D. A. Godron
The Sahara Desert and in particular its northern regions have attracted its share of attention from Atlantis investigators. However unlikely it may appear as a possible location for Atlantis it must be kept in mind that the Sahara of prehistory was very different from what we see today. Not only was it wetter at various periods in the past, but also there is clear evidence for the existence of a large inland sea extending across the borders of modern Algeria and Tunisia. This evidence is in the form of the chottsor salt flats in both countries. This proposed sea is considered by some to have been the Lake Tritonis referred to by classical writers. It is suggested that some form of tectonic/seismic activity, common in the region, was responsible for isolating this body of seawater from the Mediterranean and eventually turning it into the salt flats we see today.
An even more extensive inland sea, further south, was proposed by Ali Bey el Abbassi and based on his theory a map was published in 1802 which can be viewed online(c).
More recently, Riaan Booysen has published an illustrated paper on the ancient inland Saharan seas as indicated on the 16th century maps of Mercator and Ortelius(i). King’s College London runs The Sahara Megalakes Project which studies the Megalakes and the Saharan Palaeoclimate record(m).
A 2013 report in New Scientist magazine(d) revealed that 100,000 years ago the Sahara had been home to three large rivers that flowed northward, which probably provided migration routes for our ancestors.
Other studies(h) have shown the previous existence of a huge river system in the Western Sahara, which flowed into the Atlantic on the Mauritanian coast.
An article in the Sept. 2008 edition of National Geographic pointed out that the Saharan climate has been similar for the past 70,000 years except for a period beginning 12,000 years ago when a number of factors combined to alter this fact. A northerly shift by seasonal monsoons brought additional rain to an area the size of contiguous USA. This period of a greener Sahara lasted until around 4,500 years ago. Henri Lhote contributed an article to the Reader’s Digest’s, The World’s Last Mysteries, regarding the ‘green’ Sahara that existed prior to 2500 BC.
An interesting question might be; what happened circa 2500 BC to cause this reversal? Some have suggested a connection between the aridification of the Sahara and the destruction of Atlantis!
More recently, human activity has been blamed as a major contributory factor for the desertification of the Sahara region less than 10,000 years ago.(n)
Related to the above is a recent study of sediments off the west coast of Africa, which resulted in the discovery of what was “primarily a new “beat,” in which the Sahara vacillated between wet and dry climates every 20,000 years, in sync with the region’s monsoon activity and the periodic tilting of the Earth.” (o)
In 1868, it was proposed by D.A. Godron, the French botanist, that the Sahara was the location of Atlantis. In 2003, the non-existent archaeologist Dr.Carla Sage announced that she was hoping to lead an international expedition to the Sahara in search of Atlantis. Her contention was that “Atlantis was the capital of a vast North African empire with ports on the Gulf of Sidra”. This report is now confirmed to have been a hoax! I am indebted to Stel Pavlou for uncovering the origin of this story(e).
Gary Gilligan, the well-known catastrophist, wrote a thought-provoking article(k) on the origin of the Saharan sands, which he claims are extraterrestrial in origin and expands on the idea in his 2016 book Extraterrestrial Sands.
David Mattingly, an archaeologist at Leicester University has found that an ancient people known as the Garamantes had an extensive civilisation in the Sahara(l). He has evidence of at least three cities and twenty other settlements. The Garamantes reached their peak around 100 BC and then gradually diminished in influence as fossil water supplies reduced until in the 7th century AD they were subjected to Islamic domination. Some researchers such as Frank Joseph have identified the Garamantes as being linked with the Sea Peoples. Bob Idjennaden has published short but informative Kindle books about both the Garamantes and the Sea Peoples,*without a suggestion of any connection between the two.*
The discovery of the megalithic structures discovered at Nabta Playa (Nabta Lake) in the Egyptian Sahara has provided evidence for the existence of a sophisticated society in that area around 5000 BC. In the same region, near the Dakhleh Oasis, archaeologists have produced data that supports the idea that pre-Pharaonic Egypt had Desert Origins rather than being an importation from Mesopotamia or elsewhere(a).
Nabta Playa is not unique, in fact the largest megalithic ellipse in the world is to be found at Mzorah, 27 km from Lixus in Morocco(b). It appears that the construction methods employed at both Mezorah and Nabta Playa are both similar to that used in the British Isles. An even more impressive site is Adam’s Calendar in South Africa which has been claimed as 75,000-250,000 years old.
