Civilisation Collapse has occurred many times over past millennia in all parts of the world. Joseph A. Tainter defines collapse as “a rapid shift to a lower level of complexity(a) .” Societal disintegration immediately brings to mind the Maya, the Indus Valley and in what are relatively more modern times, the Western Roman Empire.
The causes are usually a combination of factors, such as, climate change, warfare, disease or excessive expansionism. Global catastrophes such as encounters with comets or asteroids are rare, while more local events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis can also be thrown into the mix. These have all been encountered from time to time, but have rarely been blamed for the collapse of a society; recovery from such limited regional events is usually possible.
The Mediterranean has seen its share of all these catastrophic events. A major tsunami on Sardinia, volcanic eruptions in Italy, earthquakes in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterannean. Close encounters with extraterrestrial bodies have also been proposed in that region.
Perhaps the best documented civilisation collapse is that which occurred around 1200 BC and affected many societies, particularly in the Middle East(b) . Israel Finkelstein, a leading Israeli archaeologist, has attributed this event to climate change and is of the view that this disruption was global in extent.
Inevitably, Atlantis has been cited as an example of civilisation collapse, particularly supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis, who link the 2nd millennium BC eruptions of Thera with the demise of the Minoans on Crete. Also popular is the idea that Atlantis had been a large island in the Atlantic Ocean destroyed by a cometary impact or the rising sea levels as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age.
A variety of other theories have associated Atlantis with the collapse of a civilisation. For example, Frank Joseph claims that 40,000 years ago “sudden sea-level rises triggers migration from Mu around. The Pacific motherlanders settle on a large, fertile island about 380 kilometers due west from the Straits of Gibraltar. There, the newcomers merge with the native Cro-Magnon inhabitants, resulting in a new, hybrid culture – Atlantis.”
*(a) http://www.historytoday.com/christopher-chippindale/collapse-complex-societies (link broken June 2018)*
The Origin of the Atlantis Narrative is declared by Plato to have been Egyptian as it was brought to Athens from Egypt by Solon. This is the almost universally accepted provenance of the story. However, other suggestions have emerged from time to time.
Another even more exotic claim(a) is that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reworking of the destruction of Lankapura as recorded in the Ramayana(b) , one of the two great Hindu epic poems.
*(a) http://archives.sundayobserver.lk/2001/pix/PrintPage.asp?REF=/2013/03/17/mon06.asp (Offline Sept.2017 – See Archive 2058)*
(c) http://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-CloserHYPERLINK “http://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-Closer&id=313482″&HYPERLINK “http://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-Closer&id=313482″id=313482
Normally I would ignore such drivel but as M. Dolciani has also ventured into the area of Atlantology, I feel free to comment on his views. He has decided that when Plato referred to ‘island’ he actually meant ‘centre of civilisation’, which he identifies as Egypt, the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia! His explanation for Plato’s 9000 ‘years’ is that they were in fact periods of 73 days because it agrees with both the synodical revolution of Venus and our solar year!! With reasoning like that we have little to fear from 2027.
José Angel Hernández is an Independent Spanish researcher with an interesting website(a), which, although in Spanish, translates quite well with Google into English. Although his subject matter is wide-ranging he has produced a number of papers relevant to the subject matter of this site.
He first(b) compares the bull cult of Atlantis with the status of the bull in the Indus Valley civilisation. He then takes a sceptical view of the Atlantis story arguing strongly against the idea that the 9,000 years recorded by Plato should be treated as ‘months’ or ‘seasons’. In another section(c) he outlines parallels between Tartessos and ancient India and goes so far as to suggest the Indus Valley city of Lothal established colonies north and south of the Strait of Gibraltar and known as Tartessos. Unexpectedly, he then proceeds to identify the Tarshish of the Bible with the coast of the Indus Valley!
Ronnie Gallagher is an amateur archaeologist with a great interest in the Caucasus region, where he has carried out extensive research. He has written an interesting paper on the effects of the post-glacial flooding of the Caspian Sea and its former physical connection with the Black Sea as well as with the Arctic Ocean(a).
