An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Joining The Dots


Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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Roger Coghill

Pinzon, Martin Alonzo

Martin Alonzo Pinzon (1441-1493) is probably best known as the captain of the Pinta, one of the three ships in Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. However, while Columbus garnered all the fame, it seems that Pinzon should have been accorded even greater recognition. According to Steven Sora in an Atlantis Rising article in 2015(a), Pinzon and his brother, Vincente who commanded the Nina, had already crossed the Atlantic three times before Columbus, a claim Sora supports with three sources. They apparently made landfall in was later named Brazil.

Roger Coghill, in The Message of Atlantis[494.1040] notes that Pinzon died only days after returning home “believing on his death bed that he had at last discovered the island of Atlantis.” However, Coghill does not give any reference.

Half a millennium later the achievements of the Pinzons were finally recognised in the form of a postage stamp.

(a) https://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/article/columbus-and-the-brothers-pinzon/

Coghill, Roger

Roger Coghill (1940- ) is an English research biologist with an interest in bioelectromagnetics and alternative medicine. He also has a passion for ancient history and in that connection he proposed in a 2002 interview that the region of Portugal’s Faro was the original home of Atlantis(a). He has now expanded his theory in the form of a Kindle book, The Message of Atlantis, in which he identifies Scheria as Atlantis.

*In his review of the history of Atlantis theories, Coghill inevitably came to the ravings of Churchward, Blavatsky and Steiner, inter alia, leading to his rather depressing conclusion that “the Atlantis story finally crawled and staggered into the 20th Century, maimed and mutilated by charlatans, scarred by ignoramuses and mystics, raped and prostituted by sick minds, like some ancient warrior-champion shot through with arrows, which have somehow missed vital organs, but still alive”*

Portugal is also promoted by Peter Daughtrey[893], who proposes a location a few miles west of Faro, in the town of Silves.

Coghill has also published a biographical volume, Memoirs Of An Inconvenient Scientist as a Kindle book[1249].

(a) http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/view/652-10

Columbus, Christopher

ColumbusChristopher Columbus (1451-1506) is not known to have made any specific statements regarding Atlantis, but a number of commentators have suggested that he was not only aware of Plato’s story but had consulted charts, such as Toscanelli’s(a), that depicted a mid-Atlantic island. De Gomara was insistent that Columbus had read Plato’s Timaeus and Critias, while the historian, Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566), claimed that Plato’s story inspired Columbus to embark on his voyages of discovery!

*In the third chapter of The Message of Atlantis[494], Roger Coghill offers a vivid account of the background to Columbus’ protracted efforts to get support for his great voyage of discovery.*

Nevertheless, S. P. Kershaw[1410.163] quoting from B. Keen[1500] notes that Columbus’ son Ferdinand ”explicity stated that his father never showed any interest in Plato’s tale.”

The Flem-Aths in their Atlantis Beneath the Ice, which is a 2012 revised version of When the Sky Fell, begin the book with a reference to a memorandum sent by Charles Hapgood to President Eisenhower. In it Hapgood sought the president’s assistance in locating a map used by Columbus, which he believed to still exist in Spanish archives. This map was apparently used to produce the famed Piri Reis Map that allegedly depicts an ice-free Antarctica. The Columbus map was not found.

(a) http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo:Toscanelli_map.jpg

Elephants

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 1700 BC. 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). Ashley Cowie recently published an interesting book[1454] on the history of rope-making. Further information on string, ropes and knots was published in March 2017(o).

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[715] 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[149][150] 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 pharoah 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[214] by Dr. Anton Mifsud and Dr. Charles Savona-Ventura describes this cave system.

