Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and at over three kilometres is arguably the highest navigable lake in the world, shared by Peru and Bolivia. In spite of claims to the contrary it is a fresh water lake, but is slowly reducing in size due reduced inflow from the retreating Andean glaciers. Lake Poopó to the south has now dried out completely(a) .
To the south of the lake are remarkable archaeological remains of Tiwanaku and the equally exciting Puma Punku. Both sites have produced some extreme theories regarding the builders of these monuments, their technology level and the date of their construction. Arthur Posnansky, followed by Kurt Bilau have proposed a date of circa 9500 BC as the date of fall of Tiwanaku. There are also reports of pre-Incan structures submerged in Titicaca(d) .
South of Lake Titicaca, near Lake Poopó is Pampa Aullagus, a site identified by Jim Allen as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. While there is little doubt that advanced cultures existed around Titicaca, linking the region to Plato’s story is stretching credibility to its limits. I have already argued in respect of Jim Allen’s Andean theory, that the idea of an invasion of the eastern Mediterranean by an army from the west side of South America is untenable. That they would try it in reed boats like those of Titicaca is equally daft. Then, that this mighty army from ten regions of South America were defeated by the small city-state of Athens is just as laughable.
Equally questionable is the idea that there was a Sumerian presence around Titicaca, in relation to which Clyde Winters quotes(b) James Bailey as well as Ruth and A. Hyatt Verrill in supporting the idea that Lake Manu in Sumerian tradition was in fact Titicaca. The controversial(c) Fuente Magna bowl is also offered as evidence of this idea.
Sean Bambrough is a New Zealand researcher of ancient mysteries. Since 1999 he has been developing a theory which places Plato’s Atlantis in the Andes and identifies its city as Tiwanaku. He has published 37 pages of notes in support of this contention(a)(c). A reader will find them tough going and at times repetitious, but it is clear that he has put a lot of study into the subject even if he has, in my opinion, produced a very flawed theory.
A number of researchers have assumed that when Plato referred to an ‘opposite continent’ he was referring to the Americas, however Herodotus, who flourished after Solon and before Plato, was quite clear that there were only three continents known to the Greeks, Europe, Asia and Libya [4.42].
Bambrough’s first major error is to equate the sinking of Atlantis with the uplifting of the Andes! The Andes are rising at a rate of some millimetres per year. and the geological evidence is that in the past the uplift rate was somewhat more rapid, which “in geologic terms, rapid means rising one kilometer or more over several millions of years.”(b)(e)
There is no evidence that the cataclysmic upheaval described by him could have occurred around 1400BC. He does not explain how these newly elevated mountains created muddy shoals that made the Atlantic impassable.
As I have already argued in respect of Jim Allen’s Andean theory, the idea of an invasion of the eastern Mediterranean by an army from the west side of South America is untenable. That they would try it in reed boats like those of Titicaca is equally daft. Then, this mighty army from ten regions of South America were defeated by the small city-state of Athens is equally laughable.
I could go on, but just a final couple of points; Plato never described Atlantis as a continent and Kircher’s speculative map depicts Atlantis quite clearly in our Atlantic Ocean between Spain and America.
Bambrough has recently updated his website(d), however, his writing style is as irritating as ever, in particular his excessive use of retronyms (forward slashes).
*In 2017, he published(f) an extended ‘check-list’ which he feels supports his location theory. This offering is far too long and repetitious. It is clearly a triumph of quantity over quality.*
The Fuente Magna Bowl is a remarkable artefact sometimes called ‘the Rosetta Stone of the Americas.’ It was discovered accidentally near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The bowl’s claim to fame is that it has been inscribed with cuneiform writing, similar to Sumerian.
It is claimed that thermoluminescence dating has shown the object to be quite ancient and not a forgery. The same site(a) quotes at length a translation of the text by Clyde Winters, but a German website(b) denounces his translation as nonsense, although it accepts that the Bowl as genuine. Another site(c) offers a selection of detailed images of the Bowl.
Carl Feagans’ website(f) is equally critical of Winters’ ‘translation’ and raises a number of questions regarding the authenticity of the artefact.
