Alewyn J. Raubenheimer is a retired South African engineer and a member of the South African Archaeological Society. In 2010 he published Survivors of the Great Tsunami, in which he links Noah’s Deluge with the flood, dated at 2193 BC, which is referred to in the controversial Oera Linda Book. He suggests that this flood was caused by the impact of the asteroid which created the submarine Burkle Crater in the Indian Ocean.
Raubenheimer touches on the subject of Atlantis, but is reluctant to identify it with the Atland destroyed in the Oera Linda Book.
Raubenheimer’s defence of the OLB has generated considerable support(a)(b).
On the other hand while there is little doubt that the OLB is also widely believed to be a hoax or a forgery, a contribution to Wikipedia on the subject notes that “The current article mentions several times that the book is a hoax/parody/forgery. The sources (from the article) which I have been able to check do not go in to detail about why the book is a hoax.”(c)
(a) http://www.merkuriusz.wieczorna.pl/historia-starozytna/pseudohistoria-czy-autentyczna-relacja-ksiega-oera-linda (Polish) (offline Jan. 2018)
The Scott Stones were discovered in 1997 submerged off the Bahamas and touted as remnants of Plato’s Atlantis. Through a series of press releases, from Aaron DuVal, claims of dramatic discoveries were made, but never substantiated. Attempts, by writers Christopher Dunn and Andrew Collins, to view the ‘stones’ were initially agreed to but eventually they came to nothing. The most rational explanation on offer so far is that these stones are in fact jettisoned ballast. It would be prudent to consider the whole story as a badly organised hoax.
Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) and Sir Arthur Evans famed as the discoverers of Troy and Knossos respectively are sometimes claimed to have believed in the existence of Atlantis. John Michell quotes [0704.200] the following from Schliemann; “I have come to the conclusion that Atlantis was not only a great territory between America and the west coast of Africa, but the cradle of all our civilisation as well.” This extract is from a letter that was allegedly given to his grandson, Paul Schliemann. However, the letter in question was just part of a larger hoax perpetrated in 1912.
Although Schliemann is credited with the discovery of Troy at Hissarlik in Turkey, he was not the first to suggest the site, in fact nearly a century earlier, ironically, in the year that Schliemann was born, Charles Maclaren (1782-1866), a Scot, also claimed that Hissarlik was the location of Troy in a work entitled, A Dissertation on the Topography of the Plain of Troy. Others have cast doubt on the specific site identified by Schliemann. The principal objection was that the city he had located was too small to match the historical descriptions of Troy. The same might be said of many of the sites proposed as Plato’s Atlantis.
*Schliemann also discovered many hundreds of swastikas throughout the Hissarlik site and is credited with bringing that symbol back to Germany where it was later hijacked by the Nazis and came to represent evil oppression.(a)
Carla Sage, a British archaeologist, announced in November 2003 her support for a North African location for Atlantis, in particular she believed that the Gulf of Sidra (Syrtis Major) in Libya holds the remains of Atlantean ports. She was apparently impressed by ancient accounts that recorded how the Mycenaean, Cretan and Egyptian civilisations all traded with Atlantis. She concluded that this was improbable if Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic(a).
Sage contended that Atlantis had flourished when North Africa had been a very fertile region. However, desertification following a dramatic climate change led to the destruction of Atlantis by sand rather than water as described by Plato. Dr. Sage was reportedly planning a multinational expedition to seek concrete evidence to support her theories.
I have unsuccessfully endeavoured to locate an archaeologist named Carla Sage. The deafening silence in the intervening years has cast doubt on the factual correctness of the original press report, in fact, some are now happy to call it a hoax(b), a view that is not unreasonable. This has now been confirmed, as the Sage story originally appeared in the now defunct and largely fictional US tabloid magazine, Weekly World News, (11/11/2003). It was then picked by many less than diligent websites and took on a life of its own. I am indebted to Stel Pavlou for uncovering the origin of this story(c).
(a) See: Archive 2821
Glozel is a village about 20km from Vichy in the centre of France. In 1924 a seventeen-year-old boy, Émile Fradin (1906-2010)(b), discovered a number of artefacts including inscribed tablets with writing similar to ancient Phoenician scripts. Some of the pottery depicted animals extinct in the area for over 10,000 years. A group of academics were assembled in 1927 to decide on the authenticity of the find. The experts decided that the whole collection were forgeries. It must be remembered that at the time the Piltdown controversy was at its height leaving any reputation conscious scientist very wary.
Nearly fifty years passed until, in 1975 using a new dating method known as thermoluminescence, the antiquity of the Glozel objects was confirmed as ranging from 300 BC to 1300 AD, exonerating the then 68-year-old Émile Fradin from any suggestion of fraud.
