2200 BC is frequently referred to as a time of great social and political upheaval in the Mediterranean and what used to be called the Near East.
The Bronze Age in the Mediterranean region saw two periods of great political turbulence, the first, around 2200 BC and the second a millennium later, generally known as the Bronze Age Collapse.
In 2001 Professor Fekri Hassan, from University College London, studied ancient reports that so many people had died from hunger in southern Egypt that people had resorted to cannibalism. Hassan found evidence of extreme weather conditions around 2200 BC both in Egypt and further afield from a study of cores from ancient lakes(c).
According to some commentators, the Los Millares culture also ended around the same time. W. Sheppard Baird in a paper on the Sea Peoples maintains that the Los Millares culture lasted until 2200 BC and was succeeded by the Argaric named after the el Argar site.
The Oera Linda Book puts the destruction of Atlantis circa 2200 BC.
Two of Gavin Menzies‘ specific claims are that transoceanic travel began 100,000 years ago and that the Chinese regularly began visiting America from 2200 BC!
Dr Anton Mifsud has used the reign of King Ninus of Assyria as an anchor for his preferred date for the destruction of Atlantis (Malta) of around 2200 BC. He points out  that Eumelos of Cyrene dated the demise of Plato’s island to the reign of Ninus and links this with the calculation of the Roman historian Aemilius Sura (2nd cent. BC) who placed the reign of Ninus around 2192 BC. Several other authorities attribute similar dates to his reign as recorded by John Jackson in volume one of his 1752 Chronological Antiquities [1555.251].
The collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom also took place around 2200 BC.
Timo Niroma (? – 2009) from Helsinki in Finland had an extensive website(e) in which he discussed various worldwide catastrophes including two main events around 2200 BC and 3100 BC.
In 2001, Tom Slattery published a paper(a) regarding the Comet Hale-Bopp which had been discovered 1n 1995. He speculated that it may have been seen much earlier in 2213 BC and that a fragment of it may have struck the Earth with dire consequences and may have been the trigger for the widespread collapse of civilisations around 2200! While comets are traditionally considered to be harbingers of doom, they certainly were in this instance when “thirty-nine members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide in March 1997 with the intention of teleporting to a spaceship which they believed was flying behind the comet.”(b)
Carnac is arguably Europe’s most visually remarkable megalithic site. It is situated near the town of the same name in Brittany. Many will have seen images of the rows of standing stones there, often unaware that there are four main sets of them close to Carnac as well as cromlechs and solitary menhirs, including the largest, Le Grand Menhir Brisé, now broken, but originally 70 ft long and weighing around 300 tons. In their 1978 book [1771.180], Alexander Thom and his son, Archie, in the conclusion to their book, in spite of their extensive studies of the stone rows, agreed that “we do not know what these were for” and although various theories have been proposed since; we still don’t.
Jean Markale presumed that there was a connection between Atlantis and the megalithic standing stones of Carnac in Brittany. Rather than solve these two mysteries, his book, Carnac et L’enigme de L’atlantide (Carnac and the Enigma of Atlantis)  would seem to deepen them.
Helmut Tributsch suggested that the island of Gavrinis near Carnac in Brittany had been the capital of this Atlantean civilisation(a). He dated the destruction of Atlantis to 2200 BC, a date also favoured by Anton Mifsud.
Hans-Pény Hirmenech expressed the wild idea that the rows of standing stones at Carnac marked the tombs of Atlantean soldiers who fought in the Trojan War! Wikipedia notes that “A Christian myth associated with the stones held that they were pagan soldiers in pursuit of Pope Cornelius when he turned them to stone.”(a)
Hank Harrison supports the idea of a megalithic Atlantis with its centre of power, probably located in the Morbihan area of Brittany.
Based on the picture the data present, Schulz Paulsson believes that the megaliths were first constructed by dwellers of northwest France during the second half of the fifth millennium BC.”(b) Mike Parker Pearson, Stonehenge’s leading authority, has endorsed this idea of a French origin for megalith building(c).