Gallagher has drawn attention to cart ruts in Azerbaijan(b) similar to, but not as numerous as, those on Malta. He is also an admirer of the work of Reginald Fessenden who placed Atlantis in the Caucasus(c)*and proposed that migrants from that region were responsible for kick-starting what we know as the Egyptian civilisation. The renowned Flinders Petrie and Margaret Murray were sympathetic to this view, as is Gallagher(d) .
His own conclusion regarding the location of Atlantis in the Caucasus region was that it was inundated as a consequence of the creation of a vast ‘flooded Eurasia’ that resulted from the collapse of glacial ice-dams(d).
Gallagher’s paper should be read in conjunction with a 2004 paper(e) from a team of Russian and US scientists that relates to a ‘Giant Siberian Lake’.
*He has now published two extended abstracts of recent papers on the academia.edu website(f)(g).*
(e) http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/lake.html (Jan.2017, no longer available see Archive 2372)
Jim Alison has written an extensive paper(a) on the highly controversial subject of a global aligment of ancient sites such as the Great Pyramid, Easter Island and Machu Picchu(b). At the end of the first page he concludes that the Cape Verde islands are possibly the remnants of Plato’s Atlantis, based on the geodetic fact that “Machu Picchu and the Great Pyramid are equally distant from the Cape Verde Islands. Easter Island and the Indus Valley are also equally distant from Cape Verde.” For similar reasons he thinks that the Bay of Bengal as well as near Ilha Martin Vaz, a location off the coast of Brazil, should also be considered as possible candidates.
The Swastika is a symbol that is said to have a 12,000-year-old history(I) and is occasionally suggested as having an Atlantean link. This is highly improbable as modern research has suggested that it was more likely to have originally represented an ancient cometary display in the sky(c), explaining the ubiquity of the symbol around the world. Fernando Coimbra wrote a paper(h)on this subject in 2011.
*In 1896, the Smithsonian Institution published an extensive paper by Thomas Wilson (1832-1902), a curator at the U.S. National Museum, demonstrating the global spread of the swastika symbol.*
Another site demonstrates the widespread use of the swastika and its variants in commercial iconography(d). In April 2014, a well illustrated report(k) revealed that a 7,000-year-old piece of pottery with a swastika on it was discovered in Bulgaria.
I recall that my native Dublin had a firm, founded in 1912 by a Mr. Brittain, called the Swastika Laundry, which had their vans liveried in bright red with a white swastika on a black background. The business lasted into the 1960’s. James Churchward claimed that the swastika was a symbol of his invented civilisation, Mu, while Robert Stacy-Judd speculated[607.243] that it had originated in Atlantis. Others have attempted(e) to link the swastika and its presentation in red, white and black to be in some way connected with Plato’s reference to the colours of the rocks found in Atlantis.Leaving conjecture aside it can be demonstrated that the swastika was an ancient Hindu symbol and also used in the Indus Valley civilisation(b).
While Heinrich Schliemann was excavating Troy at Hissarlik, he discovered many hundreds of swastikas throughout the site and was responsible for bringing what had been, until then, a benign symbol back to Germany, where it was later hijacked by the Nazis and came to represent oppression(n).
The long honourable history of the swastika should not be erased because of its abuse at the hands of the Nazis. The residents of Swastika in Ontario, have for decades steadfastly refused to change the name of their community in use since 1907. Jacques Gossart wrote a book on the history of the swastika and in Denys Eissart’s now inactive website, L’épopée atlante (The Atlantis Epic) he devoted a page to a discussion on the subject(a). More recently Richard Cassaro has published two articles(f)(g) highlighting the extensive use of the swastika. The articles are well illustrated including some fascinating images. He also attempts, unsuccessfully in my view, to suggest a link between swastika and Atlantis. A Reclaim the Swastika website(j) is campaigning for the promotion of the swastika as a spiritual symbol as it had been in the past.
A number of large swastika shaped features have been spotted from the air(m).
(d) http://www.alef.net/ALEFThings/ALEFThings.Asp?Thing=Swastikas (offline Dec.’14)
(j) http://reclaimtheswastika.com/ (offline March 2018)
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40812/40812-h/40812-h.htm#Page_809* (See Biblio ‘W’)
Sumeria was unknown until the middle of the 19th century. With the discovery and the decipherment of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets the sophistication of their culture prompted the idea that Sumer had been ‘the cradle of civilisation.’ Subsequent discoveries, such as the those in the Indus Valley and more recently Göbekli Tepe have now somewhat diluted that idea.