Discoveries of similar objects have been found at other nearby sites, for example at Moulin Piat, 2.5km south, at Guerrier 3 km away on the right bank of the River Vareille (some pieces can be found at the Earth Science Museum of Villeurbanne University); at Puyraval 10 km upstream. In recent times an extensive Neolithic site with a remarkable megalithic alignment composed of over 100 stones was discovered near Glozel.
The Atlantis perspective on this is that Glozel appeared to offer evidence of ancient cultural development, including writing, in this part of Europe, far earlier than previously thought possible. The initial claims were seen as possible support for the 9600 BC date given by Solon for Atlantis.
However, it does not appear to me that it is credible that 10,000 year old inscriptions exist that are similar to Phoenician scripts. The intervening 8,000 years would have altered the shape of the characters out of all recognition just as our modern Roman script is totally different to its antecedents in the Eastern Mediterranean just three thousand years ago. The thermoluminescence tests support this view but the Glozel writing still has value as examples of ancient scripts.
Alice Gerard, a retired archaeologist from New York, has spent the last decade studying the mystery of the Glozel site and has written of her efforts to verify the authenticity of the discoveries there and dispel the initial response of scientists who dismissed it as a hoax. Her book is supported by a website(a).
The excellent Migration and Diffusion website has a paper(c) written by the American Donald B. Buchanan, Secretary of The Epigraphic Society, which offers a preliminary decipherment of the Glozel script. Paulo Stekel has built on Buchanan’s work and offers a couple of papers of his own(d)(e). A (French) site dedicated to Glozel translation attempts is also available(f).
Philip Coppens on the internet(g) and later in The Lost Civilisation Enigma, reviews[1275.16] the early years of the Glozel debate in which his account reflected very badly on the professional archaeologists of the day and later. While the evidence now indicates that no fraud by Fradin was involved, there are still questions outstanding, relating to the mixed datings of the artefacts themselves.
Hoaxes associated with Atlantis are of various types; the most common sort are those perpetrated by writers who write volumes of balderdash about information they claim to have received through psychic channels. The simple fact that so many of these authors contradict each other demonstrates the fictional nature of their offerings. To be extremely kind, I might accept that some of these people are simply self-deluded but to be brutally honest, I believe that the majority of them are simply churning out their rubbish, in collusion with equally opportunistic publishers, in order to separate gullible readers from their cash.
The father of such drivel has to be Edgar Cayce, although I am inclined to think that he personally was in some way one of the self-deluded and did not have any financial motivation. However, it was pure greed or should it be impure greed that ‘inspired’ the vast majority of writers who followed Cayce, building on his foundation of spurious information.
Other types of hoaxers must include Madame Blavatsky, the godmother of occultic garbage, who was declared a fraud in 1884 by the London Society for Psychical Research. Her first book, Isis Unveiled, published in 1877 devotes just one page out of two volumes to Atlantis. Her second book The Secret Doctrine (1888) expands greatly on her ‘knowledge’ of Atlantis. It is worth pointing out that these extended ‘revelations’ were produced only a few years after the success of Ignatius Donnelly’s groundbreaking book in 1882.
A more harmless story, frequently touted in books on Atlantis, is that of the S.S. Jesmond that was reported to have discovered an uncharted island in the Atlantic on which they found artefacts including a sarcophagus complete with occupant. The ‘discovery’ was published in a New Orleans newspaper after the ship arrived there on April 1st, 1882, the same year that Donnelly’s book was published. The newspaper retracted the story later.
Another frequently quoted claim is the alleged discovery of an underwater pyramid by the late Dr. Ray Brown, which does not stand up to the most cursory examination.
In 1970 a book entitled Mu Revealed purported to have evidence which supported Churchward’s claims, but was subsequently revealed as a hoax perpetrated by one Raymond Buckland, writing under the pen-name of Tony Earll, an anagram of ‘not really’.
Blatant commercial frauds have also been perpetrated invoking Atlantis as the ultimate source. One such instance is the sale of replicas of the so-called ‘Atlantis Ring’, an object that is decorated with special geometric symbols and is claimed to emit electromagnetic waves that protect the wearer, give increased psychic abilities, healing powers and bring the owner good luck. It is claimed that the original was found in 1860 in the Valley of the Kings by “well-known French Egyptologist” Marquis d’Agrain who claimed that it came from Atlantis. He is supposed to have bequeathed the ring to another “famous Egyptologist” Arnold de Belizal. An Internet search reveals little about either person apart from this alleged connection with the Atlantis Ring. Two more articles about it are available online(d)(e), unfortunately they include a lot of psychic twaddle. One supplier charges $350 for replica rings(a).
There are so many other Atlantis related claims which stretch credibility beyond breaking point that a book devoted to that subject alone is warranted.
