Xaverio Ballester is a Spanish linguist and a professor at the University of Valencia. He is a leading proponent of Paleolithic Continuity Paradigm or PCP), which suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) can be traced back to the Upper Paleolithic, several millennia earlier than the Chalcolithic or at the most Neolithic estimates in other scenarios of Proto-Indo-European origins.(a)
He has written on the subject of Atlantis in a paper on the Academia.edu website(b). He discusses the Pillars of Heracles at some length noting that “it is also hardly credible that for the distant Greek world the expression arose precisely from the reference to a strait, that of Gibraltar, which the Greeks must not have known more or less directly, at the earliest, until the end of the 2nd millennium BC, a time that must also be well after the emergence of traditions about Heracles. The corollary of all this is the inevitable suspicion that other older Heracles columns, perhaps the original ones, must have stood much closer to Athens, much closer to Greece.”
He suggests the Dardanelles as the possible location of the Pillars, with Atlantis in Anatolia along with the perimeter of the Black Sea.
The Luwians according to the excellent Luwian Studies website(a) were “the people who lived in western Asia Minor during the 2nd millennium BCE between the Mycenaeans in Greece and the Hittites in Central Anatolia.” The Luwian city of Troy have been controversially linked with Atlantis by Eberhard Zangger, who has gone further and proposed that some of the petty kingdoms in the Luwian territory were part of the ‘Sea Peoples’.
Zangger’s claimed that a Luwian linkage with the Sea Peoples had been strongly supported by the work of British archaeologist, James Mellaart (1925-2012). However, after Mellaart’s death it was found that he had supported much of what he wrote with forged documents. Zangger has offered the sequence of events that led to this discovery and points out that his Sea Peoples theory predates his involvement with Mellart(b).
Enrique Onffroy de Thoron was a French aristocrat whose family fled their homeland following the French Revolution(a). He was not Brazilian as claimed by Alexander Braghine. He travelled the world eventually settling in South America where he studied the language of the indigenous people of Peru. He later returned to France where he published the results of his research.
He believed that Atlantis was Phoenician and situated in America. According to Braghine, Onffroy de Thoron claimed that the Atlanteans along with the Andean Quichua tribe invaded Europe! Among his other strange conclusions (or should that be delusions?) was that the Carians of western Anatolia (Turkey) had populated the south-western shores of South America and that a Carian dynasty had once ruled in Quito (Ecuador)!
Eberhard Zangger was born in Switzerland in 1958. He is a geoarchaeologist who has written a number of books and articles on ancient civilisation. He is the leading proponent of the controversial idea that Troy and Atlantis are the same. In 1989, he initially advanced the idea while working for Cambridge University. Shortly afterwards his views were published in English as The Flood From Heaven.
It seems rather odd to me that Zangger ended this book with eight counter-arguments and shortcomings relating to his thesis. Whether this was an expression of open-mindedness or doubt, I shall leave others to decide.
He followed that a decade later with a second book that in part returns to the subject. In The Future of the Past Zangger matches a range of features in the Atlantis narrative with the available description of Troy. He then describes how he applied an objective statistical analysis system known as a ‘Monte-Carlo Method’, to these matching details, as well as those of other popular theories, and found that his theory, which situates Atlantis at Troy, scored the highest probability rating as its location. While I do not doubt the neutrality of the system’s results, I would have some misgivings regarding the objectivity of the data entered, a view supported by Zangger himself. For example, if Zangger has entered the location of the Pillars of Heracles as the Dardanelles and ignores the Straits of Messina and Gibraltar, then the results must be considered biased. Consequently, I would suggest that the exercise be repeated by a number of disinterested mathematicians and then collate their results.
