The Coligny Calendar is the name given to a fragmented bronze plaque discovered in 1897 near Coligny in France. It is a calendar that has been attributed to the Celtic Sequani tribe. It is dated to the 2nd century AD, written in Roman script in Gallic and is the longest known document in that language.
Paul Dunbavin in his Atlantis of the West proposed that the Coligny Calendar might be considered a lunisolar calendar. Some years later in 2005 he returned to the subject in Under Ancient Skies and devoted Chapter 5 plus Appendices A & B to a discussion of Critias 119d, which relates how the kings of Atlantis met alternatively every five and six years. Dunbavin suggests that this is reflected in the Coligny Calendar and that it possibly had antecedants that would bring its functions back to the time of Bronze Age Atlantis. Dunbavin’s reaction to the Calendar is best quoted – Now it is this passage more than any other that convinces the present author (Dunbavin) of the authenticity of the Atlantis myth“.*He touches on the subject again in his latest offeing, Towers of Atlantis .*
Alexios Pliakos, a Greek student of ancient calendars, presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference entitled A hidden Calendar in the Atlantis Story. He focused on the same Critias 119d text and like Dunbavin has independently concluded that the reference to the five and six years is strong evidence “that Atlantis did not lie in Plato’s imagination.”
There has been attempts to link the Coligny Calendar with the much earlier stone engraving found at Knowth near Newgrange in Ireland(a). A extensive and more speculative discussion of the Calendar is to be found on a New Zealand website(b).*Perhaps the most exotic explanation for the source of the Calendar, questions the presumed Celtic origins and offers reasons to consider a claim that it can be traced back to ancient India(c).*
(a) http://www.sequanicalendar.com/egg.html (Link broken Nov. 2018)
A Lunisolar Calendar is hidden within the Atlantis story according to a paper presented to the 2008 Atlantis Conference by Alexios Pliakos. Lunisolar calendars have been in use since ancient times in many cultures(b), indicating the phases of the moon as well as the passage of time through the solar year.
Pliakos believes[750.631] that Critias 119 d2-d4, which refers to the convening of the Atlantean kings every five and six years, contains a previously unknown lunisolar calendar of 11 years duration with an accuracy of 0.09 days per year. As he also claims that it could have been applied in both 9600 BC and 12th century BC, it cannot be used to date the time of Atlantis. However, he points out that this 11 year lunisolar calendar is in conformity with the development of calendars generally adding to the improbability of the Atlantis story being an invention.
*In a recent paper by Ashley Cowie, he explains how the Hittite shrine of Yazilikaya, at least in part, could have been used as a lunisolar calendar. Eberhard Zangger, an expert on the ancient history of the region, has also identified astronomically related features at the site (d).*
Paul Dunbavin, in his Atlantis of the West[0099.319], has offered a speculative explanation for the fifth and sixth year meetings of the Atlantean kings based on the fragments that make up the French ‘Coligny Calendar’(a) .
David Ohrenstein has a short blog on the significance of ‘five and six’ from megalithic times to that of the Egyptians and later the Maya(c).
Wales, or more precisely an area off the west coast of Wales, is considered by Paul Dunbavin to be the location of sunken Atlantis. His well researched book investigates in detail the mythology of the region together with the underwater topography of the Irish Sea and relates these to Plato’s narrative. It is generally accepted that at the end of the last Ice Age, Ireland and Britain were joined and that the Irish Sea was a much reduced inland lake. As the ice melted the seas gradually advanced separating the higher land into what are now geographically known as the British Isles. A memory of these events is possibly contained in the ancient Welsh Triads(a), where reference to great floods can be found. However, Dunbavin’s attempt to link these floods with the inundation of Atlantis is not fully convincing. Similar floods occurred all over the world including the Baltic, Caribbean and Indonesia but in common with Wales there is no connection between any of them and a war with Athens or Egypt.
Nevertheless, in October 2004 the British newspaper,The Guardian, perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek, compared some of Wales’ features with Plato’s description of Atlantis, although the reference to elephants ended the comparison (b).
The Atlantis Researches , by Paul Dunbavin, discusses in great detail the myths of the British Isles and, in particular, the Welsh legends that refer repeatedly to sunken kingdoms. Dunbavin concludes that these myths are a memory of a submerged Neolithic civilisation around the coasts of the British Isles.
The author is convinced that the destruction of this civilisation was the result of a change in the Earth’s axis, as a consequence of a cometary impact, around 3100 BC. This date coincides with the conclusions of other writers who have also identified this date as one of global cataclysmic events. However controversial his ideas may be, the book is well worth a read.
This book was republished in 2003 as Atlantis of the West.
James came to public attention when he co-authored with Nick Thorpe a book that explored the problems of the chronology of the Mediterranean and Near East in the second millennium BC. The following years saw the production of an impressive three-volume work by David Rohl offering similar ideas on a New Chronology for the region. In fact, James and Rohl had collaborated until they had divergent views regarding the identification of the biblical Shishak, Rohl favouring Ramesses II, while James opted for Ramesses III.
