Landbridges, in the distant past are believed to have played a critical part in early human migration. Similarly, landbridges,both real and speculative are important components in many Atlantis theories. There is no doubt that the ending of the last Ice Age and the consequent rising sea levels led to the creation of islands where continuous land has previously existed. The separation of Ireland and Britain from each other and from mainland Europe is just one example, the latter leading to a number of writers to identify ‘Doggerland‘, which lay between Britain and Denmark as the home of Atlantis.
The two most discussed landbridges were at the Bering Strait, where it is thought that it provided the gateway for humans to enter the Americas from Asia and an Atlantic landbridge, which was very popular at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, but now completely abandoned. Although there was only one suggestion that the Bering Strait was in anyway connected with Plato’s Atlantis, an Atlantic landbridge was seized upon by many leading scientists of the day as an explanation for the similarity of flora and fauna on both sides of the Atlantic, which was reinforced by the discovery of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge around the same time.
A number of landbridges have been proposed for the Mediterranean and linked to a variety of Atlantis theories, the most notable being proposed for the straits of Gibraltar, Sicily and Messina. Less popular theories have been constructed involving landbridges in locations, such as the Caribbean and Indonesia.
Punt is the name given to a land with which the ancient Egyptians traded. The leading theory is that it was located to the southeast of Egypt, roughly occupying what is now called ‘the Horn of Africa, although there is also a popular view that it was situated on the Arabian Peninsula. Others suggest that a combination of parts of both regions might be nearer the truth. An article of November 2016 elaborates on the claim for this identification(e).
*In 2013, a short book by Ahmed Ibrahim Awale, placed Punt in the same region, namely, in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. A favourable and well illustrated review(f) of Awale’s book is worth a read.*
Frank Joseph in his Atlantis Encyclopedia[0104.37] claims that “the Lands of Punt (are) often associated with the islands of Atlantis.” Joseph expands on this in an Atlantis Rising article(a) where he refers to an ancient Egyptian story of “The Shipwrecked Sailor” in which the ‘Serpent King’ is identified as master of the island of Punt, which again Joseph claims to be Atlantis.
More recently, a small number commentators have identified Punt/Atlantis with Indonesia(b)(c). Dhani Irwanto, who advocates an Indonesian Atlantis published in November, 2015 an extensive article online(d) in which he specifically names the Indonesian island Sumatra as the land of Punt.
Dhani Irwanto (1962- ) is an Indonesian hydraulic engineer, who is the latest proponent of the Sundaland location for Atlantis, in his April 2015 book, Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea. A review of his book online(a), shows quite clearly that the author has made a serious effort to match Plato’s narrative with his chosen location for Atlantis, namely off the southern coast of the island of Kalimantan in the Java Sea. Irwanto also uses his professional expertise to analyse Plato’s many references to the waterways of the Atlantean capital and it extensive plain. The review also includes a number of maps and video clips used to support Irwanto’s views.
Irwanto has also adopted(c) the 32-point checklist of dos Santos and expanded it to 60 points.(d)
Irwanto also claims that the biblical Garden of Eden and the legendary island of Taprobane were situated on the island of Kilimantan. In an extensive online(b) article in November 2015, he identified the Indonesian island of Sumatra as the land of Punt.
*In June 2017, Irwanto published an illustrated paper(e) on Aurea Chersonesus, referred to by Ptolemy in his 2nd century Geographia . Irwanto has matched details in Ptolemy’s description with a place in western Sumatra called Tanjungemas renowned for its gold mines in the ancient times.*
Gunung Padang is a megalithic site on the Indonesian island of Java, which was first surveyed in 1914 by the Dutch colonial authorities and published as Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (Report of the Department of Antiquities). A post-war Australian investigation concluded that the site was much older than previously believed. Now, with presidential support, local archaeologists are carrying out an extensive investigation of the site.
The site has recently been claimed as part of Atlantis. A few years ago the late Arysio dos Santos was the leading proponent of Sundaland, which included Indonesia, as Atlantis. Now Danny Hilman Natawidjaja an Indonesian geologist has made a similar claim in his Kindle ebook, Plato Never Lied: Atlantis Is in Indonesia. In it Gunung Padang plays an important role. Mount Padang has also been claimed as the world’s oldest pyramid!
Nevertheless, a recent (May 2017) assault on Natawidjaja’s theories in an open letter(i) from Rebecca Bradley has laid bare the weaknesses in his claims.
