Graham Hancock the well-known investigator of prehistoric mysteries has never discussed the Atlantis enigma in depth. In fact, he once remarked on BBC Television that he avoids using the word ‘Atlantis’ in his books “because most people when they hear the word Atlantis immediately think that they’re dealing with the lunatic fringe”.
Furthermore, he emphasises the potential value of myths as transmitters of historical facts, albeit distorted.
In his 1995 tome on civilisations submerged at the end of the last Ice Age, Fingerprints of the Gods [275.462] he briefly discusses the subject of Atlantis. He accepted that the Atlantic was not harbouring any lost continent, although he was seeking a continental-sized home for his vanished civilisation. Paul Heinrich has posted a review(v) of ‘Fingerprints’.
Similarly, in his earlier work, The Sign and the Seal [678.319], Hancock had clearly discounted the Atlantic as the home of Atlantis. At this point, he appeared to be considering the Antarctic location proposed by the Flem-Aths.
His book, Underworld  was published in 2002 and was followed by a TV programme, Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, which was based on it. The latter evoked a highly critical review(s) from N.C. Flemming, who has written widely on maritime matters including sea-level changes and sunken cities . Hancock wrote an equally strong response(r) to this.
Hancock maintains an interesting website(a) that is regularly updated with contributions from a wide range of contributors. His bestselling Fingerprints of the Gods is now available online(b).
The other side of the coin is that Hancock’s evidence supporting his theories has been heavily criticised as flawed(g) and misleadingly presented(h).
Hancock “ regularly draws attention to what he considers mystical relationships between the Great Pyramid of Giza and the radius, circumference, and axial precession of the earth…….. Proponents of these “mystical” relationships contend, in addition to existing in the first place, that the relationships must be purposeful and therefore provide direct evidence of advanced capabilities in technology, mathematics, and precise astronomical observing techniques that scholars have long asserted were not available to humans when the pyramids were constructed.” These are among the opening remarks by Thomas W. Schroeder, who published two papers in 2019 criticising Hancock’s scholarship.(y-z)
>E.J. de Meester who proposed an English location for Atlantis, before his website went offline, was critical of Graham Hancock’s hyperdiffusionist concept of Atlantis commenting that “In 1999 Discovery Channel broadcast a three-part series called ‘Quest for the lost Civilisation’.In it, Graham Hancock stated that the pyramids, Angkor Vat, Stonehenge, the stones of Carnac, the Nazca lines, temples in Mexico and the statues of Easter Island were all part of an ancient global civilisation of seafarers who were apparently obsessed by astrology. The temples of Angkor Vat (in Cambodia) were said to be built in the shape of the zodiac sign Draco, the pyramids of Gizeh in the shape of Sirius; the Sphinx is supposed to be looking at the sign of Leo. It’s all rather vague. Hard to say whether it’s nonsense or not. More information can be found in Hancock’s books, like ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ and ‘Heaven’s Mirror’  .” De Meester’s comments are still (2023) available on the archive.org website(ar).
For my part, I consider this hodgepodge of locations presented by Hancock as parts of his global civilisation to be utter nonsense. The sites listed above have little in common; Carnac and Stonehenge are probably the only two that might be considered to be related. Perhaps the most obvious weakness in his claim is the fact that some of the sites are separated by millennia. Easter Island, Angor Wat and Nazca were developed long after Atlantis was submerged<.
Further criticism of Hancock’s scholarship has come from Garrett Fagan, particularly in relation to his comments regarding Antarctica.(aa)
Jason Colavito has written(c) a critical review of Hancock’s work and his recent advocacy “for ayahuasca, a South American hallucinogen. Since taking the drug for his 2005 book Supernatural, Hancock has supported the concept that mind-altering substances give their users access to a spirit world where one can commune directly with the ‘gods’.”
In April 2015, Hancock was due to engage in a debate with Zahi Hawass on the subject of their conflicting views of ancient history. However, when Hawass saw that Hancock included an image of Robert Bauval in his presentation, he refused to continue with the arranged format(d)(t).
In September 2015, Hancock published his, Magicians of the Gods , which worryingly sounds like a von Däniken book title! Already, he is trailing this publication with teasers, such as a claim that he has finally identified the ‘smoking gun’ that demonstrates that a cometary impact destroyed an advanced civilisation in the Antarctic 12,800 years ago(e) Shortly after the initial report was published, Hancock had to correct errors in it(f), the principal one being that the impact site was the North American ice cap NOT Antarctica. An interview with Hancock shortly before the publication of ‘Magicians’(n) is online as is also a review of the book itself(o). A full-length video lecture based on the book is available online(x).
Hancock also climbed aboard the Gobekli Tepe bandwagon, incorporating it along with Noah’s Ark and Atlantis into one narrative(p).
Hancock’s book also engages in scaremongering, with a sales-boosting prediction that an asteroid impact is possible in 2030 when the Earth once again enters the orbit of the remains of Encke’s Comet!
Jason Colavito’s critical review of ‘Magicians‘ is now online(j). A more favourable evaluation of his book is now available from Dr Jon Epstein of Greensboro College, who expresses some interesting views on the closed-mindedness of many academics(k). Epstein’s review prompted further comments from Colavito(l). Following correspondence between Epstein and Colavito, additional claims of academic conspiracy to block Hancock have emerged.
