John C. Saxer Jr. (1950- ) a.k.a. Prince Johannes Christian von Sax is
a bartender, bicycle mechanic and amateur archaeologist. In recent years he has insisted that Florida’s Tarpon Springs was the location of the Garden of Eden and that the port of Atlantis had been situated along Tampa Bay. He claims to have discovered large stone anchors which he believes were used in his Atlantis. After attempting to interest mainstream archaeologists in his discovery he finally got the attention of William Donato, best known for his research at Bimini. Donato was impressed by the size of the ‘anchors’ which he stated were similar to anchors found at Bimini and elsewhere. However, Donato does not subscribe to Saxer’s Eden or Atlantis theories(a).
The Maya of ancient Mexico and Guatemala have generated much controversy regarding their origins. Recent studies indicate that the story of the development of this remarkable civilisation may be more complex than previously thought(k). The demise of the Mayan cultural (800-950 AD) has now been definitively shown to be the result of persistent drought, particularly in the southern lowlands(o).
Inevitably the Maya have been linked with Atlantis by a number of writers such as Lewis Spence and E.H. Thompson who claimed that the Maya were descendants of Atlanteans. The maverick, Augustus Le Plongeon was alone in identifying Atlantis as a colony of the Maya and that their language was in fact Greek! Others, such as Jean-Frédérick Waldeck, included an Egyptian linkage as well. However, trumping all that is a recent claim that the Maya had contact with extraterrestrials and that a documentary providing evidence is planned(b). In a similar vein is the latest English language publication from Erich von Däniken entitled: Astronaut Gods of the Maya. Semir Osmanagic, of Bosnian pyramid fame, added a twist to this proposed linkage, when he claimed that the Maya had come from Atlantis, which in turn had been founded by visitors from the Pleiades!
For some comic relief, I can suggest a 1976 book by brothers Eric & Craig Umland which ‘reveals’ that the Maya ‘are remnants of space explorers whose attempts to colonise our solar system went awry more than 40,000 years ago.’ Nearly every page is full of hilarious nonsense and nearly worth the £0.01 currently quoted on Amazon.uk. A website(i) dealing with ‘unreason’ uses extracts from the Umlands as good examples! If you wish to read about the Maya in Antarctica, the Canaries as well as the Moon, this is the book for you.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan manmade dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters.
The Maya had a sophisticated writing system that occupied the attention of a number of 19th century writers including Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg and Le Plongeon. Unfortunately, de Bourbourg followed the work of the 16th century bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa whose interpretation was seriously erroneous.
A report in 2013(l) indicated that substantial progress has been made in the decipherment of any outstanding difficulties in the translation of the Mayan script through internet co-operation.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan man-made dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters.
James O’Kon, an engineer, has investigated Mayan technology for decades, including the discovery of a suspension bridge at the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan in Mexico in 1995, which is believed to be the longest bridge of the ancient world(r). This and other aspects of Mayan technology he explores in his book, The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology. More recently, Lorraine Stobbart has written Utopia: Fact or Fiction, which suggests that the ‘Utopia’ of Sir Thomas More was inspired by the Mayan culture although his text was written before Mexico was ‘officially’ discovered. Stobbart recently revealed that she is now revising her views.
However, a more serious claim relates to the idea that Mayan inscriptions revealed that a global catastrophe was to occur in 2012. This nonsense(g) turned into a minor publishing industry. Some even tried to link this daft idea to Atlantis. Fortunately, May 2012 saw evidence from excavations in Guatemala that shows the Mayan calendar extending well beyond 2012(h).
The late David H. Kelley, a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at Canada’s University of Calgary, had been investigating ancient links between Asia and pre-Columbian America. In that regard he published a paper outlining similarities between the Mayan and ancient Chinese calendars that were apparently too numerous to be explained by independent development(p). A more sceptical view is offered(q) by Jason Colavito, who traces the idea back to Alexander von Humboldt.
The work of Teobert Maler at the end of the 19thcentury was invaluable in the advancement of Mayan studies. Subsequent researchers have seized upon his discovery of a frieze at Tikal, which he interpreted as a depiction of the destruction of Atlantis, as evidence of the existence of Atlantis in the Atlantic. Apart from Maler’s conjectural ideas, no tangible link has been found between the Maya and Atlantis apart from the use in their glyphs of elephants, an animal that features in Plato’s narrative.
