National Geographic or Nat Geo are registered trademarks of the National Geographic Society and are now, sadly, part of the Murdoch communications empire. Its magazine and TV channel enjoy global recognition. Undoubtedly, NG has enhanced our view of the world around us. One piece of NG trivia is that the word ‘tsunami’ first appeared in an English language publication in the September 1896 edition of National Geographic Magazine.
Generally, NG has avoided controversy, but not always(a) , so it will be interesting to see how its new chief James Murdoch, a climate change denier(b), will deal with the NG views on the subject up ’til now(c) . However, for me, it was something of a surprise when NG tackled the subject of Atlantis.
In 2004 NG News published a short article(d) highlighting the theories of Ulf Erlingsson and Rainer Kühne, who, respectively, were advocates for Ireland and Spain as Atlantis locations. Also in 2004, Zeilitsky and Weinzweig claimed to have found submerged man-made structures near Cuba and subsequently sought US government funding for further research there. It has been suggested that NG objected and further exploration did not take place! In 2006 NG gave the Atlantis in America theory of Zapp & Erikson an airing(e).
In 2011 a short article(l)., NG trotted out the now generally abandoned idea that Atlantis had been a continent. The idea was obviously later dumped by NG as well, when James Cameron et al went looking for Atlantis in Malta, Sardinia and Santorini in 2016.
December 2012 saw NG publish an article on Doggerland, without any reference to the suggestion that there might be an Atlantis connection. NG has also voiced the scepticism of well-known commentators, such as Robert Ballard and Charles E. Orser jnr(f).
However, I find that the NG treatment of Atlantis inconsistent. In October 2011 an anonymous article(k) on one of their sites, entitled The Truth Behind Atlantis: Facts, declared that Atlantis was continental in size (and so must have been located in an Ocean?) This is based on a misinterpretation of the Greek word meison. Nevertheless last year NG had Simcha Jacobovici, remotely guided by James Cameron, scouring the Mediterranean, from Spain to Sardinia, Malta, and Crete for evidence of Atlantis. This attention-seeking exercise found nothing a few stone anchors that proved nothing and inflicted on viewers an overdose of speculation!
NatGeo TV aired a documentary(g) in 2015 relating to earlier excavations in the Doñana Marshes of Southern Spain by a Spanish team and partly hijacked by Richard Freund. A new NG documentary, hyped with the involvement of James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, was filmed in 2016, and later broadcast at the end of January 2017. Initially, it was thought by Robert Ishoy to be in support of his Atlantis location of Sardinia, but at the same time Diaz-Montexano was convinced that his Afro-Iberian theory was to be the focus of the film. To coincide with the airing of the new documentary D-M has published a new book, NG National Geographic and the scientific search for Atlantis with both English and Spanish editions.
Jason Colavito was promised a screener but had the offer subsequently withdrawn. One wonders why?
Once again NG promotes the region of the Doñana Marshes as a possible location for Atlantis(i), based on rather flimsy evidence, such as six ancient anchors found just outside the Strait of Gibraltar. They estimate the age of the anchors at 3,000-4,000 years old but. unfortunately, they are not marked ‘made in Atlantis’. Rabbi Richard Freund, never afraid to blow his own shofar, makes another NG appearance. Jacobovici throws in the extraordinary claim that the Jewish menorah represents the concentric circles of the Atlantis capital cut in half, a daft idea, already suggested by Prof. Yahya Ababni(k).
What I cannot understand is why this documentary spends time dismissing Santorini and Malta as possible locations for Plato’s Atlantis and at the same time ignoring the only unambiguous geographical clue that he left us, namely that the Atlantis alliance occupied part of North Africa and in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) and presumably some of the islands between the two.
Overall, I think the NG documentaries have done little to advance the search for Atlantis as they seem to be driven by TV ratings ahead of truth. Perhaps, more revealing is that Cameron is not fully convinced by the speculative conclusions of this documentary.
Jason Colavito, an arch-sceptic regarding Atlantis has now published a lengthy scathing review(j) of NG’s Atlantis Rising, which is well worth a read. While I do not agree with Colavito’s dismissal of the existence of Atlantis, I do endorse the litany of shortcomings he identified in this documentary.
*(d) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/08/0819_040819_atlantis.html (link broken August 2018) See: Archive 3582)*
James Cameron the renowned director of Titanic has now worked as executive producer on a documentary about Atlantis for National Geographic(a). Simcha Jacobovici, who previously teamed with Cameron on the 2006 TV movie The Exodus Decoded also joined the production team.
This was NG’s second film on the subject and it was hoped, better than the first. Although Spain and Santorini will feature in the two-hour show, the focus seemed has moved from Spain to the Central Mediterranean, where filming is taking place on Malta, Sardinia and Sicily. In my view this region provided part of the Atlantean domain together with part of northwest Africa.
Cameron and Jacobovici joined forces again as co-producers for this new NG documentary, which was expected by Robert Ishoy to explore his belief that Atlantis was situated on Sardinia(b). I think it reasonable to question why NG did not approach Sergio Frau who has done more than Ishoy in terms of publicising the possible relevance of Sardinia to the Atlantis mystery. It has now emerged that Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has also been interviewed, which suggests that Sardinia may not be the sole focus of the documentary as Ishoy was apparently led to believe.
