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. While the first Denisovan remains were found in Siberia, there is now evidence that they were the earliest hominins on the Tibetan Plateau (b).
It has also been determined that they interbred with Neanderthals, while a recent DNA study(d) indicates that the Denisovans and modern humans were possibly ‘makin whoopee’ as recently as 15,000 years ago!
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.”
In 2019, Collins co-authored a new book together with Greg Little in which they combine their speculative abilities to produced a full book on the physical and intellectual attributes of the Denisovans, based on a few bone fragments! >The full title of the book is rather revealing – Denisovan Origins : Hybrid Humans, Göbekli Tepe, and the Genesis of the Giants of Ancient America . Collins discusses the book in an interview in New Dawn magazine(e).<
The book received the imprimatur of Graham Hancock, so the collective name recognition value of Collins, Hancock and Little should boost sales. Jason Colavito has critiqued this volume(c), highlighting the amount of dubious material that the authors have previously published is included in this offering.
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.
Elephants are specifically mentioned by Plato as being indigenous to Atlantis. This must have significance for anyone trying to arrive at a credible location for Atlantis. For example, supporters of the Theran Atlantis School cannot show where such large animals could have lived on the small volcanic island. There are no physical remains, no frescos and no historical references. Rodney Castleden who supports the Minoan Hypothesis admits that “no raw elephant ivory has been found (on Thera) and very little in the way of worked ivory”[225.70]. He later speaks of the importation of ivory into Crete[p.172] having bravely denounced Plato’s description (Critias 115a) of herds of elephants on Atlantis as “false”[p.136].
Similarly, Spanuth’s Heligoland location would have been climatically unsuited to elephants. Spanuth himself admits that the elephant reference “is hard to explain“. Nevertheless, Felice Vinci who champions a Northern European origin for Greek mythology is of the opinion that Plato’s elephant reference may be a lingering memory of the woolly mammoths that inhabited Arctic regions as recently as 2500-2000 BC(t)(u). In the late 17th century Olof Rudbeck, recognising the problem that Plato’s reference to elephants presented for his Swedish Atlantis, argued that Plato had been speaking figuratively when describing the large voracious animals and had in fact been referring to wolves, the Swedish word for wolf being ‘ulf’, which sounds like the beginning of ‘elephant’!!
Elephants in Western Europe were undoubtedly represented by mammoths, remains of which have been recovered from the North Sea – Doggerland and dated to around 40,000 years ago. Coincidentally, a tool made of mammoth bone, used for making rope, has also been dated to 40,000 years ago(i)(n). This discovery(s) by Nicholas Conard from the University of Tubingen was made shortly before Ashley Cowie published his interesting book on the history of rope-making. Further information on string, ropes and knots was published in March 2017(o). This ingenuity of our very distant ancestors, so often underestimated, is slowly being revealed by modern archaeology. In 2000, in the Czech Republic, it was discovered that woven cloth was being produced on looms 27,000 years ago(v).>A few years later a team from Harvard’s Peabody Museum reported the discovery of fibers that ‘were spun, twisted or knotted’ and dated to at least 34,000 years ago(x). 2020 saw evidence emerge which suggested that even as far back as 41,000 – 52,000 years ago the Neanderthals had mastered the making of cords(w).<
Allied to the demise of the Siberian mammoths is the often repeated fib that when the remains were first discovered, their flesh was still fresh enough to eat, has recently been debunked by Jason Colavito(j). He has also unearthed the truth behind that other canard relating to a Siberian mammoth, namely that fresh buttercups were found in its mouth(j). He has now(q) traced back the earliest reference to the frozen mammoths to George Cuvier in 1822 [1586.11].
Eckart Kahlhofer, in a forthcoming book advocates a North-West European location for Atlantis, suggests that where Plato referred to elephants he really meant deer! Kahlhofer offers, as a simple explanation for this seemingly daft contention, the fact that the Greek for elephant, elephas, is very similar to the Greek elaphos which means deer. A simple transcription error by a scribe could have caused the mix-up. The elk was the largest species of deer to be found in the northern hemisphere and are still to be found in Scandinavia. The Great Irish Deer which died out around 5500 BC had an antler span of 11ft and a maximum height of 10ft.
