Sirius is a binary star in the constellation Canis Major and brightest star in the night sky and is expected to remain so for the next 210,000 years. In relative terms it is a near neighbour of ours.
One wild theory speculates that Sirius and our Sun had once been binary partners(i).
Many people of my vintage were first made aware of Sirius when Robert Temple published his bestselling The Sirius Mystery . In which he supported the idea of extraterrestrial influence on human cultural development, citing as evidence, the ‘knowledge’ of the Dogon people regarding the Sirius star system before verification by modern astronomy. This idea has now come under serious attack with the claim that Sirius C does not even exist(a) . The controversy is still raging as the Bad Archaeology website demonstrates(b) as well as an article from the Armagh Planetarium website(c).*Jason Colavito has also added a few critical comments regarding the knowledge of the Dogon(j).*
For the ancient Egyptians Sirius, known to them as Sothis, had great importance, as the heliacal rising of Sirius coincided with the summer solstice which heralded the next flooding of the Nile. They also associated Sirius with the goddess Isis.
Giulio Magli (1964- ) is an Italian archaeaostronomer with a website in English(d) dedicated to the application of the discipline in Egypt. In 2013, Magli proposed that aspects of the Göbleki Tepe site are related to the recent appearance of Sirius in the night sky around 9300 BC(e). Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale argue against this interpretation(f) , which is perhaps understandable as they support a linkage with the Cygnus constellation.
A 2004 paper by Magli, on precessional effects in ancient astronomy(g) , has recently been applied by Lenie Reedijk to her contention that the Maltese temples were oriented to Sirius.
Going from the serious to the silly, I note that the late Flying Eagle (1920-2007) and his partner Whispering Wind specified the planet Xylanthia(f) in the Sirius star system as the original home of a visitor who fell in love with an earthling and later became known as Poseidon!
Dennis Cassinelli is an historian and writer from Nevada, who has written “on topics that range from American Indian stone tools to the Great Basin to the history of the Comstock Lode”. In his 2009 book, Uncovering Archaeology, he outlines in some detail his Atlantis theory, which he locates in Central America (a).
Fred Woudhuizen (1959- ) is an independent researcher who studies ancient Mediterranean languages and scripts, particularly Luwian and Cretan. He has collaborated with Eberhard Zangger in identifying the Sea Peoples as originating in Western Turkey although Woudhuizen also includes some Central Mediterranean inhabitants among its membership(a) .
He has published many papers on the academia.edu website(b) including one entitled Atlantis in Space and Time(c), in which he claims to have found a reference to Atlantis (ta-ru-nu) in some Cretan hieroglyphics. Jason Colavito was not impressed by Woudhuizen’s convoluted argument(d) .
William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) was a renowned English Egyptologist, who developed improved archaeological methods, some of which are still employed today.*One of his first publications was in 1883, entitled The Pyramids and Temples 0f Gizeh.*
Jason Colavito has drawn attention(a) to a short article written by Flinders Petrie in Ancient Egypt, September 1924, in which he finds value in the work of Reginald Fessenden, who was an advocate of Atlantis in the Caucasus. However, I note that he makes no explicit comment on Fessenden’s Atlantis theory. Petrie was interested in the evidence that strongly suggested that people from the Caucasus region had an influence on the development of the ancient Egyptian culture, noting again a couple of year s later “It appears, then, that the cultural connections of the earliest Egyptians, as well as the physical descriptions in their mythology, point to the Caucasus region. When, further, we find there the names of the principal places of the mythology in their relative positions, it gives strong grounds for regarding that region as the homeland of the earliest civilization of the Egyptians”. (Ancient Egypt, June 1926) (b) .
Dr. Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who worked with Petrie, was also sympathetic to this view. More recently, Ronnie Gallagher has taken up this cause and has gone further by suggesting the possibility that not only were migrants from the Caucasus responsible for kick-starting the development of Egyptian culture, but that people from the same region had a similar influence on the early inhabitants of Sumeria and the Indus Valley.
Nabta Playa is a megalithic site situated 100 km west of Abu Simbel. It is the only known megalithic circle in Egypt, although in this instance ‘megalithic’ may be a misnomer as the components could have been erected by one person. A number of astronomical alignments have been identified at the site(a) .
Although first rediscovered in 1974, it became known to a wider audience when astrophysicist Thomas G. Brophy published his book, The Origin Map in 2002. The importance of Nabta Playa was further highlighted in a 2010 book by Robert Bauval & Thomas G. Brophy, Black Genesis. In it, they argue that the dark-skinned creators of Nabta Playa were the ancestors of the Egyptian culture, who migrated eastward as the Sahara dried up. The book has been reviewed favourably by Bruce Jeffries-Fox(b) and very critically by Jason Colavito in four parts(c-f) . This was followed in 2012 by another book from Bauval & Brophy, Imhotep the African, in which they explore further the development of ancient Egypt, particularly the part played by Imhotep.