>Neil L. Thomas in a 2021 paper(d) has studied three sites near Carnac that hold long rows of standing stones whose purpose was uncertain. Thomas concluded that they had a calendrical function relating to the sun and moon. I cannot help wondering why such extensive and labour intensive structures were needed to achieve this relatively simple objective.<
(d) (99+) Academia.edu *
Peter Marshall (1946- ) is a British philosopher, historian and full-time writer. Included in his output is Europe’s Lost Civilisation , which offers us his interesting overview of the megalithic remains of Europe based on personal his personal observation during a voyage from Scotland to Malta.
Marshall, in reviewing Anton Mifsud’s theory of a Maltese Atlantis, dismisses the idea on the grounds that it seriously conflicts with Plato’s date of around 9,600 BC as the date for the demise of Atlantis. He shares with many others a reluctance to challenge Plato’s date in spite of the fact that it conflicts with commonsense and archaeology in so far as Atlantis could not have attacked either Athens or Egypt, as in the tenth millennium BC Athens did not even exist and there is no evidence of any structured society in Egypt. Combined with which is another fact, namely, that all of Plato’s large numbers seem to be exaggerations.
Regarding Atlantis Marshall has decided to ‘sit on the fence’ noting that “Yet while the myth of Atlantis has not been proved, neither has it been disproved, and it must remain a mystery waiting to be solved”
The Central Mediterranean is a very geologically unstable region containing as it does all of Europe’s land-based active volcanoes(a), regular seismic(b) activity with the attendant risk of tsunamis. It is now estimated that a devastating tsunami will hit the Mediterranean every 100 years(c). While the Aegean region experiences the greatest number of earthquakes, the Central Mediterranean, particularly around Sicily is also prone to regular tremors.
The idea that Atlantis was situated in this region is advocated by a number of researchers, including Alberto Arecchi, Férréol Butavand, Anton Mifsud, Axel Hausmann, as well as this compiler. Plato unambiguously referred to only two places as Atlantean territory (Crit.114c & Tim 25b) North Africa and Southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) plus a number of unspecified islands.
The area between Southern Italy and Tunisia has had a great number of sites proposed for the Pillars of Herakles, while possible locations for Gades are on offer with a number places still known today by cognates of that name.
Plato clearly includes continental territory as part of the Atlantean domain as well as a number of important islands. Within a relatively small geographical area, you have two continents, Africa and Europe represented by Tunisia and Italy respectively, as well as the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Malta together with a number of smaller archipelagos, matching Plato’s description exactly. The later Carthaginian Empire also occupied much of the same territory apart from eastern Sicily and southern Italy which by then was controlled by the Greeks and known as Magna Graecia.
For me, the clincher is that within that region we have the only place in the entire Mediterranean to have been home to elephants up to Roman times – Northwest Africa.
(b) The Europeam Mediterranean Seismic Centre – EMSC, records all activity in the region.
(c) Tsunami Alarm System – A3M Tsunami Alarm System (tsunami-alarm-system.com) (German & English)
Stele (pl. Stelai) is defined in Wikipedia as a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief or painted onto the slab. It can also be used as a territorial marker to delineate land ownership. Ireland is littered with solitary standing stones or menhirs that many consider to be boundary markers. They are to be found across Europe and North Africa as well as Asia.
The words come into the Atlantis narrative when Plato refers to what is usually translated as ‘the Pillars of Heracles’. In fact, Plato does not use the Greek word ‘stulos’ which means pillar or supporting column. Commenting on this word, Riaan Booysen wrote(a) “The Greek word for pillar is stulos, which is similar but not identical to either stêlas or even stele. The latter two words are not to be found in any of Strong’s Concordance, the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary, the Oxford Greek Minidictionary or the Oxford Greek-English Learner’s Dictionary. That is however not to say that it does not exist, and I have indeed been able to find an interpretation of the word stele as:
“Greek: an inscribed stone slab; a block of stone, gravestone; a column, a pillar…”
It therefore seems that stêlas should be interpreted as an inscribed block of stone, possibly even a gravestone, rather than a pillar or pillars as it is understood today.>Rhys Carpenter [221-156] has proposed that the term ‘Pillars of Hercules’ probably arose from a mistranslation of the Greek ‘stelai’ as ‘Columnae’ in Latin, which does mean columns or pillars, obscuring the original meaning of boundary marker. I find this more reasonable as it would seem to better suit the context.<
Anton Mifsud correctly insists that ‘stelai’ can only refer to commemorative slabs rather than supportive pillars and that the distinction between a pillar and commemorative slab is important as Mifsud has identified two previously recorded blocks found on Malta as the ‘Pillars of Hercules.’
