Anthony Woods is the author of Atlantis Ireland, published under the auspices of the unaccredited Keystone University(a) in Dublin, with Woods listed as CEO(b). To be blunt, for me as an Irishman, in spite of such an interesting title, I was greatly disappointed. In fact, I was by turn uncertain whether I should laugh or cry.
Woods engages in a generous level of speculation, which was certainly attention seeking. He selectively uses some mythological stories as if history whenever it suits his purpose [p.71]. The content is irritatingly repetitious throughout, references should have been numbered, which along with a few typos, all cry out for an editor.
His core contention is that Stone Age Ireland was a cultural hyperdiffusionist centre. He claims that megalith building, language and religion, all spread globally from Ireland, also known as Atlantis!
Among his many outlandish claims are that:
1.The ancient Irish language is the oldest in the world and is the most extensive with almost a million words [p.142], which is completely wrong by about a factor of six!
2.Irish megaliths are the most spectacular – obviously Woods has never heard of Brittany!
3.Megalith construction spread from Ireland to the world. However respected archaeologists such Aubrey Burl, Mike Parker Pearson and Robert Hensey [1766.6] burst that particular bubble with the their shared view that megalith building originated in France.
According to Woods, “the high concentration of megaliths on the west cost of Britain and France proves that Ireland was the fountainhead, the source of the megalithic mother culture.” The ‘logic’ here eludes me!
4.For some reason Woods thinks islands are ideal for evolution(p139), and that Cro-Magnon Man evolved in Ireland[p.103]!
5.Although Ireland was the island of Atlantis, the city of Atlantis (Cerne) was in Mauritania and is known today as the Richat Structure!
6.The Celts didn’t come to Ireland, they came from Ireland![p.99]
7.Woods makes the modest claim that the Irish visited America thousands of years before Columbus. Which may or may not be true, but what has that to do with Atlantis? [p.93]
In all, this book is not just an Hibernocentric rant. Woods also offers a lengthy diatribe against British imperialism and Vatican political interference, which, although probably justifiable, has also nothing to do with Atlantis
Apart all the nonsense about ancient Ireland, he barely touches on Plato’s dialogues, except to rubbish his narrative with “It’s clear that Plato’s legend is useful but unreliable, that it combined two separate related places, a lot of exaggeration and several historical errors.”[p.13] and twice patronisingly refers to Plato’s account as “useful but unreliable.”[p.50]
Woods did quote from Ulf Erlingsson, who made a more valliant attempt to link Ireland with Atlantis some years. Erlingsson matched the dimensions of 2000 x 3000 stadia (340 x 227 miles) given by Plato with the diagonal dimensions of Ireland [319.16]. Unfortunately, Erlingsson got it very wrong and Woods copied his error. Plato’s figures were the dimensions of the Plain of Atlantis, while the Central Plain of Ireland is just a fraction of its size(c), being very roughly 150 x 100 miles in extent. Now, who’s unreliable?
At which point, I could take no more and gave up.
The Megalithic Yard is a controversial unit of measurement originally proposed by Alex Thom following a study of hundreds of megalithic sites in Britain and Brittany. Very many attempts have been made to verify his conclusions, but to no avail. Wikipedia(d) offers an interesting overview of the wide-ranging theories that the controversy has thrown up.
Humans have used their body parts as measuring tools right up to the present day, e.g. foot, finger or hand, so it was not surprising that the human pace provided a unit of measurement which has been suggested by many as the original megalithic ‘yard’.
Not unexpectedly, some researchers, such as Ulf Erlingsson(a), Sylvain Tristan(b) and Jim Allen(c) have endeavoured to link the megalithic yard with their interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis, sometimes with convoluted associations with ancient Egyptian and/or Sumerian metrics!
There is also an ancient unit of measurement known as the ‘long foot’ of 12.7 inches (32.2 cm). In early 2019, archaeologists from the University of Manchester and University College London concluded, after a study of three small carved chalk ‘drums’, that they “could be ancient replicas of measuring devices used for laying out prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge.” They found that “a string wound 10 times around the smallest of the drums would give a measure of exactly 10 long feet — a length used to lay out several ancient henge monuments“(e).
>Douglas C. Heggie , an astronomer and mathematician and the late Aubrey Burl (1926-2020) , arguably the leading authority on British stone circles, have both expressed the view that Thom’s evidence was at best ‘marginal’.(f)<
The Hyperboreans in Greek mythology lived to the far north of Greece in a land called Hyperborea, which means beyond the North Wind or Boreas, who have been linked by a number of writers with the Atlanteans.
Researchers have variously identified this land of Hyperborea with Iceland, the British Isles and the North Sea. Like many classical references and later commentators there is no clear consensus on a precise location. Hecataeus of Abdera, a 4th century BC Greek historian, noted that the Hyperboreans were located “in the lands of the Celts, in the ocean, (where) there is an island not smaller than Sicily.”
