Seasons are sub-divisions of the year usually based on changes in ecology, weather or hours of daylight. The number of seasons varies between two (Polar) and six (India). My native Ireland has been described by cynics as now having only three seasons, as recent weather changes seem to have removed summer from our calendar.
The Egyptian year is divided into three seasons as they also did in the Indus civilisation. In an effort to make Plato’s 9,000 years more credible, commentators as early Giovanni Carli in the 18th century and Rafinesque in the 19th have suggested that Plato’s years were in fact ‘seasons’. The idea has gained further traction in more recent years with support from Axel Hausmann and Radek Brychta and most recently Rosario Vieni. Both Hausmann and Vieni presented papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference, where Hausmann proposed that the ‘years’ be treated as seasons and so concluded that the demise of Atlantis took place in 3522 BC[629.359]. However, at the same conference Vieni presented his paper entitled “11,500 years ago…..” [629.337], obviously at that stage accepting Plato’s 9,000 years at face value. Three years later, he presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference which he entitled “About 5600 years ago….” [750.347], in which he had changed his understanding of Plato’s ‘years’ to be now seasons. While his intellectual honesty is to be applauded, I must point out that because a person changes their opinion, there is no guarantee that their second choice is any more correct than the first.
I am not convinced by the ‘seasons’ explanation, as it just seems to be a rather feeble attempt to explain away Plato’s 9,000 being a reference to solar years. Supporters of this ‘seasons’ explanation appear to be forced to look for an alternative to a literal 9,000 years as that figure conflicts dramatically with the Bronze Age setting of the Atlantis narrative and runs counter to the archaeological evidence for dating the foundation of both Athens and the Egyptian civilisation.
The more popular alternative suggestion of treating the ‘years’ as lunar cycles makes much more sense, as it brings the Atlantis story into the end of the Greek Bronze Age. It also matches the time of the destruction of the spring on the Acropolis (Crit.112d) and conforms to details on the Parian Marble. But perhaps most important of all is that the use of lunar cycles by the Egyptian priesthood for calculating time was noted by Eudoxus of Cnidos (410-355 BC) and also by Plutarch, Manetho, Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.
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 in 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.
“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 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 a number of 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 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 of 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. She has listed 652 pairs on Malta and 42 on Gozo. 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<
Peter Jakubowski (1947- ) was born in Poland and after attaining a doctoral degree in physics he moved to Germany in 1985. His principal area of interest ‘is a complete refoundation of physics and its practical applications in modern industry’. His ideas are explained in his book, Naturics and his website(a).
Jakubowski had devoted space on his website to air his thoughts regarding Atlantis but later removed them during a 2011 revamp of the site. He appears to closely follow the views of Axel Hausmann(c). He located Atlantis on Sicily and the Malta Plateau and explained that the circular features of the capital city were in fact the remnants of an asteroid impact crater.
*In 2016, Jakubowski sent an open letter(b) to Graham Hancock following the publication of Magicians of the Gods. In this somewhat rambling missive, he touches on the Younger Dryas, ancient giants and the evolution of human civilisation.
The Strait of Sicily is the name given to the extensive stretch of water between Sicily and Tunisia. Depending on the degree to which glaciation lowered the world’s sea levels during the last Ice Age; three views have emerged relating its possible effect on Sicily during that period:
(ii) The Strait of Messina was closed, joining Sicily to Italy, while the Strait of Sicily remained open.
(iii) Both the Strait of Messina and the Strait of Sicily were closed, providing a land bridge between Tunisia and Italy, separating the Eastern from the Western Mediterranean Basins.
I find it strange that what we call today the Strait of Sicily is 90 miles wide. Now the definition of ‘strait’ is a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water. How 90 miles can be described as ‘narrow’ eludes me. Is it possible that we are dealing with a case of mistaken identity and that the ‘Strait of Sicily’ is in fact the Strait of Messina, which is narrow? Philo of Alexandria (20 BC-50 AD) in his On the Eternity of the World(a) wrote “Are you ignorant of the celebrated account which is given of that most sacred Sicilian strait, which in old times joined Sicily to the continent of Italy?” (v.139). Some commentators think that Philo was quoting Theophrastus, Aristotle’s successor. The name ‘Italy’ was normally used in ancient times to describe the southern part of the peninsula(b).
Armin Wolf, the German historian, noted(e) that “Even today, when people from Sicily go to Calabria (southern Italy) they say they are going to the “continente.” I suggest that Plato used the term in a similar fashion and was quite possibly referring to that same part of Italy which later became known as ‘Magna Graecia’. Robert Fox in The Inner Sea[1168.141] confirms that this long-standing usage of ‘continent’ refers to Italy.