For my part, I favour the secondary meaning of ‘boundary marker’ as it would seem to better suit the context.
Peter Daughtrey is a British researcher and the author of Atlantis and the Silver City in which he identifies a location in Portugal, where he lived until recently, for Atlantis. The publicity blurb looks promising as it reads as follows: “Over 2000 books have previously attempted to find the answer but invariably stumbled by matching only a handful of Plato´s clues for this fabled lost civilisation. This book matches almost 60 and includes the discovery of the ancient capital with its harbour that Plato described in great detail and the great sunken plain with at least one group of submerged ruins. Everything fits – the precise location, climate, topography, crops and animals, even the incredible wealth. It sits uneasily by one of the world’s most lethal seismic fault lines which in the past has wreaked havoc up to ten times more powerful than the recent quake off Japan with tsunamis 100 feet high. The great Atlantis empire is traced together with their leaders odysseys to civilize South America and Egypt. The unique Atlantean physical characteristics are pinpointed and an ancient alphabet traced from which Phoenicians and Greek developed.” However, a pre-publication critique(a) has been rather less than encouraging.
Now that I have read the book I must declare that Daughtrey has produced a work that offers a spirited argument for considering Portugal’s Algarve as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. In fact he designates not just the Algarve and the submerged area in front of it as Atlantis, but the whole of that south-west Iberian region, starting immediately outside the straits of Gibraltar. The first half of it is the Costa da Luz in Spain. I note that Greg Little has written a positive review of Daughtrey’s book.(f)
Daughtrey recently elaborated that his “position for the great plain that Plato referred to is now the seabed front of southern Portugal and southern Andalucia as far Gibraltar. I think it would also have extended onto the submerged area of northern Morroco and onto the existing mainland .There would only have been a much extended narrow straits from Gibraltar dividing it for a good length.”
More specifically he identifies the town of Silves, just west of Faro, as the Silver City in the title.
In order to compile Atlantipedia I have had to read many books supporting a wide range of theories. I can say that Daughtrey’s offering would be in my top dozen Atlantis titles, along with those of Jim Allen, Andrew Collins, Anton Mifsud, Otto Muck and Jürgen Spanuth. They have all made valuable contributions to Atlantology even though I do not accept all their conclusions.
Neverthe less, without going into a string of nitpicking comments, I would prefer to clearly state where I believe Daughtrey is fundamentally wrong. Which is in accepting Plato’s (or should that be Solon’s) 9,000 years literally. He is not the first to take this approach as the consequence is that either Atlantis attacked an Athens (and Egypt) that did not even exist as organised societies at the time or the science of archaeology as we know it must be abandoned. It is interesting that when it suits him, Daughtrey is prepared to revise Plato’s dimensions for the Plain of Atlantis. I prefer to reinterpret all of Plato’s numbers, which I believe are seriously flawed.
In spite of the above, this book is a valuable addition to any Atlantis library.
September 2014 saw the History Channel preparing to broadcast a documentary on Atlantis in the Algarve that includes extensive interviews with Daughtery(b). However, following airing of the program he seemed rather disappointed(c) that many of what he considered his most important arguments had been omitted from the final cut and that the producers were more interested in extraterrestrials.
Daughtrey’s book is supported by a website(e) that includes updates and additional articles.
Syrtis was the name given by the Romans to two gulfs off the North African coast; Syrtis Major which is now known as the Gulf of Sidra off Libya and Syrtis Minor, known today as the Gulf of Gabes in Tunisian waters. They are both shallow sandy gulfs that have been feared from ancient times by mariners. In the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 27.13-18) it is described how St. Paul on his way to Rome was blown off course and feared that they would run aground on ‘Syrtis sands.’
The earliest modern reference to these gulfs that I can find in connection with Atlantis was by Nicolas Fréret in the 18th century when he proposed that Atlantis may have been situated in Syrtis Major. Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse expressed a similar view around the same time. Since then there has been little support for the idea until recent times when Winfried Huf designated Syrtis Major as one of his five divisions of the Atlantean Empire.
