Minas Tsikritsis, a native of Crete, is a Professor of Computer Science and noted Researcher of Aegean Scripts. Included in his work is his claim to have deciphered Linear A and the Phaistos Disk, one side of which appears to be a form of sea shanty. Gavin Menzies quotes[780.319] Tsikritsis’ belief that the Minoans had mathematical knowledge equal, if not superior, to that of the Babylonians and Egyptians.
However, this claim has been seriously challenged by a recent study of a 3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet known as Plimpton 322. The tablet was discovered around a century ago in what is now southern Iraq. Australian scientists from the University of New South Wales, Sydney have now demonstrated that the tablet is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, predating the Greek astronomer Hipparchus by over a millennium(b). These claims have generated some considerable debate (c).
Additionally, based on an analysis of Plutarch’s “On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon,” Tsikritsis believes that the Greeks had contact with North America, at least as far back as 86 AD!(a) *Some time later he expanded on the idea in a paper published on the Researchgate website(d).*
Basil Booth & Frank Fitch are two earth scientists who co-authored Earthshock. They reviewed the catastrophic past of our planet and its lessons for the future. They briefly touched on the subject of Atlantis suggesting that “it is possible that the legends of Atlantis and Noah’s Flood may arise from folk memories of ancient tsunamis”[p.102] and that the tsunami associated with the eruption of Thera that devasted the Minoan civilisation may have given rise to the legend of Atlantis[p.150].
Frederick Dodson is the author of Atlantis and the Garden of Eden and has published a number of
He has devoted much space in his book and his website to the mystery of very large megaliths, such as at Baalbek and the unfinished obelisk at Aswan(d).
What I read seemed fairly standard fare, but then in a second book, he advanced into ‘ancient astronaut’ territory, at which point I parted company with him.
Dodson is also self-promoted as a ‘reality creation’ coach(b). Hmm.
(a) http://www.ancient-atlantis.com/ (offline October 2017)
(c) http://www.ancient-atlantis.com/anomalous-ancient-maps/ (offline Nov. 2016)
(d) http://www.ancient-atlantis.com/largest-mysterious-ancient-megaliths/ (offline 2016)
Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC has been variously attributed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe climate change. It is extremely unlikely that all these occurred around the same time through coincidence. Unfortunately, it is not clear to what extent these events were interrelated. As I see it, political upheavals do not lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought and so can be safely viewed as an effect rather than a cause. Similarly, climate change is just as unlikely to have caused eruptions or seismic activity and so can also be classified as an effect. Consequently, we are left with earthquakes and volcanoes as the prime suspects for the catastrophic turmoil that took place in the Middle East between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Nevertheless, August 2013 saw further evidence published which blamed climate change for demise of civilisations in the region.
Robert Drews dismisses any suggestion that Greece suffered a critical drought around 1200 BC, citing the absence of any supporting reference by Homer or Hesiod as evidence. He proposes that “the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms’ downfall.”
This extended period of chaos began around 1450 BC when the eruptions on Thera took place. These caused the well-documented devastation in the region including the ending of the Minoan civilisation and probably the Exodus of the Bible and the Plagues of Egypt as well. According to the Parian Marble, the Flood of Deucalion probably took place around the same time.
Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos has written of the ‘seismic storm’ that beset the Eastern Mediterranean between 1225 and 1175 BC(a). Similar ideas have been expressed by Amos Nur & Eric H.Cline(b)(c). The invasion of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians, and parts of Plato’s Atlantis story all appear to have taken place around this period. Plato refers to a spring on the Athenian acropolis (Crit.112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Rainer Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was rediscovered by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer, who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC.
(this is a shorter version of (c) below)
Seafaring and Atlantis are inextricably linked. Critias 117d anachronistically refers to the shipyards of Atlantis being full of triremes, which were not developed until the 7th century BC, long after the demise of Atlantis. However, the term ‘trireme’ was probably employed by Plato in order to make his narrative more relevant to his audience. He credits the Atlantean navy of 1200 ships, which seems like a borrowing and rounding of either the Achaean fleet (1186) in Homer’s Iliad or that of the Persian invaders (1207).
