestion that the Guanches or more correctly their ancestors were the founders of predynastic Egypt. In a similar vein Helene E. Hagan wrote The Shining Ones, in which she identified the Tamazigh, related to the Guanches, as the founders of Egyptian civilisation.
Reinhard Prahl has published a paper(k) on the Migration & Diffusion website in which he highlights cultural similarities of the Guanches and ancient Egyptians.
José Luis Concepción (1948- ), a Canarian, has written a number of books with a local theme including The Guanches, Survivors and their Descendant , a booklet providing a brief history of the islands. He concurs with the view that the Guanches have an African Cro-Magnon ancestry and are related to modern Berbers. The author also claims that the Guanches are still the dominant race on the Canaries. The booklet has been translated into a number of languages and includes an extensive Spanish bibliography.
A website(a) discussing the Guanches has some interesting if controversial suggestions regarding their origins. Another site highlights a possible connection with the Dravidians of Southern India(c). This Dravidian connection is supported by the late Edo Nyland(e) in his Linguistic Archaeology. Furthermore Arysio dos Santos who promoted a Sundaland location for Atlantis also supported a Dravidian origin for the language of the Guanches(h).
Two Russian writers, B.F. Dobrynin and B. L. Bogaevsky in the first quarter of the 20th century wrote articles that supported the idea that there were links between the Guanches and the original Atlanteans.
(i) See Archive 2617
Cro–Magnon Man, who emerged around 37,000 years ago, is often described as having a dome-shaped cranium and broad forehead and a brain capacity of 1,600 cc, which is greater than modern man. His skull has thick eyebrow projections and a bony protrusion at the back that is characteristic of both Neanderthal man and Homo erectus. Blavatsky(c), Sepehr(d) along with a number of investigators(e) have suggested that they may have been the original Atlanteans. They have pointed to the physical traits listed above together with blood grouping and linguistic similarities to be found in the same regions of Western Europe and North Africa.
Robert John Langdon also claims that “Cro-Magnon/Atlanteans colonised America” based on a study of blood group distribution(b).
Physical anthropology has identified the modern remnants of Cro-Magnon Man in the Berbers and Tuaregs of North Africa, the Basques of Northern Spain together with small population pockets in the Dordogne Valley and Brittany in France. The highest incidence of Rhesus-negative blood in the world is to be found among the Basques. Similar high levels of Rhesus-negative blood are to be found among the inhabitants of the Canaries and the Atlas Mountains of Morocco; areas where Cro-Magnons lived. This fact is seen as evidence for claiming that the Basques are directly descended from Cro-Magnon Man.
On the basis of skull shape, William Howells and Bertil Lundman have supported this view. The regions that were home to Cro-Magnon Man, in Upper Paleolithic times, were comparable with those occupied by their latter-day successors such as the now extinct Guanches of the Canaries and the Basques.
R. Cedric Leonard is probably the best known modern proponent of the Atlantean Cro-Magnon idea(f), refers to the work of Oliviera Martins, who in the 1930’s, pointed out that many of the Cro-Magnon people have given themselves distinguishing names with the suffix ’tani’ from the Mauritani of North Africa to the Bretani of Brittany and Britain. Leonard also insists that an analysis of the languages of these groups of people points to a relationship with each other, while being quite different to the other languages of Europe or the Near East. He thinks that it is quite possible that these ancient languages date back to the cultures of the Ice Age. Leonard also refers to what he calls “an anomalous Cro-Magnon/Atlantis outpost” in northern Palestine(a).
*Alexander Marshack (1918-2004) was an American journalist turned archaeologist, who, in the 1970’s, offered evidence that markings on a number of bones from the Upper Paleolithic were used as lunar calendars to mark the passage of time. Similar markings have been identified on the painted walls of the famous Cro-Magnon Lascaux caves in France(g).*
This combination of date, geographical spread, language and physical similarities offers a reasonable basis for postulating the idea of a coherent civilisation along the European and North African Atlantic seaboards and in the Atlantic itself, at the end of the last Ice Age that could be accommodated by one interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis. Lewis Spence was a supporter of this possibility.