However, the region around the Gulf of Gabes has been more persistently associated with aspects of the Atlantis story. Inland from Gabes are the chotts, which were at one time connected to the Mediterranean and considered to have been part of the legendary Lake Tritonis, sometimes suggested as the actual location of Atlantis.
In the Gulf itself, Apollonius of Rhodes placed the Pillars of Herakles(a) , while Anton Mifsud has drawn attention to the writings of the Greek author, Palefatus of Paros, who stated (c. 32) that the Columns of Heracles were located close to the island of Kerkennah at the western end of Syrtis Minor. Lucanus, the Latin poet, located the Strait of Heracles in Syrtis Minor. Mifsud has pointed out that this reference has been omitted from modern translations of Lucanus’ work!
Férréol Butavand was one of the first modern commentators to locate Atlantis in the Gulf of Gabés. In 1929 Dr. Paul Borchardt, the German geographer, claimed to have located Atlantis between the chotts and the Gulf, while more recently Alberto Arecchi placed Atlantis in the Gulf when sea levels were lower(b) . George Sarantitis places the ‘Pillars’ near Gabes and Atlantis itself inland, further west in Mauritania, south of the Atlas Mountains. Antonio Usai also places the ‘Pillars’ in the Gulf of Gabes.
In 2018, Charles A. Rogers published a paper(c) on the academia.edu website in which he identified Tunisia as Atlantis with it capital located at the mouth of the Triton River on the Gulf of Gabes. He favours Plato’s 9.000 ‘years’ to have been lunar cycles, bringing the destruction of Atlantis into the middle of the second millennium BC and coinciding with the eruption of Thera which created a tsunami that ran across the Mediterranean destroying the city with the run-up and its subsequent backwash. This partly agrees with my conclusions in Joining the Dots!
(a) Argonautica Book IV ii 1230
The Cart-Ruts of Malta is one of the many remarkable archaeological features of the archipelago. Unfortunately, the local authorities have not done all they could to ensure their preservation. Cart-ruts are also found in other countries but with nothing like the numbers found on Malta.
An article written in 1904(h) describes a visit to the Madeiras where the writer travelled on a sled drawn by oxen, while Alexander Braghine describes how Paul le Cour visited the Azores and noted that the natives there used ‘sledges’ rather than wheeled vehicles and greased the runners to assist movement, similar to the practice on the Madeiras. A more recent paper(s) by Félix Rodrigues of Azores University discusses in detail cartruts found on Terceira Island in the Azores. Other papers(w)(x) on the Academia.edu website discuss ‘ruts’ on Lanzarote in the Canaries.
An image (3rd down) on a 2021 posting(af), appears to show where axles have worn into a raised stone wall at one side of a rut, which would seem to end the ‘sledge versus wheel’ controversy.
Another feature of the ruts is the inexplicable manner in which they will suddenly disappear at cliff-edges! Furthermore, ruts are also found disappearing into the sea on one side of a bay and then reappear on the opposite side. Over a century ago Emanuel Magri reported that there were cart-ruts on the tiny island of Filfla, which lies 5km off the south coast of mainland Malta, suggesting the disappearance of a very large tract of land between the two.
The melitamegalithic website has linked the altered orientation of Malta’s temples with the geological disruption indicated by the cart-ruts(ae) noting that “While the geology of the Maltese islands indicates unmistakably major events of a cataclysmic nature, these give little hint as to what took place, and when. What is definitely obvious is that the geologic events are evident from man-made artefacts. Those artefacts point to the kind of event, and the time when it occurred. In geological time they are quite recent.”
“The earliest reference to cart-ruts was made by Gian Francesco Abela (1582–1655) in 1647  who suggested that they were used to transport stones from quarries to the sea for exportation to Africa during the Arab rule in Malta.”(z)
Dr David Trump (1931-2016) who has done much to advance Maltese archaeology, published a booklet on the cart-ruts in 2008. Trump nicknamed the complex collection of ruts at Misrah Ghar il-Kbir “Clapham Junction” after the London railway station, where several railway services interchange. A 1998 paper(d) by Joseph Magro Conti and Paul C. Saliba focused on “Clapham Junction” and concluded that the ruts had a clear connection with the transportation of material from adjacent quarries.