Andrew Collins has now added an article(h). to his website that examines the preliminary claim that the lower levels at the site could be 12,000 years older than Gobekli Tepe. If confirmed, it will undoubtedly require some rewriting of history books. Do not lose sight of the fact that radiocarbon dating has limitations, being accurate for up to around 6,000 years with increasing unreliability up to perhaps 50,000 BC after which it is generally useless.
We now (Nov. ’14) have a report(e) that some type of ‘electrical device’ has been discovered at the site ‘made out of gold and copper and seems to resemble a primitive electrical capacitator.’ Until further information is available this claim must be treated with caution.
There are, however, dissenting voices as reported by journalist, Michael Bachelard(g), such as vulcanologist Sutikno Bronto, who says “Gunung Padang is simply the neck of a nearby volcano, not an ancient pyramid.Danny Hilman is not a vulcanologist. I am.” As for the carbon-dated cement between the stones, on which Hilman relies for his claims about the age of the site, Sutikno believes it is simply the byproduct of a natural weathering process, ”not man-made”. Other sceptics are even tougher. One archaeologist, who does not wish to be named since the President took such an interest, says the presidential taskforce is deluding itself. ”In the Pawon cave in Padalarang [about 45 kilometres from Gunung Padang], we found some human bones and tools made of bones about 9500 years ago, or about 7000 BCE. So, if at 7000 BCE our technology was only producing tools of bones, how can people from 20,000 BCE obtain the technology to build a pyramid?” the archaeologist asks.
Danny Hilman Natawidjaja is an Indonesian geologist who is no stranger to media interest, as he is regularly wheeled out for comment after the all-too-frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in his country.
In 2013 he garnered further attention with two dramatic claims. The first was a declaration that the huge megalithic site at Gunung Padang on Java was also home to the oldest pyramid in the world(a). Not content with that, he has also stated that the same site is evidence for Atlantis in Indonesia(b). Apart from the media attention he also received support from the Indonesian president. Graham Hancock and Robert Schoch have both visited the site along with Danny Hilman(c).
Natawidjaja published his Atlantis theory in a Kindle ebook, Plato Never Lied: Atlantis Is in Indonesia.
November 2016 saw a further incredible claim coming from Natawidjaja, namely that a 2500-year-old ‘electrical device’ had been found on Gunung Padang, which is claimed to be some form of capacitor and has been compared with the design of the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The report(d) that I’ve seen does not include any images, but until more concrete information is available, my scepticism is on ‘red alert’.
*In May 2017, Rebecca Bradley, in an open letter, wrote(e) an extensive attack on Natawidjaja’s Gunung Padang claims.*
Tripura is the name of a triple city in Hindu mythology that was famed for its architecture and rich adornments. Its inhabitants are reputed to have become greedy over time and were destroyed by Shiva (Mahabharata, Bk7, Drona Parva, Sec.XI). The story is almost the same as that of Atlantis and its demise. Since 1997 until his death in 2005 the late Arysio Nunes dos Santos has championed the idea that Plato’s Atlantis narrative regarding a submerged civilisation had been borrowed from the east. He also linked Atlantis with Tripura(a).
2005 not only saw the death of dos Santos shortly after the publication of his theory in book form, while in Moscow, Sergey Teleguin had his book, Anatomy of a Myth, published in Russian, in which he also identified Tripura with Atlantis. An English translation of part of his book has now been provided by Teleguin(c).
R. Cedric Leonard has also linked Atlantis with Tripura, the capital of the island of Atala(b). However, Leonard has chosen the Azores as the most likely location for Atlantis and dos Santos opted for Sundaland, a large landmass, now partly submerged encompassing, among others, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia!
*(b) http://www.atlantisquest.com/Asura.html (offline March 2018)*
Scylla and Charybidis were a sea monster and a whirlpool in Greek mythology who according to Homer and other writers were located opposite each other across a narrow strait. This led to the idiomatic phrase “between Scylla and Charybidis” similar to our more modern phrase of being “between the devil and the deep blue sea” describing being caught between two opposing forces.
Many assume the original to have been located between Sicily and the Italian mainland at the strait of Messina. A minority have opted for the Scylla being Calpe (The Rock of Gibraltar) and Charybdis being Mt. Abyla across the strait in North Africa or in other words the Pillars of Heracles(a) . However, Professor Arysio Santos promoting his Atlantis in Indonesia theory suggested that the ‘original’ Pillars of Heracles were in at Sunda Strait and later brought to ancient Greece where it was included by Homer in his Odysseus as Scylla and Charybdis!(b)
Writers who have located the wanderings of Ulysses in the North Atlantic have gone further afield in their search for Scylla and Charybdis with the west coast of Scotland (Pillot and Nyland), the Orkneys (Sora) southwest Cornwall near the Scilly Isles (Wilkens) .
