Lucile Taylor Hansen
The Copper Age also known as the Chalcolithic Age existed for a relatively brief period between the Stone and Bronze Ages with wide regional variations, in Britain around the 3rd millennium BC(a), while in Serbia it was as early as 5500 BC(b).
As recently as 1969, Lucile Taylor Hansen incorrectly wrote[572.116] “a copper age……..should precede a bronze age. It does not in Europe. Nor in the Mediterranean.” The lesson here is that if we think we know it all now, time will show that we are sadly mistaken.
The Alphabet of Atlantis according to Ignatius Donnelly was the inspiration for the Phoenician alphabet. In fact, one of the objectives of Donnelly’s 1882 book was to prove “that the Phœnician alphabet, parent of all the European alphabets, was derived from an Atlantis alphabet, which was also conveyed from Atlantis to the Mayas of Central America.” (Pt.III chap.7)
R. Cedric Leonard has explored this possibility in a series of articles(a) and concluded that the hypothesis has merit. However, the Phoenician ‘alphabet’ lacked vowel signs and so should perhaps be called a betadelt? It took the Greeks to introduce vowel symbols and give us a writing method superior to that of the Phoenicians and which, by extension, if we accept the views of Donnelly and Leonard, is more flexible than the Atlantean system. The earliest Indian symbol has been dated to the 9th century AD in Gwalior, however, the mathematician, Amir Aczel has now traced an earlier zero from the 7th century AD in Cambodia(c). Suggestions of even earlier dates are strongly disputed(e).
The imaginative William Scott-Elliot had a slightly different view which he expressed as follows; “It is probable that the earliest form of alphabet was hieroglyphic, “the writing of the Gods,” as the Egyptians called it, and that it developed later in Atlantis into the phonetic. It would be natural to assume that the Egyptians were an early colony from Atlantis (as they actually were) and that they carried away with them the primitive type of writing which has thus left its traces on both hemispheres, while the Phoenicians, who were a sea-going people, obtained and assimilated the later form of alphabet during their trading voyages with the people of the west.”(b)
Others have suggested that Ogham was a writing system that could be traced back to Atlantis, but, understandably, without offering any supporting evidence, the entire subject is fertile ground for speculation. There are around 400 examples of Ogham writing worldwide of which 360 are in Ireland(d)!
The Disney film, Atlantis:The Lost Empire, included a language and script created by Marc Okrand who also invented ‘Klingon’ for the Star Trek TV shows and films. Some New Age writers, who are even less convincing than Disney, have also tried to connect the Runic script of Northern Europe with Atlantis.
The Labyrinth and the double-headed axe, the labyris, are usually associated with Minoan culture. However, the labyrinth is an ancient symbol found around the world in locations such as Italy, India(g), Egypt(h), England, Finland and even in the New World as Evan Hadingham has shown[1309.261] at Pacatnamú in Peru. In Scandinavia they are known as Troy Towns – Trojeborgar. Sweden has the greatest number with 200(e).
The largest example in Sweden was discovered at the Mesolithic site on Blå Jungfrun Island(j).
India’s second largest example, measuring 56 feet by 56 feet, was partly uncovered in Gedimedu near Pollachi(i) in 2015. It is estimated to be 2,000 years old and has a design similar to those found on clay tablets found at Pylos, Greece, from 1200 BC.
It has been suggested by a number of writers that the labyrinth had some connection with Atlantis(a)(b). This suggestion is interesting but highly speculative. J. D. Brady touches on this in his book, Atlantis as well as Lewis Spence in The History of Atlantis. What I find interesting is that so many widespread examples of the labyrinth retain the irregular elements of the symbol even when depicted in a rectangular rather than a rounded style. An extensive website covering all aspects of labyrinths and mazes is worth a visit(c). There is also The Labyrinth Society(f) to further whet your appetite.