(a) http://www.atlantisquest.com/Outpost.html (offline March 2018) See Archive 2260
Mu was first used (invented?) by Brasseur de Bourbourg in 1869 as the name given to a mythical continent that supposedly existed in the Pacific Ocean, according to an incorrect translation of the Codex Troano. At the end of the 19th century this fictional continent was confusingly moved by Augustus le Plongeon into the Atlantic! Subsequently, le Plongeon’s friend ‘Colonel’ James Churchward moved Mu back to the Pacific in a 1931 book, The Lost Continent of Mu, in which he presented it as a kind of Pacific precursor to Atlantis.Churchward claimed that his work is based on inscriptions on the so-called Naacal tablets, which he was allegedly taught to translate by an Indian priest. Churchward is reputed to have devoted 50 years of his life searching for Mu. In 2011 a hoax claim that the Naacal tablets had been rediscovered did nothing but detract further from Churchward’s already dubious reputation(d).
Churchward was born in England but lived mainly in America. He wrote a book on fly-fishing in Maine and even more incongruously was granted a series of railroad related U.S. patents. Although he liked to be addressed as Colonel no record of his military service has been found. He never identified the monastery where his priestly mentor lived nor has any monastery ever claimed to possess such tablets. Churchward never produced any evidence whatsoever that the tablets existed. His books cannot be treated as credible as they offer nothing but the outpourings of an over fertile imagination. At the time of his death, in California, he had a number of additional books in preparation.
Churchward’s grandson, Jack E. Churchward, now has a website(a) devoted to his writings. It is not generally known that the father of modern Turkey, Kemel Ataturk, had Churchward’s book studied in the hope of confirming links between the Turkish people and ancient civilisations such as the Uighur (recently in the news), Maya and Aztec!
In 1969 the French hydrologist Louis-Claude Vincent (1906-1988) published two volumes on the origins of civilisation which he placed in Mu. This was probably the last major work based on the very questionable output of Churchward.
Later psychics have embellished the already colourful writing of Churchward and pushed the story from fiction to farce.
Strictly speaking Mu should not to be confused with Lemuria, as the former is just an invention of Le Plongeon while the latter word was originally used as a geological term to describe a hypothetical submerged landmass in the Indian Ocean. Nevertheless, the two terms are now frequently used interchangeably. Furthermore, a third name, Pan, has also been used to describe a vast sunken continent in the Pacific.
Brien Foerster, the Canadian-reared writer, claims that the Hawaiian Islands are the remains of Mu(b), whereas Churchward considered them to be just a tiny part of his imaginary landmass.
Jason Colavito, following some hate mail from an over excited Mu ‘believer’, has written an interesting article(c) on the history of Churchward’s lost continent.
Frank Joseph in his most recent offering has some really nonsensical ideas to offer regarding mythical Mu. He claims that 40,000 years ago “sudden sea-level rises triggers migration from Mu around. The Pacific motherlanders settle on a large, fertile island about 380 kilometers due west from the Straits of Gibraltar. There, the newcomers merge with the native Cro-Magnon inhabitants, resulting in a new, hybrid culture – Atlantis.” He offers no evidence to support any of this and fails to explain how his Mu was inundated, but the new Atlantic home was not.
He then jumps forward to 9600 BC and has Mu flooded once again, followed by another wave of migration to Atlantis. Unsurprisingly, offering no evidence and no explanation why these migrants would bypass the more accessible continents of Asia, Africa and America and head for an island in the Atlantic, which would have been effected by the same sea-level rise that inundated Mu!
*(d) See: Archive 3033*
Georges Poisson (1861-1943) was a professor of Ethnology and President of the Prehistoric Society of France. He wrote a book on the subject of Atlantis in which he linked the original Atlanteans with Cro-Magnon man who flourished 15,000 to 25,000 years ago. However, he contended that Plato’s Atlantis was a Bronze Age civilisation and as such could only be identified with Minoan Crete.
He also daringly contends that the Athenian-Atlantean conflict was a mythical transposition by Plato of a much earlier struggle between Cro-Magnons and their rivals, the Combe-Capelle people.
It also appears that Poisson favoured the idea of a large landmass having existed in the Atlantic offering relatively easy access, if not a complete landbridge between Europe and America and that this landmass gradually disintegrated under the onslaught of rising sea levels, seismic activity and perhaps cosmic impacts.