Denisovan is the name given to an extinct sub-species of hominid(a). Their name is derived from the Denisova cave in the Altai mountains of Siberia. Only fragments of four individuals have been identified so far. However, it has been determined that they interbred with Neanderthals, a sister race.
It did not take long for the speculative history brigade to jump on this new bandwagon. Andrew Collins has now prepared for publication The Cygnus Key in which he claims to present “compelling evidence showing that the earliest origins of human culture, religion, and technology derive from the Denisovans, the true creators of the lost civilization long known to exist but never before proved.”
This comment is nearly identical to that expressed by the late Colin Wilson relating to the Neanderthals whom he claimed had possessed highly sophisticated mathematical and astronomical knowledge and were precursors of the Atlantis civilisation. This extremely speculative assertion is made in Wilson’s Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals.
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.
The Neanderthals were claimed by the late Colin Wilson to have possessed highly sophisticated mathematical and astronomical knowledge and were precursors of the Atlantis civilisation. This extremely speculative assertion is made in Wilson’s Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals, a book that wanders all over the place with references to an extensive range of ancient mysteries from the Maya to Mary Magdalene without offering anything tangible to substantiate his central thesis.
The idea of a Neanderthal connection is totally at variance with Plato’s description of a literate Bronze Age civilisation. While many atlantologists have chosen to reinterpret, modify or ignore aspects of Plato’s narrative, they have usually made some effort to justify their stance. Wilson, however, simply disregards the substantial Bronze Age references by Plato without any attempt at an explanation for his omission. Although, it is generally accepted that the Neanderthals had died out by 20,000 BC and Wilson seems to accept that the cataclysmic flooding of Atlantis took place around 9500 BC, it leaves an insurmountable gap of over 10,000 years unexplained by him.
*Neanderthals are accepted to have been indigenous to Europe, although the are sites in Israel attributed to them. As far as I’m aware, the most southerly evidence in Europe of Neanderthal activity has been in Malta(l), which is outlined in Dr. Anton Mifsud’s beautifully illustrated book, Dossier Malta – Neanderthal.
A January 2010 report(a)dated the demise of the last Neanderthal at around 35,000 BC, which conflicts with the last paragraph. An even more eyebrow raising claim was made two years later in February 2012, when New Scientist magazine published an article(b) which suggested that the Neanderthals had a maritime history in the Aegean 130,000 years ago! However, to make such a claim does not seem to take adequate account of the fact that at the time sea levels were much much lower and as a consequence the islands were considerably larger and in many cases, islands that were know today were joined to each other in an ‘Aegean’ that generally only required short sea journeys between landmasses.
Now the suggestion has been made that the Neanderthals were possibility the first cave artists. This claim was put forward in the journal Nature (15/6/12). The El Castillo cave in northern Spain has some of this art dated to at least 40,800 years ago.
It was also proposed by Peter Fotis Kapnistos, who worked with Spyridon Marinatos, that Neanderthal Man may also have mastered sea travel and may have played a part in the developed of the Atlantis story(c).
Paola Villa a curator at the University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History has recently (April, 2004) expressed the view that the intellectual abilities of the Neanderthals have been seriously underestimated(d). Similar views are expressed in an article(e) which traces the early characterisation of Neanderthals as ‘primitive’ and contrasting that with the current revised opinions that attribute much greater intellectual capabilities to them.
An extensive two-part article describing the Neanderthals as ‘human’ is available online(g).
In 2015 the results of the mapping of the entire geonome of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal were published, which concluded that “There is now conclusive evidence that Neanderthals bred with Homo sapiens.”(f)
Also in 2015, genetic studies pushed back the origins of Neanderthals to a startling 765,000 years ago(i), twice as old as previously thought. A year later the results of a study(j) of their ‘Y’ chromosome suggested that Neanderthals had diverged “almost 590,000 years ago from humans.”
The relatively rapid extinction of the Neanderthals has, understandably, led to a great amount of speculation. One of the most recent(h) suggests that the lack of the control of fire by the Neanderthals, in contrast with their human neighbours, was probably a factor that led to their demise!