The authenticity of photo of the frieze has been called into question by Jason Colavito and his related blog(n) is worthy of consideration.
In late 2011 controversy erupted when it was claimed that the Itza Maya had migrated to North America, more specifically Georgia(c)(d). It was also suggested that earthen pyramids in Georgia and Florida can be attributed to the Maya(e).*Among the other accomplishments is the claim that the Maya were capable of predicting meteor showers(s).*
Gene Matlock, the well-known advocate of Atlantis in Mexico, is certain that the Maya were originally Tamils from Sri Lanka(a)!
A recent article(f) gives an interesting firsthand account of encountering the important Mayan city of Calakmul deep in the Yucatan jungle.*Potentially even more important are recent LIDAR surveys carried out in Guatemala that have revealed an astounding number of previously unknown Mayan structures.*
Muddying the waters further is an Islamic site that claims that the Maya were Atlantean(m).
(g) http://www.2012hoax.org/ (offline Oct. ’14)
(m) http://mashiyah.blogspot.ie/ (offline 1/8/14)
Florida has recently entered the Atlantis Stakes with the suggestion that Harbour Island in Tampa Bay, Florida might be the location of Atlantis. Dennis Brooks has written a book or rather booklet, containing only 67 pages, which examines the topographical and climatic similarities between Harbour Island and Plato’s Atlantis. Investors are now being sought to develop Tampa Bay and Harbour Island as an “Atlantis” tourist destination! Brooks’ booklet has now been repackaged as Atlantis Conspiracy, which can be read online(a).
Brooks also claims that the Florida Peninsula was originally the 110×330 mile plain described by Plato. With a further rush of blood to his head Brooks suggests that the treasure of Atlantis is to be found on Oak Island, off Nova Scotia, where treasure has been sought for the past two centuries.
John Saxer of Tarpon Springs, Florida, in July 2006, outraged some by suggesting(b) that Tarpon Springs was at the centre of the biblical Garden of Eden and that Tampa Bay had been the port of Atlantis.
Coincidentally, Florida is also the home of a small town called – Atlantis, 90km north of Miami.
(a) http://bookacces.com/?p=243571 (offline July 2015)
Dennis Brooks is a U.S. Army retiree now living in Hawaii, who has produced a number of works on the Atlantis mystery. The first is more a booklet, which designates Tampa, Florida as the location of Plato’s sunken civilisation. The second offering claims the entire continents of both North and South America as the extent of the Atlantis Empire. Brooks attempts to spice up his more recent ‘pot-boiler’ with the suggestion that the treasure of Atlantis is to be found on Oak Island(a), off Nova Scotia, a hunting ground of treasure hunters for the past two hundred years. The Oak Island mystery and the suggested link with treasure from Atlantis is dealt with in greater detail in Atlantis and the Oak Island Treasure, an ebook by Benson, Howard and Tyson.
2012 saw the publication of Atlantis:Ten Tribes of the Americas in which Brooks expanded further on his theory. While there is no doubt that pre-Columbian America was home to many sophisticated societies, Brooks fails to demonstrate that any of them were Plato’s Atlantis.
His latest offering is Atlantis, Pyramids Floods in which endeavours to link Noah’s Flood with water damage to the Giza pyramids and the destruction of Atlantis. Jason Colavito has also published a useful critique of Brook’s book(c). One of Brook’s many incorrect claims in this slim volume is that Plato told us that Egypt was the oldest colony of Atlantis! This Kindle book is also relatively short, being equivalent to just over 90 pages. More recently, Brooks returned to the question of the Deluge in a short paper on the Ancient Origins website(d), which contains his usual quota of misinformation.
*Brooks sent me a copy of his book, but when I subsequently challenged him on just two errors in his offering, he did not address my specific objections, but offered the following ‘excuses’ – “There are no credible sources when it comes to Atlantis. Therefore, all we have are speculation, dubious sources and assumptions. I see that you take this subject seriously, to me it is only a hobby”.