A connection between the cart-ruts and Atlantis has been suggested by Anton Mifsud and adopted by the late Axel Hausmann, who both claim that the ruts were the irrigation channels referred to by Plato (Critias 118c-e).
Another prominent archaeologist, Claudia Sagona, has also suggested(f)(j) that the ruts were used for irrigation, although she has not associated them with Plato’s text. While this linkage fits nicely with the theory of Atlantis having been in the region of Malta, it does not stand up to close examination.
First of all the cart-ruts follow the natural undulations of the Maltese landscape and so to function as irrigation channels would require water to flow uphill for parts of its journey, Trump has mentioned how some of the ruts can be seen sloping as much as 45°. Roman aqueducts, like the one in Malta’s Rabat(ac)(ad), seldom used a gradient greater than half of one per cent.
Secondly, the fact that the ruts are always found in pairs would suggest a degree of unnecessary and wasteful duplication found in no other irrigation system in the world. Because; if the ruts were intended to carry water, for the same labour they could have been cut as a single channel at twice the depth cutting losses through evaporation by half.
As well as that, the ground between each pair of tracks could provide an extra acre of arable land for every two miles of length. Furthermore, the multiplicity of tracks at the ‘Clapham Junction’ site is incompatible with an irrigation system.
All of which is compounded by the absence of controlling sluicegates anywhere at the remaining 100+ sites, and emphasised by Trump’s observation that “no association of ruts with water sources has been demonstrated.”[870.268]
I refer below to several countries where comparable cart ruts have also been found. I am not aware of even one instance where any of these have been suggested as having an irrigation function.
Compounding all that is the fact that no supporter of the cart ruts as Plato’s irrigation channels has attempted to explain how the dimensions of the ruts can be measured in inches while Plato describes canals measured in feet – tens of feet!
Joseph S. Ellul in his book Malta’s Prediluvian Culture  expressed some controversial unconventional views(t) regarding the cart-ruts, including his assertion that the ruts were created by tools or machinery and were formed during the Stone Age before the biblical Deluge!
Graham Hancock refers to the cart ruts several of times in Underworld , where he commented that “It is certain, too, that they were not simply worn away in the tough limestone by the passage of cart-wheels over periods of centuries, as many have wrongly theorized; on the contrary, there is no proof whatsoever that cart-wheels ever ran in these ruts – which were initially carved out of the bedrock with the use of tools.” [p.331] His claim that the ruts were hand-carved is disputed and Gordon E. Weston in his excellent book [754.172] debunks the idea.
Philip Coppens wrote a paper on the ruts, offering an overview of the controversies relating to their use and date(aa).
By way of comic relief, I thought I should include one theory regarding an explanation(c) for the ruts from Laura Knight-Jadczyk, a noted conspiracy theorist, which I quote in full: “Do I have an idea to propose? Of course I do. I wouldn’t be writing about it if I didn’t. I would like to suggest that these “ruts” look an awful lot like places where lightning has struck, and the electricity has blasted away the dirt and rock as it shoots along some sort of natural earth power grid conductor. The only difference is that the cart ruts are not random. That suggests that there was something present in the ground laid out in a definite grid, which acted as a conductor. Were the cart ruts some sort of networked energy conduction system? Could some sort of element have been placed in the ground by an ancient civilization; something that conducted power to their homes the way our vulgar power poles and lines criss-cross the landscape? And then, at some point in time, was the earth hit by such a surge of energy from some unknown source that these power “lines” melted the rock in which they were “strung?” Perhaps a surge of some kind of cosmic energy source? Maybe even the Electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion? Maybe it was neither of these, but merely a massive overheating of the surface of the earth so that the conduction element and its insulating covering melted and was swept away?”
One of the more bizarre suggestions has been proposed by Markus Tutsch on the German EFODON website, that the parallel ruts were used in some way to distribute electrical power(q)!!!
Another comical suggestion is offered by Dr Cornelius Niels Kopf who has proposed that “The Bronze Age traces on Malta and Gozo and many other parts of the then populated world, known as cart ruts, were sports facilities, and the area designated as ‘Clapham Junction’ was apparently the ‘stadium’ of Malta.” (r)
In 2010, the most comprehensive work on the ruts, that I’m aware of, was published by Gordon E. Weston. Weston now has a website(g) where he discusses the ‘ruts’ further and provides additional links. Weston also published Clapham Junction: 3000 Years of Maltese Heritage, in 2015 .