Michael Shermer, a professional sceptic, attacked Hancock’s ‘Magicians’ in a Scientific American article arguing first of all that, “no matter how devastating an extraterrestrial impact might be, are we to believe that after centuries of flourishing, every last tool, potsherd, article of clothing, and, presumably from an advanced civilization, writing, metallurgy and other technologies—not to mention trash—was erased? Inconceivable.” (ab)
Hancock recently received the endorsement of the South African Professor of Philosophy, Bert Olivier, which swiftly produced a response from Colavito(q).
Hancock’s next book, America Before, published in April 2019, proposes that North America was inhabited 130,000 years ago and was home to an advanced civilisation that was destroyed by a cometary impact at the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 10,000 BC. The fact that this is contradicted by Plato does not seem to bother him. Hancock proposed cometary impact damage as the cause of Atlantis’ demise, Plato says flooding. I would prefer Plato’s account as he was nearly two and a half millennia nearer the event. Hancock claims that Atlantean survivors spread their alleged high-tech civilisation around the world. Plato does not describe Atlantis as any more advanced than any other culture. Hancock offers no tangible evidence for his claim.
When asked what he meant by ‘advanced’ Hancock revealed(u) that “I think we’re talking about a civilization – more than 12,000 years ago – which was as advanced as our civilization was, say in the late 18th century or early 19th century. In other words, they could navigate the world, they could explore the world, they could measure the world accurately, they had precise astronomy, they could create beautiful maps that were accurate in terms of latitude and longitude. That kind of level of civilization.”
In late 2022, Hancock had a TV series entitled Ancient Apocalypse transmitted on Netflix. It was, of course, joyously greeted by his fans, but received more muted reviews in other quarters(ad). Not unexpectedly Jason Colavito(af) and Thorwald C. Franke (Newsletter 206)(ae). Murdoch’s The Sun tabloids offered a voice(ac) for the cries of protest from academics. It appears that the series has been used as a multi-episode aggressive rant against conventional archaeology. Perhaps it was just the ayahuasca speaking.
In response, this week (Dec.2, 2022), the Society for American Archaeology published an open letter(ah) to Netflix and the television production house ITN requesting that they re-classify its new series Ancient Apocalypse as a work of fiction rather than a docuseries(ag). Eventually, Hancock responded with a lengthy article(al) described by Jason Colavito as ‘hysterical’(am), but in my view, it contains many interesting points.
The uproar over the Hancock-Netflix series continues unabated with Colavito offering the following addition to his website(ai) and a longer piece on The New Republic website(aj); “It has also sparked unparalleled outrage from archaeologists and journalists, resulting in dozens of think pieces decrying the show’s many false claims and illogical arguments, analyzing its racist implications, and declaring the series everything from “fishy” to the “most dangerous” show on Netflix. “Why has this been allowed?” asked Britain’s The Guardian. The answer to that seemed pretty obvious: Hancock’s son, Sean Hancock, is Netflix’s senior manager for unscripted originals.”
The Guardian newspaper (UK) took another perceived aspect of the series to accuse “Hancock – who describes himself as a journalist presumably to avoid being called a pseudo-scientist” – of taking “the story to a new controversial level in suggesting that survivors of such a deluge were the instigators of the great works of other civilisations, from Egypt to Mexico and Turkey to Indonesia. As (Flint) Dibble states, such claims reinforce white supremacist ideas. ‘They strip indigenous people of their rich heritage and instead give credit to aliens or white people.’ In short, the series promotes ideas of ‘race science’ that are outdated and long since debunked.”(ak).
On April 2023, Jason Colavito reported(an) “In a surprise move, Graham Hancock pulled out of June’s Cosmic Summit, a meeting of catastrophists in support of the theory that a comet hit the Earth at the end of the last Ice Age and destroyed a high-tech lost civilization. Atlantis speculator Jimmy Corsetti, who was also scheduled to speak, also said he would not be attending. Corsetti claimed he had been ‘removed’ against his will from the list of speakers, leaving the conference in chaos.” There is some suggestion that problems arose over a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Hancock offered the following explanation on his website(ao) “Serious concerns have been brought to my attention that has caused me to lose confidence in the fundamental philosophy and direction of this conference.”
In June 2023, Michael Shermer published an article in Skeptic magazine that attacked Hancock’s theories generally and the 2022 Netflix series in particular(ap).
The Netflix episode dealing with the Maltese megaliths has drawn criticism from archaeologists in Malta, one of whom appeared briefly in the episode and later implied that her appearance was “manipulated to suit the narrative that the series is trying to push.” (aq)
(o) Archive 2904
(al) Response by Graham Hancock (GH) to the open letter to Netflix dated 30th November 2022 from the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) concerning the eight-part docuseries Ancient Apocalypse presented by Graham Hancock – Graham Hancock Official Website
(ap) Skeptic » Reading Room » Alternative Civilization and Its Discontents: An Analysis of the Alternative Archaeologist Graham Hancock’s Claim That an Ancient Apocalypse Erased the Lost Civilization of Atlantis