In Dossier Malta – Neanderthal [1587] 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[1301] 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)

(b) http://www.saching.com/Articles/Historical-Proof-of-Atlantis-2888.html

(c) http://viewzone.com/atlantis22.html

(d) https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yoa0FqP-rWUC&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=elephants+in+Tunisia&source=bl&ots=t-VBIs13N4&sig=4WMoiqmnEfbmL4eZlvTbK9NWrRQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZWzqVL3aNeLY7AbtuYHQAQ&ved=0CCAQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=elephants%20in%20Tunisia&f=false

(e) http://interesting-africa-facts.com/Africa-Landforms/Atlas-Mountains-Facts.html

(f) http://www.nytimes.com/1984/09/18/science/the-mystery-of-hannibal-s-elephants.html

(g) http://nabataea.net/elephants.html

(h) http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2014/08/137456/5-animals-that-once-roamed-morocco-but-no-longer-exist/

(i) http://www.seeker.com/how-rope-was-made-40000-years-ago-1943454415.html

(j) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/dining-on-frozen-mammoth-steaks-the-evolution-of-a-strange-rumor

(k) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/flash-frozen-mammoths-and-their-buttercups-yet-another-case-of-repetition-and-recycling-of-bad-data

(l) http://www.black-sea-atlantis.com/black-sea-atlantis/

(m) http://phantho.de/files/html/reading__364-6.htm

(n) http://www.q-mag.org/40000-years-of-rope-making.html

(o) https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/the-long-knotty-world-spanning-story-of-string/

(p) https://books.google.ie/books?id=Bjd6S9fEDE4C&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=%22simon+davis%22+pygmy+elephants&source=bl&ots=BReKfMY2gS&sig=AWTfZYjRx55PVqzUIRLk-hrzmPo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-96Oak-naAhWRON8KHYTKCEgQ6AEITzAL#v=onepage&q=%22simon%20davis%22%20pygmy%20elephants&f=false

(q) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/the-claim-of-flash-frozen-mammoths-is-older-than-i-thought

*(r) https://www.livescience.com/64407-ancient-egypt-fortress-war-elephants.html*

Portugal

Portugal, in the 12th century began as a county, that is, governed by a count. More recently it has entered the Atlantis Stakes with a claim by a Basque researcher, Luis Aldamiz, that a little-known ancient civilisation, known as the Villa Nova VNSP2de São Pedro (VNSP) culture matched much of Plato’s description of Atlantis(b). Its capital was Zambujal, which was located on a mountain in the centre of the Estramadura peninsula, near modern Lisbon. Originally it was described as a ‘perriruthos’, which indicates something surrounded by water. Aldamiz notes that ten tombs were found there; reminiscent of the ten kings of Atlantis. Zambujal had large complex fortifications. Aldamiz claims that this civilisation fought against the Greeks during the Middle Bronze Age. He further believes that the destruction of his Atlantis was caused by an event that was similar to the 1755 Lisbon earthquake that caused such death and destruction.

Lereno Barradas was a Portuguese writer who speculated in the early 1970’s that Tartessos could be identified with Atlantis and that it had been located in the Tagus estuary near the site of modern Lisbon. He also suggested that these ancient Atlanteans had travelled to America.

In 1989 another Portuguese researcher, José Antunes, proposed that Atlantis had been situated in what is now northwest of Lisbon between Sintra and Mafra.

A more radical theory has been put forward by Roger Coghill, the British bioelectromagnetic investigator, who suggests on his website that Atlantis was located in the vicinity of Faro in the Algarve. Coghill expanded on his theory in his book, The Message of Atlantis[494].*He has also drawn attention to a book [1562] by Antonio Jose Lopes Navarro, published in 1983, in which he has brought together a number of classical references to the prehistory of the Algarve.*

Portugal got further attention in 2013 when another British researcher, Peter Daughtrey, who then lived in Portugal, published Atlantis and the Silver City[893] in which he designates not just the Algarve and the submerged area in front of it as Atlantis, but the whole of that south-west Iberian region.

Apart from the mainland claims the Portuguese Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeiras have also been identified by a number of commentators as Atlantis locations.

Manuel J.Gandra has produced a valuable bibliography(c) of Portuguese sources dealing with Atlantis.