There are also several websites devoted to the investigation of these enigmatic features(a). One of them(m) offers a fine collection of images, including the one above, as well as a discussion on the origin, use, and questions raised by the Maltese cart ruts.
A study of the ruts by geomorphologists published in Antiquity is a valuable addition to the literature on the subject(b). The authors highlight the fact that the relatively soft Maltese limestone erodes quite easily, particularly when wet, explaining the depth of the ruts.
Uwe Topper has written an extensive paper on cart-ruts around the Mediterranean and beyond(i). He controversially theorised that the ruts were created when the limestone on which they were cut was ‘softer’!!!
A short April 2015 video clip(l) demonstrates how even a 20kg quarter-scale slidecar, can with one pass cut a 1mm groove into the soft Maltese limestone, near Sliema. A full-scale slidecar would be carrying 320 Kg.
Amateur archaeologists, Ronnie Gallagher and Abbas Islamov have highlighted the existence of cart-ruts in the Gobustan peninsula of Azerbijan(e), while André Kramer has written an article on the cart-ruts of Mallorca(k).
Evidence exists for cart ruts in other countries in Europe, such as Switzerland, and much further afield including South America(u). The same site makes two interesting points, (1) since the earliest carts probably lacked brakes, the repeated use of the ruts gave some small degree of control, and (2) without any obvious passing points the ruts seem to indicate that they were limited to one-way traffic.
In 2015, Russian geologist Alexander Koltypin drew much media attention(o) when he claimed that comparable tracks in the Phrygian Valley of Turkey were dated to 14 million years ago and were created by an unknown civilisation. He also implied that the cart ruts of Malta had a similar origin! However, a quick look at his website(p) revealed him to have travelled well beyond the lunatic fringe.
I find it interesting that much more investigation of the Maltese cart ruts has been carried out by foreigners than by natives of the islands. A recent example is the inventory of ruts recently published by Monika I. Trinkler, a Swiss photographer, who has listed 717 pairs on Malta and 43 on Gozo Dec. 2020). Her interest in the Maltese ruts has now expanded into the identification of ruts throughout Central Europe(v).
Unfortunately, the date and function of the ruts are still sources of intense debate, particularly in Malta itself. In 2017, Anthony Bonanno published The Archaeology of Malta and Gozo  in which he argued for a Roman rather than a prehistoric date for the cart ruts. This runs counter to the opinion of many, particularly that of the late David Trump. In 2019, Anton Mifsud published a rebuttal of Bonanno’s claims in a fully illustrated book entitled David’s Ruts  as a tribute to the work carried out by David Trump on Malta.
In August 2021, it was announced that some of Malta’s cart ruts were to be covered over by a new airport roundabout(ab)! Comment is unnecessary.
(f) Oxford Journal of Archaeology (Vol.23, Issue 1, p.45-60)
(g) https://cartrutanswers.com/index.html (offline 15/07/14)
(i) http://www.ilya.it/chrono/pages/gleisedt.htm (german)
(n) Archive 3036
Elephants are specifically mentioned by Plato as being indigenous to Atlantis. This must have significance for anyone trying to arrive at a credible location for Atlantis. For example, supporters of the Theran Atlantis School cannot show where such large animals could have lived on the small volcanic island. There are no physical remains, no frescos and no historical references. Rodney Castleden who supports the Minoan Hypothesis admits that “no raw elephant ivory has been found (on Thera) and very little in the way of worked ivory”[225.70]. He later speaks of the importation of ivory into Crete[p.172] having bravely denounced Plato’s description (Critias 115a) of herds of elephants on Atlantis as “false”[p.136].
Similarly, Spanuth’s Heligoland location would have been climatically unsuited to elephants. Spanuth himself admits that the elephant reference “is hard to explain“. Nevertheless, Felice Vinci who champions a Northern European origin for Greek mythology believes that Plato’s elephant reference may be a lingering memory of the woolly mammoths that inhabited Arctic regions as recently as 2500-2000 BC(t)(u). In the late 17th century Olof Rudbeck, recognising the problem that Plato’s reference to elephants presented for his Swedish Atlantis, argued that Plato had been speaking figuratively when describing the large voracious animals and had actually been referring to wolves, the Swedish word for wolf being ‘ulf’, which sounds like the beginning of ‘elephant’!!