*The origin of the Sumerians is still something of a mystery as is their language which seems to be an ‘isolate’, unrelated to any known language group. Ronnie Gallagher has suggested that migrants from the Caucasus had provided the impetus that led to the development of the Sumerian civilisation. Gallagher’s theory is supported by Jerald Jack Starr on his Sumerian Shakespeare website, who emphatically attributes a Caucasian origin to the Sumerians(l).*
Sumeria has now been proposed as a possible source of the Atlantis story. Dr. Ashok Malhotra, a professor of Engineering, has suggested(a) that that ‘the likelihood of the Atlantis stories being of Sumerian origin is strengthened by the fact that the submergence of ancient cities was a strong part of the Sumerian mythology. It dominates their historical tradition. The destruction of the ancient city as a result of sin was also part of their beliefs.’ Malhotra then proposes that these Sumerian stories reflected actual flooding events in the Indus Valley region that were brought first to Sumeria and then were later transferred to Egypt and from thence via Solon to Plato to us.
George Michanowsky went much further and claimed that the Sumerians had known Atlantis under the name of NI-DUK-KI, known today as Dilmun[282.66]. The renowned Henry Rawlinson interpreted this name to mean ‘blessed hill’ or ‘blessed isle’. While Michanowsky’s suggestion is highly speculative, if correct, it would be the earliest known reference to Atlantis.
The Sumerian king list(e) from Larsa records eight kings (some versions note ten) before the Deluge, which may have been reflected, in a distorted fashion, in the ten patriarchs of Genesis and/or the ten kings of Atlantis! Another suggested link is with the eight generations between Adam and Noah recorded in Genesis chapter 5.
John Sassoon would seem to support Malhotra’s thesis in his book, which proposes a Sumerian origin for the Jews with possible earlier links with the Indus valley. He is not concerned with Atlantis, just the ancestry of the Jewish people of whom Abraham was born in Sumeria around 2000-1800 BC. Sassoon’s views offer a possible transmission route for Eastern traditions and myths to have reached Egypt and subsequently through Solon to Athens.
In 2001 a book by Radek Brychta was published in the Czech Republic in which he also advocates a Sumerian connection. He identifies Atlantis with the legendary Dilmun of Sumerian legend and locates it on the Indus civilisation island of Dholavira. Excerpts from this fascinating book are available on the Internet and worth a read.
However, the most extreme claims came from Zechariah Sitchin who proposed that the Sumerians had been ‘influenced’ by ancient astronauts from the planet Nibiru, which information is to be found in their cuniform tablets if Sitchin’s translation is to be believed. Similar daft ideas(g) have been put forward by Hermann Burgard but so far have only been foisted on a German-reading public.
As if that was not bad enough, we now (Oct 2016) have the Iraqi Transport Minister claiming, among other matters, that the Sumerians launched spaceships 8,000 years ago(h)!
Jim Allen, the leading advocate of ‘Atlantis in the Andes’ has also claimed(b) a Sumerian connection with South America citing Ruth & Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, who include in their book[838.293] three pages of Sumerian words compared with the language of ancient Peru as well as other cultural aspects there. They also believed that Sargon (2369-2314 BC) was known in Peru as the deity Viracocha! Their fanciful idea stems from an account of Sargon sailing to the west and spending three years there!* Zhirov supported this claim[458.23] describing it as ”a seemingly semi-fantastic theory”.*My reason for considering this claim to be nonsensical, is simply that Sargon was continually engaged in expanding his empire and constantly dealing with rebellions in the various city states that he ruled over. The idea that he took three years out to visit America, 14,000 km away, is in no way credible.
Nevertheless, the idea of Sargon in South America persists with James Bailey repeating it in Sailing to Paradise[0150.66] and more recently by the Afrocentrist, Clyde Winters in an article on the Ancient Origins website(f) in which he quotes Bailey and the Verrills as supporting Lake Titicaca as the Lake Manu of Sumerian tradition. A further article(j) on the same website begins with the forceful claim that “it is becoming increasingly clear that the Sumerians had established a colony in South America called Kuga-Ki.” The paper is based on a series of questionable artifacts, the Fuente Magna Bowl, the Crespi Collection and the Pokoyia monument!
