John C. Saxer Jr. (1950- ) a.k.a. Prince Johannes Christian von Sax is
a bartender, bicycle mechanic and amateur archaeologist. In recent years he has insisted that Florida’s Tarpon Springs was the location of the Garden of Eden and that the port of Atlantis had been situated along Tampa Bay. He claims to have discovered large stone anchors which he believes were used in his Atlantis. After attempting to interest mainstream archaeologists in his discovery he finally got the attention of William Donato, best known for his research at Bimini. Donato was impressed by the size of the ‘anchors’ which he stated were similar to anchors found at Bimini and elsewhere. However, Donato does not subscribe to Saxer’s Eden or Atlantis theories(a).
William Michael Donato is an American archaeologist who holds an MA in anthropology and is a regular contributor to the Ancient American and Atlantis Rising magazines and is an advocate of a Bimini location for Atlantis. He was the founder of The Atlantis Organisation (TAO) whose work is now continued by the Apex Institute(a), which was established in 2001 to investigate sites in the Bahamas and other places around the world that might provide evidence of ancient advanced civilizations.
As of November 2016, I can find no trace of the Apex Institute apart from a website(b) with a bald mission statement.! Donato is also Archaeology Coordinator for the Genesis Quest network(c).
Donato’s Master’s Thesis was entitled A Re-examination of the Atlantis Theory. Donato was a member of the 2005 team of researchers who claim to have found definitive evidence of two submerged ancient harbours off Bimini.
Donato advises me that his “November 2006 expedition verified side-scan sonar images from 1998 and 1999. The ARE and my friends Greg and Lora Little have verified some of the targets, but no one has yet looked at the best ones — which resemble Maya-style temple pyramids. According to Greg’s account, one area has 35 building foundations in the target area of my side-scan sub-bottom profiling expedition.”
(a) http://apexinstitute.org/Home.aspx (offline May2015)
The Bimini Road/Wall is located in about ten feet of water off Paradise Point on Bimini Island in the Bahamas. It was investigated in 1968 by Dr. J. Manson Valentine, Jacques Mayol, Harold Climo and Robert Angove. The discovery coincided with the ‘prophecy’ of Edgar Cayce, the American psychic, who pronounced in 1933 that parts of Atlantis would re-emerge in the late 1960’s. His exact words are recorded as: “A portion of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages and sea water near Bimini. Expect it in ‘68 or ‘69 – not so far away.”
A comparable alignment of blocks in 22 metres of water was found off the coast of Lanzarote in the Canaries and originally reported in the Belgian magazine Kadath in 1987 and noted in the Science Frontiers website(d).
Naturally, there was intense media interest and the idea of Atlantis in the Americas was given a new lease of life. Unfortunately, the exact nature of this unusual ‘J’ shaped feature was fiercely debated and controversy continues to this day. Eugene A. Shinn, a geologist and devout sceptic, has offered(a) a more critical interpretation of the Bimini discoveries. Greg Little offered a vigorous refutation of Shinn’s claims in an article in the May/June 2006 edition of Atlantis Rising magazine. Little continued his criticism of Shinn in a 2017 article(e).
Without wishing to rain on anybody’s parade it should be pointed out that Manson Valentine was a fan of Cayce’s and as a consequence it has sometimes been inferred that the date of his discovery might have been engineered to agree with Cayce’s prediction and enhance the subsequent publicity. Lynn Picknett & Clive Prnce have pointed out[705.61] that the Bimini Road was known to the local islanders for years and even offered to show it to its ‘discoverers’!
A local Bimini writer and healer, Ashley B. Saunders, has produced a definitive two-volume history of the island as well as a book on Atlantis. Saunders has been described as “the gatekeeper of Atlantis”(c).
The most recent study of structures off the coast of Bimini by a team that included Greg Little and William Donato in 2005 and 2006, when Andrew Collins joined them, has produced evidence of ancient harbours that are now submerged at two locations. They also discovered a number of stone anchors, now in the Bimini Museum. However, acceptance of the reality of this evidence is a long way from proving any connection with Atlantis.
Gavin Menzies speculated, in his book 1421, he speculated that the Chinese fleet suffered damage during a storm and landed at Bimini where they used their large square ballast stones to build an emergency drydock, the remains of which is now the Bimini Road!
A YouTube film including an interview with Greg Little is worth viewing(b).*Less interesting is a new documentary from Amazon Prime, aided and abetted by the UK’s Daily Express, which has apparently resurrected some interest in the Atlantis – Bimini connection(f).*