Elephants in Western Europe were undoubtedly represented by mammoths, remains of which have been recovered from the North Sea – Doggerland and dated to around 40,000 years ago. Coincidentally, a tool made of mammoth bone, used for making rope, has also been dated to 40,000 years ago(i)(n). This discovery(s) by Nicholas Conard from the University of Tubingen was made shortly before Ashley Cowie published his interesting book on the history of rope-making. Further information on string, ropes and knots was published in March 2017(o). This ingenuity of our very distant ancestors, so often underestimated, is slowly being revealed by modern archaeology. In 2000, in the Czech Republic, it was discovered that woven cloth was being produced on looms 27,000 years ago(v). A few years later a team from Harvard’s Peabody Museum reported the discovery of fibres that ‘were spun, twisted or knotted’ and dated to at least 34,000 years ago(x). 2020 saw evidence emerge which suggested that even as far back as 41,000 – 52,000 years ago the Neanderthals had mastered the making of cords(w). Later the same year, further evidence was offered that string making may have begun even earlier(y).
Allied to the demise of the Siberian mammoths is the often-repeated fib that when the remains were first discovered, their flesh was still fresh enough to eat, which has recently been debunked by Jason Colavito(j). He has also unearthed the truth behind that other canard relating to a Siberian mammoth, namely that fresh buttercups were found in its mouth(j). He has now(q) traced back the earliest reference to the frozen mammoths to George Cuvier in 1822 [1586.11].
Eckart Kahlhofer, in a forthcoming book advocates a North-West European location for Atlantis, suggests that where Plato referred to elephants he actually meant deer! Kahlhofer offers, as a simple explanation for this seemingly daft contention, the fact that the Greek for elephant, elephas, is very similar to the Greek elaphos which means deer. He claims that a simple transcription error by a scribe could have caused the mix-up.
The elk was the largest species of deer to be found in the northern hemisphere and are still to be found in Scandinavia. The Great Irish Deer which died out around 5500 BC had an antler span of 11ft and a maximum height of 10ft, though usually less. The tallest African elephant ever recorded was 13 feet at the shoulder, which would appear to give the elephant the edge over the deer heightwise. Furthermore, It is worth pointing out, again, that Plato described his elephants as the ‘largest and most voracious’ animal, so when we realise that an adult elephant eats 250-300 lbs a day, while a moose manages on 40-60 lbs, there seems to be no contest.
Gene Matlock in an attempt to bolster his Mexican location for Atlantis has suggested that Plato’s elephants were in reality the long-snouted tapirs of Meso-America!(c), an idea ‘borrowed’ from Hyde Clarke
While the elephant issue should not be dealt with in isolation it does serve to illustrate the difficulties involved in analysing Plato’s text. Consider the possibility that the early date of 9600 BC for Atlantis is accepted, then the islands that are too small today to accommodate elephants may have been considerably larger and sometimes connected to each other or a mainland during the Ice Age, when sea levels were lower, and consequently capable of supporting pachyderms. In this regard, Sundaland would have been the most suitable candidate. Not only would today’s South China Sea’s archipelagos been a single landmass, but there would have been access to the region from the Asian mainland, home today to large numbers of elephants.
Strangely enough, even the Andes, considered by some as the home of Atlantis, reveal the fact that during the last Ice Age a species of elephant called Cuvieronius lived there but became extinct around 8000 BC. These animals are to be found carved on the great Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco suggesting that they were common in the region. Supporters of an Atlantis link with Tiahuanaco have highlighted this fact.
James Bailey who supports the idea of Atlantis in America believes that Plato’s mention of elephants could be a reference to the American mammoth, generally believed to have died out circa 10,000 BC, although Victor von Hagen, the American explorer, contentiously maintained that they survived as late 2000 BC. A similar idea was presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference by the American researcher, Monique Petersen.
The Schoppes, in support of their theory of Atlantis in the Black Sea region, contend(l) that Indian elephants existed there until 800 BC and support this with a reference to the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III who killed 120 elephants ‘there’ around 1200 BC, which is a strange claim as Thutmosis did not venture beyond Syria and he died circa 1426 BC!