*Zangger claims that Plato’s Atlantis narrative is a distorted recollection of the Trojan War, including the earthquake and sudden flooding of Mycenaean Tiryns around 1200 BC morphing into the demise of Atlantis(k). However, the Tiryns inundation is just one of a number of other flooded Greek cities, such as Helike or Atalanta that are also claimed as the inspiration for Plato’s flooded Atlantis.*
Zangger points out that the library of books and articles relating to Atlantis all stem from two excerpts from Plato’s Dialogues that amount to no more than 6,000 words, many of which he claims to be mistranslated.
There is a scholarly critique of Zangger’s work by Edmund F. Bloedow to be found on the Internet(a).
Zangger has also entered the debates surrounding the Sea Peoples. He contends that their movements were unrelated to climate change as suggested by some. His views on the subject have been contested(d).
Zangger together with archaeologist Serdal Mutlu have investigated the little known ancient Luwian civilisation of Anatolia. They believe “that Trojans and many of the people who sided with the Trojans in the Trojan War were Luwians.” They also claim that remains of Troy has even lower levels still unexcavated(b). A website devoted to the subject is available(c).
Zangger has now expanded further on the subject with the publication The Luwian Civilisation, which bears the subtitle of The Missing Link in the Aegean Bronze Age. In the book [p.20] he makes the interesting point that “Sea Peoples with feather crowns bear the name Tekker, which is reminiscent of ‘Teucer’, a term commonly used for the Trojans after 1200 BCE.”
In May 2016, Zangger, President of Luwian Studies, introduced the results of recent investigation of the Luwian speaking peoples, who now appear to have been an alliance of small independent states in Turkey, west of the Hittite Empire.
Zangger also adds a video clip(e) in which he compares a history of the Trojan War by the 13th century Italian writer, Guido de Columnis, with Homer’s account. Some aspects of Guido’s description of the city of Troy are evocative of Plato’s description of Atlantis (f).
Zangger’s proposed ancient conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean was reported in New Scientist (i) and dubbed ‘World War Zero’, a soundbite that attracted wider media attention(j).
(d) See: Archive 2681
Keftiu and biblical Caphtor, which means ‘pillar’ in Hebrew, are usually considered to refer to the same place. It is implied in Jeremiah 47.4 that Caphtor was an island. There is also a number of commentators, including a Bruce Wayne(d) and Alex Hawk(e), who take Keftiu to be another name for Minoan Crete and equate it with Atlantis. Robert Ishoy considers nuragic Sardinia as Keftiu/Atlantis(b).
Some others have been in favour of identifying Keftiu with Cyprus among whom Immanuel Velikovsky argued that if Cyprus was not Keftiu, then it is the only island of any importance in the eastern Mediterranean not mentioned by the Egyptians. However, the corollary of that is that if Crete was not Keftiu, then it is the only large island in the Eastern Mediterranean not mentioned by the Egyptians!
Caphtor/Keftiu: A New Investigation by John Strange also supports this identification with Cyprus.
Walter Baucum claimed that “Keftiu was the coastline from Tyre northwards to Anatolia, and included the islands of Crete and Cyprus[183.107]. Manuel Robbins has concluded[856.336] that the most likely location for Keftiu was either Cyprus, Syria or Eastern Anatolia, but that it is essentially a mystery.
Although Plato was the first to use the term “Atlantis”, there are antecedents to his legend of a drowned civilisation. There is an Egyptian legend, which Solon probably heard while travelling in Egypt, and was passed down to Plato years later. It concerns the island nation of Keftiu, home to one of the four pillars that held up the sky. It was said to be a glorious advanced civilization, which was destroyed and sank beneath the ocean. It has been suggested that Plato embellished Solon’s story from “the land of the four pillars that held up the sky” into “the land of the Titan, Atlas, who held up the sky”. The Egyptian legend refers to an island west of Egypt, but not necessarily west of the Mediterranean. It may be relevant to point here that Crete is more northerly of Egypt whereas some of the suggested Atlantis locations such as the Maltese Islands or Sardinia are in fact located westward.
It seems that the debate(a) regarding the identification of Keftiu is set to continue for some time.
