The Architecture of Atlantis is described in such detail, that you can almost feel the ’buzz’ of a large maritime capital. We are left with the feeling that it is either the creation of a skilled writer or the report of an observant eyewitness. Once again, I am inclined to see it as an amalgam of both. Quite possibly the description is based on one of the models that have been suggested by some writers, such as Troy, Syracuse, Carthage or even Athens. In fact, elements from all these can be seen in Plato’s Atlantis.
The canals, bridges, watchtowers, warehouses and the acropolis, as described, would all have been within the experience of Plato or his associates.
Mention should be made of the dimensions ascribed by Plato to some of the architectural features of Atlantis, which appear to be exaggerated even for a sophisticated Late Bronze Age city. No matter how wealthy Atlantis may have been, the level of over-engineering suggested by Plato is not credible. However, Ulf Richter has recently provided a rational explanation for the apparently extravagant structures in the city by suggesting that the much shorter Egyptian khet rather than the Greek stade was the unit of measurement originally recorded by Solon.
For the record I should mention that the earliest prehistoric archictecture was reported in 2012(a) after the remains of 20,000 year-old huts were discovered in Jordan.
Ancient Cities and Civilisations are continually being unearthed all over the world. If Plato’s description of Atlantis as an urban centred society is factual and the features of the city, which he has recorded, are not just transferred from his own age, using literary licence, then we must look to the earliest cities for possible clues to the location and nature of Plato’s city of Atlantis. November 2012 saw a report(a) of a previously unknown city unearthed in Jordan at Tall-el-Hammam that may have been the hub of a city-state dated to 1800-1540 BC.
Of related interest is a recent paper that describes how “ancient human settlements function in much the same way as modern cities.”(b)
The Megalith Builders, who date mainly from the Neolithic Period, are frequently identified with Plato’s Atlanteans. Their remarkable structures were built between the middles of the fifth and second millennia B.C., a period that is compatible with final days of Atlantis according to Plato. Proponents of the idea of a megalithic building Atlantis see the location and extent of the megalithic structures as being in agreement with Plato’s description, particularly his reference to Atlantean influence extending as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt.
However, there are many features in his narrative that do not conform to our current knowledge of the megalith builders. There is no evidence that they had writing, irrigation technology or the navigational skills to mount an attack on Egypt/Athens or any other characteristics ascribed to the Atlanteans by Plato.
On the other hand, if these attributes are just literary flesh applied to a skeleton of historical truth the possibility of a link between the Atlanteans and the megalith builders still remains.
Atlantis enthusiasts are quite happy to associate the megalith builders with Atlantis, as it provides something tangible to enhance the credibility of Plato’s narrative pointing to sites such as Stonehenge or the Maltese Temples. British researcher Robert John Langdon has gone further and proposed that the megalith builders originally came from Africa and settled in Doggerland at the end of the Ice Age, where they established Atlantis. When Doggerland was submerged they migrated to what is now mainland Britain, where they built Stonehenge as a memorial to Atlantis.
While not a new idea, a megalithic connection with Atlantis has recently been given further attention by the French writer Sylvain Tristan who was inspired by Jean Deruelle and Alan Butler. Alfred deGrazia also joined this club as well as the German author Helmut Tributsch who has added his support to the idea of a megalithic Atlantis, specifically locating its capital on the island of Gavrinis in Brittany. A similar claim has been made by Hank Harrison who also believes that the Morbihan region was an important Atlantean centre if not the location of its capital. Further support for a megalithic Atlantis has been given by Walter Schilling who places Plato’s city in the Bay of Cadiz. Robert Temple has recently offered grudging support for the concept of Atlantean megalith builders.
As far as I am aware classical writers make no obvious reference to the megalith builders, nor has this omission been commented on by modern writers. However, the numerous indirect references to Atlantis by the same ancient writers are deemed inadequate. This seems rather inconsistent to me.
It appears to me that other questions that have not been definitively answered relate to the identity of the megalith builders, why they stopped building and what happened to them. Another thought is that if the megalith builders lived at the same time as the Atlanteans, is it not strange that both disappeared around the same time, or did they?
Parallel with the megaliths of the eastern Atlantic seaboard are the megaliths of North America. Who built them and when? Are they evidence of very early pre-Columbian voyagers from Europe?(b)
An interesting article combining all the strange aspects of megalith building can be read online(c) which certainly offers food for thought. A paper(d) published in September 2013 gives a good overview of megalithic studies during the past few decades. Walter Haug’s well illustrated website(k) offers a range of previously ignored megalithic sites in Germany.
Much nonsense has been written about the megalith builders, particularly on the Internet, where you find daft ideas such as attributing their construction to aliens(a). The suggestion that extraterrestrials had the technology to travel in space but when they land on earth they have to build observatories with stone is just silly.
A valuable website dealing with the global spread of megalithic monuments, is The Megalithic Portal established by Andy Burnham(g), which has regular updates. Other useful sites are Stone Pages(h) and Megalithic Ireland(i). Another site worth a look is from Sjur C. Papazian(l). There is also a site(j) dealing specifically with the dolments of Corsica and Sardinia.
In the Middle East dolmens stretch in a line from the Caucasus(s)(p) to the Yemen with a concentration in Jordan(m), a fact which prompted a former Dutch ambassador to Jordan, Gajus Scheltema, to write Megalithic Jordan. Jordan is also home to an ancient mysterious 150 km wall, which was 1-1.5 metres high.(u)
Dolmens are also found in more distant lands such as India(r), Korea(n)(v) and Japan(o). It is difficult to look at the worldwide distribution of dolmens and not consider the possibility of some form of global cultural diffusion! Rarely discussed are the widely dispersed megalithic remains found throughout the Pacific islands(q).
There is a well-illustrated website offering an overview of the megalithic culture of Western Europe and the Mediterranean(t).
A rational explanation for the construction of cyclopean masonry has been offered by Professor of Architecture Jean-Pierre Protzen and demonstrated on a YouTube clip(f).
*(b) http://planetvermont.com/pvq/v9n2/megaliths.html (Offline Dec. 2018)
(c) http://www.bibleufo.com/ancconstmono.htm (offline June 2017)
*(n) http://www.dolmen.or.kr/eng/sub.php?PID=0205 (offline April 2017) See: http://english.cha.go.kr/cop/bbs/selectBoardArticle.do?ctgryLrcls=CTGRY166&nttId=57997&bbsId=BBSMSTR_1205&mn=EN_03_01*
(q) http://davidpratt.info/easter1.htm (section 10)