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).
*However, in 2012, Andrew Collins offered a different account of the Zelitsky funding difficulties(m).*
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)
Francis J. Ward (1922- ) & Francis P. Ward (1951- ) are an American father and son team who have taken up the idea of Ireland being Plato’s Atlantis(a). They quote from Ulf Erlingsson, Cedric R. Leonard and the eccentric Conor MacDari in support of their view, which is that “Atlantis was a global, maritime empire based in Ireland”. They also modestly claim that “Among other ancient mysteries, we have solved the hidden message of the Great Pyramid(b), and the riddles of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, the Fisher King, Pahana—the Lost White Brother, the Kalki incarnation of Vishnu, and the fulfillments of the Star, Branch, and World Ruler Prophecies.”
Their first book, The Truth Against the World-Red Phoenix Rising & the Return of the Thunder Gods, but their supporting website(c) is currently offline, which may not be a bad thing!
(c) www.thetruthagainsttheworld.net (offline Dec.2015)
Lee R. Kerr is the author of Griffin Quest – Investigating Atlantis which is a feeble attempt to breathe new life into the Minoan Hypothesis and it sadly fails. Most of the book is taken up with the author’s search for images of griffins (gryphons) in various museums in Santorini, Crete and Athens. He found very few and so what? There is no connection whatsoever between Atlantis and griffins.
I think it disappointing that the author, who practices as an attorney in Texas, can produce such a flimsy offering. It may explain why used copies have been available from Amazon.com for as little as one cent.
In case anyone is interested, the griffin is part of a related group of mythological creatures which includes sphinxes(a).
In 2015, Kerr launched a sequel, Atlantis of the Minoans and Celts. This simply rehashes claims in his first book, padded unnecessarily with too many pointless images. Unable,to reconcile Plato’s description of the Plain of Atlantis with his version of the Minoan Hypothesis, he concludes that there was a second island larger than Thera and then based on the theory of Ulf Erlingsson he decided that Ireland was it. As an Irishman I would be delighted to find a connection between my homeland and Atlantis. However, again I found this new claim even less convincing than his Theran ideas. Furthermore Kerr is either unaware or has ignored the fact that Erlingsson places the flooded Atlantis on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea, not the Central Plain of Ireland, which, to the relief of its inhabitants, is still above water.
*Not content with that, Kerr, returned to Ireland in another volume, Atlantis Aftermath , in which he seeks to link my homeland and its ancient monuments with the eruption of Thera. His ‘quest’ also takes him to Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, when to my utter relief he finally announced that “for me, I feel satisfied that I had completed my Griffin Quest.” Let’s hope so.*
Doggerland is a term applied to a shallow region (Fig.1) of the North Sea between Denmark and the North of England and has an area of around 10,000 sq. miles. The appellation was coined by Professor Bryony Coles in 1998. However, the name has been applied recently(f) to nearly the totality of the Celtic Shelf (Fig.2). Ulf Erlingsson who had promoted his theory(b) that Atlantis had been located in Ireland (with 98.9% confidence!)*has explained that Egyptian story of Atlantis is the result of an account of megalithic Ireland conflated with a report of the inundation of Doggerland in 6200 BC resulting from a Norwegian storegga. In turn, this flooding may*have been the inspiration behind the ‘impassable shoals’ described by Plato following the submergence of Atlantis.
However, it was Rachael Carson who was probably the first to suggest the Dogger Bank as the home of Atlantis in her 1951 book, The Sea Around Us. Later a Scandinavian writer, Nils Olof Bergquist, in his 1971 book, Ymdogat-Atlantis. who appeared next to support this idea.
Other writers such as Jean Deruelle(a), Sylvain Tristan(c) and Guy Gervis(d) have also linked the Dogger Bank with Atlantis. Gervis has written two related papers(k)(l) on the subject. The earliest suggestion of such a connection was briefly supported by Robert Graves[342.39-3]. Rob Waugh, a British journalist, has offered an illustrated article(g) with the provocative title of Britain’s Atlantis found at the Bottom of the North Sea, in which he touches on some of the discoveries made on Doggerland.
Some have combined Doggerland with exposed land further north, now known as the Viking-Bergen Banks, as constituting the territory of Atlantis(x).