I would advise Brooks to take up a new hobby.*
(a) http://www.atlantiskingdom.com/index.html (offline Mar. 2016)
Atala is the name given by ‘India-Indians’ to Meso-America according to Gene Matlock. This Sanskrit word is used in Hindu traditions to describe a sunken paradise in the Far East. While Matlock uses the word to bolster his claim that Atlantis was located in Mexico, Col. Francis Wilford, an early (1808) translator of the ancient Asiatic Indian Vishnu Purana, claimed that the original text (Book II, Chaps i, ii, and iii) placed Atala at a latitude of between 24° and 28° north.*R. Cedric Leonard uses this as an endorsement of his Mid Atlantic Ridge location for Atlantis.*
Although it has been pointed out that this matches the latitude of the Canaries, without a mention of the longitudinal position it could just as easily have been in central or northern Mexico.
*Dennis Brooks disingenuously cites Leonard(a) as if they were in agreement, but then uses the Atala co-ordinates to support his preferred site for Atlantis, namely, Florida, claiming that they match the location of the Plain of Florida. However, the Coastal Plain of Florida lies mainly outside the co-ordinates, north of the 28° parallel.*
Atala is also said to be inhabited by “white men who never have to sleep or eat”. (Santi Parva, Section CCCXXXVII). The Greek historian Herodotus (450 B.C.) describes a tribe of Atlanteans who “never dream and eat no living thing”. (History, Book IV). Can this be coincidence?” An explanation for this is to be found in the second paragraph of the entry in Herodotus.
America as the home of Atlantis took off as an idea shortly after its discovery (or perhaps more correctly, rediscovery) by Columbus. Initially, reports sent back to Europe designated America as ‘Paradise’
until its identification as Atlantis quickly took hold. John Dee in the time of Elizabeth I was convinced that the newly discovered Americas were in fact Atlantis, an idea endorsed by Francis Bacon. The first time that America was so named on a map was on the 1507(c) Waldseemüller map, sometimes referred to as “America’s birth certificate.” A rare copy of this map was recently found in Germany(e).
As late as 1700, a map of the world by Edward Wells was published in Oxford that highlights the paucity of information regarding the Americas at that time. However in this instance the accompanying text notes that “this continent with the adjoining islands is generally supposed to have been anciently unknown though there are not wanting some, who will have even the continent itself to be no other than the Insula Atlantis of the ancients.”
For over five centuries a variety of commentators have associated Atlantis with America and many of its ancient cultures together with a range of location theories that stretch from Maine through the Caribbean and Central America to Argentina.
Although most proponents of an American Atlantis, particularly following the continent’s discovery, did not specify a location, but were happy to consider the Americas in their entirety as Plato’s lost land.
Over time attention was more focused on Mesoamerica and the northern region of South America, where the impressive remains of the Maya and Incas led many to consider them to be Atlantean.
North America received minimal attention until the 19th century, when an 1873 newspaper report(i) claimed that there was support from unnamed scientists for locating remnants of Atlantis in the Adirondacks and some of the mountains of Maine! More recently Dennis Brooks has advocated Tampa Bay, Florida, while John Saxer supports Tarpon Springs, also in Florida as Atlantean. To confuse matters further, Mary Sutherland locates Atlantis in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky and for good measure suggests that King Solomon’s mines are to be found in the same region!
For example, the discovery of the remains of the remarkable cultures of Mesoamerica generated speculation on the possibility of an Atlantean connection there. This view gained further support with the publication of Ignatius Donnelly’s groundbreaking work on Atlantis.
Some have seen an Atlantic location for Atlantis as a conduit between the culture of ancient Egypt and that of Meso-America(d).
Half a century ago Nicolai Zhirov claimed that Plato had knowledge of America[458.22] indicated by his statement that Atlantis was in a sea with a continent encompassing it. He thought that this was the earliest record of a continent beyond the Atlantic.
However, Plato also said that Atlantis was surrounded ‘on all sides’ by this continent, which is not compatible with the Azores, advocated by Zhirov as the location of Plato’s sunken island. In an effort to strengthen this claim Zhirov also claims that there is evidence that King Sargon of Akkad travelled to America in the middle of the third millennium BC, an idea that has gained little traction.