It is worth pointing out that the Strait of Messina is sometimes referred to in ancient literature as the Pillars of Herakles and designates the sea west of this point as the ‘Atlantic Ocean’. Modern writers such as Sergio Frau and Eberhard Zangger, among others, have pointed out that the term ‘Pillars of Herakles’ was applied to more than one location in the Mediterranean in ancient times.
The Strait of Messina is frequently associated with the story of Scylla & Charybdis, which led Arthur R. Weir in a 1959 article(d) to refer to ancient documents, which state that Scylla & Charybdis lie between the Pillars of Heracles.
In 1910, the celebrated Maltese botanist, John Borg, proposed that Atlantis had been situated on what is now submerged land between Malta and North Africa. A number of other researchers, such as Axel Hausmann and Alberto Arecchi, have expressed similar ideas.
The Strait of Sicily is home to a number of sunken banks, previously exposed during the Last Ice Age. As levels rose most of these disappeared, an event observed by the inhabitants of the region at that time. The MapMistress website(c) has proposed that one of these banks was the legendary Erytheia, the sunken island of the far west. The ‘far west’ later became the Strait of Gibraltar but for the early Greeks it was the Central Mediterranean.
(d) Atlantis – A New Theory, Science Fantasy #35, June 1959 pp 89-96 https://drive.google.com/file/d/10JTH401O_ew1fs8uhXR9C5IjNDvqnmft/view
>(e) Wayback Machine (archive.org) See Note 5<
Sicily was first inhabited by modern humans during the last Ice Age(h) when lower sea levels exposed a land bridge between it and what is now mainland Italy.
Plato was quite familiar with Sicily having paid a number of visits there(i) and on one occasion was sold as a slave having offended King Dionysius with his criticism of tyrannical rulers. Many think that his time in the capital, Syracuse, inspired elements of his description of the capital of Atlantis!
The island was probably first suggested as having a link with Atlantis by Mário Saa in a 1936 book in which he has Atlantis stretching from and including Sicily and the Maltese archipelago all the way to Tunisia. It was then more than four decades before Phyllis Young Forsyth wrote her book, Atlantis: The Making of Myth , in which she expressed her belief that Plato wrote the Atlantis story as an anti-war allegory partly based on his own experiences with the king of Syracuse.
More recently a number of other writers have also put Sicily forward as a location for Atlantis. In the main, it has been European investigators who have advocated such a Sicilian connection and some have gone further and proposed a land bridge with Tunisia within the memory of man.
Dr. Peter Jakubowski also offers(a) Sicily and the Malta Plateau as the location of Atlantis. He proposes a cosmic impact in the Atlantic which closed the Strait of Gibraltar around 4800 BC. When the dam eventually broke, the Mediterranean to the west of Sicily began to fill. This was then followed by the breaching of the land bridge between Sicily and Africa and finally the dam in the Bosporus broke, flooding what was a much smaller Black Sea than we have today. Jakubowski’s site is apparently a reworking of Axel Hausmann’s book.*A few years ago he revamped his website, but removed all the Atlantis material.*
Patrick Archer has also adopted the concept of a Sicilian land bridge and promotes the idea that the breaching of it and its consequences were the inspiration for the biblical Deluge(e).
Zhirov noted that “the Mediterranean is fairly shallow between Sicily and Tunisia. There are vast sandbanks and shoals. It may be considered as beyond all doubt that this region subsided recently and that there was a broad isthmus between Sicily and Tunisia.”
Alberto Arecchi(b) has added his voice in support of this Sicilian land bridge linking Italy with Africa and places Atlantis off the coast of modern Tunisia.
Further support has come from Thomas J. Krupa in his 2014 book, in which proposes that the land bridge was composed of limestone which over time had been partially dissolved by rainwater and was under stress from the rising sea levels on its western side. He considers the land bridge the most likely location for Atlantis, which was destroyed when the isthmus was sundered by an earthquake.
Thorwald C. Franke has a well-balanced website(c), in German and English, supporting the idea of a Bronze Age Sicilian Atlantis. For topographical reasons he places the city on the Plains of Catania on the east coast of the island. He sees that the importance of Atlantis within his hypothesis “is the transfer of culture from the eastern to the Western Mediterranean, e.g. there can be found parallels between the culture of the Etruscans, whose role in bringing eastern culture to the west is widely acknowledged.”
Sicily is also home to a number of step pyramids similar to the Canarian examples(d). Antoine Gigal, the French explorer and writer, offers on her website(f) an extensively illustrated article about 23 previously unrecorded Sicilian pyramids as well as seven pyramids on Mauritius(g).