In 2009 a book was published with the subtitle of The Rediscovery of Doggerland, based on the research of a team led by Professor Vincent Gaffney of the University of Birmingham. In July 2012 the UK’s Daily Mail published(h) an extensive article on Doggerland. The flooding of the Dogger Bank has been attributed to a 6200 BC event apparently caused by either an outpouring of meltwater from Lake Agassiz in North America ora huge tsunami generated by a Norwegian storegga(e). This event was covered in an extensive article in the November, 2012 edition of the BBC Focus magazine. The same article has a sidebar on Atlantis which suggests that there is “perhaps just one archaeological theory that has any serious claim on the myth.” Then, not for the first time, the BBC offered tacit support for the Minoan Hypothesis in spite of the fact that, at least ostensibly, it does not match Plato’s description of Atlantis in terms of either time, size or location and offers no rationale for its stance.
It has been estimated that over a period of a couple of hundred years the English Channel was also created in a comparable manner(n).
The December 2012 edition of National Geographic magazine has also published an informative article on Doggerland and the ongoing work by archaeologists in the region. It considers the Storegga or the Lake Agassiz meltwater to be the cause of Doggerland’s final inundation. For me it was interesting that a map in the article showed a small area around where I live as the last glaciated region of Ireland.
Alfred de Grazia’s online Q-Mag also published an overview of the Doggerland story in 2012(j) that was originally taken from the German magazine Der Spiegel. The same site has another paper(r) by Jean Deruelle in which he also argues that Doggerland was the location of the Great Plain of Atlantis that stretched from the east of the Dogger Bank and extended as far as what is now Denmark. Plato described the plain as being surrounded by a huge ditch. Then Deruelle, with a flash of ingenuity claims that it was not a ditch but instead was a dyke, designed to hold back the slowing advancing waters of the North Sea that were being fed by deglaciation. He endeavoured to reinforce this claim with the proposal that the Greek word for ditch, ‘taphros’ can also be used for dyke. This interpretation seems possible according to W.K. Pritchett, the distinguished historian [1622.52.5].
Robert John Langdon has proposed that megalith builders from Africa came to Doggerland as the Ice Age ended and when Doggerland submerged they migrated to what is now mainland Britain, eventually constructing Stonehenge(i).
A 2014 ‘Drowned Landscapes’ exhibition(m) organised byDr Richard Bates of the Department of Earth Sciences at St Andrews University, reveals in greater detail the flora and fauna, as well as the lives of its inhabitants, of this submerged world. Much of the information was gleaned from data provided by oil and gas companies, combined with artifacts recovered from the seafloor.
Comparable discoveries have been made submerged deep under the waters of Hanö Bay near the coast of Havang, Sweden and dated to about 7000 BC(v).
In 2015 it wasa announced that €2.5 million funding from the European Union has enabled a number archaeologists from Britain’s top universities to team up for what will be the most intensive study of Doggerland so far(o)(q). Joined by experts from the University of Ghent and assisted by the Belgian Navy they located the first identifiable submerged settlements on the floor of the North Sea. Until now (2019) the only evidence of human habitation in the region were occasional artefacts caught up in fishermen’s nets.
In 2016, it was announced(p) that the ancient footprints of both adults and children had been discovered off the coast of Northumberland, formerly a part of Doggerland. Their feet had apparently been shod.
On Sunday, January 13th 2019. the UK’s Sunday Express delighted its readers with two Atlantis stories(t)(u) . First, the online edition of the paper had a story by one of its reporters, with an ‘Atlantis Discovered’ headline claiming that the remains of an ancient 8,000-year-old city, home to ‘tens of thousands’ of people, had been discovered in the North Sea, in a huge region sometimes referred to as Doggerland. The reporter cites Dr.Richard Bates in support of this account. Unfortunately, the 2012 comments by Dr. Bates never mentioned ‘a city’, but a vast area occupied by ‘tens of thousands’ of people, presumably early farmers(s) . Then the same edition of the same paper by the same ‘reporter’ with another ‘Atlantis Found?’ headline, offered a video clip of the Maltese island of Filfla, while the commentator told us that Plato had said that a devastating earthquake had destroyed Atlantis it was finished off by an eruption. This is factually incorrect as Plato never mentioned an eruption. These two accounts are a sad reflection on the quality of media reporting today.
(i) http://www.the-stonehenge-enigma.info/#!/2013/06/stonehenge-atlantis-momentous-discovery.html See:http://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-2071/(both links are live Jan.19)
(k) http://www.nwepexplore.com (link broken Sept. 2018) See: Archive: 2073
(l) http://www.nwepexplore.com (link broken Sept. 2018) See: Archive 2074
Sweden was claimed to be the location of Atlantis by Olaus (Olaf) Rudbeck in the 17th century. Before him another Swede, Johannes Bureus, expressed similar views. His friend Carl Lundius supported Rudbeck’s theories, but received none of the acclaim.