This new NG offering aired early in 2017. However, in subsequent interviews Cameron expressed continuing scepticism(c), which begs the question; if Cameron was not fully convinced by the documentary, why should the viewers be?
*Readers might find Jason Colavito’s critique of the NG documentary enlightening(d).*
(b) http://www.svherald.com/free_access/national-geographic-calls-on-sierra-vista-researcher-about-atlantis/article_c3685cf8-7229-11e6-9512-b390b32f6ba7.html (June 2018, no longer available to EEA countries)
Pabhat Rainjan Sarkar (1921-1990) was an Indian philosopher and spiritual leader with followers in over 130 countries. I am reliably informed that he expressed a number of beliefs regarding Atlantis, the core of which was that it was a huge continent that existed in the Atlantic. He also believed that Atlantis joined Africa and Iberia with a landbridge at Gibraltar. The destruction of Atlantis by an extensive earthquake separated Europe from Africa and also led to the creation of the Sahara.
In the book, Travels with the Mystic Master(a) by Dada Dharmavedananda, Sarkar is quoted as saying that ” The old Atlantis is now underwater except for parts of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Iceland.”[1209.208]
Stuart Webb is the author of a number of books(a) on paranormal subjects including a short 80-page volume entitled Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds. This is a lightweight review of Atlantis theories; Spain, Canaries, Santorini etc.
Charles Frédéric Martins (1806-1889) was French botanist and geologist who was so intrigued by the similarity of geology as well as plant species on the Azores, Spain and Ireland that he suggested in his 1866 book, Du Spitzberg Au Sahara, that these were physically linked in the the distant past and may have been Atlantis(a).
Jason Lee is the author of a self-published ebook entitled The Truth about the Lost Continent of Atlantis. He offers a quick review of the most popular location theories of our time; Thera, Spain, Azores etc.
He provides some strange ‘revelations’ regarding the people of Atlantis, such as their “habits are revolting. Music, drama and art were the main leisure activities”, and “When it came to medicine, they were pleasantly uncouth.” He also reveals that in Atlantis “Salaries were high and laborers saved their earnings as laborers their earnings as alcohol was not permitted, therefore, they died rich.” Lee’s flimsy offering continues in a similar vein. My advice is to leave it in cyberspace
Yuri Knorosov (1922-1999) was a Russian linguist and epigrapher, who is best known for his work on the decipherment of the Mayan script. In the 1960’s he ventured outside his comfort zone when he offered his views on Atlantis in a review of Zhirov’s book, Atlantida. Knorosov concluded that Atlantis was located it in Spain(a). He repeated his comments in another article a few years later, while Zhirov responded by accusing Knorosov of lacking scientific objectivity[458.11].
(a) Sovetskya etnografia No4, 1961, pp 213-218.
Mining as a human activity dates back many thousands of years in various parts of the world Recently, the earliest example of mining in the Americas was an iron oxide mine in Chile dating back to around 10,000 BC(a).*However, metals, such as gold, silver, copper and tin were not the only material extracted in this way, pigments, flint and salt were also mined in ancient times. The silver mines of Lavrio in Greece employed 29,000 slaves at its peak.
In the Mediterranean itself, Cyprus was an important source of copper, giving the island its name. However, the most important mineral source was probably Sardinia, which for the Romans was one of the three most important sources of metals, along with Spain and Brittany. Although there was a limited amount of tin mined in the Mediterranean region, most came from Spain, Brittany as well as Devon and Cornwall.*
Mining in Atlantis is recorded by Plato in Critias 114e where he states that there were many mines producing orichalcum as well as other metals. Mrs. Whishaw contended that the pre-Roman copper mines of Southern Spain was the source of the Atlantean orichalcum.
However, the most extensive ancient mines were probably those of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where copper mining was carried on between 3000 and 1200 BC. It has been guesstimated that up to 1.5 billion pounds of the metal was extracted. It is further speculated that much of this was used to feed the Bronze Age needs of Europe and the Mediterranean(b)(c).*This is hotly disputed by local archaeologists(d).*
*(d) http://www.ramtops.co.uk/copper.html (offline Sept. 2017) (see Archive 2102)*
W. Sheppard Baird is an American researcher and the author of a number of articles on the Minoan civilisation, which can be read on his website(a) and on the academia.edu website(f). He writes on the maritime expertise of the Minoans and their colonisation of Spain. Baird has also incorporated his knowledge of the Minoans into an historical novel, The Minoan Psychopath.
Baird added an interesting paper(b) on the possible use by the Minoans of a signalling system using bronze mirrors reflecting sunlight between the mountain peaks of Crete!
Perhaps even more important is his essay(c) debunking of the theory that a tsunami resulting from the 2nd millennium BC eruption of Thera destroyed the Minoan civilisation on Crete and proposes instead that it was in fact more likely to have been a pyroclastic surge from the same source. The latest studies have concluded(d) that it was the violent entry of pyroclastic flows into the sea which triggered the tsunamis.
Baird has also offered his identification of the Sea Peoples, whom he considers to originally have been colonists from the Aegean who settled in the southeast of Spain and are known as the El Argar culture. Their society suffered some form of collapse around 1350 BC and according to Baird is in some way connected with the emergence of the Sea Peoples.
Unfortunately, in spite of the name of his website, Baird makes no direct reference to Atlantis.