Elephas Antiquus (Palaeoloxodon), is a dwarf species whose remains have been found throughout the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus. All those found were dated 200,000 BC or earlier! In sharp contrast, Simon Davis, in an article in New Scientist (3 Jan.1985), dated Mediterranean dwarf elephants to as recent as 6000 BC(p). Some writers, such as Roger Coghill, have tried to use the pygmy elephant as an explanation for Plato’s text (Crit. 114e & 115a) where we find that he describes the elephants as being ‘of its nature the largest and most voracious’. This is not a description of pygmy elephants.
Victoria Louise Herridge is a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. She has published a lengthy paper in two parts(z)(aa) offering an in-depth technical study of dwarf elephant species found on Mediterranean islands.
However, Ghar Hasan or Hasan’s Cave in southeast Malta has palaeolithic cave paintings that depict elephants, indicating more recent contact with the animals. Whether these represented full-sized or the pygmy variety is unclear. A small booklet by Dr. Anton Mifsud and Dr. Charles Savona-Ventura describes this cave system.
In Dossier Malta – Neanderthal  Mifsud has drawn attention to another cavern, not far away, formerly known as Ghar Dulam, now Ghar Dalam, where thousands of dwarf elephant bones were discovered. Dulam means ‘small elephant’ in Arabic. This is one of the mainstays of his ‘Atlantis in Malta’ theory. Whether these diminutive creatures justify Plato’s description that they were the “largest and most voracious” of animals (Crit.115a) is clearly debatable. For me, this is not a description of pygmy elephants and so in all probability is an indication of a North African location or, as some claim, an Asian one!
The Atlanteans had control in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt, which would have included what is now modern Tunisia, the home of the last recorded wild elephants in that region!
Readers should be aware that there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(e)(h). The New Scientist magazine of 7th February 1985(d) outlined the evidence that Tunisia had native elephants until at least the end of the Roman Empire.
In Elephant Destiny Martin Meredith records that one of the earliest references to the African elephant came from Hanno, the 5th century BC Carthaginian explorer, who related how he came across marshes at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, which “were haunted by elephants and multitudes of other grazing beasts.” Meredith also mentions that stables for as many as 300 elephants were to be found within the city of Carthage itself.
Nevertheless, the species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(f). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare(g). It would seem to me that the North African Elephant, rather than the Asian or African species, would have been more suited to the trek across the Alps. Needless to say, the Atlas Mountains were part of the Atlantean sphere of control (Timaeus 25a-b) and so may be the reason that Plato mentioned them. It is also reported that during the reign of the Ptolemies in Egypt (323 BC-30 BC), they imported war elephants from Eritrea in East Africa(r).
>Dustin Kolb, is a German researcher, who also advocates a Mexican location for Atlantis endeavoured, unconvincingly, to explain away Plato’s mention of elephants as a reference to bulls and bison!<
The latter half of 2010 saw a new piece of nonsense hit the blogosophere when a claim that the Atlanteans had flying machines made of elephant skins suddenly appeared and before you could say “cut and paste” it was ‘adopted’ by a variety of websites(a)(b). So Dumbo was not the first flying elephant! In fact, this daft idea was just a recycling of one of Edgar Cayce’s ‘revelations’ (Reading 364-6)(m).
(a) https://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Speaking-of-Atlantis/1872335 (Offline October 2017)
Helmut Tributsch (1943- ) was born in a small German speaking enclave in Fruili in North East Italy. He was Professor of Physical Chemistry from 1982 at the Free University of Berlin until his retirement in 2008. When his birthplace was destroyed in 1976 by an earthquake he began a study of animal behaviour prior to such events and their role as earthquake predictors, leading to the publication of Wenn die Schlangen erwachen(When the Snakes Awaken) in 1978.
His interests also extended to include Atlantis, regarding which, he published Die Gläsernen Türme von Atlantis (The Glass Towers of Atlantis) in 1986. His view was that megalithic Europe was Atlantis, bounded by water on three sides and a little known border to the east, it could be considered an island. Tributsch suggested that the island of Gavrinis near Carnac in Brittany had been the capital of this Atlantean civilisation.(a).
He dated the destruction of Atlantis to 2200 BC, a date also favoured by Anton Mifsud.