In the 18th century Carl Friedrich Baër was happy to follow a fashion, which placed Atlantis in the Holy Land. I am not aware of any major Swedish contribution to Atlantology in the 19th century.*However, the following century saw a number of Swedish researchers make valuable contributions to the subject.*
The discovery of the Mid Atlantic Ridge led René Malaise and Hans Pettersson to suggest the Azores as remnants of Atlantis, an idea still popular today. Around the same time Gunnar Rudberg proposed that Syracuse in Sicily had inspired some of Plato’s description of Atlantis. Arvid Högbom advocated the North Sea as the location of Atlantis in 1915, long before Jürgen Spanuth. In the same region Nils Bergquist opted for the Dogger Bank as has Ulf Erlingsson.
More recently, we seem to have come full circle as Bertil Falk has revived some of Rudbeck’s ideas(a) and a short illustrated 2007 paper (updated 2015)(b) by Robert Fritzius also added some additional modern support. However, for something quite different we have Carl Festin promoting a Mediterranean location.
*Nils-Axel Mörner and Bob Lind, two controversial researchers, have proposed, in a number of papers, that a Bronze Age trading centre existed in southeast Sweden, which had links with the Mycenaeans, Minoans and Phoenicians in the Mediterranean. They suggest that ancient references to Hyperborea may have been generated by this trade. However, although they do not associate Hyperborea with the story of Atlantis, they delivered their theories in papers presented to the Atlantis Conferences of 2008 [750.685] and 2011(c). They also touch on a number of other peripheral subjects including Cygnus, archaeoastronomy and amber. Similar views on early Baltic trade with the Mediterranean have been expressed elsewhere(d).*
Storegga submarine slides are enormous underwater movements of glacial sedimentary deposits that were only recently identified. While many of these occurred following the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age some more recent movements have also been identified. Either earthquakes or the decomposition of gas hydrates are their most likely cause. As many as three storegga have been identified that occurred off the west coast of Norway around 6000-5000 BC(a). The combined volume of material involved in the last two events has been calculated at 1700 cubic kilometres. As a consequence, gigantic tsunami were generated which flooded a number of landmasses including Scotland. Ulf Erlingsson suggests that one of these events, around 6100 BC, may have been responsible for the final submergence of the Dogger Bank in the North Sea, creating the impassable muddy shoals mentioned by Plato.
The dating of these events is discussed by Bernhard Weninger and his associates in a 2008 paper available online(b).
*Knut Rydgren and Stein Bondevik of Norway’s Sogn og Fjordane University have concluded that the flooding of Doggerland as a result of the Storegga event took place at the end of autumn(g).*
The evidence to-date suggests that the flooding of the Black Sea coincided with a storegga event, which would require a catastrophe on a scale not previously considered. In a 2017 paper(e), John M. Jensen offers additional evidence to support this contention.
In 2014, Dr. Jon Hill revealed(d) the results of a study of the impact of the 6,200 BC Storegga on the low-lying Doggerland stating that “We were the first ever group to model the Storegga tsunami with Doggerland in place. Previous studies have used the modern bathymetry (ocean depth).” The study was commented on further by Axel Bojanowski in Der Spiegel with an English translation on the de Grazia website(f). The scale of the landslide is graphically described there.
In 2015 the UK’s Daily Mail offered further details(c) gleaned from articles in the respected journal Geology and Science Nordic.
Sexual Undertones in the Atlantis narrative have been identified by J. Warren Wells, who maintains that Clieto or Kleito in Greek is the diminutive of Kleitoris, which is rendered clitoris in English. He further contends that the name of her husband, Poseidon, can have its constituent elements, Pos and Eidon, translated as ‘penis idol’(a). His ideas have been supported by Ulf Erlingsson(b).
Sex at a more blatant level was achieved by John Grant with his Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis delivered with all the accuracy and sincerity we could expect from tabloid journalism.
(a) http://greekatlantis.warpco.com/Sexcentric.html (offline 1.07.14)
(b) http://atlantisinireland.com/ (Jan. 2017 – “site under construction”!)
Dr. Ulf Erlingsson is a Swedish geographer, geomorphologist and an expert in underwater mapping. In order to explain several puzzles regarding the Ice Age he developed The Captured Ice Shelf Hypothesis. He was the chairman of the Geographic Society of Uppsala, Sweden and 1991 he received the Linnaeus Prize from the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala.