National Geographic or Nat Geo are registered trademarks of the National Geographic Society and are now, sadly, part of the Murdoch communications empire. Its magazine and TV channel enjoy global recognition. Undoubtedly, NG has enhanced our view of the world around us. One piece of NG trivia is that the word ‘tsunami’ first appeared in an English language publication in the September 1896 edition of National Geographic Magazine.
Generally, NG has avoided controversy, but not always(a) , so it will be interesting to see how its new chief James Murdoch, a climate change denier(b), will deal with the NG views on the subject up ’til now(c) . However, for me, it was something of a surprise when NG tackled the subject of Atlantis.
In 2004 NG News published a short article(d) highlighting the theories of Ulf Erlingsson and Rainer Kühne, who, respectively, were advocates for Ireland and Spain as Atlantis locations. Also in 2004, Zeilitsky and Weinzweig claimed to have found submerged man-made structures near Cuba and subsequently sought US government funding for further research there. It has been suggested that NG objected and further exploration did not take place! In 2006 NG gave the Atlantis in America theory of Zapp & Erikson an airing(e).
*However, in 2012, Andrew Collins offered a different account of the Zelitsky funding difficulties(m).*
In 2011 a short article(l)., NG trotted out the now generally abandoned idea that Atlantis had been a continent. The idea was obviously later dumped by NG as well, when James Cameron et al went looking for Atlantis in Malta, Sardinia and Santorini in 2016.
December 2012 saw NG publish an article on Doggerland, without any reference to the suggestion that there might be an Atlantis connection. NG has also voiced the scepticism of well-known commentators, such as Robert Ballard and Charles E. Orser jnr(f).
However, I find that the NG treatment of Atlantis inconsistent. In October 2011 an anonymous article(k) on one of their sites, entitled The Truth Behind Atlantis: Facts, declared that Atlantis was continental in size (and so must have been located in an Ocean?) This is based on a misinterpretation of the Greek word meison. Nevertheless last year NG had Simcha Jacobovici, remotely guided by James Cameron, scouring the Mediterranean, from Spain to Sardinia, Malta, and Crete for evidence of Atlantis. This attention-seeking exercise found nothing a few stone anchors that proved nothing and inflicted on viewers an overdose of speculation!
NatGeo TV aired a documentary(g) in 2015 relating to earlier excavations in the Doñana Marshes of Southern Spain by a Spanish team and partly hijacked by Richard Freund. A new NG documentary, hyped with the involvement of James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, was filmed in 2016, and later broadcast at the end of January 2017. Initially, it was thought by Robert Ishoy to be in support of his Atlantis location of Sardinia, but at the same time Diaz-Montexano was convinced that his Afro-Iberian theory was to be the focus of the film. To coincide with the airing of the new documentary D-M has published a new book, NG National Geographic and the scientific search for Atlantis with both English and Spanish editions.
Jason Colavito was promised a screener but had the offer subsequently withdrawn. One wonders why?
Once again NG promotes the region of the Doñana Marshes as a possible location for Atlantis(i), based on rather flimsy evidence, such as six ancient anchors found just outside the Strait of Gibraltar. They estimate the age of the anchors at 3,000-4,000 years old but. unfortunately, they are not marked ‘made in Atlantis’. Rabbi Richard Freund, never afraid to blow his own shofar, makes another NG appearance. Jacobovici throws in the extraordinary claim that the Jewish menorah represents the concentric circles of the Atlantis capital cut in half, a daft idea, already suggested by Prof. Yahya Ababni(k).
What I cannot understand is why this documentary spends time dismissing Santorini and Malta as possible locations for Plato’s Atlantis and at the same time ignoring the only unambiguous geographical clue that he left us, namely that the Atlantis alliance occupied part of North Africa and in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) and presumably some of the islands between the two.
Overall, I think the NG documentaries have done little to advance the search for Atlantis as they seem to be driven by TV ratings ahead of truth. Perhaps, more revealing is that Cameron is not fully convinced by the speculative conclusions of this documentary.
Jason Colavito, an arch-sceptic regarding Atlantis has now published a lengthy scathing review(j) of NG’s Atlantis Rising, which is well worth a read. While I do not agree with Colavito’s dismissal of the existence of Atlantis, I do endorse the litany of shortcomings he identified in this documentary.
(d) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/08/0819_040819_atlantis.html (link broken August 2018) See: Archive 3582)
Pumapunku is a terraced earthen mound, faced with blocks and an important part of the Tiwanaku archaeological site on the Bolivian Altiplano. It has unique architectural features including the use of building blocks with up to 80 faces on them. The Tiwanaku site is pre-Inca and has given its earliest radiocarbon date as 536-600 BC and was in use until circa 1000 AD(a), which is a far cry from the flawed 12,000-15,000 BC date claimed by Posnansky(e)(f).
