Pytheas was a 3rd century BC navigator from the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles) and is best known for his voyage in the north Atlantic, possibly around 240 BC. His trip took in the British Isles and as he ventured further north and claimed to have reached Thule. An assertion that has generated volumes of debate regarding Thule’s location. Pytheas described Thule as lying six day’s sail to the north of Britain. Iceland, Norway and the Faroes along with the Scottish Shetland and Orkney Islands have all been proposed as Thule.
Rhys Carpenter devoted an interesting chapter of his Beyond the Pillars of Hercules in which he suggested that Pytheas’ voyage was undertaken with commercial objectives in mind, but on that level it was unsuccessful. However, as a voyage of discovery, it was an unparalleled achievement earning for Pytheas Carpenter’s accolade of ”antiquity’s Greatest Explorer”.
Carpenter favours the idea that the term, ‘Pillars of Hercules’, when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world.”[p156]
Scylla and Charybidis were a sea monster and a whirlpool in Greek mythology who according to Homer and other writers were located opposite each other across a narrow strait. This led to the idiomatic phrase “between Scylla and Charybidis” similar to our more modern phrase of being “between the devil and the deep blue sea” describing being caught between two opposing forces.
Many, such as Heinrich Schliemann, assume the original to have been located between Sicily and the Italian mainland at the strait of Messina. A minority have opted for the Scylla being Calpe (The Rock of Gibraltar) and Charybdis being Mt. Abyla across the strait in North Africa or in other words the Pillars of Heracles(a) . However, Professor Arysio Santos promoting his Atlantis in Indonesia theory suggested that the ‘original’ Pillars of Heracles were in at Sunda Strait and later brought to ancient Greece where it was included by Homer in his Odysseus as Scylla and Charybdis!(b)
Writers who have located the wanderings of Ulysses in the North Atlantic have gone further afield in their search for Scylla and Charybdis with the west coast of Scotland (Pillot and Nyland), the Orkneys (Sora) southwest Cornwall near the Scilly Isles (Wilkens) .
(a) http://www.cadiznews.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=29858 (offline April, 2015)
The Red Paint People, sometimes referred to as the Maritime Archaic culture of the north Atlantic coast of America, particularly Labrador, got their name from their habit of covering their dead with red ochre. They were a seafaring people who lived around 5000 BC. Similar discoveries have also been made in the State of Maine(e), where they flourished until they disappeared around 1800 BC (k), according to Hilary Nangle in the guide to Arcadia National Park.
A similar culture existed in northern Europe and both are claimed, by ‘imaginative’ writers such as Shirley Andrews and Frank Joseph, to have been established by refugees from Atlantis after the destruction of their homeland.
Slate tools of a similar type have been identified in Scandinavia and North America dated to around 3000 BC(b). Skara Brae in the Orkneys ha been claimed as an outpost of the Red Paint People(i).
Ivar Zapp & George Erikson recount[244.309] how bones discovered in similar stone chambers in Labrador and on the island of Teviec off France were both covered with red ochre and both dated to around 5500 BC. Richard W. Welch refers to the Red Paint People as just part of a range of evidence to suggest that the Americas were originally settled by Europeans in prehistoric times.
There are also suggestions that the use of red ochre at burial sites may go back much further and would have been even more wide spread. The Paviland Cave in south Wales held the skeleton of a young man dated to at the latest 19,000 BC. The most recent investigation has now pushed that date back to 33,000 BC(g).
The skeleton of a young child found at Abrigo do Lagar Velho in Portugal, was also discovered with red ochre and dated to 22500 BC(a). Further examples have been found across Europe and as far as Mesopotamia.
The discovery of further early trans-Atlantic links were announced in February 2012(c) by two archaeologists, Professors Dennis Stanford & Professor Bruce Bradley, in a newly published book – Across Atlantic Ice. Their claim is based on ‘Solutrean’ tools recently found in Delaware and five other east coast sites dated between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago. A sceptical view of their work should also be read(d). However, in 2016. the Soultrean Hypothesis was contradicted by genetic studies(f). Nevertheless, a recent documentary on the hypothesis has raised some controversy, as the program failed to refer to the use of the Soultrean Hypothesis by white supremacists(h). Jennifer Raff, who appeared in the documentary, has rejected the Stanford & Bradley theory in a new article(j).
The most ancient pyramid found in Mesoamerica at Chiapa de Corzo in Mexico contained the bodies of two rulers, coated in red pigment from head to toe. The pyramid is dated to around 700 BC. This may indicate a continuance of the same sacred custom over thousands of years.
(a) http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba45/ba45feat.html (offline Feb. 2016) see Archive 2855
(b) http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.com/2011/03/megalith-builders-red-paint-people-and.html (link broken August 2018) See: Archive 3589
*(k) http://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/maine-mysteries-the-red-paint-people/441182673 (link broken Jan 2019)*