More relevant to life today is a report(k) that the average 3% which modern Europeans share with Neanderthals have left us with a greater risk of nicotine addiction and depression.
*(c) http://ufodigest.com/news/0309/more-terrible4.php (link broken Dec. 2018)
Cro–Magnon Man, who emerged around 37,000 years ago, is often described as having a dome-shaped cranium and broad forehead and a brain capacity of 1,600 cc, which is greater than modern man. His skull has thick eyebrow projections and a bony protrusion at the back that is characteristic of both Neanderthal man and Homo erectus. Blavatsky(c), Sepehr(d) along with a number of investigators(e) have suggested that they may have been the original Atlanteans. They have pointed to the physical traits listed above together with blood grouping and linguistic similarities to be found in the same regions of Western Europe and North Africa.
Robert John Langdon also claims that “Cro-Magnon/Atlanteans colonised America” based on a study of blood group distribution(b).
Physical anthropology has identified the modern remnants of Cro-Magnon Man in the Berbers and Tuaregs of North Africa, the Basques of Northern Spain together with small population pockets in the Dordogne Valley and Brittany in France. The highest incidence of Rhesus-negative blood in the world is to be found among the Basques. Similar high levels of Rhesus-negative blood are to be found among the inhabitants of the Canaries and the Atlas Mountains of Morocco; areas where Cro-Magnons lived. This fact is seen as evidence for claiming that the Basques are directly descended from Cro-Magnon Man.
On the basis of skull shape, William Howells and Bertil Lundman have supported this view. The regions that were home to Cro-Magnon Man, in Upper Paleolithic times, were comparable with those occupied by their latter-day successors such as the now extinct Guanches of the Canaries and the Basques.
R. Cedric Leonard is probably the best known modern proponent of the Atlantean Cro-Magnon idea(f), refers to the work of Oliviera Martins, who in the 1930’s, pointed out that many of the Cro-Magnon people have given themselves distinguishing names with the suffix ’tani’ from the Mauritani of North Africa to the Bretani of Brittany and Britain. Leonard also insists that an analysis of the languages of these groups of people points to a relationship with each other, while being quite different to the other languages of Europe or the Near East. He thinks that it is quite possible that these ancient languages date back to the cultures of the Ice Age. Leonard also refers to what he calls “an anomalous Cro-Magnon/Atlantis outpost” in northern Palestine(a).
This combination of date, geographical spread, language and physical similarities offers a reasonable basis for postulating the idea of a coherent civilisation along the European and North African Atlantic seaboards and in the Atlantic itself, at the end of the last Ice Age that could be accommodated by one interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis. Lewis Spence was a supporter of this possibility.
(a) http://www.atlantisquest.com/Outpost.html (offline March 2018) See Archive 2260
Andrew Collins was born in England in 1957. Over the past twenty years he has been investigating the possible existence of ancient advanced civilisations. He has written three books on the subject of pre-history. His volume on Atlantis has been well received as an example of how the subject should be researched. Although Collins initially thought that Antarctica had been home to Atlantis he eventually concluded that Cuba was its location and provided a wealth of evidence to support this view in his book, Gateway to Atlantis. David Rohl, wrote a sympathetic Introduction for the book and repeated and expanded on his expressed views at a subsequent lecture(h).
Collins has recently written another controversial book, on the place of the constellation Cygnus in prehistoric consciousness. Arising from this study, it appears that the position of the Cygnus stars correlate more accurately with the Giza pyramids than those of Orion, which was proposed some years ago by Robert Bauval. Incredibly, a fifteen-year-old Canadian boy has produced a comparable theory(e) involving Mayan cities and a star map. The site proposed by him has now been identified, by people who personally know the location, as either an abandoned cornfield or a marijuana crop(f).*In 2018, Gustavo Muniz posted a number of videos on YouTube suggesting an Orion connection with a site in the Amazon Basin(i)!*
However, Collins has not been completely seduced by Bauval’s discovery and prudently remarks that the correlation may be just coincidence. Jason Colavito has written a brief critique(b) of this book.
