Jonathan Northcote is a South African legal practitioner and the author of 16.484ºW 58.521ºN Atlantis, Found? in which he applies his professional forensic skills to the question of Atlantis. Although initially brought to the subject by Otto Muck’s book, he found aspects of Muck’s ideas unacceptable and began an investigation of his own that led him to conclude that the region of Rockall in the North Atlantic is the most likely candidate as the location of Atlantis,
There is no doubting the quality of Northcote’s research, particularly relating to the geology and underwater topography of the Rockall region, which is fully referenced. However I cannot agree with his treatment of a number of critical items in Plato’s text. These relate to words and phrases such as, continent, Pillars of Heracles, Atlantic, greater than Libya and Asia combined and elephants.
*In 2018, Stuart L. Harris, citing Northcote’s work, published four papers (a-d) on the academia.edu website endorsing the Rockall Plateau as the location of Atlantis. Harris adopts some of Emilio Spedicato’s theories and attributes the destruction of Atlantis to a catastrophic encounter with Nibiru in 9577 BC.*
In January 2019, Northcote revised his book with additional material and published this second edition with the title of Atlantis, Found? An investigation into ancient accounts, bathymetry and climatology . I am currently working my way through this latest offering and hope to review it in the near future.
The Red Sea, also known as the Erythraean Sea lies between Egypt and Sudan in Africa and Saudi Arabia and Yemen in Asia. At the southern end lies the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, considered by a few researchers as the location of the Pillars of Herakles.
The ‘Red’ is often attributed to the seasonal blooming of a red-coloured bacterium. Some academics think that the cardinal points were ascribed colours, ‘red’ being south! Emilio Spedicato, in his paper(a) on the location of the biblical Ophir, points out that pumice which is normal volcanic ejecta turns blood-red when mixed with seawater. Immediately to the south is the East Africa Rift, home to dozens of volcanoes, which when erupting may have had pumice dust blown towards the Red Sea!
*[Coincidentally, the presumed cradle of humanity is situated not too far from the Rift volcanoes and has drawn serious claims(b) that they may have had a part to play in the evolution of hominids!]*
The Moon has little connection with Plato’s Atlantis story apart from the more extreme speculations of some writers. One of the wildest is that the Atlanteans had established a research facility on the Moon(a), an idea rivalled by that of Alan Butler & Christopher Knight in their book, Who Built the Moon, in which they propose that the Moon was ‘constructed’! This idea has now been revived by Rob Shelsky. In 1965, the Umland brothers proposed that the Moon was a communications relay station for the Maya to make contact with their home planet!
In 1970, Michael Vasin and Alexander Shcherbakov, of what was then the Soviet Academy of Sciences, advanced a hypothesis that the Moon is a spaceship created by unknown beings.(k)
The idea that the Moon was to some extent hollow was given impetus in the 1970’s, when a study of moonquakes revealed that the Moon ‘rang like a bell’ (i). Now, nearly half a century later, Wallace Thornhill, a leading Electric Universe proponent, has endorsed the hollow Moon idea and seems sympathetic to the idea of a hollow earth. This was expressed at a recent EU conference and be viewed at the 40-minute mark of a YouTube video.(j)
The origins of the Moon have also been the subject of extensive controversy with one side claiming that it had been ‘captured’ by the earth, while the other extreme argues that it had been ‘expelled’ from our planet. The expulsion theory posits(b) that a collision with another celestial body tore material from the Earth, which in time became our Moon(h). Nils Olof Bergquist writing in the 1940’s supported the expulsion scenario and had his original Swedish book on the subject translated into English as The Moon Puzzle.
The most radical of the captured moon school was Hanns Hörbiger, who proposed that there had been a series of Moon captures. Many of his ideas were adopted by H.S. Bellamy, who added that the capture of our current satellite had caused the destruction of Atlantis. Nikolay Bonev, the astronomer, caused a stir in 1961 when he expressed the view that our Moon had once been an independent planet(d) that had experienced violent volcanic eruptions that were powerful enough to have produced a ‘recoil’ effect, which nudged it towards our Earth’s orbit and was eventually captured as our satellite.