As with so many other enigmatic ancient sites, various members of the ‘lunatic fringe’ have attributed the construction at these location to either ancient astronauts or atlanteans or an exotic combination of both, based on either over fertilised imaginations or flawed data or again, both. Jason Colavito has written a critique of some of the more silly suggestions(b).
Ancient astronaut advocate Von Däniken[1147.221] and Brien Foerester(d) among others, have claimed that the stones of Pumapunku were composed of diorite, an exceptionally hard stone, which would have required a modern diamond-tipped drill to work it. The implication being that only Atlanteans with their advanced technology or extraterrestrials could have worked the stone with such precision.
However, Colavito and Michael Heiser(c) have pointed out that this identification is untrue and that in fact they were composed of the softer andesite and red sandstone. Apart from which, the Code of Hammurabi was incised on diorite, without Atlantean or extraterrestrial assistance, 2,000 years before the development of Pumapunku!
Javier Escalante Moscoso is an architect with a degree in archaeology who has extensively excavated and surveyed the Tiwanaku monuments.(see map above).
Martin Pepper is an American geologist who is intent on demonstrating that Santorini was the site of Atlantis, claiming to have new supportive evidence. He had his ideas revealed in a History Channel programme, Atlantis Found, first aired on October 19th 2015(a) as part of their How the Earth Works series.
I found it interesting that the advertising blurb for the show never once mentions Plato!
Unsurprising, Jason Colavito, an Atlantis sceptic, offers a scathing critique of the two-hour show (b). However, the German website, Atlantisforschung, criticises(c) the selective manner in which Pepper chose excerpts from Plato, ignoring details that might conflict with Santorini being Atlantis.
For my part, I cannot accept the Santorini/Thera theory without a convincing explanation for where, in the 2nd millennium BC, the military of over a million, plus a civilian population lived, not to mention the elephants. There is also a small matter of a plain of Atlantis, 370 x 550 km (230 x 345 miles); where was that? Then, for good measure we are missing “the mountains which surrounded it (that) were at that time celebrated as surpassing all that now exist in number, magnitude and beauty.” (Critias.118b). I think Pepper should try again.
(a) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3amelg (Offline August 2016)
The Caucasus Mountains lie between the Black and Caspian Seas and contain the highest mountain in Europe, Mount Elbrus (Russia). In ancient times it was the location of a number of kingdoms of whom two were known as Albania and Iberia(d) .
Delisle De Sales was probably the first to suggest the Caucasus as the home of the original Atlantis, with refugees from there establishing Plato’s Atlantis in the Central Mediterranean. However, the greatest proponent of the Caucasus location for Atlantis was R.A. Fessenden who wrote an extensive multi-volume work on the subject early in the 20th century.
More recently, Ronnie Gallagher, an admirer of Fessenden, has studied the Caucasus region, in particular the hydrology of the Caspian Sea(a), where he identified strandlines up to 225 metres above sealevel. In Ajerbaijan, he also found cartruts similar to those on Malta as well as stone circles on the Absheron Peninsula(b).
The Amazons of Greek mythology are thought by some to have originated in the Caucasus and as late as 1671, Sir John Chardin reported that a tribe of Amazons existed in Georgia. Interestingly, a 19th century photo shows two armed ladies from Armenia captioned as ‘Amazons of Armenia 1895’.
An added mystery was offered by Alexander Braghine, who recounted that “I was present when a former Russian officer of Georgian origin found himself able to talk with the natives of Vizcaya immediately upon his arrival in Northern Spain: he spoke Georgian, but the Basques understood this language.”[156.187]
Currently, Bruce Fenton has claimed the Caucasus as the home of giants. However, Jason Colavito has demonstrated the unreliability of his claims(c).
I feel that the Caucasus will have a lot more to tell us?
Michael MacRae (1949- ) is an Australian artist, writer and documentary maker who specialises in comparative mythology. His 2014 book, Sun Boat:The Odyssey Decipheredoffers the theory that Homer’s epic poem is an account of Odysseus’ circumnavigation of the world circa 1160-1130 BC.
In June 2015 he was ‘the author of the month’ on Graham Hancock’s website(a) with an article promoting his book. However, Jason Colavito has responded to that with a dismissive critique of MacRae’s idea(b).
This tussle has continued back and forth on Hancock’s website(c).
MacRae notes the suggestion that Homer’s Scheria can be identified with Atlantis and as such was probably situated off the western end of the Bay of Cadiz, Portugal’s Cape Vincent.