West of Cairo near the border with Libya is the Siwa Oasis, where it has now been demonstrated that “it is in fact home to one of Ancient Egypt’s astounding solar-calendar technologies– the solar equinox alignment between the Timasirayn Temple and the Temple of Amun Oracle in Aghurmi.”(j).
I think we can expect further exciting discoveries in the Sahara leading to a clearer picture of the prehistoric cultures of the region and what connections there are, if any, with Plato’s Atlantis. In the meanwhile in the Eastern Egyptian Desert, Douglas Brewer, a professor of archaeology at the University of Illinois, has discovered over 1,000 examples of rock art, including numerous depictions of boats although the sites, so far undisclosed, are remote from water.
Even more remarkable is the report(e) of March 2015 that a survey of the Messak Settafet escarpment in the central Sahara revealed that there were enough discarded stone tools in the region “to build more than one Great Pyramid for every square kilometre of land on the continent”! Coincidentally, around the same time it was reported that over a thousand stone tools had been found in the Northern Utah Desert(g). What the Utah discovery lacked in quantity was made up for in quality with the finding of the largest known Haskett point spear head, measuring around nine inches in length.
(a) Saudi Aramco World(2006, Vol. 57, No.5 p.2-11)
(d) NewScientist.com, 16 September 2013, http://tinyurl.com/mg9vcoz
(l) See: Archive 3268
Ali Bey El Abbassi (1766-1818) was one of the assumed names of Domingo Badia y Leblich, a Spanish traveller and thought to be a spy for Joseph Bonaparte. Early in the 19th century he published The Ancient Island of Atlantis an account of his journeys in North Africa and the Middle East.
*He wrote of the Atlas Mountains being the ancient island of Atlantis, when the Sahara was a huge interior sea in the centre of Africa, known as Mar de la Nigricia. A map of 1802 based on Ali Bey’s description of this inland sea is available on the Internet(a).*The same map shows Atlantis extending from Tunisia and Libya into the Mediterranean filling most of the Gulf of Sirtis.
Morocco was known in ancient times as Maurusia and Mauretania and mentioned by both Herodotus and Strabo. Herodotus referred to the inhabitants as Atalantes. It is the only African country with a coast on both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Its capital is Rabat and the largest city is Casablanca.
Very early human occupation of Morocco was confirmed in 2007 when beads were discovered in a cave in Eastern Morocco dated to around 80000 BC. A few years earlier a prehistoric city, dated to 13000 BC, was discovered in Western Sahara controlled by Morocco.
*This is has now been overshadowed by a 2017 report(c) that the remains of early relatives of homo sapiens had been discovered in Morocco and dated to between 300,000 and 350,000 years ago.*
Morocco was suggested as the possible location *of Atlantis as early as 1868 by D.A. Godron. A few years later E.F Berlioux and Gustave Lagneau, a French anthropologist adopted the same idea. They were followed by a number of other commentators such as A.F.R. Knötel and Eduardo Saavedra, but the theory seems to have had little support beyond the 1920’s.
However, the speculations of these researchers were replaced at the end of the 20th century with a more scientific approach by writers such as Jonas Bergman. He is considered by many to be today’s leading exponent of the ‘Atlantis in Morocco’ school of thought. His ideas can be read on an Atlantis Rising forum(a). Bergman bases his theory on a topographical comparison of Morocco with Plato’s text.
Originally, Bergman had opted for the ancient city of Lixus as the site of Atlantis but later changed his opinion and now favours a location near Rabat that had been an ancient Phoenician colony on the river Bou Regreg, called Salé, Sala or Chellah. Bergman presented three papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference outlining his theories[629 .473-506].
Erick Wright, another regular contributor to Atlantis Rising forums, had supported Bergman’s idea of Atlantis in Morocco. However he now finds that his investigations have forced him to review his position and has opted for a location in southern Turkey.
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano favours the region on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar as the original realm of Atlantis with the location of the capital city now submerged. In a similar manner Thomas Dietrich in The Origin of Culture considers Morocco an Atlantean colony.
More recent support for a Moroccan Atlantis was presented in a paper presented to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens, by the late M. Hübner an independent German researcher, which offered circumstantial evidence for the existence of Atlantis in the southern Moroccan region of Souss-Massa-Draâ. His theory is supported with a website(b) that includes a number of video clips and a 32 page synopsis of his book, Atlantis? Ein Indiezienbeweis, which has yet to be published in English.
(a) http://forums.atlantisrising.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000813.html (9.6.14 link broken)