Erlingsson is currently the American representative of AB Hydro consult(a), a spin-off from Uppsala University, Department of Physical Geography.
During the 1990’s while studying the geography of the Baltic region, Erlingsson obtained a set of Soviet maps, which greatly assisted the building of the database he was engaged in. However, these maps, which had been bought openly in Riga, outlined plans for a Russian invasion of Sweden in the event of a war in Europe with NATO(b).
Since moving to Florida, Erlingsson has been very involved politically with the ‘Progressive’ wing of the Democratic Party.
Erlingsson recently identified the empire of Atlantis with the megalithic cultures of Western Europe and North Africa and suggested its capital may have been located in Ireland. His book is interesting and contains a number of original ideas. However, as an Irishman, I am not convinced that our remarkable monuments in the Boyne Valley are the remains of or related to Atlantis. I will discuss this further in my review of his book. Erlingsson sees Atlantis everywhere, for example, in a carving on a stone basin in the Knowth passage tomb close to Newgrange.
Erlingsson has also suggested that the Irish authorities have deliberately made Newgrange inaccessible. This is total nonsense. As a regular visitor to the site over the years, I have witnessed nothing but every effort being made to maximise the throughput of visitors into the very confined space within our most famous national monument. The carved basin (see image) discovered near Newgrange, is perceived by Erlingsson as a replica of Plato’s circular city of Atlantis while I can see an early version of a Babylonian winged disk. In 2005, probably as a promotional ploy, he issued a challenge for an open debate on his theory.
Frank Joseph has related speculative ideas claiming that “the early date for New Grange, its circular construction, sophisticated solar orientation and mythic tradition all point to Atlantean origins.”[0636.70]
Erlingsson has more recently suggested that the ‘sunken’ island referred to by Plato was probably located in the vicinity of the southern end of the North Sea. He proposes that around 6100 BC a tsunami generated by a massive storegga off Norway reduced the then low-lying Dogger Bank to the impassable muddy shoals recorded by Plato!*He has suggested that the original Atlantis narrative, conveyed to Solon, was a mixture of an account of megalithic Ireland and a report of the inundation of Doggerland.*
Dr. Patrick Wallace, the Director of the National Museum of Ireland, declared that he was unaware of any archaeological evidence to support Erlingsson’s claims.
Nevertheless, Erlingsson has produced some interesting material on the bursting of glacial lakes or what are known in Iceland as jökulhlaups and their possible effect on the ending of the last Ice Age(c).
Georgeos Diaz–Montexano (1966- ) is the nom de plume of Cuban born Jorge Diaz Sanchez. He has been exploring off the coast of southern Spain and Gibraltar for evidence of Atlantis. He is the founder of the Civilisations Origins Scientific Society and is a leading advocate for the Afro-Iberian location theory. He contends that Atlantis was only partially submerged and that parts of it, which remained above water, are now to be found in south west Spain and northern Morocco.
Jacques Collina-Girard who, the following year also opted for the Strait of Gibraltar and more specifically Spartel Island mirrored Montexano’s theory on the location of Atlantis, first expressed publicly in April 2000. Intense rivalry exists between the two men as is evident from the content of Diaz-Montexano’s websites.
More recently Diaz-Montexano has also accused Dr. Rainer W. Kühne of plagiarism(a) and for good measure threw in a few unkind words about Robert Sarmast and his identification of Cyprus as the location of Atlantis. His online debates in various forums with other writers have been frequently marred by acrimony.
Diaz-Montexano has studied the earliest versions of the Atlantis story and published a considerable amount of controversial material on the Internet relating to the accuracy of the Platonic texts that we use today. Unfortunately, the English version of this work has been poorly translated from the Spanish leaving a monolingual such as myself unable to clearly understand what has been written. One of the most interesting comments(b) from Diaz-Montexano relate to his study of a 16th century translation of Critias that in his view indicate that 9,000 was NOT the number of years recorded by Solon. His firm conclusion is that Atlantis was destroyed between 1500BC and 1300BC.
Diaz-Montexano has also unearthed a number of ancient Spanish works including a Chronicle of Zaragoza that he maintains includes a number of obvious references to a Spanish connection with Atlantis(c) . Unfortunately, once again, the quality of his English makes any clear reading very difficult. The only ‘Chronicle of Zaragoza’ that I could locate was a two-page document covering the period 450–568 AD that is totally unrelated to the Atlantis question. Nevertheless, it does appear that he has discovered information that may have an important bearing on the resolution of the Atlantis mystery.