More recently Emilio Spedicato expressed similar ideas(c), claiming that material taken from another large extraterrestrial body around 9450 BC became our Moon, but that the event also led to the destruction of Atlantis. Stuart L. Harris has proposed(m) that the planet Nibiru had a close encounter with our Earth in 9577 BC that resulted in the destruction of Atlantis, followed by another visit in 9417 BC during which it lost one of its satellites, which became our Moon!
*The Moon controversies continue with the recent suggestion by Erik Asphaug, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who claims that originally the Earth had two moons that coalesced into a single satellite (n)!*
Gary Gilligan, the catastrophist, also supports the concept of moon capture but dated this event to as recent as 2000 BC(f) and then later advanced it to 1200 BC(g). Researcher, Mark Andrew commenting on Gilligan’s claims wrote that “Although Gilligan promises more evidence to come, his theory has to contend with the varied evidence of an earlier Moon, including the earliest known written myth of the Moon’s death and rebirth, the epic poem Descent of Inanna (dating from 1750 BC), and also the oldest known map of the moon (dating from 2800 BC).”(l)
Unexpectedly, the orbital speed of the Moon appears to vary on its trip around the Earth(e).
(a) See: Archive 3334
Italy seems to have an uncertain etymology; Thucydides claims that Italos, the Sicilian king gave his name to Italy, while more recently Emilio Spedicato(h) considers that ”the best derivation we believe to be the one proposed by the Italian nuclear engineer Felice Vinci (1998), in his monograph claiming a Baltic setting for the Homeric epic: he derives Italia from the rare Greek word aithalia, meaning the smoking one.” This is thought to be a reference to Italy’s many volcanoes.
Italy today is comprised of territory south of the Alps on mainland Europe including a very large boot-shaped peninsula, plus Sicily, Sardinia and some smaller island groups, which along with the French island of Corsica virtually enclose the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The earliest proposal that Italy could be linked with Atlantis came from Angelo Mazzoldi in 1840 when he claimed that before Etruria, Italy had been home to Atlantis and dated its demise to 1986 BC. Mazzoldi expressed a form of hyperdiffusion that had his Italian Atlantis as the mother-culture which seeded the great civilisations of the eastern Mediterranean region(b).
Some of Mazzoldi’s views regarding ancient Italy were expanded on by later scholars such Camillo Ravioli, Ciro Nispi-Landi, Evelino Leonardi, Costantine Cattoi, Guido DiNardo and Giuseppe Brex. Ravioli sought to associate the Maltese island of Gozo with his proposed Atlantis in Italy.
The Italian region of Lazio, which includes Rome, has had a number of very ancient structures proposed as Atlantean; Monte Circeo (Leonardi), Arpino(a) (Cassaro). Another aspect of Italian prehistory is the story of Tirrenide, which was described as a westward extension of the Italian landmass into the Tyrhennian Sea during the last Ice Age, with a land bridge to a conjoined Sardinia and Corsica.. At the same time there were land links to Sicily and Malta, which were all destroyed as deglaciation took place and sea levels rose.
It is surprising that so few researchers have commented on Italy’s part in Plato’s Atlantis narrative considering that he twice, without any ambiguity, informs us that the Atlantean domain extended as far as Tyrrhenia (modern Tuscany).
Crit.114c. So all these, themselves and their descendants, dwelt for many generations bearing rule over many other islands throughout the sea, and holding sway besides, as was previously stated, over the Mediterranean peoples as far as Egypt and Tuscany. Tim.25a/b. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvellous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent; and, moreover, of the lands here within the Straits they ruled over Libya as far as Egypt, and over Europe as far as Tuscany. (Bury)
The quotation from Timaeus is most interesting because of its reference to a ‘continent’. Some have understandably but incorrectly claimed that this is a reference to America or Antarctica, when quite clearly it refers to southern Italy as part of the continent of Europe. Moreover, Herodotus is quite clear (4.42) that the ancient Greeks knew of only three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya.