Seldom referred to, but perhaps even more interesting is to be found earlier in Critias 113e which reads “for at that time neither ships nor sailing were as yet in existence” in reference to the origins of Atlantis. However, we are given little information to bridge the time up to its development as a major trading entity. It is reasonable to assume a gap of several thousand years.
Recent studies(a) have suggested that primitive seafaring took place in the Mediterranean thousands of years earlier than originally thought and may even have been engaged in by Homo Erectus and Neanderthals in the form of island hopping and coast hugging, the latter continuing into historical times.
Plato’s describes an advanced maritime trading nation with a powerful naval capacity. How much was part of the original story brought from Egypt by Solon or if it was in any way embellished by Plato is unclear. The earliest known trading empire is that of the Minoans which began in the 3rd millennium BC and has led to many identifying them with the Atlanteans. However, there are very many other details in Plato’s narrative that seriously conflict with this hypothesis.
Luis Aldamiz (aka Maju) is an independent Basque researcher who has concluded that the Atlantean Empire was at the centre of the VNSP (Vila Nova de São Pedro) culture in ancient Portugal(a)(b). Its capital Zambujal was situated near the modern city of Torres Vedras, just north of Lisbon. He bases his idea on a number of topographical and historical parallels between the VNSP region and Plato’s description of Atlantis(c).
In order to have Plato’s account of the Atlantean War conform to his location theory, he suggests that the Mycenaean Greeks fought alongside the El Argar people in southeast Spain against VNSP Atlanteans! The evidence for such a military alliance is at best tenuous or more likely, purely speculative.
However, the idea is not as farfetched as it might seem when combined with the views of W.Sheppard Baird who claims that Minoans had been the colonisers of Los Millares in Andalusia as early as 4000 BC. In due course, the culture of Los Millares was superseded by that of El Argar. This begs the question as whether the Mycenaeans who had succeeded the Minoans on Crete also replaced them in their Andalusian colonies!
Nevertheless, no matter how interesting the theories of Aldamiz and Baird may be, they have still to explain Plato’s claim that the Atlanteans ‘controlled’ Europe as far as Tyrhennia, along with part of North Africa, before their eastward invasion! Furthermore, the part that Egypt played in their alliance with Athens in the war with Atlantis is totally ignored by them.
W. Sheppard Baird is an American researcher and the author of a number of articles on the Minoan civilisation, which can be read on his website(a) and on the academia.edu website(f). He writes on the maritime expertise of the Minoans and their colonisation of Spain. Baird has also incorporated his knowledge of the Minoans into an historical novel, The Minoan Psychopath.
Baird added an interesting paper(b) on the possible use by the Minoans of a signalling system using bronze mirrors reflecting sunlight between the mountain peaks of Crete!
Perhaps even more important is his essay(c) debunking of the theory that a tsunami resulting from the 2nd millennium BC eruption of Thera destroyed the Minoan civilisation on Crete and proposes instead that it was in fact more likely to have been a pyroclastic surge from the same source. The latest studies have concluded(d) that it was the violent entry of pyroclastic flows into the sea which triggered the tsunamis.
Baird has also offered his identification of the Sea Peoples, whom he considers to originally have been colonists from the Aegean who settled in the southeast of Spain and are known as the El Argar culture. Their society suffered some form of collapse around 1350 BC and according to Baird is in some way connected with the emergence of the Sea Peoples.
Unfortunately, in spite of the name of his website, Baird makes no direct reference to Atlantis.
Michigan entered the Atlantis gazetteer when Frank Joseph claimed that copper was at the heart of Atlantean wealth. He further maintained that a major source of this copper was the Michigan North Peninsula from where millions of pounds of the metal were extracted. Conventional wisdom has never explained the source of the vast quantities of copper required to feed the needs of the European Bronze Age. Researchers, such as Joseph, are convinced that the abandoned Michigan mines were exploited by pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic mariners, possibly Atlanteans, in order to satisfy the demands of the Mediterranean Bronze industry.