The Fuente Magna Bowl is frequently offered as evidence of a pre-Columbian link with the Sumerians(c), although its provenance is unclear and there are suggestions of a hoax. A sceptical view of the ‘Bowl’ by Carl Feagans(k) is available.
The very existence of Sumerians has recently been attacked in an appendix to The Three Ages of Atlantis by Marin, Minella & Schievenin. They maintain that the Sumerian ‘language’ “could be an artificial construct created by Akkadian priests” to be used for liturgical purposes. These ideas were first expressed at the end of the 19th century by the respected Orientalist, Joseph Halévy. Andi Zeneli has expressed comparable ideas(d) regarding the Sumerian language.
Writing in Atlantis. The text of Plato makes it quite clear that writing was a feature of Atlantean culture. This is just another element in the overall picture presented by Plato of Atlantis as a Bronze Age civilisation, although there is always the possibility that the inclusion of writing might be a Platonic addition, designed to enhance the underlying core tale of a very ancient civilisation destroyed by flooding. If this flooding coincided with the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age then it could be dated to around 9500 BC, a date that is in agreement with Solon’s apparent date for the demise of Atlantis.
R. Cedric Leonard(a) has developed the idea that an even older writing system in Western Europe, such as that found on the Glozel Tablets may have had a link with Atlantis. These tablets have been dated to as early as 10,000 BC, but I have some reservations regarding the reliability of this date. Similarly, the writing of the Vinca culture of Eastern Europe is believed to date from around 5500 BC.
However, an article in New Scientist (20.02.10) reports that a study of cave markings at 146 sites in France revealed that a total of just 26 signs were used with varying frequency between 33,000 BC and 8000 BC. The symbols were only found in Southern France as much of the north was glaciated for much of this period. If these findings are substantiated it will raise questions regarding the date of the arrival of modern man into Europe.
There is no evidence of any developed writing system until around 3500 BC in Harappa in the Indus Valley, while a few hundred years later the Sumerians were using a sophisticated cuneiform script and the Egyptians had developed a system of hieroglyphics(d).
Crete had crude writing around 3000 BC, but it would be another 1000 years before the earliest alphabetic inscription discovered so far would be inscribed on a rock, in what is now Southern Egypt. This has been dated to the 1900’s BC, two hundred years earlier than expected. This particular epigraph has prompted speculation that what we know as an alphabet originated in Egypt, but it is not unreasonable to think that this revision will not be the last. However, in the March/April 2010 edition of the respected Biblical Archaeology Review has an article that identifies the early alphabet as a development of hieroglyphics(c).
*This evolution from hieroglyphs to modern European scripts is now available as a chart by Matt Baker.*
Although the Phoenicians have often been credited with the invention of the precursor to modern Western scripts around 1,100 BC, it now appears more likely that they were responsible for the adaptation of an even earlier character system. The earliest known Hebrew writing has now been dated to the 10th century BC(b).
In Meso-America the Olmecs appear to have been the first to develop a writing system around 900 BC, 600 years earlier than the Maya. However, the late emergence of a script there would appear to argue against a common Atlantean source for cultures on both sides of the Atlantic.
The insistence by some on the great antiquity of ancient scripts is driven by those Atlantis researchers who blindly accept the 9,600 BC date for the destruction of a literate Atlantis given by Plato. If an early date for writing cannot be more fully substantiated then Plato’s date must be reappraised.
(a) http://www.atlantisquest.com/classical.html (offline March 2018)
Tartessos or Tartessus is generally accepted to have existed along the valley of the Guadalquivir River where the rich deposits of copper and silver led to the development of a powerful native civilisation, which traded with the Phoenicians, who had colonies along the south coast of Spain(k).
It is assumed by most commentators that Tartessos was identical with the wealthy city of Tarshish that is mentioned in the Bible. There have been persistent attempts over the past century to link Tartessos with Atlantis. The last king of Tartessia, in what is now Southern Spain, is noted by Herodotus to have been Arganthonios, who is claimed to have ruled from 630 BC until 550 BC. Similarly, Ephorus a 4th century BC historian describes Tartessos as ‘a very prosperous market.’ However, if these dates are only approximately true, then Atlantis cannot be identified with Tartessos as they nearly coincide with the lifetime of Solon, who received the story of Atlantis as being very ancient.