Philo of Alexandria (20 BC-50 AD) in his On the Eternity of the World(g) wrote “Are you ignorant of the celebrated account which is given of that most sacred Sicilian strait, which in old times joined Sicily to the continent of Italy?” (v.139). The name ‘Italy’ was normally used in ancient times to describe the southern part of the peninsula(e). Some commentators think that Philo was quoting Theophrastus, Aristotle’s successor. This would push the custom of referring to Italy as a ‘continent’ back near to the time of Plato. More recently, Armin Wolf, the German historian, when writing about Scheria relates(f) that “Even today, when people from Sicily go to Calabria (southern Italy) they say they are going to the ‘continente’.” This continuing usage is further confirmed by a current travel site(d) and by author, Robert Fox[1168.141]. I suggest that Plato used the term in a similar fashion and can be seen as offering the most rational explanation for the use of the word ‘continent’ in Timaeus 25a.
When you consider that close to Italy are located the large islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, as well as smaller archipelagos such as the Egadi, Lipari and Maltese groups, the idea of Atlantis in the Central Mediterranean can be seen as highly compatible with Plato’s description.
If we accept that Plato stated unambiguously that the domain of Atlantis included at least part of southern Italy and also declared that Atlantis attacked from beyond the Pillars of Heracles, then this appellation could not be applied at that time to any location in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar, but must have been further east, probably not too far from Atlantean Italy. This matches earlier alternative locations recorded by classical writers who placed the ‘Pillars’ at the straits of Messina or Sicily. I personally favour Messina, unless there is stronger evidence that some of the islands in or near the Strait of Sicily such as the Maltese or Pelagian Islands or Pantelleria were home to the ‘Pillars’.
(c) http://www.giardinodidiana.com/storia-e-archeologia.html (Italian)
Theodore L. Urban was the author of a paper(a) delivered to the Lancaster County Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1897. In it he stated that “I not only advocate the Platonic theory of the island of Atlantis but claim that it had a veritable existence.” He then proceeded to deny that it had been completely destroyed and argued that the biblical Ophir was Atlantis, suggesting that it had been located in the Americas, which explained the three years that the round trip took.
*A few years ago Emilio Spedicato linked Ophir with an ancient gold mine in Tibet(b)!*
Casas was convinced of the reality of Atlantis, having being strongly influenced by Marsilio Ficino‘s commentary on Plato’s Atlantis narrative.
He also claimed that Columbus had been inspired by Plato’s story of Atlantis. However, S. P. Kershaw[1410.163] quoting from B. Keen notes that Columbus’ son, Ferdinand ”explicity stated that his father never showed any interest in Plato’s tale.”
Bartolomé himself saw America as Atlantis and in his History of the Indies (Historia de Las Indias) begun in 1527, he drew up a list of parallels to support his contention.
Nibiru was a Sumerian astronomical term used to describe a planetary body that periodically approached Earth. This account was hijacked by the late Zechariah Sitchin to construct his Planet X theory in which he claimed that this planet had an orbit which took it to the outer limits of the solar system returning every 3600 years to the vicinity of Earth. Sitchin claimed that during one of these visits some of its inhabitants came to earth and become the ‘gods’ of the Sumerians. However, Sitchin failed to explain how the inhabitants of this Planet X survived the lack of heat and light that it would have had to endure as it moved away from the proximity of the Sun. For us inhabitants of Earth a drop of just a few degrees is fatal.
However, Emilio Spedicato has a radically different and certainly more rational view of this Sumerian planet. He ascribes a much shorter orbital period of 20 years to Nibiru and claims that close encounters with this planet (and its satellites) had a dramatic physical effect on the prehistory of our planet including the capturing of our Moon, the destruction of Atlantis and later the biblical Exodus! His scenario has elements that can be traced to Velikovsky, Ackerman and Hörbiger.
Professor Spedicato’s November 2012 paper, From Nibiru to Tiamat, an Astronomic Scenario for Earliest Sumerian Cosmology, can be read or downloaded from the excellent Diffusion and Migration website(1). A number of his other papers can be found on the same website and are certainly worth studying.
In sharp contrast to the serious work of Spedicato, for the past couple of years we have been subjected to a barrage of silly articles(b) linking Nibiru with the promised 2012 global catastrophes ‘predicted’ by the Mayan calendar.
A debunking of both Sitchin’s scholarship and the existence of Nibiru has been offered by a number of sites(c).
However, some people, such as David Meade (a pen-name) who describes himself as a ‘Christian numerologist’ predicted that Nibiru would collide with Earth on September 23, 2017! When this did not happen he moved the event to October, but again nothing happened. But he persisted and subsequently moved our demise to March 2018, then April, with a final suggestion for the year of between May and December(d).