(a) http://www.cadiznews.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=29858 (offline April, 2015)
Diffusion is the anthropological term used to describe how similar customs, beliefs and artefact designs are spread between cultures through migration, invasion or trade. Diffusion is not just a ‘one-way street’ as history has shown that ideas have travelled in all directions, while in fact most ancient civilisations can be demonstrated to have absorbed cultural elements from a multiplicity of foreign societies. Today, globalisation has increased exponentially the variety of influences that all societies now experience. Not only is the number of these influences greater but the rate of increase is apparently accelerating. The ubiquity of Coca-Cola, T-shirts, Irish pubs, Japanese cameras, German cars, English language, Guinness, Chinese toys, ABBA, AK-47s etc., etc., etc., are indicative of the global reach of commercial ‘empires’ today. In older civilisations trade was more concerned with commodities such as metals, olive oil, wine, amber, obsidian, or timber, so the technologies involved in their production or exploitation were also exchanged.
The development of agriculture also saw techniques spread, which had to be modified to suit different climates, although recent studies indicate that agriculture started around the same time in a number of centres(I).
in the Fertile Crescent as far north as the Zagros Mountains. Further north, on the steppes of Russia, horses were domesticated and apparently there also the use of chariots originated. A book by David W. Anthony also attributes the region with being the source of what is known as the Proto-Indo-European family of languages.
Societal concepts, religious or legal were no different as their geographical spread can also be traced over time. Consider the different strands of the Abrahamic faiths, beginning with Judaism, which spawned Christianity and later was joined by Islam through Muhammad, who claimed to be a descendant of Abraham. Similarly, democracy has slowly evolved and spread over time and still has a long way to go.
Since early man left Africa, he has had ample time to settle all over our planet and exploit it resources, moving from being a hunter-gatherer to becoming a settled farmer, developing urban centres (city states), then empires and the inevitable wars. Wars, then like today, led to the develop of new technologies, chariots, longbows, armour, to be copied and if possible improved upon, by each side.
My view is that initially, technology and techniques were freely exchanged between peoples, until gradually the idea of monopoly entered the human psyche, eventually leading to the paranoia and greed associated with the ownership of ‘intellectual property’ today. I would speculate that a freer and possibly gentler diffusion of ideas lasted until, at the earliest, the first millennium BC.
In 2014, the University of Connecticut published the result of studies which demonstrated that human technological innovation occurred intermittently throughout the Old World, rather than spreading from a single point of origin, as previously thought(j).
Egerton Sykes, a leading 20th century Atlantologist, was a committed diffusionist, describing it as “the lifeblood of civilisation”(h).
A more extreme view is the concept of ‘hyperdiffusion’, which is the idea that there was a single ‘mother-culture’ which led to the development of all major civilisations. Ignatius Donnelly was a hyperdiffusionist, advocating Atlantis as the mother culture. His ‘heretical’ views were highlighted by the range of similarities between structures around the world in apparently unrelated cultures, which seem to greatly exceed what could be expected by mere coincidence alone. This is explored further in a recent illustrated article on the Malagabay website(v).
Similarly James Churchward proposed his invention, Mu, as an alternative hyperdiffusion centre. Perhaps better known is the work of W. J. Perry who was convinced  that an archaic civilisation had begun in Egypt and gradually spread eastward through Asia and Polynesia, eventually reaching the Americas. Ben Urish published a paper(d) in 1986 that offers a critical overview of hyperdiffusion.
Konrad Kulczyk promotes a hyperdiffusionist theory that places his proto-civilisation, New Atlantis, just south of the Aral Sea(e).
Ivar Zapp proposes a global seafaring civilisation thousands of years before the Greeks, Egyptians or Sumerians(k) in an as yet unpublished book, Babel Deciphered.
Hyperdiffusion is clearly a seductive theory having attracted the attention of researchers such as Richard Cassaro, who has produced an impressive collection of visual cultural similarities between ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian America(a). While the idea is not new, Cassaro’s images highlight the concept of diffusion very effectively, although he has, in my opinion overinterpreted the evidence in order to support hyperdiffusion.
Cassaro published The Missing Link in 2016 in which he expands on the widespread distribution of what he refers to as the ‘godself icon’. Although he clearly demonstrates that the motif has an extensive geographical spread it is equally obvious that the appearance of the icon is spread over a vast period of time apparently coinciding with the emergence of civilisation in different places at very different times, which, in my view, is not fully compatible with the concept of hyperdiffusion, as I would have expected a ‘mother-culture’, if such existed, to have spread its global influence far more rapidly.