Without wishing to detract from any work that Diaz-Montexano has done, it may be no harm to point out that while he has been free with his accusations of plagiarism, he himself has been accused of fraudulently misleading the public regarding his academic qualifications(d).
In August 2012 he published the first volume of a large six-volume work, ATLANTIS <> TARTESSOS. AEGYPTIUS CODEX. Epítome de la Atlántida Histórico-Científica, devoted to arguing the case for a Iberian Atlantis. Unfortunately, this huge undertaking is only available, at least initially, in Castilian Spanish. This promises to be an important addition to Atlantean literature and Diaz-Montexano is to be congratulated for his efforts.
The first volume begins with a critical overview of recent Atlantis theories such as those of Robert Sarmast (Cyprus) and Ulf Erlingsson (Ireland) and then proceeds to analyse the texts of ancient writers wherever they refer directly or indirectly to Atlantis. He cites the original Greek texts together with a modern (Spanish) translation. This first volume is also available as an inexpensive (€1.95) Kindle ebook. July 2015 saw the publication of another Kindle book by Diaz-Montexano entitled ATLÁNTIDA Historia y Ciencia (Atlantis: History and Science) together with a synopsis online(e).
Late in 2016 will see the broadcasting of a new documentary by National Geographic concerning Atlantis in the Mediterranean. Diaz-Montexano has already been interviewed in connection with this production as has Robert Ishoy. The exact focus of the show, if there is one, is still unclear, but the involvement of James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici as co-producers has widely publicised.
In conjunction with the filming of the new NG documentary, Diaz-Montexano has decided to publish, in English, the details of his Atlantis studies over the past decades. Available is the introduction and outline of the new book(f), NG National Geographic and the scientific search for Atlantis published in January 2017, in both English and Spanish, to coincide with the airing of the documentary at the end of that month.
*(e) See: Archive 2579 (English & Spanish)
The Concentric Rings or other architectural features extracted by artists from Plato’s description of the capital of Atlantis have continually fascinated students of the story and many have attempted to link them with similar ancient features found elsewhere in the world as evidence of a widespread culture. Stonehenge, Old Owstrey, Carthage and Syracuse have all been suggested, but such comparisons have never been convincing. Diaz-Montexano has recently published(a) an image of a fragment of pottery found near Seville in Spain that shows concentric circles and insists that it is a symbol of Atlantis. Ulf Erlingsson has made a similar claim regarding some concentric circles carved on a stone basin found at Newgrange in Ireland.
In 1969 two commercial pilots, Robert Brush and Trigg Adams, photographed a series of large concentric circles in about three feet of water off the coast of Andros in the Bahamas. Estimates of the diameter of the circles range from 100 to 1,000 feet. Apparently, these rings are now covered by sand. It is hard to understand how such a feature in such very shallow water cannot be physically located and inspected. Richard Wingate in his book estimated the diameter at 1,000 yards. However, the rings described by Wingate were apparently on land, among Andros’ many swamps.
Two papers presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos describe how an asteroid impact could produce similar concentric rings, which if located close to a coast could be converted easily to a series of canals for seagoing vessels. The authors, Filippos Tsikalas, V.V. Shuvavlov and Stavros Papamarinopoulos gave examples of such multi-ringed concentric morphology resulting from asteroid impacts. Not only does their suggestion provide a rational explanation for the shape of the canals but would also explain the apparent over-engineering of those waterways.
At the same conference the late Ulf Richter presented his idea, which also suggests that the concentric rings around the centre of the Atlantis capital had a natural origin. Richter has proposed that the Atlantis rings were the result of the erosion of an elevated salt dome that had exposed alternating rings of hard and soft rock that could be adapted to provide the waterways described by Plato.
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has suggested that the ancient city under modern Jaen in Andalusia, Spain had a concentric layout similar to Plato’s description of Atlantis. In August 2016 archaeologists from the University of Tübingen revealed the discovery(i) of a Copper Age, Bell Beaker People site 50km east of Valencina near Seville, where the complex included a series of concentric earthwork circles.
A very impressive example of man-made concentric stone circles, know in Arabic as Rujm el-Hiri and in Hebrew as Gilgal Refaim(a), is to be found on the Golan Heights. It consists of four concentric walls with an outer diameter of 160metres. It has been dated to 3000-2700 BC and reputed to have been built by giants! Mercifully, nobody, has claimed any connection with Atlantis.That is until 2018, when Ryan Pitterson made just such a claim in his book, Judgement of the Nephilim.