ROIPA is an acronym for the original Russian title of the Russian Society for the Study of Problems of Atlantis which is the leading association in the Russian Federation for the study of Atlantology.
It was formally established in 2003 although it has its roots in the early 1990’s. Since then it has organised three congresses of Atlantologists, published papers and books including its recent Cronos almanac. There is also an ongoing programme of lectures.
Alexander Voronin was the president of ROIPA and I had the pleasure of meeting him in Malta in 2011. Sadly, Alexander died November 6th 2012.
Membership of ROIPA is normally confined to Russian citizens, so I was greatly flattered when I was given honorary membership of the organisation in 2011.
In March 2014, I was contacted by the new president of ROIPA, George Nefediev, who informed me that the work of the society was back on track and has already held a conference in December, 2013. They are currently developing a new website(a).
Later in 2014, ROIPA published the second edition of their Cronos ‘almanac’. It has a number of contributions by researchers frequently encountered in the pages of Atlantipedia, such as Emilio Spedicato and R. Cedric Leonard. Although it will be published in Russian, you can view the contents in English here. As you will see the subjects are wide-ranging and it is regrettable that the volume will not be available in English.
ROIPA is organising its fourth Congress on the 13-14 April 2015. All are welcome and contributions invited
(a) The theme of the Congress is Atlantology in the XXI century – Development Prospects and is seeking to have Atlantology recognised as a legitimate scientific discipline.
See: Russian Atlantology
Italian Atlantology can be traced back to the 16th century when Fracastoro, Garimberto and Ramusio, identified the Americas as Atlantis. In fact we should look to the 15th century when Ficino was the first to translate Plato’s entire works into Latin giving medieval Europe its first access to the complete Atlantis texts. Not much happened until 1788 when Carli attributed the destruction of Atlantis to a close encounter with a comet. In 1840, Angelo Mazzoldi proposed Italy as the location of Atlantis and as the hyper-diffusionist mother culture of the great civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean region. He was followed by others such as Giuseppe Brex(b).
Not much developed in pre-war Italy apart from Russo’s journal which ran from 1930 until 1932. After the war other Atlantis journals was established by Gianni Belli in 1956 and Bettini in 1963. After that there was a wide range of theories advanced by Italian researchers. Spedicato located Atlantis in Hispaniola, Stecchini opted for São Tomé, Barbiero, who although Croatian by birth was an admiral in the Italian Navy nominated the Antarctic as the home of Atlantis before the Flem-Aths published their Antarctic ideas. Bulloni chose the Arctic, Pincherle identified the Mandaeans as the last of the Atlanteans and Monte links Thera with Tarshish.
In recent years the most widely reported Atlantis theory to emanate from Italy came from Sergio Frau who advocates Sardinia as the original Atlantis. However, this idea is not new having been promoted by Poddighe in 1982. Frau has subsequently been supported by other commentators such as Tozzi and Novo. I cannot help feeling that there might be a trace of nationalism underlying this theory, a suspicion that I have held regarding writers of other nationalities.
The latter end of the 20th century saw the development of the Internet which enabled the instant promotion of Atlantis theories, both silly and serious, to a global audience. Italy was no exception, where websites, such as Edicolaweb that are sympathetic to the exploration of historical mysteries emerged(a).
More recently, Marin, Minella & Schievenin had The Three Ages of Atlantis published in 2014. This is an English translation of their original 2010 work. In it they suggest that Atlantis had originally existed in Antarctica and after its destruction survivors established two other Atlantises in South America and the Mediterranean. Perhaps more credible was the theory of Capuchin friar, Antonio Moro, who suggested in 2013 that Atlantis included Iberia, the south coast of France and the west coast of Italy!
Younger Dryas also known as Dryas III was a mini Ice Age that lasted from around 10,700 BC until around 9600 BC. It is named after a flower that flourished during this relatively short period. In Ireland the period is known as the Nahanagan Stadial and in Britain as the Loch Lomond Stadial. For about thirteen hundred years the glaciers had been slowly retreating until within a short time-span temperatures dropped and they began to advance again. The cause of this cooling is not absolutely clear. One view is that a sudden release into the North Atlantic of vast quantities of fresh water that had been contained by huge ice dams is assumed to have closed down the Gulf Stream, resulting in a twelve hundred year lowering of global temperatures. There is evidence that the change only took one or two decades. The same threat is said to exist today with the possibility of the melting of the Greenland ice cap.