In fact, some years ago the Atlantis Online website had a forum devoted to the subject of Atlantis hoaxes(c). But Atlantis was not the only classical subject that has a hoax associated with it. In 1924, Di Martino, editor of Mouseion, an Italian classics journal, claimed to have discovered all the lost books of Livy(b).
Jason Colavito has written an interesting article(f) on hoaxes, which were more prevalent before WWII.
However, before anyone cries ‘hoax’ or ‘fake’, they should remember the case of the Parian Marble (Parian Chronicle), which was found in two sections on the Greek island of Paros in the 17th century. In 1788, Joseph Robertson (1726-1802) declared the Chronicle to be a ‘modern’ fake in a lengthy dissertation, a claim disproved by the discovery of the final third piece, over a century later.
The Phaistos Disk is the most famous ancient artefact ever found on Crete and as Axel Hausmann says, can be considered the world’s oldest ‘printed’ document, dated to around 1700 BC. This is because the characters were created using incised punches, similar in effect to movable type.
Noting that this ‘document’ was produced using some sort of character ‘punches’, brings to my mind three questions – (1) were these the only set of punches created? And (2) have any other objects been discovered that show a similar use of punches? And (3) if not why not? These questions prompted some to claim that the Disk was a hoax! (See below)
Another artefact with characteristics remarkably similar to the Phaistos Disk, is the inscribed Magliano Disk, made of lead, which was discovered in Magliano, Tuscany in the 1889’s(ac) . However, the two discs were very far apart in time and location and so similarities are just superficial. Like the Phaistos Disc, the one from Magliano has also presented translation problems as the Etruscan script in which it is written is still only partly decipherable.
It was discovered around a hundred years ago by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier (1874-1937) and despite an amazing number of efforts(a) it has defied a definitive decipherment ever since. The interpretations so far have ranged from it being a prayer to a description of the eruption of Thera, while one writer in a light-headed moment went as far as to suggest that it might hold a message from extraterrestrials!
One of the most fascinating suggestions is that the disk was in fact a board game based on an ancient Egyptian game called Senet(b)(o), which was proposed by Peter Aleff, an explanation later supported by Philip Coppens. However, it seems that this idea was first proposed by Fernand Crombette at least half a century ago(r).
Alan Butler, who has written a book on the subject, provides a more conventional offering in which he sees the disk as being primarily an astronomical aid. Rosario Vieni has promoted the idea that the disk had a calendrical use and has published his reasons, in French, on the Internet(c). Paul Dunbavin has also suggested that the disk may have been a spiral calendar[099.181].
Naturally, Atlantis has not been excluded from this wide ranging Phaistos speculation, although the linking of the disk with Atlantis is tenuous at best. Jean Louis Pagé has produced a bilingual offering that combines the Phaistos, Mayan and Aztec disks in an effort to locate Atlantis. Axel Hausmann, writing in German, has also done little to provide a clear connection between Atlantis and the disk.
Christian O’Brien and his wife Barbara Joy,in an appendix to their book The Genius of the Few, have identified the writing on the disk as an early form of Sumerian cuneiform writing.
The disk is housed in the Iraklion Archaeological Museum which is also home to the Akralochori Axe also found on Crete in 1934 by Spyridon Marinatos, that was inscribed with 15 characters that have been identified with the Linear A script as well as some of the Phaistos characters(e).
Brent Davis is one of the world’s leading experts on Bronze Age Aegean scripts and languages. In 2018, he published an article “in which, based on a close statistical analysis, shows that the while both the Phaistos Disc and Linear A are undeciphered writing systems, he can demonstrate that the both are, with a high degree of certainty, encode the same language!”(ad)
Two American academic twins, Keith and Kevin Massey, have made available a 72-page pdf file(k) outlining their interpretation of the disk. They concluded that the disk was probably a receipt for goods deposited in a temple.
2008 was a busy year for Phaistos Disk studies. Panagiotes D. Gregoriades delivered three papers to the Atlantis Conference in Athens in which he identified the disk as a calendrical devise used on land and sea. He subsequently published his ideas in book form in 2010 entitled The Creation of Prototypes. In 2008 a major international Phaistos Disk Conference was held in London(h) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its discovery.
Unfortunately, in 1999 a professional ‘wet blanket’ in the form of Dr. Jerome Eisenberg declared the disk to be a fake, when he wrote to The Economist declaring that the disk “a joke perpetrated by a clever archaeologist from the Italian mission to Crete upon his fellow excavators.” He expanded on this in a detailed, fully illustrated paper(z) in 2008. Brian E. Colless responded by pointing out(d) that such a hoax would first have required the “making 45 little stamps to imprint on clay, on both sides of the object, and printing 30 clusters of signs (words or phrases ?) on one side and 31 on the other.”