James has been studying the Atlantis question since the early 1970’s. Paul Dunbavin recounts that James had originally favoured Megalithic Britain as Atlantis. Francis Hitching in The World Atlas of Mysteries notes how James calculated the date of the demise of Atlantis as 3600 BC. He arrives at this by accepting the commonly agreed date for the beginning of Egyptian civilisation of 3100 BC. He then adds the 1,000 years, which Solon was told by the Egyptian priests, was the time that had elapsed between the Atlantean Athenian war and then arbitrarily subtracts 500 years to compensate for an assumed nationalistic exaggeration of the Egypt’s antiquity; a habit common to many ancient kingdoms.
However, when he finally published his work on the subject he controversially offered a site in Anatolia in western Turkey as his preferred location for Atlantis. Unfortunately, he has been unable to obtain permission from the authorities to dig at the site and hopefully substantiate his theory. The book is supported by a website(a).
James was also highly vocal in debating the dendrochronological dating of the Uluburun shipwreck discovered in 1982 off southwestern Turkey. The initial date given was 1315 BC, later revised to 1305 BC but due to a lack of bark on the piece of wood tested a definitive date was impossible. Even if the bark had been attached it would still only have provided the date that the tree had been felled not the date of the shipwreck(b). Subsequently, the more imprecise radiocarbon dating gave a date of ‘around’ 1300 BC.
James is also co-author, again with Nick Thorpe, of Ancient Inventions , which is a 672-page tome that offers a fascinating account of the inventive capabilities of ancient civilisations. In this book he comments that “Plato’s yarn is largely a work of fiction” (p.455).
Paul Dunbavin (1954- ) is a data and business analyst. “His interest for over 35 years has been cross-disciplinary research into prehistory, which he has occasionally published in his books and various articles and papers.”
He is the author of controversial but clearly well researched books relating to the ancient history of Britain. In one of these he identified the Picts of Scotland as being originally from the Baltic. In another he investigated the possible origins of Plato’s story of Atlantis. Using mythological, geological and archaeological sources he concluded that an asteroid or comet collided with the Earth around 3100 BC resulting in the tilting of the Earth’s axis. Dunbavin argued that this impact caused dramatic climate and sea-level changes that led to the submergence of a Neolithic civilisation on a low-lying plain off the coast of Wales. He believed that this destruction was the inspiration for the Atlantis legend. David Furlong claimed to have independently arrived at the same conclusion.
In 2005, Dunbavin published another volume on ancient catastrophes and their possible connection with cometary impacts or near collisions. In this connection, he briefly refers to the work of George F. Dodwell.
In 2019, Dunbavin expanded his website, which also includes a more extensive review of Dodwell’s work(c). 2019 also saw the publication of his latest book, Towers of Atlantis . There is more information about this and his other books on his website(a) , which also includes links to other related sites(b) .
Once again, Dunbavin has returned to the subject of the British Isles during the Neolithic period and their possible association with Plato’s story of Atlantis. He draws on the ancient Egyptian concept of a paradisaical afterlife comparable with the Greek ‘Elysian Fields’, both believed to be located in the far west. These notions are seen by Dunbavin to have possible parallels in Plato’s description of the Plain of Atlantis.
The author highlights the value of mythology, which he employs in conjunction with classical writers such as Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus as well as others to lead us to his considered belief that the Irish Sea prior to its eventual inundation after the last Ice Age had been home to the Plain of Atlantis, stretching from the island of Anglesea to the Isle of Man. This book should be read in conjunction with his previous offering, Atlantis of the West. Rather than wild speculation, Dunbavin has again offered evidence, although subjectively interpreted, that offers a coherent hypothesis.
*Dunbavin updates his website from time to time, the latest was November 2019. Anyone interested in his theories should check his site regularly.*
Britain as the home of Atlantis has been claimed by many writers and not without undertones of nationalism by some of the British authors. Nevertheless, support for the idea has been offered by a number of the more disinterested researchers. Probably the first to advance this idea was John Wallis in 1700, who proposed that the Atlantis story had been corrupted over time and was a reference to the destruction of the landbridge that had existed between France and England, leaving a British Atlantis more isolated (The original Brexit!). It was nearly a century later that the idea was taken up by Thomas Pennant. More than another century passed before Cooper, Spence, Beaumont and Calestani produced related theories. Fast forward to the 21st century, when Donald Ingram identifies the Wessex II culture as Atlantean and Melville Nicholls considers Britain to be one of the Atlantean islands referred to by Plato.
The precise location, the exact date and the probable cause of the destruction of Atlantis are the basis for a range of theories. There is general acceptance that following the deglaciation at the end of the last Ice Age vast regions of low-lying land that had linked Ireland and Britain to mainland Europe were gradually flooded.