Diodorus Siculus described Hyperborea as a northern island with a temple to which the god returns every nineteen years. This was initially thought by many to be a reference to England’s Stonehenge, but the renowned Aubrey Burl considered Stonehenge to be 500 miles too far south and instead proposed the Hebridean island of Lewis home to the famous Callanish megalithic site, which includes the ability to record the return of the stars to the same position every nineteen years(c).
Olof Rudbeck‘s over-enthusiastic nationalism not only brought him to associate Atlantis with Sweden, but also linked the writings of Homer and other classical writers with the prehistory of his homeland. This inevitably led hime to declare ancient Sweden as Hyperborea. David King outlines how Rudbeck came to this conclusion [530.71].
However, Homer reportedly(h) placed Boreas in Thrace, and therefore Hyperborea, according to him, would be located north of Thrace, in Dacia, modern Romania!
Jürgen Spanuth based his Atlantis theory on an unambiguous identification of the Atlanteans with the Hyperboreans of the Baltic region, specifically nominating Jutland, part of today’s Denmark, as the land of the Hyperboreans [p.88].
The renowned Flemish cartographer, Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594), showed a large archipelago near the North Pole on one of his charts. This inclusion by him and other cartographers of the period stemmed from a now lost book by an English Franciscan friar entitled Inventio Fortunatae (The Discovery of the Fortunate Isle).
Based on ancient maps and the work of other researchers such as Emilio Spedicato, Stuart L. Harris has proposed(e) that Hyperborea was also known as Atland to the Frisians. He further suggests that this land disappeared in 2194 BC as noted in the controversial Oera Linda Book, and that today’s Faroe Plateau topped by the Faroe Islands are its remnants.
It also appears that in the 18th century the Russian Empress Catherine II organised an expedition in an attempt to find Hyperborea in the vicinity of the North Pole, in a pathetic attempt to discover ‘the elixir of eternal youth” allegedly invented by the Hyperboreans. She was apparently captivated by the descriptions of the classical writers who related that the Hyperboreans lived in total happiness for a thousand years.
It was reported in 2006(a) that a Russian scientist, Valery Dyemin, inspired by the work of Jean-Sylvain Bailly and William Fairfield Warren was attempting to prove the reality of Hyperborea in the Arctic region. Another Russian, Sergey Teleguin has also attributed a North Pole origin for both the Maya and the Indo-Europeans(b).
>J.G. Bennett, a British philosopher, has opted for a Hyperborean origin for the Indo-European culture, a claim that has resonances with the Nazi claim that Hyperborea has been the ancestral home of the ‘master race’. He also supported the idea of an Arctic Hyperborea(i), inspired by the ideas of Bal Gangadar Tilak, although at the same time he was critical of Warren’s reasoning.<
Luciano Chiereghin, who promotes the idea of Atlantis being situated in Italy’s Po Valley, also claims that the same river valley and its plain was also previously known as Hyperborea! The authors of The Three Ages of Atlantis, Marin, Minella and Schievenin, also refer to “the Hyperboreans of the Po Valley” [972.181].
An extensive internet article outlines the mythology associated with Hyperborea and recent efforts to determine its location(d). The Theoi.com website(g) offers a list of all classical references to Hyperborea.
(f) History, 3a.264. F.7.5.
The Megalith Builders, who date mainly from the Neolithic Period, are frequently identified with Plato’s Atlanteans. Their remarkable structures were built between the middles of the fifth and second millennia B.C., a period that is compatible with final days of Atlantis according to Plato. The building of megalithic structures in Western Europe appears to have ended just before the beginning of the Bronze Age – coincidence?
Proponents of the idea of a megalithic building Atlantis see the location and extent of the megalithic structures as being in agreement with Plato’s description, particularly his reference to Atlantis being ‘beyond the Pillars of Heracles’. However the location of the ‘Pillars’ at the time of Solon’s visit to Egypt, is strongly disputed. In fact the only territory unambiguously named by Plato as Atlantean was in southern Italy and North Africa along with a number of islands of which there are many in that region.
However, there are many features in Plato’s narrative that do not conform to our current knowledge of the megalith builders. There is no evidence that they had writing, irrigation technology or the navigational skills to mount an attack on Egypt/Athens or any other characteristics ascribed to the Atlanteans by him.
On the other hand, if these attributes are just literary flesh applied to a skeleton of historical truth there is the the possibility of a link between the Atlanteans and the megalith builders that still remains.
Atlantis enthusiasts are quite happy to associate the megalith builders with Atlantis, as it provides something tangible to enhance the credibility of Plato’s narrative pointing to sites such as Stonehenge or the Maltese Temples. British researcher Robert John Langdon has gone further and proposed that the megalith builders originally came from Africa and settled in Doggerland at the end of the Ice Age, where they established Atlantis. When Doggerland was submerged they migrated to what is now mainland Britain, where they built Stonehenge as a memorial to Atlantis.