A 2014 paper by David Hoffman offers an interesting history of the Michigan copper story from 1536 until 1879(e). Adding to that is the early claim in 1867, by Bishop Patrick Nieson Lynch of Charleston, South Carolina that the ancient exploitation of the Michigan copper had be carried out by the Phoenicians.
A short paper in the Migration & Diffusion website(d) by Gerard Leduc in 2017, suggests a possible route that may have been used for the exportation of the Michigan copper to the Atlantic Ocean, before heading for the Mediterranean and/or Europe.
Professor Ilias Mariolakos in a 2010 paper(c) supported the idea of Old World miners in Michigan, identifying prehistoric Greeks as participants.
In 1982 an ancient shipwreck was discovered near Uluburun in Turkey. On board were 10 tons of copper ingots whose purity led some conclude that it could only have come from the Michigan mines. J.S. Wakefield has written a paper supporting this view(a), although he does not directly attribute this copper trade to Atlanteans.
However, Gavin Menzies in The Lost Empire of Atlantis claims that Minoan Crete was in fact Atlantis and that the Minoans not only discovered America but were also responsible for the extensive exploitation of the Michigan copper mines.
It must be stated that this idea of the Michigan copper mining being work of Old World traders is hotly disputed by local archaeologists(b).
(b) See: Archive 2102
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.
Thera is an ancient name for today’s Aegean archipelago of Santorini, which are the remains of a volcanic island.
Only two of the islands are inhabited, the main island, Santorini and Therasia, which had been joined before the 16th century BC eruption. Recent excavations have revealed a pre-eruption settlement on Therasia(x).
Although it exhibited low-level activity in 1939-41 and 1950-51, it was in 1926 when it last erupted violently, destroying many hundreds of buildings in less than a minute. Eruptions of similarity intensity occurred in 1650, 1707 and 1866. It was also the site of probably the most powerful and destructive volcanic explosion in the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. Although the exact date of this event is still the subject of some controversy, the most recent evidence(a) indicates a date around 1613 BC ±13years, while archaeologists are more supportive of a date circa 1500 BC.
*Professor Floyd McCoy of the University of Hawaii has written and broadcast extensively on the matter of the Late Bonze Age eruption of Thera, including a paper delivered to the 2005 Atlantis Conference. In it, he noted that “New finds of tephra – ash and pumice – both on land and on the seafloor indicate a far larger eruption than previously assumed, suggesting a volume of at least 100 km3 of tephra (bulk volume) ejected, perhaps more. Such a volume ranks the eruption on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) at 7.0, equivalent or larger than the 1815 eruption of Tambora (‘the year without a summer’), ten times larger than the eruption of Krakatau in 1883, and approximately 100 times that of Mt. St. Helens in 1980.”[629.311]*
There was clearly a series of eruptions that ended with a final enormous explosion that has been linked to the ending of Minoan civilisation on Crete, the Plagues of Egypt and agricultural failures throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. For a geologist’s view of the island’s dramatic history, Walter Friedrich’s bookis hard to beat. His book supports a 1640 BC date for the eruption although he has subsequently revised this to 1613 BC. Sturt W. Manning supports a 1628 BC date and Mike Baillie has offered dendrochronological evidence for a 1628 BC eruption date at the 2011 Quantavolution conference in Athens(j). This converges with McCoy’s date above. However, the dating of the eruption continues to be controversial as this December 2012 link(i)demonstrates. At the heart of the problem is that acceptance of an early 17th century BC date for the event conflicts with established Egyptian chronology. While the exact year of the eruption continues to be debated, there is now scientific evidence that it occurred in early summer(s).
A 2014 paper published in Antiquity by Paolo Cherubini would appear to confirm the 16th century BC as the date of the catastrophic eruption ruling out an earlier date as untenable(o). In the same year, the University of Birmingham published a report(u) that supported the 1625 BC date. The earlier Antiquity paper prompted a response by a group, led by Sturt Manning later in 2014(y).