*Muddying the waters further is a serious claim of a Minoan connection with Japan(c) with a particular reference to Linear A!*
The Etruscans were an ancient people of Etruria (now Tuscany) in Italy. They occupied an area somewhere between Rome and Florence from the 8th century BC until incorporated in the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC. They do not appear to have been particularly expansionist as the only Etruscan settlement on Sardinia, which was not discovered until our 21st century, on the Tavolara isle off the coast near Olbia(o).
It is thought that they originally came from Asia Minor before 800 BC, a suggestion that originated with Herodotus. This view has been given recent (2007) support by the results of DNA studies carried out at Pavia University. Another study of Etruscan mtDNA estimated “that the genetic links between Tuscany and Anatolia date back to at least 5,000 years ago, strongly suggesting that the Etruscan culture developed locally, and not as an immediate consequence of immigration from the Eastern Mediterranean shores.” (e).
Stefan Anitei supports an Anatolian, or more specifically a Lydian, origin for the Etruscans, citing a “ A recent (2007) DNA analysis showed that (the Bos Taurus) cattle in central Italy seem indeed to have originated in modern Turkey and Middle East. As there is no link between these cattle and others from other European regions, they must have entered the peninsula by sea.” (n).
Some decades ago Professor Licinio Glori also supported an eastern Mediterranean origin for the Etruscans(i). However, he has also claimed a common origin for the peoples of the Americas and Europe, including Etruscans, without identifying this shared ancestry(j).
It has also been suggested that the Etruscan culture has shown distinctive Indian influences.(l)
Until their written language can be translated there will remain an air of mystery about them. Even then because of the paucity of material available in their language, it is probable that little will be gleaned from it. Mark Cartwright’s excellent site has further information on the Etruscan script(k) and many articles on different aspects of Etruscan culture. A 2016 report(h) revealed the discovery of a stele which has at least 70 legible Etruscan letters and punctuation marks on it. Hopefully, this find will help to advance the translation of this language.
The site of the ancient city of Chiusi has been assumed by some to be the location of Clusium, the capital of the Etruscan king, Lars Porsena. This suggestion is based on the fact that the two names mean the same, namely ‘closed’. However, Giuseppe Centauro believes that he has found the real Clusium near Florence where he identified two concentric walls about 10 miles in circumference. The extensive walls have resonances with Plato’s description of Atlantis. If he is correct, Clusium may at one time have been the biggest city in Italy(f). Centauro is currently seeking permission to excavate there.
At Orvieto nearly 100km north of Rome, Professor Simonetta Stopponi is investigating the possible location of the Fanum Voltumnae, where the leaders of the Etruscan city-states met every year to discuss policy. This meeting has also got echoes of the regular meeting of the kings of the Atlantean federation.
It is worth highlighting that Tyrrhenia, the Greek name for Etruria, is one of the few places whose location is not disputed and is mentioned by Plato as bordering (Critias 114c & Timaeus 25b) Atlantean territory. It is therefore reasonable to expect that south of Etruria on mainland Italy that some remnants of Atlantis may yet be identified.
In his recent book Richard W. Welch is quite happy to designate the Etruscans as “the last Atlanteans of which we have much knowledge”. Frank Joseph echoed the same idea, writing that “the Etruscans were themselves nothing more than the late Atlanteans who colonised western Italy, so their surviving material culture offers us a glimpse of Atlantis at is cultural height.”[636.21]
In 1962, the French linguist, Maurice Guignard, claimed to have deciphered the Etruscan language and also suggested that the Etruscans might have come from Atlantis. Such comments conflict with Plato’s account, which clearly locates the territory of the Atlanteans separate from and further south than that of the Etruscans.
The internet offers a valuable site(a) giving a good overview of the Etruscans including a valuable bibliography and collection of related weblinks.