Gene Matlock in an attempt to bolster his Mexican location for Atlantis has suggested that Plato’s elephants were in fact the long-snouted tapirs of Meso-America!(c), an idea ‘borrowed’ from Hyde Clarke
While the elephant issue should not be dealt with in isolation it does serve to illustrate the difficulties involved in analysing Plato’s text. Consider the possibility that the early date of 9600 BC for Atlantis is accepted, then the islands that are too small today to accommodate elephants may have been considerably larger and sometimes connected to each other or a mainland during the Ice Age, when sea levels were lower, and consequently capable of supporting pachyderms. In this regard, Sundaland would have been a most suitable candidate. Not only would to-day’s South China Sea’s archipelagos been a single landmass, but there would have been access to the area from the Asian mainland, home today to large numbers of elephants.
Strangely enough, even the Andes, considered by some as the home of Atlantis, reveal the fact that during the last Ice Age a species of elephant called Cuvieronius lived there but became extinct around 8000 BC. These animals are to be found carved on the great Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco suggesting that they were common in the region. Supporters of an Atlantis link with Tiahuanaco have highlighted this fact.
James Bailey who supports the idea of Atlantis in America believes that Plato’s mention of elephants could be a reference to the American mammoth, generally believed to have died out circa 10,000 BC, although Victor von Hagen, the American explorer, contentiously maintained that they survived as late 2000 BC. A similar idea was presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference by American researcher, Monique Petersen.
The Schoppes, in support of their theory of Atlantis in the Black Sea region, contend(l) that Indian elephants existed there until 800 BC and support this with a reference to the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III who killed 120 elephants ‘there’ around 1200 BC, which is a strange claim as Thutmosis did not venture beyond Syria and he died circa 1426 BC!
Elephas Antiquus (Palaeoloxodon), is a dwarf species whose remains have been found throughout the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus. All those found were dated 200,000 BC or earlier! In sharp contrast, Simon Davis, in an article in New Scientist (3 Jan.1985), dated Mediterranean dwarf elephants to as recent as 6000 BC(p). A number of writers, such as Roger Coghill, have tried to use the pygmy elephant as an explanation for Plato’s text (Crit. 114e & 115a) where we find that he describes the elephants as being ‘of its nature the largest and most voracious’. This is not a description of pygmy elephants.
However, Ghar Hasan or Hasan’s Cave in southeast Malta has paleolithic cave paintings that depict elephants, indicating more recent contact with the animals. Whether these represented full-sized or the pygmy variety is unclear. A small booklet by Dr. Anton Mifsud and Dr. Charles Savona-Ventura describes this cave system.
In Dossier Malta – Neanderthal  Mifsud has drawn attention to another cavern, not far away, formerly known as Ghar Dulam, now Ghar Dalam, where thousands of dwarf elephant bones were discovered. Dulam means ‘small elephant’ in Arabic. This is one of the mainstays of his ‘Atlantis in Malta’ theory. Whether these diminutive creatures justify Plato’s description that they were the “largest and most voracious” of animals (Crit.115a) is clearly debatable. For me this is not a description of pygmy elephants and so in all probability is an indication of a North African location or, as some claim, an Asian one!
The Atlanteans had control in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt, which would have included what is now modern Tunisia, the home of the last recorded wild elephants in that region!
Readers should be aware that there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(e)(h). In fact the New Scientist magazine of 7th February 1985(d) outlined the evidence that Tunisia had native elephants until at least the end of the Roman Empire.
In Elephant Destiny Martin Meredith records that one of the earliest references to the African elephant came from Hanno, the 5th century BC Carthaginian explorer, who related how he came across marshes at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, which “were haunted by elephants and multitudes of other grazing beasts.” Meredith also mentions that stables for as many as 300 elephants were to be found within the city of Carthage itself.
Nevertheless, the species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(f). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare(g). It would seem to me that the North African Elephant, rather than the Asian or African species, would have been more suited to the trek across the Alps. Needless to say, the Atlas Mountains were part of the Atlantean sphere of control (Timaeus 25a-b) and so may be the reason that Plato mentioned them. It is also reported that during the reign of the Ptolemies in Egypt (323 BC-30 BC), they imported war elephants from Eritrea in East Africa(r).
The latter half of 2010 saw a new piece of nonsense hit the blogosophere when a claim that the Atlanteans had flying machines made of elephant skins suddenly appeared and before you could say “cut and paste” it was ‘adopted’ by a variety of websites(a)(b). So Dumbo was not the first flying elephant! In fact this daft idea was just a recycling of one of Edgar Cayce’s ‘revelations’ (Reading 364-6)(m).
(a) http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Speaking-of-Atlantis/1872335 (Offline October 2017)
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 with Atlantis 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 consistent Bronze Age references by Plato without any attempt at an explanation for this omission. Although, it is generally accepted that the Neanderthals had died out by 20,000 BC and Wilson seems to believe 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 , which can now be read online.