Jim Allen in his latest book, Atlantis and the Persian Empire, devotes a well illustrated chapter to a discussion of a number of ‘circular cities’ that existed in ancient Persia and which some commentators claim were the inspiration for Plato’s description of the city of Atlantis. These include the old city of Firuzabad which was divided into 20 sectors by radial spokes as well as Ecbatana and Susa, both noted by Herodotus to have had concentric walls. Understandably, Allen, who promotes the idea of Atlantis in the Andes, has pointed out that many sites on the Altiplano have hilltops surrounded by concentric walls. However, as he seems to realise that to definitively link any of these locations with Plato’s Atlantis a large dollop of speculation was required.
Rodney Castleden compared the layout of Syracuse in Sicily with Plato’s Atlantis noting that the main city “had seen a revolution in its defensive works, with the building of unparalleled lengths of circuit walls punctuated by numerous bastions and towers, displaying the city-state’s power and wealth. The three major districts of the city, Ortygia, Achradina and Tycha, were surrounded by three separate circuit walls; Ortygia itself had three concentric walls, a double wall around the edge and an inner citadel”.[225.179]
Dale Drinnon has an interesting article(d) on the ‘rondels’ of the central Danubian region, which number about 200. Some of these Neolithic features have a lot in common with Plato’s description of the port city of Atlantis. The ubiquity of circular archaeological structures at that time is now quite clear, but they do not demonstrate any relationship with Atlantis.
The late Marcello Cosci based his Atlantis location on his interpretation aerial images of circular features on Sherbro Island, but as far as I can ascertain this idea has gained little traction.
One of the most remarkable natural examples of concentric features is to be found in modern Mauritania and known as the Richat Structure or Guelb er Richat. It is such a striking example that it is not surprising that some researchers have tried to link it with Atlantis. Robert deMelo and Jose D.C. Hernandez(o) are two advocates along with George S. Alexander & Natalis Rosen who were struck by the similarity of the Richat feature with Plato’s description and decided to investigate on the ground. Instability in the region prevented this until late 2008 when they visited the site, gathering material for a movie. The film was then finalised and published on their then newly established website in 2010(l), where the one hour video in support of their thesis can be freely downloaded(m).
In 2008, George Sarantitis put forward the idea that the Richat Structure was the location of Atlantis, supporting his contention with an intensive reappraisal of the translation of Plato’s text(n). He developed this further in his Greek language 2010 book, The Apocalypse of a Myth with an English translation currently in preparation.
However, Ulf Richter has pointed out that Richat is too wide (35 km), too elevated (400metres) and too far from the sea (500 km) to be seriously considered as the location of Atlantis.
A dissertation by Oliver D.Smith has suggested(e) the ancient site of Sesklo in Greece as the location of Atlantis, citing its circularity as an important reason for the identification. However, there are no concentric walls, the site is too small and most importantly, it’s not submerged. Smith later decided that the Atlantis story was a fabrication!(p)
In March 2015, the UK’s MailOnline published a generously illustrated article(g) concerning a number of sites with unexplained concentric circles in China’s Gobi Desert. The article also notes some superficial similarities with Stonehenge. I will not be surprised if a member of lunatic fringe concocts an Atlantis theory based on these images. (see right)
This obsession with concentricity has now extended to the interpretation of ancient Scandinavian armoury in particular items such as the Herzsprung Shield(c).
In 2011 Shoji Yoshinori offered the suggestion that Stonehenge was a 1/24th scale model of Atlantis(f). He includes a fascinating image in the pdf.
For my part, I wish to question Plato’s description of the layout of Atlantis’ capital city with its vast and perfectly engineered concentric alternating bands of land and sea. This is highly improbable as the layout of cities is invariably determined by the natural topography of the land available to it(h). Plato is describing a city designed by and for a god and his wife and as such his audience would expect it to be perfect and Plato did not let them down. I am therefore suggesting that those passages have been concocted within the parameters of ‘artistic licence’ and should be treated as part of the mythological strand in the narrative, in the same way that we view the ‘reality’ of Clieto’s five sets of male twins or even the physical existence of Poseidon himself.
Furthermore, Plato was a follower of Pythagoras, who taught that nothing exists without a centre, around which it revolves(k). A concept which may have inspired him to include it in his description of Poseidon’s Atlantis.
(d) See: Archive 3595
(e) http://academia.edu/3507001/Atlantis_as_Sesklo (now offline)
(n) http://platoproject.gr/system-wheels/ http://platoproject.gr/page13.html (offline Nov.2015)