José Angel Hernández
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!
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.
*A few years ago, Richard Cassaro endeavoured to link the megalithic walls of old Tarragona with the mythical one-eyed Cyclops and for good measure suggest a link with Atlantis(l). With regard to the giants, the images of doorways posted by Cassaro are too low to comfortably accommodare giants! Cassaro has previously made the same claim about megalithic structures in Italy(m).*
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.
The Indus Valley civilisation is dated to 2600-1900 BC (preceded by the Mehrgarh People) and is now referred to as the Harappan civilisation. To date, over a thousand settlements and five cities have been identified, but only 10% have been excavated(v).
The origins of the Indus people has been debated for some time, but a DNA study of four skeletons discovered, some years ago, at Rakhigarhi, in India, may offer some clues. However, three years later (2017) the results have still not been made public(z)(aa)!*A September 2019 report in Live Science highlighted the fact that gathering usable DNA from the Indus Valley is extremely difficult as the climate there degrades it rapidly. Attempts to extract DNA from 61 individuals in the cemetary in Rakhigarhi was successful in only one instance. Unfortunately, only limited information was gleaned from this study, namely that “about two-thirds to three-fourths of the ancestry of all modern South Asians comes from a population group related to that of this Indus Valley individual.” according to Vagheesh Narasimhan, one of the authors of the report.*
Indus has recently received a number of nominations as the original source of the Atlantis story. Dr. Ashok Malhotra has identified the submergence of the city of Dwarka as the inspiration for the story, which was then brought to Sumeria and later Egypt before transmission to Greece.
A 2014 blogger offered similar ideas with a paper(n) entitled ‘Atlantis was Indus valley plateau?’ but then proceeds to describe Indonesia as the hyperdiffusionist source for the great civilisations “such as those of the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Cretans and the Mesopotamians. These also included the Jews, the Phoenicians, and the Aryans, driven away from their ancestral lands in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.”
In Thorwald C. Franke’s Newsletter No.119 he draws attention to a review by Ptofessor Heinz-Günther Nesselrath of a new over-priced book by Erika Daniels-Qasim. Although the book is published in German, Nesselrath’s highly critical review is in English(ac), Nesselrath reveals that this is just another useless attempt to link Plato’s Atlantis with the Indus Valley civilisation. Franke describes it as a ‘sad book’.
Although the ‘ancient alien’ idea has nothing to back it up, the claim that a very ancient nuclear war destroyed the Indus civilisation has had some support(ad). However, Jason Colavito has also debunked the story of the ‘radioactive skeleton’ there(ab).
In 2012, the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, proposed 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! He also compared the bull cult of Plato’s Atlantis with that of the Indus civilisation(f)(g).
The central Indus city of Mohenjo-Daro was only rediscovered in 1922(m) and a curious more recent discovery there, was that 10% of artifacts found there related to play! Clusters of game pieces suggested the use of communal social centres. Unrelated, but perhaps more relevant to our study is the fact that there is a dearth of weaponry fortifications or evidence of warfare in the Indus culture(d), which is in sharp contrast to the belligerent Atlantean society described by Plato.
A frequently referred to anomaly at Mohenjo-Daro is evidence of vitrification and radioactivity that some have attributed to attacks by ancient aliens. A more balanced view(k)(l) can be found online. A 2015 article on this subject is also worth a look(o). Jason Colavito has unearthed(ab) the origin of this claim, tracing it back to the 1960’s and an unreliable Russian writer, Alexander Gorbovsky, compounded by later distortions by ‘fringe investigators.
A 2012 conference on Harappan archaeology saw the origins of that culture pushed back to the 7th millennium BC, contemporary with that of Sumer(j). The same conference saw linguistic connections between the two cultures under discussion. However, despite numerous attempts over the past century the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered(p), although there are regular claims of successful decipherment, 2007(q), 2009(r), 2011(s), 2013(t), to-date totalling nearly 100, somewhat reminiscent of the constant flow of Atlantis theories. Now linguists are turning to computer technology to finally solve the problem(x).
A radical theory regarding Mohenjo-Daro has been proposed by an Indian researcher, Jeyakumar Ramasami, in which he claims that the city was in fact a necropolis and not a metropolis. His book on the subject can be down loaded as a free Word file(e). A similar theory was proposed by Hans Georg Wunderlich regarding the Minoan ‘palace’ of Knossos on Crete.
A comprehensive website(a) with many photos and diagrams relating to the Indus Valley civilisation is available. A related article by Patrick Chouinard is also of interest(b).