In 2005 Collins published The Cygnus Mysteryin which he explored the significance of the Cygnus constellation in the ancient cultures of America, Egypt and Britain. Furthermore, in August 2013 he published a paper(c) with Rodney Hale suggesting that the Göbekli Tepe site is probably aligned with the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation. This idea has now been expanded on in Collins’ 2014 book, Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, although his treatment has been heavily criticised as pseudoscience(g).
Collins has made some dramatic claims regarding the significance of Cygnus including the proposal that “The veneration of Cygnus as a bird associated with cosmic life and death goes back 17,000 years to when the constellation occupied pole position in the northen night sky” and perhaps even more extreme, the idea that “Cygnus is at the root of all the world’s religions.”
Collins continues with the Cygnus-Giza connection in a subsequent offering Beneath the Pyramids. This book reveals the tunnels and chambers beneath the Giza pyramids and their possible connection with the “Hall of Records” predicted by Edgar Cayce to be located there and due for discovery.
In a paper(d), co-authored with Rodney Hale, published in April 2016, Collins returned to the theory of a Cygnus-Giza correlation based on a master plan that they claim can now be demonstrated mathematically.
Collins has now moved on to new ground with his Lightquest, in which he attempts to offer a new explanation for the UFO phenomena. He claims that what have been described as UFOs are “the product of sentient light forms and light intelligences that co-exist with humanity, and have done so since time immemorial.”
Nevertheless, Collins returns to the subject of Atlantis with a new book, Atlantis in the Caribbean, which is a revised version of Gateway to Atlantis. In it he follows some of Otto Muck’s ideas and “Explains how Atlantis was destroyed by a comet, the same comet that formed the mysterious Carolina Bays“.
When the Denisovans were recently identified as an extinct species of hominid, related to the Neanderthals It did not take long for speculative history enthusiasts to jump onboard this new bandwagon. Andrew Collins has now prepared The Cygnus Key for publication in 2018, in which he claims to present “compelling evidence showing that the earliest origins of human culture, religion, and technology derive from the Denisovans, the true creators of the lost civilization long known to exist but never before proved.” Prior to the identification of the Denisovans, Colin Wilson had claimed that the Neanderthals “were the civilising force behind Atlantis”!*One cannot help wondering if another early hominid species is discovered, which is quite possible, will they also be claimed as the progenitors of this ancient lost civilisation?
In this new book Collins also “explains how the stars of Cygnus coincided with the turning point of the heavens at the moment the Denisovan legacy was handed to the first human societies in southern Siberia some 45,000 years ago, catalyzing beliefs in swan ancestry and an understanding of Cygnus as the source of cosmic creation.” Hmm.
Andrew Collins maintains a useful website(a) that has plenty of information on his books and lectures.
Malta is a small densely populated archipelago, strategically situated in the Central Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia. There is a claim that early Maltese were Phoenicians who came from Lebanon around 3000 BC(i).
Malta’s name is generally accepted to be derived from the Greek word for honey meli and was later known to the Romans as Melita the Latin equivalent. Malta was renowned in ancient times for the quality of its honey, which may explain why the light-fingered, 1st century BC Roman governor, Verres, stole 400 amphorae of it (about 2800 gallons) over a three-year period.
Today, Malta is a stepping-stone between North Africa and Europe. At the time of the last Ice Age it was probably joined to Sicily but whether it was also joined to North Africa is a matter for debate. This possibility depends on the extent to which the level of the Mediterranean was lowered by the growth of the Ice Age glaciers and whether that lowering was exacerbated by the existence of a land bridge between Southern Spain and Morocco. Vittorio Castellani offers a possible map of the enlarged Sicily extending to include the Maltese Islands, leaving a narrow strait between the expanded Malta and the coast of Tunisia. Dr. Anton Mifsud has researched ancient maps of the Central Mediterranean region and demonstrated that the early cartographers knew the Maltese archipelago as having a much larger area than at present. G.N. Godwin expressed similar views regarding an earlier enlarged Maltese landmass in his Guide to the Maltese Islands .