Another mystery relating to the Etruscans concerns an Egyptian mummy, which was bought in Alexandria and brought to Europe in the mid-19th century. When it was eventually unwrapped Etruscan writing was discovered on the linen!(q)(r)
The controversial Italian researcher, Dr. Mario Gattoni Celli, writing in the 1960’s proposed that the Etruscans had voyaged to South America, basing his opinion on linguistic and other cultural similarities. This view is apparently supported by Diodorus Siculus (History, Book V, 19+) who refers to the ‘Tyrrhenians’ setting up a colony on an island, with navigable rivers, at a great distance from the inhabited world(c). Adding some confusion to this is the claim that Old World languages had migrated FROM the Americas!!(d) Alf Bajocco wrote a piece in Sykes’ Atlantis magazine on Celli’s ideas(c).
The most exotic suggestion regarding the Etruscans comes from Xavier Séguin who has claimed that they share a common ancestry with the Yoruba of West Africa, having both originated in Atlantis(m) ! Séguin quotes the work of Leo Frobenius in support of this contention, highlighting the significance of the number sixteen in both cultures.
(c) Atlantis, Vol 19. No.1, Feb/Mar 1966
(i) St. Petersburg Times. Nov. 25 1957
(p) Atlantis, Vol.19, No.3, May/June 1966
Copper was obviously a vital commodity for the Bronze Age Atlantis described by Plato. The source of this copper has led to frequent speculation among Atlantologists. Frank Joseph proposed that copper was the foundation for the wealth of Atlantis. He is convinced that there is evidence of enormous copper mining activities in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula around 1000 BC. He refers to these miners as Atlanteans and maintains that the extracted copper was brought to the Mediterranean, claiming that there is no trace of it in North America!
Joseph’s wild claim runs counter to the evidence offered by one of the leading mining engineers of his day, T.A. Rickard (1864-1953)(m). In 1934, Rickard published an extensive paper in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland entitled The Use of Native Copper by the Indigenes of North America (n). Rickard notes how early European colonists observed the native Americans using copper for tools and ornaments. A more recent entry(o) in Wikipedia offers further details reinforcing Rickard’s contention.
In another article in Atlantis Rising magazine Joseph proposed that the exploitation of the Michigan copper began in the sixth millennium BC with the arrival of the Red Paint People from Europe!(i)
J.S. Wakefield has written an extensive article(j) linking the Michigan mines with Poverty Point in Louisiana, where, he contends that, the copper was cast into oxhide ingots. In the same article he identified the Sea Peoples as the Atlanteans and their allies. In another paper(q) he presents a case for identifying the copper oxhide ingots discovered in the Late Bronze Age Uluburun shipwreck found of Turkey as originating in Michigan. He bases his claim on the unusual 99.5% purity of these copper ingots, which he claims is only to be found in the Great Lakes mines. Wakefield is co-author with Reinoud de Jonge of Rocks & Rows: Sailing Routes Across the Atlantic and the Copper Trade .
Roger Jewell has written an important book on this same historical mystery but dates the early mining to 2500 BC and estimates the quantity of copper mined at 20 million pounds. Jewell offers a range of evidence that point to Minoan traders, an idea taken up recently by Gavin Menzies, who quotes estimates of between three and five hundred million pounds, while others have suggested as much as 1.5 billion pounds have been extracted. These wild speculations have been derided by commentators such as Jason Colavito(b).
Dale Drinnon has an extensive entry on the Michigan copper mines on his wide-ranging website(c). Philip Coppens also wrote a speculative article on the possible part that Michigan’s copper plated in global trade around 3000 BC(g).
The America Unearthed TV series, presented by Scott Wolter, also examined the idea of Minoans mining in Michigan (S1 E3). Jason Colavito wrote a highly critical review of the episode(k), while an even more extensive critique can be found on the Archyfantasies.com website(l).
It is claimed that the local Indians have folk-memories of the mines being worked by ‘light-skinned’ men, suggesting a possible European or Mediterranean connection. Frank Joseph implies that these natives had little interest in copper although one of the cultures in the Great Lakes region were known as the Old Copper Indian because of their extensive use of copper for weapons, tools and ornaments(h). Furthermore as early as 1585 British settlers on Roanoke Island noted that the indigenous people there put a high value on copper.