A recent discovery off the Konkan Coast in the State of Maharashtra in western India has revealed a remarkable structure that based on sea level changes may be 8,000 years old(c). A wall 24 km long, 2.7 metres high and 2.5 metres in width was discovered in just three metres of water. Speculation has centred on the possibility of it being evidence of a completely unknown civilisation that could pre-date that of the Indus Valley. A second site, thought to be pre-Harappan, located in Rakhigarhi village in Haryana’s Hisar district, over 200 km from Chandigarh, is now under investigation.
A 2008 article(i) adds further information about the Indus Valley, which includes a reference to Neolithic site at Mehrgarh a precursor to the Indus civilisation and dated to 7000 BC, a date that has now been pushed back to 8000 BC according to a paper published(u) in the May 25th 2016 edition of Nature.
A recent paper(w) has revealed how the Indus people coped with the consequences of climate change when their civilisation was at its height around. 2500-1900 BC. Until recently it was thought that many the Indus settlements had been dependent on a major Himalayan river, the Ghaggar-Hakra, now dried up. However, recent studies(y) indicate that this river changed course over 8,000 years ago suggesting that “when the Indus people settled the area, there was only an abandoned large river valley occupied by seasonal monsoon river flow instead of a large Himalayan river.” So it seems that unlike the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations the Indus people did not require a substantial permanent river!
(l) See: Archive 3516
(n) See: Archive 3617
(q) http://www.hindunet.org/hvk/articles/0207/56.html (offline Nov. 2016)
Tarshish is a city referred to about a dozen times in the Bible and has been widely accepted as another version of Tartessos. Josephus, the Jewish historian who wrote during the 1st century AD, was confident that it referred to Tarsus in Cilicia, Turkey, the birthplace of St. Paul. The Septuagint Bible uses Karkendonos where it refers to Tarshish in Isaiah 23:1, which was the Greek form of the name for North African Carthage. This could imply that the founders of Carthage and Tarsus were the same. We know that Carthage was founded by Tyrians and we also know that Cilix, a Tyrian, gave his name to Cilicia when he settled it. Andis Kaulins has claimed that Carthage was possibly built on the remains of Tartessos.
Utica was a Phoenician port city on the northern coast of what is now Tunisia. It no longer exists and its site is now some miles inland because of silting. It is also one of a number of suggested locations for Tarshish(f).
Tarshish/Tartessos is thought by many others to be alternative names for Atlantis. There is a consensus that it was a coastal city in Southern Spain, near modern Cadiz. Despite the efforts of many, its location is still unknown, which can probably be explained by the fact that the coastline has altered considerably over time. Adolf Schulten, who was convinced that Tartessos was Atlantis, spent many years searching, unsuccessfully, for Tarshish in Andalusia.
Other locations have been suggested, such as Tharros in Sardinia, Troy and even Malta where Tarxien may be considered an echo of Tarshish. Tharros, sometimes referred to as a ‘second Carthage’ had its port located as recently as 2008(d). The suggestion that Tharros was Tarshish was based on their similar sounding names and the reference to Tarshish in the Phoenician inscription on the ‘Nora Stone’ discovered at Nora on the south coast of Sardinia in 1773.
Quite a variety of locations have been offered as the site of Tarshish(f).
It is accepted that biblical silver was sourced from ‘Tarshish’, initially assumed to be Tartessos in Spain. Recent studies employing lead isotope tests, when applied to Phoenician silver hoards(g) revealed that both Spain and Sardinia were possible sources. However, it might be argued that the Nora Stone may give Sardinia a somewhat stronger claim.
A more radical idea was put forward in 2012 by the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, who proposed that the Tarshish of the Bible was to be found on the coastal region of the Indus Valley and that Tartessos was a colony of the Indus city of Lhotal and had been situated on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar!(a)(b) This view is apparently supported by biblical references (1 Kings 9:26, 22:48; 2 Chr. 9:21) that note that the ‘ships of Tarshish’ sailed from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba!
However, if Tarshish was another name for Atlantis and according to the bible it existed at the time of Solomon, circa 1000 BC, we are confronted with a contradiction of Plato’s 9,000 years elapsing since the destruction of Atlantis and the visit of Solon to Sais. King Jehoshaphat reigned around 860 BC and planned to send a fleet to Tarshish, just 200 years before Solon, so the likelihood of Tarshish being Atlantis is a rather remote possibility.
*A recent suggestion by a Dutch commentator, Leon Elshout, places the biblical Tarshish in Britain(h).*