A comparable discovery has been made by Ozgür Baris Etli, who has drawn attention(o) to carved hands at Göbekli Tepe that have counterparts in many other parts of the world where hands meeting at the navel are similarly depicted. I recently came across an image of(q) a megalithic statue in the Indonesian Bada Valley(u) showing its hands in a similar position.
Equally intriguing is the ‘Three Hares’ motif, found across Europe, the Middle East and as far as China(p) and now the subject of a book by Greeves, Andrew & Chapman. Another stylised symbol is that of the rosette found in the Mediterranean and spread as far as India(r)(s).
In a similar vein Jim Allen has devoted chapter three of his latest book to outlining what he entitled Bolivia and the Sumerian Connection(b). Arguably even more impressive is the array of images presented by Allen(c) suggesting that the civilisations of America were greatly influenced by ancient cultures in both east and west. It is obvious that a number of artifacts can be developed independently, but at some point the number of similar items produced by two separate cultures can exceed the number that can be reasonably put down to coincidence. The number of similarities presented by Allen alone clearly exceeds that threshold, demonstrating that the Americas were influenced by different sources, ruling out Americas as the home of a mother-culture.
The whole subject of diffusion is wide ranging and complex and well beyond my competence to do it justice in this short entry. However, for those interested in pursuing the subject further, I would like to recommend a 1997 paper(l) by David H. Kelley (1924-2011), available on Dale Drinnon’s website.
Egypt is frequently mentioned in this regard being seen as the influence behind Neolithic megalith building AND the pyramids of Central America, in spite of the fact that Newgrange was constructed before the Egyptian Pyramids and the New World pyramids were built thousands of years after those in Egypt. Atlantis is regularly suggested as another mother- culture but without a single piece of evidence to support this speculative contention. For decades the idea that the pyramids of Egypt and those in the Americas were the consequence of diffusion from a common source, namely Atlantis situated in the Atlantic was heavily promoted. However, we can now more closely identify the pyramids of America with the step-pyramids of China!
Consequently, for me, hyperdiffusion is not convincing. History has clearly shown that inventions have frequently been independently developed at the same time in different countries, while even in prehistoric times it has been demonstrated(f) that the evolution of stone tools took place as a result of the innovative abilities of local populations, addressing the same needs.
A word of warning; “recent research published in Nature by a team led by Tomos Proffitt at the University of Oxford shows that capuchin monkeys regularly produce sharp-edged flakes indistinguishable from those made by early hominins.”(t)
Even today technologies are developed independently throughout the world, but not in complete isolation, because of the instant worldwide communications available.
As a result of global marketing, in Ireland now we drive German, British and Japanese cars, use US computer technology and play with Chinese toys. However, being generous by nature, we gave the world the Irish pub, Riverdance and Guinness.
A two-part blog(m)(n) highlighting the many weaknesses in the concept of hyperdiffusion should be required reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Although Donnelly and his contemporaries, focused on the possibility of Old World influences in the New World, today, there is less of a Mediterranean centred or Eurocentric approach to diffusionism. Instead, there is greater acceptance that the Americas have had extensive cultural influences from Asia.
(l) http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.ie/2011/06/cultural-diffusion-by-david-kelley.html (link broken July 2018) See: Archive 3563
*(u) Atlantis Rising No.110 March/April 2015 p.41*
Sundaland is the name first used in 1964, by the biologist Professor Desmond Sydney Johnson (1924-1972), to describe an area of South-East Asia, which had been above sea level during periods of Ice Age glaciation and partial inundated during warmer times such as the present. It is worth noting that it is now generally accepted that South East Asia was probably the entry point of modern humans from Africa. Human traces have been found in Papua New Guinea that have been dated to around 40,000 BC.
Some authors have specifically claimed a clear link between Sundaland and Plato’s Atlantis. The Sunda Sub-Oceanic Plain is large enough to match Plato’s description of Atlantis. Its topography, climate, flora and fauna together with aspects of local mythologies, all permit a convincing case to be made to support this idea.
C.W. Leadbeater (1854-1934) who was a prominent theosophist was perhaps the first to suggest a link between Atlantis and Indonesia in his book, The Occult History of Java  , which is now available online(f).