The existence of a ‘Tartessian’ empire is receiving gradual acceptance. Strabo writes of their system of canals running from the Guadalquivir River and a culture that had written records dating back 6,000 years. Their alphabet was slightly different to the ‘Iberian’. The Carthaginians were said to have been captured Tartessos after the reign of Arganthonios and after that, contact with Tartessos seems to have ended abruptly!
The exact location of this city is not known apart from being near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia. The Guadalquivir was known as Baetis by the Romans and Tartessos to the Greeks. The present day Gulf of Cadiz was known as Tartessius Sinus (Gulf of Tartessus) in Roman times. Cadiz is accepted to be a corruption of Gades that in turn is believed to have been named to after Gaderius. This idea was proposed as early as 1634 by Rodrigo Caro, the Spanish historian and poet, in his Antigüedades y principado de la Ilustrísima ciudad de Sevilla, now available as a free ebook(i).
In 1849, the German researcher Gustav Moritz Redslob (1804-1882) carried out a study of everything available relating to Tartessos and concluded that the lost city had been the town of Tortosa on the River Ebro situated near Tarragona in Catalonia. The idea received little support.
The German archaeologist Adolf Schulten spent many years searching unsuccessfully for Tartessos, in the region of the Guadalquivir. He believed that Tartessos had been the centre of an ancient culture that was Atlantis or at least one of its colonies. Schulten also noted that Tartessos disappeared from historical records around 500 BC, which is after Solon’s visit to Egypt and so could not have been Atlantis.
Otto Jessen also believed that there had been a connection between Atlantis and Tartessos. Jean Gattefosse was convinced that the Pillars of Heracles were at Tartessos, which he identifies as modern Seville. However, Mrs E. M. Whishaw, who studied in the area for 25 years at the beginning of the 20th century, believed that Tartessos was just a colony of Atlantis. The discovery of a ‘sun temple’ 8 meters under the streets of Seville led Mrs Whishaw to surmise that Tartessos may be buried under that city. Edwin Björkman wrote a short book,The Search for Atlantis in which he identified Atlantis with Tartessos and also Homer’s Scheria.
More recently Karl Jürgen Hepke has written at length, on his website(a), about Tartessos. Dr. Rainer W. Kühne, following the work of another German, Werner Wickboldt, had an article published in Antiquity that highlighted satellite images of the Guadalquivir valley that he has identified as a possible location for Atlantis. Kühne published an article(b) outlining his reasons for identifying Tartessos as the model for Plato’s Atlantis.
Although there is a general consensus that Tartessos was located in Iberia, there are a number of refinements of the idea. One of these is the opinion of Peter Daughtrey, expressed in his book, Atlantis and the Silver City in which he proposes that Tartessos was a state which extended from Gibraltar around the coast to include what is today Cadiz and on into Portugal’s Algarve having Silves as its ancient capital.
It was reported(c) in January 2010 that researchers were investigating the site in the Doñana National Park, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, identified by Dr. Kühne as Atlantis. In 2011, Professor Richard Freund of the University of Hartford garnered a lot of publicity when he visited the site and expressed the view that it was the location of Tartessos which he equates with Atlantis.
A minority view is that Tarshish is related to Tarxien (Tarshin) in Malta, which, however, is located some miles inland with no connection to the sea. Another unusual theory is offered by Luana Monte, who has opted for Thera as Tartessos. She bases this view on a rather convoluted etymology(e) which morphed its original name of Therasia into Therasios, which in semitic languages having no vowels would read as ‘t.r.s.s’ and can be equated with Tarshish in the Bible, which in turn is generally accepted to refer to Tartessos. Giorgio Valdés favours a Sardinian location for Tartessos(f). Andis Kaulins has claimed that further south, in the same region, Carthage was possibly built on the remains of Tartessos, near the Pillars of Heracles(j).
A more radical idea was put forward in 2012 by the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, who proposed(g)(h) that the Tarshish of the Bible was to be found on the coast al region of the Indus Valley, but that Tartessos was a colony of the Indus city of Lhotal and had been situated on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar!
There is an extensive website(d) dealing with all aspects of Tartessos, including the full text of Schulten’s book on the city. Although this site is in Spanish, it is worthwhile using your Google translator to read an English version.