In August 2018, an interdisciplinary group led by dendrochronolist Charlotte L. Pearson published a paper(ab), which concluded that the eruption of Thera took place in the 16th century BC. This conclusion was the result of using a combination of dendrochronology along with high-resolution radiocarbon dating methods.
October 2018 saw further evidence for an early 16th century BC date for the eruption emerge after the radiocarbon dating of some olive wood found on Therasia, one of the Santorini group(z). The same month saw the publication of a paper on the ResearchGate(aa) website date the event to 1727-1600 BC!
The doctoral thesis of Dr. David Sewell explores the cultural effects of the Theran eruption and can be read online(h).
The volcanic ash deposited by the Theran eruption was centuries later to be used in huge quantities to manufacture cement for the construction of the Suez Canal. It was during the mining of this material that workmen encountered large stone blocks under the layers of pumice, indicating buildings of a great age.
It is claimed by many that a garbled Egyptian description of this devastating event was the basis for the story of the destruction of Atlantis. Louis Figuier was the first, in 1872, to publicly link the demise of Atlantis with the explosion on Thera. Opponents of this theory counter it by pointing out that Plato describes the inundation of an island much larger than Santorini or Crete, located in the Atlantic following an earthquake, not a volcanic eruption many thousands of years earlier. Various attempts have been made to reconcile the Minoan Theory with these apparent inconsistencies with Plato’s text. They are discussed separately under
It was announced at the end of February 2010 that the BBC was about to air a dramatisation of the Theran disaster as well as a documentary on the eruption as its influence on the development of Plato’s story of Atlantis. June 2010 saw the historian, Bettany Hughes, front a disappointing BBC Timewatch Special, which also promoted the idea of the eruption on Thera as the inspiration for Plato’s story of Atlantis. The material introduced as evidence was highly selective and, for me, unconvincing. A few parallels between Thera and Plato’s description were trotted out, while the more numerous differences were ignored!
Alain Moreau has written a highly critical review(v) of the idea that the island of Thera/Santorini had been home to Atlantis.
Dr. Dora Constantinidis who studied under Prof. Christos Doumas delivered a lecture in Melbourne on May 29th 2014 with the inviting title of Unravelling the Atlantis Myth at Akrotiri. However, the primary purpose of the talk was not to advance our knowledge of Atlantis but to encourage the sale of Bronze Age inspired merchandise(p).
Another twist on the Thera explosion is offered by Andis Kaulins who suggests that there is a connection between that event and the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah(g), while Riaan Booysen has linked two separate Theran eruptions with two Exodus events in the Bible(k), offering as evidence, the existence of two distinct Theran ash fallout areas, caused by different wind directions at the time of the events.
Initially, it was thought that the collapse of the Theran caldera generated very destructive tsunamis, but new studies have concluded(w) that instead that it was the violent entry of pyroclastic flows into the sea that triggered the tsunamis.
A further possible consequence of the Theran eruption(s) was proposed after the discovery of the Nebra Sky Disk(n), which was buried about 3,600 years ago. This is suggested to have resulted from the volcanic ash generated by the eruption blotting out the sun for up to 25 years. It is thought that the Disk had been used to synchronise the lunar and solar calendars(l) and when this was no longer possible the Disk was buried as some form as offering. A contrary view is offered elsewhere on the Internet(m), as well as further controversy(t) led by Peter Schauer from the University of Regensburg.
Andis Kaulins has also written an extensive paper on the Nebra Sky Disk. A 2014 update(r) on the Disk was posted by Claudia Bracholdt.
An extensive bibliography of books and articles on the subject of Thera can be found on the Internet(b).
(h) http://www.santorini-eruption.org.uk/ (offline June 2016)(see Archive 2199)
(i) http://www.heritagedaily.com/2013/10/debate-still-rages-over-date-of-thera-eruption/66777 (offline June 2015 see Archive 2200)