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 lower and as a consequence some islands were considerably larger and in many cases, individual islands that we know today were joined to each other or generally required shorter sea journeys between them.
Nevertheless, ongoing excavations at a site on the coast of Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands off the coast of France are indicating that “Jersey may have been one of the last outposts of the Neanderthals in north-west Europe.”(u)
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 possibly played a part in the development of the Atlantis story(c). The idea of Neanderthal sailors has gained further support in a paper(s) by Professor George Ferentinos of the University of Patras.
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.
In 2018, an article by Joanna Gillen on the Ancient Origins website offers more evidence that the Neanderthals had a more sophisticated lifestyle than previously thought(n). This based on the finds from the cave at Abric Romani in Spain’s Catalonia. For obvious reasons the technological capabilities of Neanderthals are only hinted at from the scanty evidence available so far. One such clue was the discovery(r) that they seemed to have used birch tar to haft projectile points.
Neanderthal cave discoveries continue to surprise. In 2016, Nature published(t) details of investigations carried out in the Bruniquel Cave in southwest France. Occupation was dated to around 175,000 years ago. Furthemore, apart from evidence of the use of fire, broken stalagmites carefully arranged in circles.
An extensive two-part article describing the Neanderthals as ‘human’ is available online(g). This view is currently championed by Portuguese archaeologist João Zilhão, who’s views are featured in an interesting article(m) in the May 2019 edition of the Smithsonian Magazine.
There appears to be an acceptance that many of us have some Neanderthal DNA within us. While this is usually in the form of small snippets, an article in New Scientist magazine has reported that longer strings have been identified in Melanesian populations(o) in Pacific!
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 2020 report(v) claims that “African populations have been revealed to share Neanderthal ancestry for the first time, in findings that add a new twist to the tale of ancient humans and our closest known relatives.” and that “The latest findings suggest human and Neanderthal lineages are more closely intertwined than once thought and point to far earlier interbreeding events, about 200,000 years ago.”
Geneticist David Reich had been sceptical of the idea that humans and Neanderthals had interbred until he engaged in a study of the DNA extracted from 40,000-year-old Neanderthal bones found in a Croatian cave. The result was that he was forced to conclude that “that humans and Neanderthals did interbreed in their time together in Europe. Possibly even more than once.”(p)
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.”
>A study(x), published 3 June, 2020 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B concluded that “Ancient humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans were genetically closer than polar bears and brown bears, and so, like the bears, were able to easily produce healthy, fertile hybrids according to a study, led by the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology.”<
The apparent 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! However, the use of fire by Neanderthals in Tuscany now appears settled with the discovery of tools shaped with fire(q).
>2020 saw evidence emerge which suggested that even as far back as 41,000 – 52,000 years ago the Neanderthals had mastered the making of cords(w).<
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.
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).>R. Cedric Leonard is another supporter of the idea of Cro-Magnons in America(h), citing the work of Dennis Stanford & Bruce Bradley .<
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), he 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).
Alexander Marshack (1918-2004) was an American journalist turned archaeologist, who, in the 1970’s, offered evidence that markings on a number of bones from the Upper Paleolithic were used as lunar calendars to mark the passage of time. Similar markings have been identified on the painted walls of the famous Cro-Magnon Lascaux caves in France(g).
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 also wrote of why his chosen Cuba is a better candidate for the location of Atlantis than the Bahamas(r).
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 2007, he wrote an article(q) for Alternate Perceptions Magazine reviewing the comet impact theory of Richard Firestone et al and its possible implication for his Atlantis theory.
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 northern 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 published 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.” Jason Colavito also presents a critique of this latest ‘Cygnus’ book in a two-part(m)(n) offering.
While the first Denisovan remains were found in Siberia, there is now evidence that they were also the earliest hominins on the Tibetan Plateau (j)
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.
In June 2019, Collins published a two-part article(l) on the Ancient Origins website, in which he explores possibility of Giza’s Great Pyramid has sound technology incorporated into its construction and that “its Dead-end passage function as an infrasound generator?”
Later in 2019, Collins had his 1996 book, From the Ashes of Angels, banned in Turkey(p), it is not clear yet if he is personally banned as well. Apparently it all stems from some perceived support that Collins gave to the Kurdish cause! I hope he refrains from mentioning the Armenians.
Andrew Collins maintains a useful website(a) that has plenty of information on his books and lectures. He also offers an extended section relating to his Atlantis theories(o).