The most recent theory, by Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith, links the onset of the Younger Dryas with the explosion of a comet over North America that led to the extinction of many species, the collapse of the Clovis culture(a)(b) as well as the creation of the Carolina Bays.
A 2014 paper(g) entitled Nanodiamond-Rich Layer Across Three Continents Consistent with Major Cosmic Impact at 12,800 Cal BP by Charles R. Kinzie et al., has developed further the idea of this event being associated with the Younger Dryas. In a similar vein is an article(h) from Megan Gannon.
A recent application of archaeoastronomy by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis led them to conclude that the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe recorded an encounter involving the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that provided the impetus for the Neolithic Revolution. Sweatman later expanded their work in his book Prehistory Decoded  and in an article on the Ancient Origins website(m).
Kevin A. & Patrick J. Casey maintain that a globally catastrophic event occurred 13,000 years ago(l). The kernel of their theory is that originally the Earth had two moons that at some later point collided, producing our current Moon, while the remnant of the second one eventually exploded over North America kick-starting what we refer to as the cooler Younger Dryas period. They are adamant that it was not a comet or asteroid that caused the devastation, and so clash with the work of Richard Firestone and his colleagues.
In 2015 a paper constraining the impact date to within 100 years using Bayesian statistical analyses, now proposed as 12,835 -12,735 years ago(j).
Coincidentally, Professor Emilio Spedicato independently arrived at the conclusion that it was a cometary impact in the North Atlantic that was responsible for the Younger Dryas. Subsequently, when temperatures rose again it resulted in the flooding of vast areas of low-lying landmasses that in Spedicato’s opinion, included Atlantis, which he locates in Hispaniola.
Conflicting evidence regarding the possibility of the Younger Dryas being caused by such an impact is impartially outlined on the internet(c).
December 2014 saw Graham Hancock raising the issue of a cometary cause for the Younger Dryas and its possible association with ancient Egypt(f).
The November 2013 issue of the BBC Focus magazine (p.30) had a brief article on the impact theory, noting that the northern hemisphere saw a drop of as much as 15°C around 11,000BC. In the absence of a suitable impact crater there is still much scientific scepticism(d).
However in early 2017, further possible evidence of an impact at the start of the Younger Dryas was offered by a team led by Christopher Moore of the University of South Carolina, when they identified a distinct layer of platinum in the soil that coincided with the start of YD. Commenting on this anomaly Moore noted that “Platinum is very rare in the Earth’s crust, but it is common in asteroids and comets.”(i)
In early 2018, two papers were published online(k), reinforcing the YD impact theory and adding evidence that the event resulted in a conflagration that “may have consumed – 10 million km2, or – 9% of Earth’s terrestrial biomass”.*Related to this is a paper by Andrew Collins that draws attention to the ‘Usselo horizon’, a charcoal-rich layer of between 1 and 8 inches, found on all continents, indicating widespread fires, now dated to 12,900 years ago(n).*
Ice cores from Greenland indicate a further cooling period circa 6200 BC that may be related to the abandonment of many Neolithic settlements during this period. Other periods of abrupt climate change have been identified from 3800 BC to 3500 BC and 2800 BC to 2000 BC.
The fact that Plato’s apparent date for the demise of Atlantis, circa 9600 BC, roughly corresponds with the current, best estimate for the date of the Younger Dryas is interesting but unfortunately not conclusive proof of any direct connection. In the absence of any supportive archaeological evidence, a linkage between Atlantis and the Younger Dryas will have to remain a matter of faith rather than fact. Interesting but inconclusive.
Recent discoveries in northern Sudan of dozens of skeletons, the majority of whom were apparently killed by flint-tipped arrows, have led to the suggestion(e) they were the result of food shortages resulting from the Younger Dryas that in turn led to warfare over diminished food availability.
(c) http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/climatedebate/ (offline Dec. 2016) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20130310032309/http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/climatedebate/