While not a new idea, a megalithic connection with Atlantis has recently been given further attention by the French writer Sylvain Tristan who was inspired by Jean Deruelle and Alan Butler. Alfred deGrazia also joined this club as well as the German author Helmut Tributsch who has added his support to the idea of a megalithic Atlantis, specifically locating its capital on the island of Gavrinis in Brittany. A similar claim has been made by Hank Harrison who also believes that the Morbihan region was an important Atlantean centre if not the location of its capital. Further support for a megalithic Atlantis has been given by Walter Schilling who places Plato’s city in the Bay of Cadiz. Robert Temple has recently offered grudging support for the concept of Atlantean megalith builders.
Iberia is also home to very many megalithic strucures of varying types. Recently, lower waters in a Spanish reservoir revealed once more the impressive 144-stone Dolmen-de-Guadalperal, situated roughly halfway between Madrid and the Portuguese border(z) . Efforts are being made to ensure its preservation before the water levels rise again.
As far as I am aware classical writers make no obvious reference to the megalith builders, nor has this omission been commented on by modern writers. However, the numerous indirect references to Atlantis by the same ancient writers are deemed inadequate, which seems consistent with a dearth of information regarding early history.
It appears to me that other questions that have not been definitively answered relate to the identity of the megalith builders, why they stopped building and what happened to them. Another thought is that if the megalith builders lived at the same time as the Atlanteans, is it not strange that both disappeared around the same time, or did they? My opinion is that we are probably confronted with two unrelated mysteries – the disappearance of the megalith builders and the demise of Atlantis.
Parallel with the megaliths of the eastern Atlantic seaboard are the megaliths of North America(ab) . Who built them and when? Are they evidence of very early pre-Columbian voyagers from Europe?(b)
An interesting article combining all the strange aspects of megalith building can be read online(c) which certainly offers food for thought. A paper(d) published in September 2013 gives a good overview of megalithic studies during the past few decades. Walter Haug’s well illustrated website(k) offers a range of previously ignored megalithic sites in Germany.
Much nonsense has been written about the megalith builders, particularly on the Internet, where you find daft ideas such as attributing their construction to aliens(a). The suggestion that extraterrestrials had the technology to travel in space but when they land on earth they have to build observatories with stone is just silly. Why would they even need observatories?
A valuable website dealing with the global spread of megalithic monuments, is The Megalithic Portal established by Andy Burnham(g), which has regular updates. Other useful sites are Stone Pages(h) and Megalithic Ireland(i). Another site worth a look is from Sjur C. Papazian(l). There is also a site(j) dealing specifically with the dolmens of Corsica and Sardinia.
In the Middle East dolmens stretch in a line from the Caucasus(s)(p) to the Yemen with a remarkable concentration of them in modern Jordan(m), a fact which prompted a former Dutch ambassador to Jordan, Gajus Scheltema, to write Megalithic Jordan. Jordan is also home to an ancient mysterious 150 km wall, which was 1-1.5 metres high.(u)
Dolmens are also found in more distant lands such as India(r), Korea(n)(v) and Japan(o). It is difficult to look at the worldwide distribution of dolmens and not consider the possibility of some form of global cultural diffusion! Rarely discussed are the widely dispersed megalithic remains found throughout the Pacific islands(q).
There is a well-illustrated website offering an overview of the megalithic culture of Western Europe and the Mediterranean(t).
In February 2019 the Smithsonian Magazine had a report telling us that “Bettina Schulz Paulsson, an archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg, reexamined some 2,410 radiocarbon dating results that have been assigned to Europe’s megaliths and put them through a Bayesian statistical analysis. 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.” (w)
Some years ago, the renowned English archaeologist, Aubrey Burl, concluded after twenty years of study that French immigrants had built Stonehenge(aa). More recently, Mike Parker Pearson, a leading Stonehenge expert, has also endorsed this idea of a French origin for megalith building(x).
>Archaeologist, Robert Hensey in his insightful First Light [1766.9] has also noted that, “Construction of Breton passage tombs is likely to have ended by 3900 BC, almost certainly by 3800 BC, and the most recent evidence from Ireland suggests that passage tomb construction had not yet begun on this island by that time.”<
The interesting claims of Schulz Paulsson, who places the origins of megalithic construction in Brittany in the fifth millennium BC, may be challenged by a little-known counterclaim that tombs in the Ox Mountains in the west of Ireland have been dated to the seventh millennium BC(y). However, my personal view is that it would be more likely that the practice of megalith building would have spread from the east rather than from Ireland westward!
A rational explanation for the construction of cyclopean masonry has been offered by Professor of Architecture Jean-Pierre Protzen and demonstrated on a YouTube clip(f).
(a) https://www.world-mysteries.com/mpl_10ramm.htm (link broken July 2020)
(q) https://davidpratt.info/easter1.htm (section 10)