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). However, they do not appear to have been the first, as temple building on the islands began centuries earlier and before that there is evidence to show a Neanderthal presence there (See below). It was not until the 1st millennium BC that there was a formal occupation of Malta by the more militant successors of the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians.
It is claimed by some that the name ‘Malta’ is derived from the Phoenician word ‘Maleth’, meaning refuge. However, the name is more 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 of the earliest and most spectacular megalithic monuments in Europe . Unfortunately many more have been lost, Lenie Reedijk in her recent book, Sirius – the Star of the Maltese Temples , lists 100 megalithic sites on Malta & Gozo, of which two-thirds have been lost [p.14/15]. She also contends that the temple building in Malta was spread over a much longer period than generally accepted, beginning as early as 9150 BC and last until 4250 BC.
A number of attempts have been made to link the orientation of the temples with various astronomical bodies. A limited study by John Cox proposed a connection with moonrise (t) . Mario Vassallo favours an association with the winter solstice sunrise(u) . Klaus Albrecht also identifies  the winter solstice sunrise as his preferred orientation(v). Reedijk offers a far more radical explanation for the alignment of all the temples, namely that they were directed at Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky at that time. However, precession slowly broke that alignment. Reedijk noted that “a star whose rising and setting point was aligned with a temple axis of a given monument at a given time will have moved out of its line of sight in the course of several centuries. When this happened the need would have been felt to build another monument with a slightly different orientation of its main axis, in order to be in line with the star again.”
What I do not understand is why, according to Reedjik, the Maltese temple builders continued to build their re-aligned monuments for over five millennia without simply modifying existing temples rather than engaging in the immense work involved in starting from scratch after every failure of orientation.
Carmelo Raymond Sant is a retired engineer and the author of two books [1701/2] concerning the Maltese temples and their function as calendars, is supported by a fully illustrated website(y). His intense study of the temples and the evidence that over time their orientation changed leading him to conclude that within human experience some form of tectonic rotation south of Sicily has taken place. To quote Sant “two main anomalies became evident in the megalithic calendar. The first obvious one was related to alignment. Unknown geological events had taken place, which contradict the established view on plate tectonics (see micro-plate rotations). The second concerns Earth dynamics. The evidence in the design hint strongly to abrupt changes in the Earth axial tilt, in contradiction to established thinking.“(z)
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)
An underwater study (2013) of the seafloor between Malta and Sicily revealed that the archipelago had been connected to Sicily by a 40 km wide landbridge, now submerged by rising sealevels following the last Ice Age(w).
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 extent eight times the size of the Maltese Islands, had been discovered 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.
Mifsud is clearly Malta’s leading atlantologist and was the principal author of Malta, Echoes of Plato’s Island, in which a very strong case was made for considering Malta as Atlantis. In 2017, he published Island of the Gods (available on the academia.edu website), which strengthened his Atlantis theories with complementary material. As can be seen from the bibliography here, Mifsud has written a number of books and papers concerning the history and prehistory of this strategically situated island and the apparently endless procession of traders and occupiers – Neanderthals, megalith builders, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans.
Another contributor to the study and literature of the island’s prehistoric origins that should be mentioned is the late Joseph S. Ellul. He was Maltese and the author of a paper, 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!
Hubert 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!
>Anton Mifsud has noted that “Without the use of metal, the ancient Maltese were erecting the first domed structures of the world; these sanctuaries were also being built in accordance with an anti-seismic blueprint, and, amongst other designs, most if not all of these temples incorporated highly advanced acoustics that are still retained in the ‘closed’ surviving framework at the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum”(ab)<
Casey Terry notes[1542.36] that Pavel Smutny, a Slovakian researcher, who is an ardent promoter of the idea of ancient advanced technology, has gone further and 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”!>A similar claim regarding the Maltese temples as acoustic communication centres is to be found in a paper written by Glenn Kreisberg (ab)<.
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. Today, there is a cave overlooking Gozo’s Ramla Bay which, by tradition, is thought to be “the one where the beautiful nymph Calypso keeps Odysseus as a “prisoner of love” for seven years.” (x)
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! In 2016, Mifsud published Dossier Malta – Neanderthal  in which he outlines the evidence for the existence of Neanderthal Man on Malta.
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.
(u) ‘The Location of the Maltese Neolithic Temple Sites’, Sunday Times, 26 August 2007, pp. 44–46.
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 ’embarrassing’(c).
(b) http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/5167/a_100000yearold_civilisation.html (offline November 2015)
(d) See Archive 2719