*In 2017, an extensive article by John Reppion offers further information on the history and geographical spread of labyrinths(k).*
Some researchers have attempted to link the outline of the labyrinth with the concentric design of the harbour of Plato’s capital city. The harbour was described as a series of perfectly concentric circular features ‘as if created on a lathe’ (Critias 113d), whereas the labyrinth is more spiral with a slightly offset entrance. My conclusion regarding the labyrinth is; fascinating– yes, Atlantis – probably not.
The persistent use of this ancient symbol was highlighted by an aerial image, sent to me by Hank Harrison, of a Catholic school in California.
Tyrrhenia was the Greek name for that part of modern Italy formerly occupied by the Etruscans, who were known as Tusci by the Romans, from which we get its current name, Tuscany. Plato twice described (Tim.25B & Crit.114C) Tyrrhenia together with Libya providing the northern and southern boundaries of the sphere of influence of the oAtlanteans. Anton Mifsud points out that the present Maltese Islands, were considerably more extensive in prehistoric times and being situated between these two locations adding considerable credence to his claim that the Maltese Islands are probably the remnants of Atlantis. Some ancient maps mark the sea to the west of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Italy as the ‘Atlantic Ocean’. Furthermore, this strait has also had the title of ‘the Pillars of Heracles’.
One dissenting voice is that of R. McQuillen who is convinced(a) that the Platonic tale refers to another Tyrrhenia, in Turkey, while Taylor Hansen considered the Tyrrhenians to have moved east where they were known as Phoenicians[0572.34]. However, there are persistent claims that the Tyrrhenians did originate in Anatolia with Troy, Lemnos and Lydia being frequently mentioned. There are also counterclaims based on the conflicting account by classical authors(a). The matter remains unresolved.
The Tyrrhenians were also known to the Greeks as Tyrsenians and some have identified them with the Teresh, one of the Sea Peoples(c).
Lake Tritonis is frequently referred to by the classical writers.* Ian Wilson refers to Scylax of Caryanda as having “specifically described Lake Tritonis extending in his time over an area of 2,300 km2.“ He also cites Herodotus as confirming it as still partly extant in his time, a century later, describing it as a ‘great lagoon’, with a ‘large river’ (the Triton) flowing into it.[185.185]*
Lake Tritonis was considered the birthplace of Athene, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, after whom Athens is named. The exact location of the lake is disputed but there is some consensus that the salty marshes or chotts of central Tunisia and North-East Algeria are the most likely candidates. It appears that these marshes were originally formed a large inland sea connected to the Mediterranean but due to seismic activity in the area were cut off from the sea. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book.
*I should also mention that Lake Tritonis along with the Greek island of Lemnos and the river Thermodon in northern Turkey, now known as Terme Çay, have all been associated with the Amazons(d).*
Edward Herbert Bunbury, a former British MP, included a chapter(a) on Lake Tritonis in his 1879 book on the history of ancient geography[1531.v1.316].
In 1883, Edward Dumergue, published a brief study of the Tunisian chotts, which he concluded were the remnants of an ancient inland sea that had been connected to the Mediterranean Sea at the Gulf of Gabes.
Lucile Taylor Hansen in The Ancient Atlantic, has included a speculative map taken from the Reader’s Digest showing Lake Tritonis, around 11.000 BC, as a megalake covering much of today’s Sahara, with the Ahaggar Mountains turned into an island. Atlantis is shown to the west in the Atlantic.
In modern times, Alberto Arecchi has taken the idea further and suggested that the inland sea, where the chotts are now, was the original ‘Atlantic Sea’ and that the city of Atlantis was situated on an extended landmass to the east of Tunisia and connected to Sicily due to a lower sea level. Arecchi’s identification of the chotts with Lake Tritonis has now been adopted by Lu Paradise in a May 2015 blog(c). The Qattara Depression of Northern Egypt also contains a series of salt lakes and marshes and is believed by others to have been Lake Tritonis.
Cindy Clendenon is the author of a book on hydromythology in which she concludes that “the now-extinct Lake Tritonis once was a Cyrenaican lagoon-sabkha complex near today’s Sabkha Ghuzayyil and Marsa Brega, Libya.”(b).