Jim Allen and his supporters have sought to link the Bowl with the theory of Atlantis in the Andes(d).
The bad archaeology website has reasonably balanced article(e) on the bowl which should be read.
*(b) http://www.palaeoseti.de/doku.php/suedamerika/fuente_magna (link broken May 2018) See:(f)*
(c) http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/biados/fuentmag.htm (Offline May 2017)
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.
Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco) is an ancient city whose remains are located over two miles above sea level near the southern end of Lake Titicaca on the Altiplano of Bolivia. It was first encountered by Spanish conquistadors in 1549. Tiwanaku has all the features of a harbour, which has led some to describe it as the seaport of nearby Puma Punku another remarkable ancient site(o).
The ruins are scattered over a number of square miles through which the Guayqui-La Paz railway was constructed, which was responsible for the breaking up of many monuments to provide ballast. Prior to that, stone from the site was used in the construction of nearby homes and a church.
Belisario Díaz Romero believed that Tiwanaku had been built by a race of people he calls Homo atlanticus, who had come to America from Atlantis over a landbridge from the east, outlined in his 1906 book Tiahuanacu. Heather Pringle notes(t) that before Romero, “Francis de Castelnau (1810-1880), for example, proposed in the mid-19th century that Tiwanaku was the work of wandering Egyptian pharaohs, as opposed to the ‘imbicilic race that inhabits the country today’.”
The controversial Arthur Posnansky, who linked Tiahuanaco with Aztlan, the mythical “white” island homeland of the Aztecs investigated them in the early 20th century. The similarity of Aztlan with the name of Plato’s city has excited some straw clutching Atlantis seekers into claiming a definite connection between the two.
Posnansky also noted that the expected alignments of structures at Tiwanaku were offset by an amount which suggested their construction at a time when they would have been correctly aligned with respect to the cardinal points. He, after many years of study, was convinced that Tiahuanaco was the oldest civilisation on Earth dating it to around 15,000 BC. Charles Orser jnr. debunked Posnansky’s dating in a 2001 article(k) as did Paul Heinrich(n).
Some researchers, including Jim Allen, have studied Tiwanaku’s remarkable Gate of the Sun and identified the figures carved on it as a sophisticated calendar(v) . Ashley Cowie has recently proposed that Tiwanaku was located on an ancient Prime Meridian(w).
In the 1920’s Edmund Kiss studied the ruins of Tiwanaku and concluded that it had been constructed by Nordic refugees from Atlantis which had been destroyed by a falling moon! His ideas were enthusiastically received back in Nazi Germany. A further expedition was planned, but never materialised because of the start of World War II.(u)
In sharp contrast is the claim(l) by Roger Elefant that later construction at Tiwanaku was carried out by the Vikings!
However, a more recent, but catastrophic, explanation is offered by Stephen Smith(d) on the Thunderbolts.info website. Perhaps Smith’s ideas might be combined with the studies of George Dodwell to produce a more comprehensive hypothesis. Posnansky’s date is greatly at variance with conventional dating that puts the flourishing of Tiwanaku at 1200 BC until 1200 AD. The latter part of that period roughly coincides with the existence of the Wari Empire, a possible rival of Tiwanaku(e).(e).
The claim of a direct connection between Tiahuanaco and Atlantis is hard to accept on a number of grounds; for example, the idea of an army travelling from the west coast of South America to attack Greece in the east of the Mediterranean is not tenable. That there was an advanced culture in the Andes is undeniable but to link it to Plato’s story is stretching credibility to extremes. Lake Titicaca and Tiahuanaco have plenty of mysteries still to be explained. In 1980 the Bolivian scholar, Hugo Boero Rojo, aided by one of the local natives, Elias Mamani, located underwater ruins off the coast of Puerta Acosta. His discoveries included megalithic temples, flights of stairs and stone roads.