The Greek authorities have refused to allow the disk, which is just 16cm across, to be removed for testing, on the grounds of its extreme fragility. The idea of fraud has been suggested because of the lack of other documents ‘printed’ in the same manner and because none of the punches were ever found. Fortunately that argument has now been refuted(u). My own response would be to point out that uniqueness is not necessarily a sign of a hoax. Otherwise, we would have to reject the Antikythera Mechanism, which is also a singular item with no objects of any intermediate sophistication discovered so far.
Dr. Marco Guido Corsini, who has also written about Atlantis, has widely promoted his interpretation of the Phaistos Disk(o).
Mark Newbrook, who has studied linguistics, gave a good overview of the various attempts to decipher the disk to the 2008 Phaistos Conference. An even more extensive site (currently suspended) was offered by the Georgian mathematician Gia Kvashilavathat includes a very comprehensive bibliography. Kvashilava offers his own interpretation based on the Colchian (Proto-Kartvelian) language printed in the unique Colchian syllabo-logogramic Goldscript. His paper is quite technical and more suited to advanced students of the subject.
Reinoud de Jong has now entered this particular fray with a decipherment that he claims offers a description of the religion of Crete(i).*However, this is rather strange as in a 2012 paper(ae), de Jonge claimed that the Disk contains details of the Bronze Age importation of copper and tin from the Americas. In the same paper he also claimed that the Egyptians discovered America around 2500 BC and for good measure he slips in that the Empire of Atlantis existed from 2500 to 1200 BC, without any reference or explanation whatsoever! It is implied that there is a connection between Egypt, Atlantis and the exploitation of the Michigan copper. The level of detailed speculation on offer here is truly spectacular.*
By way of complete contrast, Gary Vey claims that the disk is merely some sort of inventory and also gives an overview of the difficulties attached to deciphering the disk as well as some interesting features overlooked by some researchers(j).
The Czech WM magazine has an extensive 2011 article on the decipherment of the Phaistos Disk(p), giving prominence to the work of Petr Kovar, who claims that the language is Proto-Slavic!(y)
Stephen E. Franklin has claimed that the Disk is a king-list of Cretan rulers and also that it had a calendrical function(ab).
Barbara Gagliano raised a few eyebrows with her claim that the Disk contained DNA information(q)!
Late 2014 saw another translation attempt published(s) by Dr. Gareth Owens of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete, in which he claimed that the disk “contains a prayer to the mother goddess of the Minoan era.” Owens’ contribution provoked further controversy including further suggestions that the Disk might be a fake(t).
Linear B was the basis of Owens’ study, which was the result of a collaboration with John Coleman in Oxford University. They claim to have translated 80% of the text with certainty, along with another possible 15%, leaving just 5% undeciphered.(w)
Robert Bradford Lewis has offered a recent forensic study of the Disk, based on his view that the language used was Ugaritic, an long extinct Semitic tongue.(y) However, while the language may be Ugaritic, the script is not!
The number of theories relating to the Disk seems to rival the range of speculation relating to Atlantis. My selection here can be fruitfully augmented by the Wikipedia entry(x) on the subject.
A list of decipherment claims as well as a useful bibliography up to 2008 is available(y) and Charles River Editors has recently (2018) published two Kindle books offering more information about the many attempts to solve the mystery of the disk.
(o) http://www.phaistosgame.com/ (3 papers)
Patrick Geryl & Gino Ratinckx are two Belgian co-authors of a work which announced that in 2012 a magnetic pole reversal will suddenly occur causing worldwide catastrophes.
Geryl is a researcher and Ratinckx an archaeoastronomer. They claim that their prediction is based on the writings of the Maya and the ancient Egyptians, whose ancestors they maintain came from Atlantis, which now lies beneath the ice of Antarctica following an earlier pole reversal in 9792 BC. Geryl has gone on to write two further books on the forthcoming 2012 disasters and in preparation for it, have purchased property in South Africa where they together with a chosen few, had hoped to survive their predicted calamities. Geryl maintained a website(a) where he promoted his theories and related books.
The site was entitled ‘How to Survive 2012’ and surprise, surprise, a search in February 2013 shows the link to be broken. One sceptic had made the pointed prediction that the sale of Geryl’s books would plummet in 2013(b), while another refers to the 2012 hoax(c).
Undaunted by the failure of his 2012 predictions, Geryl has continued to issue doomsday warnings, the last being for January 2014(d)(e).
(a) http://www.howtosurvive2012.com/ (link broken!)
(c) http://www.2012hoax.org/patrick-geryl (offline Oct.’14)
(d) See Archive 2341