Other investigators have written on the prehistory of the region of whom the best known is probably Stephen Oppenheimer who firmly locates the Garden of Eden in this region, although he makes little reference to Atlantis. More recently, Robert Schoch, in collaboration with Robert Aquinas McNally, wrote a book in which they suggest that pyramid building may have had its origins in a civilisation that flourished on parts of Sundaland that are now submerged.
The first book to specifically identify Sundaland with Atlantis was written by Zia Abbas. However, prior to its publication the Internet offered at least two sites that discussed in detail the case for Atlantis in South East Asia. William Lauritzen(a) and the late Professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos(b) developed extensive websites. Lauritzen has also written an e-book that is available from his site, while Santos developed his views on an Asian Atlantis in another recent book. Dr Sunil Prasannan has an interesting essay on Graham Hancock’s website(c). A more esoteric site(d) also offers support for the Sundaland theory.
An Indonesian researcher, Panji R. Hadinoto, has published on his website(e) a 32 point checklist purporting to ‘prove’ that Atlantis was located on Sundaland. Unfortunately, this checklist is not original but copied from the work of Professor dos Santos.
April 2015 saw further support for an Indonesian Atlantis with the publication of a book by hydraulic engineer, Dhani Irwanto, who endeavours to identify features of the lost city with details in Plato’s account with a site in the Java Sea off the coast of the island of Kilmantan. He has now published a YouTube video in support of his theory(h).
A 2016 series of graphics shows the gradual inundation of Sundaland from 18.000 BC onwards(g).
*Thorwald C. Franke has drawn attention(j) to a recent controversy in Malaya where historian Zaharah Sulaiman has claimed that the Malay set of mtDNA is 63,000 years old, dating back to a time long before the submergence of Sundaland. It seems that Sulaiman had built her claim on some of Oppenheimer’s writings. This veiled suggestion of some sort of racial superiority, through antiquity, was disputed locally.(i)
(d) http://www.tylwythteg.com/atlantis/southchina.html (offline June 2015)
(j) Atlantis-Newsletter 120*
Checklists have been published by a number of authors that compare the features of Plato’s Atlantis with that of their preferred location and that of other writers. While such lists can appear impressive they suffer from a number of defects. First the lists are drawn up arbitrarily(a) and frequently omit headings that may not suit the theory of its compiler, but might support a competing view. Secondly, another excuse for not including particular items is often done on the grounds that they were just modifications by Plato. Finally, since Plato’s text contains various ambiguities and contradictions, some list headings are capable of more than one interpretation, for example, the location of the Pillars of Heracles or the date of Atlantis’ destruction.
Finally, if the Atlantis narrative is accepted as a mixture of detail from more than one source, possibly separated by thousands of years, it is meaningless to include everything in a single list. An example of this might be where the clues to the location of the Atlantean capital might be based on a very ancient source but the description of its architecture may have been inspired by structures from a different location, possibly from Plato’s own experience. In such a case the two will never be discovered together.
In the case of Indonesia, Dos Santos drew up a 32-point checklist(b), which has now been adopted and expanded to 60 points(e) by Dhani Irwanto, who published Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea in 2015.
The Atlantis Conference of 2005 concluded with the drafting of a list of 24 criteria(f), which must be met to qualify as Plato’s lost city. Jim Allen initially expanded this list to 34 points(a) and in December 2010 added a further 16 , bringing his new total up to 50 criteria(d), chosen with an obvious bias towards his own Bolivian theory.
The 2005 conference also led to the drafting of the Atlantis Research Charter, which although not a checklist in the sense that I have used it, does provide a rational set of guidelines for researchers to follow, firmly rejecting pseudoscience, dogmatism and abuse for political or religious ends.
The most recent (2016) checklist from Philip Runggaldier, not unexpectedly, points to his chosen location of the Celtic Shelf rather than Minoan Crete as the location of Atlantis. Not, in my mind, a fair comparison.
*My book, Joining the Dots, as far as I’m aware, raises for the first time in any detail, the obvious prerequisites for a successful invasion. Obviously Invaders require a powerful army, military intelligence (spies) and the ability to keep supply lines as short as possible. The latter demands that military expansionism is directed at neighbouring territories, a fact confirmed by the manner in which all ancient empires developed. However, when it comes to checklists the need for proximity is conveniently ignored as can be seen by its absence from the lists compiled by advocates of some of the more extreme Atlantis locations, such as, Antarctica, America or Indonesia. At least some Plato’s Atlantis identifiers can be linked with most proposed locations, but if they are not within ‘striking distance’ of ancient Athens, they cannot be Atlantis.*
(a) Bolivia – http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/atlantistheories.htm
(b) Indonesia – http://www.atlan.org/articles/checklist/