More recently, Dave Truman has written about an alignment known as ‘The Way of Viracocha’ that runs from Cajamarca in the north, through Cuzco and Tiwanaku and finishing at Pukara Grande(p), oriented exactly 45° west of true north. Truman has built on the work of Maria Sholten d’Ebneth (1926-2007), who wrote of the La Ruta de Wiracocha in the 1970’s(q). Others have expanded on her work, but usually in Spanish. Truman has speculated on whether “Viracocha, the great teacher and restorer of civilisation in the Andes, in some way embodied the scientific knowledge of a sophisticated, but long forgotten high culture?” Truman
also discusses the ‘chakana’ or Andean stepped cross and it possible meaning.
It was reported in October 2013(g) (that a team of Belgian and Bolivian archaeologists had found an assortment of ceramics, gems and gold objects at an apparent ceremonial site beneath the waters of Lake Titicaca, which was sacred for the Incas and Tiwanakus.*It was not until 2019 that images of some of the artefacts recovered from the lake were widely published(x).*
We cannot leave the matter of mysterious Tiahuanaco without referring to the fact that some miles further south is Lake Poopó beside which Jim Allen is convinced that the city of Atlantis was located. Allen claims that the large plain to the west of the lake is the plain mentioned by Plato as being adjacent to the city of Atlantis. In a recent documentary “Atlantis in the Andes” broadcast by ‘Discovery Civilization’, Allen identified Tiahuanaco as one of the ten kingdoms of Atlantis.However, I cannot help noticing that while Tiwanaku, claimed to be 17,000 years old, provides us with an astonishing wealth of structures, Allen’s chosen Atlantis site, Pampa Aullagas, offers little more than rubble!
Another supporter of an Andean Atlantis is Sean Bambrough, who has been developing a theory since 1999 that identifies Tiwanaku as the city of Atlantis(h). In February 2015, Marcelo Ozorio also suggested a link with Plato’s Atlantis and most interesting is the huge number of images included on his site(i). There is also a large collection of related images on a YouTube clip(m).
In 2008 David E. Flynn brought to public attention an astonishing series of satellite photos(a) that show a vast network of the remains apparently of human structures that extend for many miles around Lake Titicaca. These ‘geoglyphs’ encompass Tiahuanaco.
The most remarkable collection of early photos of the Tiwanku site can be found on the Above Top Secret website(b). The accompanying text makes a strong case for treating the location as archaeologically contaminated and as a consequence that many of the dates proposed for the site should be considered suspect. Other mysteries are the fact that saltwater Lake Titicaca contains known sea life and that old waterlines are slanted(c).
In late March 2015, the Bolivian government announced(j) that ground-penetrating radar had identified what appeared to be a buried pyramid in the Tiwanaku complex as well as other ‘anomalies’ and that excavations may start in May or June.
A mixed Spanish and English website(f) offers a number of interesting papers including a chapter from Posnansky’s book Tiahuanaco: The Cradle of American Man.
Archaeology magazine has an interesting Q & A paper relating to the history and current state of preservation at the Tiwanaku site(s).
A May 2017 report(r) confirmed that the Tiwanaku complex is much more extensive than previously thought, covering an area of at least 650 hectares (1,675 acres).
(i) http://documentaries.camera/tiwanacu/ (offline Sept 2015)
*(j) http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2015/03/27/bolivia-detects-buried-pyramid-at-tiahuanaco-site/print (offline April 2019) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170319193806/http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2015/03/27/bolivia-detects-buried-pyramid-at-tiahuanaco-site/print*
*(o) http://www.atlantisquest.com/prehistcity.html (offline March 2018) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170601230717/http://www.atlantisquest.com/prehistcity.html*
Lake Poopó in the Bolivian Andes is adjacent to a large plain that is claimed, by Jim Allen, to be the site of Atlantis. Allen has reduced Plato’s dimensions by half as he contends that originally the South Americans counted with a base of twenty rather than our base of ten. With this arbitrary reduction he found that Plato’s plain of Atlantis could be identified with the plain to the west of Lake Poopó. Allen names the exact site of Atlantis itself as Pampa Aullagas.
Unfortunately, by 2015, Poopó, Bolivia’s second largest lake had been reduced to a salt pan and Titicaca, the largest, was also in trouble(a).
(a) New Scientist, 12 March, 2016. p8