*A 2020 article on the Ancient Origins website by Daniela Giordano reviews the subject of Italian pyramids and more particularly the Sicilian pyramids and their possible connection with the Shekelesh one of the Sea Peoples, an idea also advocated by Nancy K. Sanders, the British archaeologist. The article goes on to suggest some linkage with the more than controversial Bosnian pyramids, which I find overly speculative(k).*
Quite recently a bronze object with a 13th century BC Sicilian connection was found off the coast of Devon in the UK, suggesting ancient trade between the Central Mediterranean and Britain(j).
(d) See: Archive 2006
Also See: Pantelleria
Axel Hausmann (1939-2014) was a German physics professor at the Technical University of Aachen. He had identified a circular underwater feature 20 miles due south of Syracuse in Sicily (36°45’N & 15°18’E) as the possible location of Plato’s city of Atlantis and south of that again existed the plain of Atlantis extending as far as Malta. He contended that Atlantis had an area of influence that stretched from Tunisia to Italy including Malta and Sicily. He erroneously claimed in a paper presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference [629.351] to be the first to suggest the Central Mediterranean region as a runner in the Atlantis Stakes(c). However, he does appear to be the first scientist to promote the idea of a late breaching of a Gibraltar Dam leading to the inundation of Atlantis.
Hausmann placed the Pillars of Heracles at what was formerly a narrow strait between northeast Tunisia near what is now Cape Bon and an enlarged Sicilian landmass, which incorporated Malta.
He dated the submergence of Atlantis to around 3500 BC, based on the assumption that Plato’s ‘years’ were Egyptian seasons (three per solar year). He perceived the remarkable megalithic temples on Malta & Gozo as the remnants of Atlantis and anticipated similar discoveries on Sicily.
In a paper delivered to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Milos, Hausmann speculated that the famous cart-ruts of Malta were irrigation channels[629.356], ignoring the fact that they follow the natural undulations of the landscape, unless he thought that these Maltese Atlanteans found a way to make water flow uphill.
Hausmann has also followed the suggestion of the late Ulf Richter who argued that the linear measurements of Atlantis used the Egyptian khet (52m)as the unit of measurement rather than the Greek stade (175m).
Hausmann proposed that the survivors of the catastrophe migrated to Crete, Egypt and Syria where they provided the stimulus for the subsequent civilisations of Egypt, Minoan Crete and Sumer. He specifically identified the Phaistos Disk as possibly having been brought to Crete by Atlantean refugees and also presented a paper on this idea to the 2005 Atlantis Conference(c). He has written a number of books including a second volume more directly related to Atlantis, Atlantis – Die Versunkene Wiege der Kulturen (Atlantis-The Sunken Cradle of Culture).
*Hausmann has written a two-part paper entitled Atlantis war Sizilien (Atlantis is Sicily) available on the Atlantisforschung.de website(a)(b) . In it, he echoes my own view that it seems incredible that commentators place Atlantis in locations on every continent and ignore the only region that Plato unambiguously identified as Atlantean territory, namely the Central Mediterranean, from Southern Italy to North Africa (Crit. 114c & Tim. 25a/b).
Stephen E. Franklin offers a wide-ranging website(a) which includes a book, as yet unpublished, that ambitiously aims to reconcile the chronologies of the ancient Hebrews, Assyrians and Egyptians. This has been an area of great contention ever since the writings of Immanuel Velikovsky were published in the 1950’s. David Rohl has published a series of books on the subject in recent years with further contributions from Peter James and Emmet J. Sweeney.
Franklin’s book has chapter 8(c) devoted to the Garden of Eden and Atlantis where he maintains that the 9,000 ‘years’ of Plato refer to the three ‘seasons’ in the Egyptian year, an idea that seems to be gaining acceptance (see Radek Brychta, Rosario Vieni and Axel Hausmann).
*Franklin has claimed that the Phaistos Disk is a king-list of Cretan rulers and also that it has a calendrical function(d) .*
Some years ago Franklin published a book on the origins of the Tarot deck. Its subtitle was A Study of the Astronomical Substructure of Game and Divining Boards. This can be downloaded for free from his website(b).
Malta is a small densely populated archipelago, strategically situated in the Central Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia. There is a claim that early Maltese were Phoenicians who came from Lebanon around 3000 BC(i). However, they do not appear to have been the first, as temple building on the islands began centuries earlier and before that, there is evidence to show a Neanderthal presence there (See below). It was not until the 1st millennium BC that there was a formal occupation of Malta by the more militant successors of the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and many centuries later the Knights Templar.
Nowadays, Malta has a highly recognisable national flag adorned with an eight-pointed cross, now universally accepted as Maltese. However, this symbol has a long history and greater geographical spread than generally realised. Gary A. David has written an informative paper(af) on the Maltese Cross and its variants as found around the world. He pointed out its use in the Americas by the ancient Olmecs and has laid great emphasis on its place in the inherited culture of the Hopi Indians.
