Smith, Oliver D.
Oliver D. Smith studied Classics at Roehampton University and is currently studying archaeology at the Oxford Learning College. In May 2013, he published his BA dissertation, entitled Atlantis as Sesklo, as an ebook. Smith is currently revising his hypothesis and has also developed his own website. (This is now offline)
Smith devoted the initial part of his paper to a review of the interpretation of the Atlantis story by euhemerists since the time of Plato. Having briefly, and I might say dismissively, dealt with some modern theories, and then began to unveil a new hypothesis. Firstly, he proceeded to ignore archaeological opinion and support the early date for the existence of Atlantis. He also argued that Atlantis was destroyed by the flood that occurred during the reign of the Pelasgian king Ogyges.
Smith daringly suggested that the inspiration for the Atlantean capital was Sesklo, an ancient site situated north of Athens near modern Volos.
Although Smith has obviously researched his subject, I cannot agree with his conclusion, which I consider somewhat speculative. Apart from taking issue with the early date for Atlantis, Plato described the Atlantean attack as coming from the west, not the north. Furthermore, Sesklo is certainly not submerged and the site is too small to match Plato’s description of the city.
He also contended that the claim by Plato that Atlantis was ‘greater than Libya and Asia combined’ was in fact a reference to the extreme age of Atlantis!(c)
On March 14th, 2014, Smith announced(b) that “I have now closed my blog, and removed my research to work on a new project which will take many years (I will be working on a proper book covering the literary genre and origin of Atlantis). Personally, I think the Atlantis community has too many location hypotheses and not enough material put out exploring Plato’s dialogues etc and Atlantis in general in detail.” He expanded on this in a later article.(f)
Nevertheless, Smith did return to the Atlantis question in May 2016 and declared his belief that Plato’s account was a complete fiction!(d) Readers may be interested in reading other blogs by Smith as they touch on other matters that relate to Atlantis studies such as the Pillars of Heracles and the etymology of ‘Atlantis’.
In 2020 he published a paper attacking the Minoan Hypothesis and continuing his attack on what he claims is Plato’s fictional account of Atlantis.(g)
Perhaps more relevant to an assessment of Smith’s reliability is a review of his, meandering, tortured intellectual journey to date(e).
In January 2022, Smith, who is unhappy with Hisarlik as the location of Troy and dissatisfied with alternatives proposed by others has now proposed a Bronze Age site, Yenibademli Höyük, on the Aegean island of Imbros(h). His paper was published in the Athens Journal of History (AJH).
(c) The Size of Atlantis: A New Interpretation (link broken)