Lucile Taylor Hansen (1897-1976) was the daughter of the American geologist Frank Taylor, who suggested a theory of ‘continental drift’ in 1910, before the better known 1912 offering of Alfred Wegener, who cited Taylor. She was apparently a US attorney who published under the name of L. Taylor Hansen. She was one of the earliest female short science fiction writers and had a number of stories published in the late 1920’s and 1930’s and subsequently wrote a series of articles on scientific mysteries. In common with many other female science fiction writers at that time she denied her gender in order to be taken seriously. It was not until later in her life that she privately published her major non-fiction work, The Ancient Atlantic. In this work she draws on the traditions of the Carib natives of Central America who tell of their ancestors arriving thousands of years earlier from their original island homeland in the east that is now submerged. Some writers have taken this as a reference to Atlantis.
However, we must keep in mind that many islands in the region must have been permanently inundated at the end of the last Ice Age, so that unless the tradition also contains references to an abandoned organised urban culture it is unwise to assume any connection with Plato’s tale of Atlantis.
Hansen also discusses, at length (chap. 29), Lake Tritonis (the Triton Sea), which existed in North Africa stretching from the Atlas Mountains to Lake Chad. She relates a story of the discovery in the Middle Ages of a ship near the Drâa Depression in Morocco close to the border with Algeria, which still held the skeletons of its rowers with shackles still on their bones. If true, it indicates the existence of a substantial inland sea in the past.
The Ancient Atlantic is a wide-ranging book and although now out of print is still to be found in second-hand bookshops or your local library.
Hansen also wrote about a prophet who visited the Indians of North and South America with a strong suggestion that it was in fact Jesus visiting the other sheep that were ’not of this fold’.
*Her work in this regard has been recently revisited by Sean Casteel(a)*
Lyonesse is a mythical land between Cornwall and the Scilly Isles that reputedly sank into the sea. Ancient maps indicate that most of the Scillies were united in Roman times(a) noted by Peter Stanier in his book about the region. Legend has it that it contained 140 temples. Mordred, is said to have fought his final battle with King Arthur at Lyonesse. This ancient tale has been regularly linked with the destruction of Atlantis.
There is a parallel Breton legend of Kêr-Is (Ker-Ys in French).
A group of rocks called the “Seven Sisters” lies six miles (10 km) off Land’s End, the southernmost tip of Britain. According to legend, these rocks mark the site of a kingdom that once linked Britain to France. The site description fits in with the Cornish myth of the kingdom of Lyonesse – also known as the City of Lions. In the 5th century A.D., Lyonesse was inundated and disappeared beneath the sea. The legend has it that there was only one survivor. Since then, local fishers have caught pieces of buildings and other remains in their nets. They claim that these come from Lyonesse.
Henry Beckles Willson in a 1902 booklet claimed that land now lost, once extended from Land’s End to the Scilly Isles. Contrast that with a speculative map in Lucile Taylor Hansen’s book The Ancient Atlantic, which shows Lyonesse as a large landmass west of the Scillies. She also informed us that the island of Tresco, which today is roughly 2 miles long and a mile across at its widest, had a circumference of ten miles in 1538.
A team of Russian scientists were hoping to answer the two and a half thousand-year-old mystery regarding Plato’s Atlantis, with an investigation of the underwater ‘Celtic Shelf’ beyond the Scilly Isles. Viatcheslav Koudriavtsev, of the Moscow Institute of Meta-history, has used a re-interpretation of the classical Greek texts to locate the possible position of the fabled ancient lands. It is claimed that in the 1990’s the British authorities were set to issue a six-week licence for the exploration of Little Sole Bank, a conical submerged hill lying only 50m below the surface approximately 100 miles south-west of the mainland, but apparently due to a lack of funding nothing has been heard of the project since.
In 2012 the ‘micronation’ selfstyled as the Principality of Lyonesse declared its ‘independence’(b)(c).
Also see: Micropatrology