One school of thought is that these flooded regions contained Atlantis, of which the most extensive was in the North Sea and is now known as Doggerland. Other offshore locations proposed for Atlantis are the Celtic Shelf (Gidon, Steuerwald & Koudroiavtsev) and the Irish Sea (Dunbavin). These lands had been settled and following the inundations its inhabitants forced to retreat to the higher ground of what is modern Europe and the British Isles.
E. J. de Meester on his now defunct website postulated a link between Stonehenge and Atlantis. After arbitrarily dividing Plato’s dimensions by ten, he suggested that the plain described by Plato lay in a rectangle between Salisbury and Chichester.
The Atlas Mountains stretch for over 1,500 miles across the Maghreb of North-West Africa, from Morocco through Algeria to Tunisia. The origin of the name is unclear but seems to be generally accepted as having been named after the Titan.
Herodotus states (The Histories, Book IV. 42-43) that the inhabitants of ancient Mauretania (modern Morocco) were known as Atlantes and took their name from the nearby mount Atlas. Jean Gattefosse believed that the Atlas Mountains were also known as the Meros and that a large inland sea bounded by the range had been known as both the Meropic and the Atlantic Sea. Furthermore, he contended that Nysa had been a seaport on this inland sea.
*The Maghreb, or parts of it, have been identified as the location of Atlantis by a number of commentators. One, Ulrich Hofmann concluded his presentation to the 2005 Atlantis Conference with the comment that “based on Plato’s detailed description it can be concluded that Atlantis was most likely identical with the Maghreb.”[629.377] Furthermore, he has proposed that the Algerian Chott-el-Hodna has a ring structure deserving investigation.*
Isles of the Blest is a term first mentioned by Hesiod circa 700 BC and later in the 5th century BC, a hundred years before Plato, in one of the few fragments we have of a work called Atlantias by Hellanicus of Lesbos. The text relates “Poseidon mated with Celaeno, and their son Lycus was settled by his father in the Isles of the Blest and made immortal.”
Paul Dunbavin has pointed out that Pindar the Greek poet again writing in the 5th century BC also refers to the Island of the Blest in terms that are indistinguishable from his description of the home of the Hyperboreans. Dunbavin has concluded further that Island of the Blest and the Elysian Fields or Elysium are the same place. Andrew Collins supports this idea and adds the possibility that they may also identical with the Fortunate Isles.
The Identity of the Atlanteans has produced a range of speculative suggestions nearly as extensive as that of the proposed locations for Plato’s lost island. However, it is highly probable that we already know who the Atlanteans were, but under a different name.
The list below includes some of the more popular suggestions and as such is not necessarily exhaustive. While researchers have proposed particular locations for Atlantis, not all have identified an archaeologically identified culture to go with their chosen location. The problem being that most of the places suggested have endured successive invasions over the millennia by different peoples.
It would seem therefore that the most fruitful approach to solving the problem of identifying the Atlanteans would be to first focus on trying to determine the date of the demise of Atlantis. This should reduce the number of possible candidates, making it easier to identify the Atlanteans.
A final point to consider, is that the historical Atlanteans were a military alliance, and as such may have included more than one or none of those listed here. The mythological Atlanteans, who included the five sets of male twins and their successors would be expected to share a common culture, wheras military coalitions are frequently more disparate.
Basques: William Lewy d’Abartiague, Edward Taylor Fletcher
Maltese: Anton Mifsud, Francis Xavier Aloisio, Kevin Falzon, Bibischok, Joseph Bosco, David Calvert-Orange, Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse, Albert Nikas, Joseph S. Ellul, Francis Galea, Tammam Kisrawi, Charles Savona-Ventura, Hubert Zeitlmair.
Maya: Robert B. Stacy-Judd, Charles Gates Dawes, Colin Wilson, Adrian Gilbert, L. M. Hosea, Augustus le Plongeon, Teobert Maler, Joachim Rittstieg, Lewis Spence, Edward Herbert Thompson, Jean-Frédérick de Waldeck,
Minoans: K.T. Frost, James Baikie, Walter Leaf, Edwin Balch, Donald A. Mackenzie, Ralph Magoffin, Spyridon Marinatos, Georges Poisson, Wilhelm Brandenstein, A. Galanopoulos, J. G. Bennett, Rhys Carpenter, P.B.S. Andrews, Edward Bacon, Willy Ley, J.V. Luce, James W. Mavor, Henry M. Eichner, Prince Michael of Greece, Nicholas Platon, N.W. Tschoegl, Richard Mooney, Rupert Furneaux, Martin Ebon, Francis Hitching, Charles Pellegrino, Rodney Castleden, Graham Phillips, Jacques Lebeau, Luana Monte, Fredrik Bruins, Gavin Menzies, Lee R. Kerr, Daniel P. Buckley.