Kevin Christopher is a confirmed sceptic, whose paper, Atlantis: No way, No How, No Where (a), is widely available on the internet. It is a lightweight offering, frequently quoting two of the most extreme location theories, such as, Bolivia and Antarctica as justification for his view that the Atlantis story is ‘entirely fictional’.
Christopher also questions the chain of transmission of the story, describing it as ‘tenuous’. If Plato had concocted the Atlantis tale, it is reasonable to expect that he would also have invented a more straightforward provenance. Consequently, any perceived difficulties in this regard, actually enhance the credibility of the narrative.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) was an American abolitionist, feminist and Unitarian minister. He was also an author including The Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic, published in 1898. His first chapter very briefly reviews some of the Atlantis theories of his day particularly in relation to the Atlantic, about which he appears to be rather sceptical(a) noting that “Since the depth of the Atlantic has been more thoroughly sounded, a few writers have maintained that the inequalities of its floor show some traces of the submerged Atlantis, but the general opinion of men of science is quite the other way. The visible Atlantic islands are all, or almost all, they say, of volcanic origin; and though there are ridges in the bottom of the ocean, they do not connect the continents.”
In 1984 his book was republished with the rather opportunistically revised title of Tales of Atlantis and the enchanted islands!
Stelio Calabresi is an Italian researcher who has presented a number of papers on various historical mysteries, particularly those of ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, as far as I can ascertain all are only available in Italian.
He has published a comprehensive article(a) about Atlantis on the Edicola website in which he reviews the whole spectrum of Atlantis theories, including an extensive bibliography. At the end of it all, I think that it is fair to describe Calabresi as a slightly reluctant sceptic regarding the existence of Atlantis.
Although his article is in Italian, it translates well into English.
Andrea Albini is the CEO of the Albini Group, an Italian textile company. His other interest is writing books and articles on ‘the history of science, technology and ideas.” A 2012 offering of his is Atlantide nel Mare dei Teste (Atlantis in the Sea of Texts). Albini is clearly an Atlantis sceptic, ascribing the story to Plato’s imagination. However, the comprehensiveness of his review of the main theories has been lauded by Professor Marco Ciardi(a).
Robert Wauchope (1909-1979) was an American archaeologist who specialised in the prehistory of the Americas. In his Lost Tribes & Sunken Continents, he adopts a softly sceptical view of Atlantology, discussing the consequences of proponents becoming obsessive about their pet theory and often abandoning objectivity in the process. He has some harsh criticism directed at the poorly constructed claims of Churchward and Le Plongeon. Although his book is now out print it is worth obtaining a used copy as it give a good overview of some of the popular ‘alternative’ pre-history theories of six decades ago and a sober assessment of them by a conventional scientist of that era.
Pierre Vidal-Naquet (1930-2006) was a noted French historian, political activist and was also a fervent sceptic regarding the reality of Atlantis. He has frequently written and lectured on the subject with particular reference to the nationalistic zeal that seemed to underlie the theories of so many writers. His recent book presents the radical view that Plato’s Atlantis was actually based on ancient Athens. This work was originally published in French but is now available in an English translation,The Atlantis Story.
Paul Jordan studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University and for many years he has written and produced historical and scientific programmes for British television. He is the author of a number of books on history and prehistory.
He can be fairly described as a devout sceptic, who has written a broad overview of the Atlantis debate that is worth reading, although at least one commentator has described Jordan’s style as ‘splenetic(a).
Kenneth L. Feder is a professional archaeologist, author and prominent Atlantis sceptic. Dr. Feder says he makes one demand of Atlantis enthusiasts. “My rule is you can’t even use the word Atlantis in a sentence unless you can tell me you’ve read Plato.” In spite of his disbelief, Feder regularly uses Plato’s Atlantis account for lecture purposes, inadvertently highlighting the widespread significance of the story.
However, there is one point on which I can partially agree with Feder, when he noted that, “The geology is clear; there could have been no large land surface that then sank in the area where Plato places Atlantis. Together, modern archaeology and geology provide an unambiguous verdict: There was no Atlantic continent; there was no great civilization called Atlantis.”
The geology only proves that there was no Atlantis in the Atlantic, not that there was no Atlantis.
Christos Doumas (1933- ) is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Athens and has a passion for his country’s early history.*He was the editor of Thera and the Aegean World (Vol I) .*
Doumas succeeded Spyridon Marinatos as director of the Akrotiri excavations on Santorini. Unfortunately, an accident that killed a British tourist led to the closure of the site in 2005. In the same year Doumas presented a paper to the Atlantis Conference on Melos when he outlined his reasons for believing that the Atlantis story was, in his word, a ‘chimera’, quoting his colleague, René Treuil.*At the Conference he argued on the basis of the Location, Size and Shape of Atlantis combined with the claimed level of Civilisation and the Date of Submergence!*
An Allegory is the most common description of Plato’s Atlantis story offered by sceptics, eager to deny any historical value in the narrative. Parallels have been drawn with the Persian wars; Plato’s experiences in Syracuse and even more opaquely by Alan Alford, who proposed that “Atlantis – was an allegory for the myth of the creation of the Universe.”
Rand Flem-Ath quite reasonably argues that the idea of Atlantis as an allegory makes sense only if there is no realistic geographic explanation for Plato’s description of the site of the lost land. Consequently if an interpretation of the story can indicate a credible location and time for the destruction of Atlantis then the allegory theory is considerably weakened.
If the Atlantis mystery is ever finally resolved, I am inclined to think that it will be found that Plato used the prehistoric destruction of a powerful civilisation as a core to his story and wrapped it in the details of events closer to his own time presenting the entire account as a morality tale.
Nevertheless, it is interesting that Plato’s ‘ideal state’ of Atlantis is claimed as the inspiration for both Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ and St. Augustine’s ‘City of God’ among many others.