The Greek text describes Atlantis as being ‘pro’ in front of or before the Pillars of Heracles rather than ‘meta’ beyond them, which would fit a description of Malta being in front of (east of) Pillars, if as suggested, they were located at the Strait of Sicily.
Commenting on this preposition, J. Warren Wells points out that “Plato uses ‘pro’ seven times in Timaeus and twice in Critias. In eight of these cases, it is used in relation to ‘time before’ rather than ‘place before.’It is used only one time in relation to place or position. That single occurrence is where he refers to the island of Atlantis being before (pro) the straits at the Pillars of Heracles.” He concludes that at the very least, close proximity is implied.
W.K.C.Guthrie in A History of Greek Philosophy (Vol.5, p245) comments similarly – “’before the entrance’ I take to mean that it was at no great distance, but the volcanic Azores have a better geographical claim to be the remains of Atlantis than any spot within the Mediterranean.”
Guthrie recognised that Plato was describing the island of Atlantis being near the Pillars of Heracles, but based on the assumption that the Pillars were situated at Gibraltar, he was forced to opt for the Azores as the location of Atlantis, in spite of the fact that at a distance of 1,100 miles they cannot in any way be described as being “at no great distance” from the ‘Pillars’. Consideration of other know locations, particularly in the Central Mediterranean, that were also, at different times, designated as the Pillars of Heracles, show a number of islands, including Malta, in close proximity to each nominated site.
Malta is home to some the earliest and most spectacular megalithic monuments in Europe. Dr. Mifsud has pointed out that the size and number of these ancient monuments is greater than an island of Malta’s present extent could be expected to produce. This view when combined with the mysterious ‘cart-ruts’[ that run straight off cliffs, and then reappear on the opposite side of a bay or across open sea, all point to Malta having been a much larger landmass within the experience of man, namely, not earlier than 5000 BC. The cartruts.com website shows(d) the possible shoreline of Malta at 5000 BC and 8000 BC. The same site has a page on ‘torba’ an alleged prehistoric Maltese cement.The tiny island of Filfla three miles off the south coast of Malta had cart ruts visible on it before it was used for target practice by British military(g). The clear implication being that it had been connected to the main island while it was inhabited. Furthermore, three miles offshore from Sliema on the north site of Malta submerged ruins of what is thought to be a temple (now named ‘Gebel Gol-Bahar’)(h) were discovered in 1999.
It is quite possible that further discoveries will be made, but as it is, there is sufficient evidence to prove that when it was initially settled and certainly as late as some of the Temple Period, the archipelago had been considerably greater in extent than today. A short history of Filfla is worth a read.(o)
In 2010, a former co-author of Mifsud’s, Charles Savona-Ventura, rather strangely, independently published a fourteen-page booklet, In Search of Atlantis, in which he reiterated his support for Malta as Atlantis!
In 2014, it was reported(k) in the Times of Malta that a huge canyon, previously unknown, with an area eight times the size of the Maltese Islands, had been dicovered in an area known as the Malta Escarpment. It was also found that the canyon had been active recently, highlighting the geological instability in the region. (The link below includes a short video clip).
In 1923, R. M. Gattefossé commented that many of Malta’s ancient monuments were “Atlantean” in character, although he believed that Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic. Dr Mifsud attributes the earliest linking of Malta with Atlantis to the 16th century writer, Bibischok. However, it was over three hundred years before the suggestion was made again, when in 1854, Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse, the renowned Maltese architect, proposed that the Maltese Islands were remnants of Atlantis. In 1910 the celebrated Maltese botanist, John Borg offered the opinion that Atlantis had been situated on the submerged land between Malta and North Africa.