A more conventional analysis of the Michigan copper mining mystery is presented by local archaeologists. They point out that the views of commentators such as Frank Joseph are very generous with speculation but somewhat mean with evidence. Dr. Susan R. Martin of Michigan Technological University has published a point by point refutation(a) of the many wild claims that have been made about the Michigan mines in The Michigan Archaeologist [41 (2-3) p119-138. June-September 1995].
Even more extreme was the suggestion made by Reinoud M. de Jonge in a 2009 paper(e) where he boldly claimed “that during the whole period of the (Michigan) copper trade, America was part of the Egyptian Empire” and during the Old Kingdom “this huge empire was known as Atlantis”! De Jonge expanded on this in a 2012 paper, justifying his claims with an incredibly detailed interpretation of the Phaistos Disk, which appears to be highly speculative(p).
In the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, taking its name from copper, provided much of that metal, which enabled the development of the Bronze Age there. In the central and Western Mediterranean ancient copper mines have been identified in Iberia, Morocco and Sardinia as well as sources of tin. However, an 1982 paper(f) claimed that Laurion in Attica, Greece was equally as important as Cyprus as a source of Bronze Age copper.
The earliest known metal mine in the British Isles was on Ross Island , near Killarney in Ireland. Copper was mined there from 2400 BC until 1900 BC(d) and the site is thought to have been the principal source of the metal for the two islands at that time.
Supporters of an earlier date for Atlantis can point to evidence of worked metal around 9000 BC discovered in Anatolia, Turkey. More recently there were metal beads discovered in Bulgaria tentatively dated to 6000 BC.
(a) See Archive 2547
(c) See: Archive 3597
(g) See Archive 2724
(i) See Archive 3389
Obsidian is a glassy rock produced as a consequence of rhyolitic volcanic eruptions. It was highly prized during the Stone Age when it was found to produce good sharp edges, suitable for tools and weapons, when fractured. Michael Grant remarked ”it is the first traded substance of which there are material remains”.
Recent excavations in Northern Israel have revealed the use of obsidian tools over six thousand years ago(e). The nearest source of obsidian was Anatolia, so these pre-Canaanite people must have had trade links that extended at least that far.
In 2011 it was reported(b) that a new technique, which permitted the dating of obsidian, revealed that the Greek island of Melos saw the mining of obsidian as early as 15,000 years ago and its exportation throughout the Aegean and beyond, which also is evidence of extensive marine travel at that early date. However, 13,000 BC saw sea levels much lower than at present, as the Ice Age glaciation was still in place. This would have led to greater land exposure in the Aegean with shorter distances between islands, which were easily crossed with relatively primitive boats.
Massimo Rapisarda has noted that the only obsidian west of the Aegean in the Mediterranean, is to be found in the Central region on the islands of Lipari, Palmarola, Pantelleria and Sardinia(g) . A graduate thesis(f) by Barbara A. Vargo, explores in detail the characteristics, history and distribution of Pantellerian obsidian.
Robert Ishoy who advocates a Sardinian location for Atlantis suggested(a) that obsidian, “commonly used on ancient Sardinia” was in fact the mysterious orichalcum referred to by Plato. On the other hand. Christian and Siegfried Schoppe, who support a Black Sea location also identify obsidian as orichalcum. This is quite improbable, as obsidian would not easily lend itself to being used as a wall cladding. This idea is even more impractical than Jürgen Spanuth’s proposal that orichalcum was a reference to amber. Apart from that orichalcum was described by Plato (Critias 116b-d) as a metal not rock.
Dr. Ellery Frahm at the University of Sheffield has now developed a method whereby a piece of obsidian can be traced, not only to a particular volcano, but to a specific quarry at the volcano(c).
In September 2013 Frahm revealed(d) that a new technique had been developed that permits the sourcing of obsidian artefacts in just 10 seconds.