The idea of Sumerians in America was promoted by A.H. Verrill and his wife Ruth, who claimed that King Sargon travelled to Peru, where he was known as Viracocha. The Verrills support their contention with a range of cultural, linguistic and architectural similarities between the Sumerians and the Peruvians.
More recently, Andrew Collins has promoted the idea of Atlantis in the Caribbean, specifically Cuba. Followers of Edgar Cayce are still expecting the Bahamas to yield evidence of Plato’s island. Gene Matlock supports the idea of a Mexican location with an Indian connection, while Duane McCullough opts for Guatemala. Ivar Zapp and George Erikson have also chosen Central America for investigation. Further south Jim Allen has argued strongly for Atlantis having been located on the Altiplano of Bolivia. A website entitled American Atlantis Research from Edward Alexander , now offline, was rather weak on content and irritatingly referred to the ‘Andies’.
Although much of what has been written about an American location for Atlantis is the result of serious research, it all falls far short of convincing me that the Atlantis of which Plato wrote is to be found there. No evidence has been produced to even hint that any American culture had control of the Mediterranean as far Tyrrhenia in the north and Libya in the south. No remains or carvings of triremes or chariots have been found in the Americas. How could an ancient civilisation from America launch an attack across the Atlantic and at the furthest end of the Mediterranean 9,000 or even 900 years before Solon? An even more important question is, why would they bother? There is no evidence of either motive, means or opportunity for an attack from that direction.
A number of Plato’s descriptions of Atlantis would seem to rule out America as its location.
(a) As mentioned above, the ‘opposite continent’ referred to by Plato (Timaeus 25a) is described as encompassing the sea in which Atlantis lay. America cannot be described as enclosing the Atlantic.
(b) The Greeks only knew of three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya. 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.” I suggest that Plato used the term in a similar fashion and was quite possibly referring to that same part of Italy which later became known as ‘Magna Graecia’. Robert Fox in The Inner Sea[1168.141] confirms that this long-standing usage of ‘continent’ refers to Italy.
(c) Herodotus described Sardinia as “the biggest island in the world” (Hist.6.2). In fact Sicily is marginally larger but as islands were measured in those days (Felice Vinci) by the length of their coastal perimeter Herodotus was correct. Consequently, it can be argued that since Cuba and Hispaniola are much more extensive than Sardinia, the Greeks had no knowledge of the Caribbean.
(d) Plato makes frequent reference to horses in Atlantis. The city itself had a track for horseracing (Critias 117c). The Atlanteans had thousands of chariots (Critias 119a). The Atlanteans even had horse baths (Critias 117b). All these references make no sense if Plato was describing an American Atlantis as there were no horses there for over 12,000 years, when they died out, until brought back by the Spaniards millennia later. Furthermore, it makes even less sense if you subscribe to the early date (9600 BC) for Atlantis as it is thousands of years before we have any evidence for the domestication of the horse, anywhere.
A recent study of worldwide DNA patterns suggests that “no more than 70 people inhabited North America 14,000 years ago.”(b) But a more important claim has been offered by Professors Jennifer Raff and Deborah Bolnick who have co-authored a paper offering evidence(J) that the genetic data only supports a migration from Siberia to America. This certainly runs counter to any suggestion of transatlantic migration from Europe.
A 2013 book, L’America dimenticata, by Italian physicist and philologist Lucio Russo, claims that the ancient Greeks had knowledge of America and it was gradually forgotten because of mistakes made by Ptolemy including a 15 degree error for the latitude of the Canaries(g).
While there is extensive debate regarding the Americas being visited by ancient Greeks (Minoans), Phoenicians and even Sumerians, there seems little doubt that America had been visited by various other peoples prior to Columbus such as Welsh, Vikings or Irish. The case for the latter is strengthened by a 500-year-old report(h) of a long-established Irish colony in North America called Duhare.
*America as Atlantis and the source of freemasonry knowledge was recently repackaged in a brief article on the Odyssey website(k) quoting Manly P. Hall who in turn cited Plato and Sir Francis Bacon. It then proceeds to speculate on what lessons the story of this original American Atlantis offers the America of today!*
(h) http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.ie/2014/03/490-year-old-spanish-documents-describe.html (link broken August 2018) See: Archive 2843