D. H. Childress reports that in 1922, the archaeologist, Joseph Bosco also supported this idea. Another three quarters of a century passed before that the idea of a Maltese connection with Atlantis was again revived, in particular by the publication of two books, one by Anton Mifsud and the other Francis Galea, in English and Maltese respectively. Both of these books are the result of extensive investigation and have inspired others to continue the study. Graham Hancock was prompted to visit the island and gained material there for his popular book on ancient flooded cities.
Two other contributors to the study and literature of the island’s prehistoric origins that should be mentioned are the late Joseph S. Ellul and Hubert Zeitlmair. Ellul was Maltese and the author of a work, Malta’s Prediluvian Culture…, that links the submergence of some of Malta’s monuments with Noah’s Flood, which he identified with the controversial idea of the breaching of a land bridge between Spain and Morocco.
While most researchers have focused on the extraordinary number of ancient monuments on the small archipelago, it might be worth considering what is not found on the islands, namely, anything to do with military action. There are no obvious defensive structures and no depiction of warriors or their weaponry. Everything seems to indicate a peaceful society, perhaps, as I, and others have already speculated, it was originally a place of pilgrimage(m)(n) or some form of sanctuary!
Zeitlmair, a retired German real estate investor, who is fascinated by the Megalithic remains on Malta, but unfortunately he ascribes their existence to the intervention of alien visitors a la Zechariah Sitchin. He has outlined his views in a book, written in German with an English version promised in the future. Zeitlmair expands on a number of his outlandish claims on his website(f), UFOs, Nibiru as well as “the Atlantean ‘Cold Fire Fusion’ Power house in Malta that still generates Non-lethal High Frequency Active Auroral Energy.” Similar waffle has been published in the first two books of a trilogy by Francis Xavier Aloisio, who claims that the Maltese temples “are a Reservoir of Consciousness, so we need to start to look at the structures in a very different way. They were ‘charge compressors’, ‘energy generators’ and ‘power houses.’ In a word, they were ‘energy centres’ for planet Earth.” Quite recently, Aloisio’s wife, Christine, also joined the ‘lunatic fringe’ and plans to publish The Crystal City of Atlantis, which she claims is under Malta!
Casey Terry notes[1542.36] that Pavel Smutny, a Slovakian researcher, who is an ardent promoter of the idea of ancient advanced technology, has proposed that the Maltese temple complexes “were used probably as generators of high frequency acoustic waves. Purpose were (maybe) to arrange a communication channel between various islands”!
The most recent and more rational support for a Maltese location has come from Albert Nikas, a computer engineer, who submitted a paper(b) to the 2008 Atlantis Conference. Sunday November 19th 2017 saw the publication of an article(l) by Nikas in Malta’s Sunday Independent, in which he describes his recent visit to many temples in the archipelago. He goes on to claim that he has located the ruins of an ancient city, just offshore, which he believes to have been the capital of Atlantis, not far from Valletta, the modern capital.
Massimo Rapisarda submitted another paper to the same conference suggesting that Atlantis had been located in Sicily in the vicinity of the seaport of Marsala. That conference also heard Axel Hausmann identify a region that included part of North Africa and the area between Libya and Sicily as the home of Atlantis.
*Alberto Arecchi, who also advocates a Central Mediterranean Atlantis noted that “We can identify in this system the “Heracles’ columns” of the ancient mythology (one of the two “columns” appears identifiable with the island of Malta).” (s)*
I do not know what future investigations will reveal, but I am certain that they will demonstrate that Malta had a more important part to play in the Atlantis story than is generally accepted today. The megalithic heritage of Malta predates that of Egypt by a millennium, considerably enhancing its candidacy as the location of Atlantis. A wonderful panoramic view of some the temples can be seen on the Internet(c).
The second largest of the Maltese archipelago, Gozo, is claimed by some to have been Ogygia the home of the mythical Calypso.
A number of websites discuss the prehistory of Malta(a). One well-illustrated site(e) concentrates on the evidence of catastrophic events affecting the landscape of the archipelago in the distant past. A newspaper report of June 2016(j) pushes back the prehistory of Malta by 30,000 years with the claim that Neanderthals may have lived on the island, assuming that it was an island then!