(b) http://www.geocities.ws/luis_aldamiz/Atlantis/Atlantis.html

(c) http://www.cesdies.net/historia-e-geografia-mitica/fsp/Atl%C3%A2ntida%20-%20Bibliografia.pdf

 

Faro (L)

Faro in Portugal has been linked with the Greek Pharos or lighthouse. Roger Coghill offers an ingenious theory on the origin of Faro’s name and connects it with Plato’s Atlantis. I have taken the liberty of quoting from his website(a) which is at least worth a read.

“That beacon is exactly what Faro (Pharos is Greek for lighthouse) I believe provided, at its location in the middle of that otherwise inhospitable coastline, exactly where Plato described it.

The question is, if this is right, how could such a primitive civilisation have provided a continuous lamp, bright enough to be seen thirty miles offshore in unsettled weather? (Further than 30 miles it would have been below the horizon. Sailing downwind in a real gale one has scarcely time to make a major course correction in thirty miles: you only have one chance!

I believe that the answer lies not on the coast, but inland of Faro, where there are the world’s largest and most ancient copper and zinc mines lying adjacent to each other, and have given rise to today’s commercial giant, the RTZ Corporation, which stands for Rio Tinto Zinc. The Rio Tinto flowing down to that part of the Atlantic coast is so called because of its alluvial copper. Any schoolboy today knows that you can make a voltaic battery quite capable of lighting any filament lamp by simply connecting copper to zinc.

The first schoolboy ever accidentally to discover this may plausibly have lived a little inland from modern Faro, since the two component materials were plentiful and to hand. It is my speculation that here in this fertile cradle of civilisation was first discovered the ability to make electrons flow and thereby create primitive electrical energy.

Plato helps us into this belief: he explains how the city was built as a city with three concentric rings, each ring being clad with a different metal and in the centre a beacon “shone like a torch”. It is important for scholars to note that the words Plato used are not those suggesting reflected light, as in a mirror, but of intrinsic light, self- generated. What Plato is describing then is a city built as a huge lighthouse and plausibly powered by the electrical current flowing between copper and zinc cladding, separated by huge walls.”

In 2006 Larry Radka(b) edited The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting[0948]which according to one commentator is a reworking of a much older work. In it is the claim is made that the famous Pharos lighthouse was power by electricity. All we have is a coincidence of names and alleged function combined with speculation, but no evidence at either site.

While Radka’s claim is rather extreme, Robert Temple in The Crystal Sun is more restrained where he refers to a 16th century account of a telescope at Pharos in the 3rd century BC, implying the existence at that early date of some optical technology and its possible use in the lighthouse there[928.128]. Temple’s entire book is devoted to proving that the science of optics is much older than generally accepted. When we consider the Antikythera Mechanism or the ‘Baghdad Battery’, it may be unwise to be too dismissive of Temple’s conclusions in this regard.

(a) http://www.cogreslab.co.uk/prehistory.asp  currently (17/8/13) offline

(b) http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_hitech05.htm

 

 

Island, Peninsula or Continent? (M)

Island, Peninsula or ContinentAdvocates of a continental rather than island identification for Atlantis have to contend with the fact that Plato never referred to Atlantis as a continent instead he used the Greek words for island, namely ‘nesos’ and ‘neson’. Their line of argument is that these words in addition to ‘island’ or ‘islands’ can also mean “islands of an archipelago” or “peninsula”. Furthermore it is claimed that the ancient Greeks had no precise word for ‘peninsula’.

Gilles le Noan[912], quoted by Papamarinopoulos[629.558], has offered evidence that there was no differentiation in Greek between ‘island’ and ‘peninsula’ until the time of Herodotus in the 5th century BC. In conversation with Mark Adams[1070.198] he explains that in the sixth century BC, when Solon lived, nesos had five geographic meanings. “One, an island as we know it. Two, a promontory. Three, a peninsula. Four, a coast. Five, a land within a continent, surrounded by lakes, rivers or springs.”