Malta also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon wine in the town of Marsaxlokk appropriately, but not uniquely, called Atlantis.
On Sunday January 13th 2019. the UK’s Sunday Express delighted its readers with TWO Atlantis stories(q)(r). The online edition of the paper offered a video clip of the Maltese island of Filfla, while the commentator told us that Plato had said that a devastating earthquake had destroyed Atlantis it was finished off by an eruption. This is factually incorrect as Plato never mentioned an eruption. Then, as if that was not enough, the same edition of the same newspaper has another story by the same ‘reporter’, with an ‘Atlantis Discovered’ headline claims that the remains of an ancient 8,000-year-old city, home to ‘tens of thousands’ of people, had been discovered in the North Sea, in a huge region sometimes referred to as Doggerland. The reporter cites Dr.Richard Bates in support of this account. Unfortunately, the 2012 comments by Dr. Bates never mentioned ‘a city’, only a vast area occupied by ‘tens of thousands’ of people, presumably early farmers(p). These two accounts are a sad reflection on the quality of media reporting today.
(a) http://www.aboutmalta.com/HISTORY/PREHISTORY/ (link broken June 2018)
(f) http://www.maltadiscovery.org/en/ (link broken 2018) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20160401190453/http://www.maltadiscovery.org/en/
(m) http://www.templesofmalta.com/ggantija.htm (Link broken Aug. 2018) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20160823204054/http://www.templesofmalta.com/ggantija.htm
Colin Wilson (1931-2013) was born in Leicester, England. He has been a most prolific author with around a hundred titles to his credit. The range of subjects that he has covered is breathtaking; from Jack the Ripper to Sex to Atlantis. A 2004 article in The Observer described him as a self-declared genius and knicker fetishist!
Initially he was a supporter of the Minoan Hypothesis, then in 1996 he linked the controversial redating of the Sphinx by Robert Schoch, with the influence of earlier sophisticated Atlanteans. It is revealing to note that the original title of Wilson’s book was Before the Sphinx but this was altered at the insistence of his publishers(d) in order to include ‘Atlantis’ on the cover!
A few years later he was co-author with Rand Flem-Ath, the promoter of the Atlantis in Antarctica theory, of The Atlantis Blueprint again promoting the idea of the Atlantean civilisation having spread to other parts of the world that is now visible in the remains of so many megalithic cultures around our planet. Wilson revealed later, in a 2007 edition of From Atlantis to the Sphinx (p381), that he was unhappy with the final content of The Atlantis Blueprint stating that “it did not represent his views” and wrote an account in the Fortean Times(b), of how that book evolved.
Wilson joined the Sarmast expedition of October 2004, as he had then shifted his preference(d) to the Cyprus region as the location of Atlantis. He eventually found the idea of Atlantis in the Antarctic waging war against Athens, a distance of * many thousands of miles, untenable. Unfortunately, this brief display of critical thinking was short-lived as he shifted his support to Cyprus as Atlantis’ location. I believe that he might have revised his position again if he had just given some consideration to Plato’s report of how the flooded Atlantis was still a hazard to shipping centuries later. Sarmast’s Cyprus site is in water over a mile deep and could never have been a shipping hazard!*
In 2006 Wilson continued his support for Sarmast but added a new dimension with the claim on the cover notes that ‘the Neanderthals had been the civilising force behind Atlantis’. However in his earlier book[335.390] he stated clearly that he was “not suggesting there was some connection between Atlantis and Neanderthal man”. Perhaps the cover notes were just a concoction of Wilson’s publisher.
At best, Wilson’s book, Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals, can be described as disappointing. Laura Knight-Jadczyk goes further, classifying it as ’embarassing’(c).
(b) http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/5167/a_100000yearold_civilisation.html (offline November 2015)
(d) http://www.wingtv.net/forbidden.html (Offline August 2016) See Archive 2719)