   Robert Bittlestone, in his Odysseus Unbound [1402.143] also notes that “nesos usually means an island whereas cheronesos means a peninsula, but Homer could not have used cheronesos when referring to the peninsula of Argostoli for two very good reasons. First, it cannot be fitted into the metre of the epic verse and second, the word hadn’t yet been invented: it doesn’t occur in Greek literature until the 5th century BC.”

Another researcher, Roger Coghill, echoed the views of many when he wrote on an old webpage that “To the Greeks peninsulae were the same as islands, so the Peloponnesian peninsula was “the island of Pelops” and the Chersonnese was to them “the island of Cherson”. Similarly in describing a place found after escaping the Pillars of Hercules, Plato quite normally describes the Lusitanian coast (modern Portugal) as an “island”, reached, he clearly says, after passing Cadiz”.

Johann Saltzman claimed that ‘nesos’ did not mean ‘island’ or ‘peninsula’ but ‘land close to water’. However I would be happier sticking to the respected Liddell & Scott’s interpretation of island or peninsula. If Saltzman is correct, what word did the Greeks use for island?

The Modern Greek word for peninsula is ‘chersonesos’ which is derived from ‘khersos’ (dry) and ‘nesos’ (island) and can be seen as a reasonable description of a peninsula. It is worth noting that the etymology of the English word ‘peninsula’ is from the Latin ’paene’ (almost) and ’insula’ (an island).

Jonas Bergman maintains that the Greek concept of ‘island’ is one of detachment or isolation. He also points out that the original Egyptian word for island can also mean lowland or coastland, because the Egyptians had a different conception of ’island’ to either the ancient Greeks or us. Some commentators have claimed that the Egyptians of Solon’s time described any foreign land as an island.

Eberhard Zangger offers another correction of the Atlantis mystery: If one compares the land- / sea-distribution in Egypt and in the Aegean Sea, it becomes obvious why the Egyptians used at that time the expression “from the islands”. While today the word “island” has a clear meaning, this was not the case at the late Bronze Age. For the Egyptians more or less all strangers came from the islands. As there had been practically no islands in Egypt, the ancient Egyptian language did not have any special character for it. The hieroglyphic used for “island” was also meaning “sandy beach” or “coast” and was generally used for “foreign countries” or “regions on the other side of the Nile”.

A contributor to the Skeptic’s Dictionary(b) has added “I remind you that the Greek definition of “island” paralleled that of “continent.” To the Greeks, Europe was a continent. West Africa was an island, especially since it was cut off from the rest of what we now call “Africa” by a river that ran south from the Atlas mountains and then west to what is now the Western Sahara. This now dry river was explored by Byron Khun de Prorok in the 1920’s.”

Reginald Fessenden wrote: “One Greek term must be mentioned because it has given rise to much confusion. The word ‘Nesos’ is still translated as meaning ‘island’ but it does not mean this at all, except perhaps in late Greek. The Peloponnesus is a peninsula. Arabia was called a “nesos” and so was Mesopotamia”. This ambiguity in the written Greek and Egyptian of that period was highlighted at the 2005 Atlantis Conference by Stavros Papamarinopoulos.

Werner Wickboldt pointed out at the same conference that Adolph Schulten in the 1920’s referred to a number of classical writers who used the term ‘nesos’ in connection with the Nile, Tiber, Indus and Tartessos, all of which possessed deltas with extensive networks of islands.

To confuse matters even further, there have been a number of theories based on the idea that the ‘island’ of Atlantis was in fact land surrounded by rivers rather than the sea. These include Mesopotamia in Argentina proposed by Doug Fisher, the Island of Meroë in Sudan suggested by Thérêse Ghembaza and a large piece of land bound by the Mississippi, Ohio, Potomac rivers offered by Henriette Mertz. However, none of these locations match Plato’s description of Atlantis as a maritime trading nation with a naval fleet of 1200 ships, nor do any of them explain how they controlled the Mediterranean as far a Egypt and Tyrrhenia.

The waters around Plato’s island are indeed muddy!

(b) http://skepdic.com/comments/atlantcom.html