An unexpected reference to this national symbol can be found in the writings [1848.71] of Maurice Chatelain, an ancient astronaut theorist, who claimed that within a 450-mile radius of the Aegean island of Delos there were 13 mystical sites, which when connected by straight lines formed a perfect Maltese Cross(ah)!
It is claimed by some that the name ‘Malta’ is derived from the Phoenician word ‘Maleth’, meaning refuge. However, the name is more generally accepted to be taken from the Greek word for honey meli and was later known to the Romans as Melita, the Latin equivalent. Malta was renowned in ancient times for the quality of its honey, which may explain why the light-fingered, 1st century BC Roman governor, Verres, stole 400 amphorae of it (about 2800 gallons) over a three years.
Malta, for most Christians, is where St. Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome, but even this is disputed by the inhabitants of Mljet in the Adriatic, who make an identical claim.
Today, Malta is a stepping-stone between North Africa and Europe. At the time of the last Ice Age it was probably joined to Sicily but whether it was also joined to North Africa is a matter for debate. This possibility depends on the extent to which the level of the Mediterranean was lowered by the growth of the Ice Age glaciers and whether that lowering was exacerbated by the existence of a land bridge between Southern Spain and Morocco. Vittorio Castellani offers a possible map of the enlarged Sicily extending to include the Maltese Islands, leaving a narrow strait between an expanded Malta and the coast of Tunisia. Dr Anton Mifsud has researched ancient maps of the Central Mediterranean region and demonstrated that the early cartographers knew the Maltese archipelago as having a much larger area than at present. G.N. Godwin expressed similar views regarding an earlier enlarged Maltese landmass in his Guide to the Maltese Islands .
The Greek text describes Atlantis as being ‘pro’ in front of or before the Pillars of Heracles rather than ‘meta’ beyond them, which would fit a description of Malta being in front of (east of) Pillars if as suggested, they were located at the Strait of Sicily.
Commenting on this preposition, J. Warren Wells points out that “Plato uses ‘pro’ seven times in Timaeus and twice in Critias. In eight of these cases, it is used in relation to ‘time before’ rather than ‘place before.’It is used only one time in relation to place or position. That single occurrence is where he refers to the island of Atlantis being before (pro) the straits at the Pillars of Heracles.” He concluded that at the very least, close proximity is implied.
W.K.C. Guthrie in A History of Greek Philosophy (Vol.5, p245) comments similarly – “’ before the entrance’ I take to mean that it was at no great distance, but the volcanic Azores have a better geographical claim to be the remains of Atlantis than any spot within the Mediterranean.”
Guthrie recognised that Plato was describing the island of Atlantis as being near the Pillars of Heracles, but based on the assumption that the Pillars were situated at Gibraltar, he was forced to opt for the Azores as the location of Atlantis, even though that at a distance of 1,100 miles they cannot in any way be described as being “at no great distance” from the ‘Pillars’. Consideration of other know locations, particularly in the Central Mediterranean, that was also, at different times, designated as the Pillars of Heracles, show several islands, including Malta, close to each nominated site.
Malta is home to some of the earliest and most spectacular megalithic monuments in Europe, with some finely carved art, particularly of spirals as can be seen in Michael Ridley’s book. Unfortunately, many more have been lost, Lenie Reedijk in her recent book, Sirius – the Star of the Maltese Temples , lists 100 megalithic sites on Malta & Gozo, of which two-thirds have been lost [p.14/15]. She also contends that the temple building in Malta was spread over a much longer period than generally accepted, beginning as early as 9150 BC and last until 4250 BC.
Many attempts have been made to link the orientation of the temples with various astronomical bodies. A limited study by John Cox proposed a connection with moonrise (t). Mario Vassallo favours an association with the winter solstice sunrise(u). Klaus Albrecht also identifies  the winter solstice sunrise as his preferred orientation(v). Reedijk offers a far more radical explanation for the alignment of all the temples, namely that they were directed at Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky at that time. However, precession slowly broke that alignment. Reedijk noted that “a star whose rising and setting point was aligned with a temple axis of a given monument at a given time will have moved out of its line of sight in the course of several centuries. When this happened the need would have been felt to build another monument with a slightly different orientation of its main axis, in order to be in line with the star again.”
What I do not understand is why, according to Reedjik, the Maltese temple builders continued to build their re-aligned monuments for over five millennia without simply modifying existing temples rather than engaging in the immense work involved in starting from scratch after every failure of orientation.
Tore Lomsdalen has an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He is now studying for his PhD in archaeology at the University of Malta. He has published several papers on the orientation of the Maltese temples some with a particular focus on Mnajdra(am)(an).
>In September 2021 a Canadian researcher, Irene Friesen Wolfstone published a paper(ao) in which she “hypothesizes an Afrocentric origin for the astronomical knowledge that informed the megalithic temple builders of Malta.” and explaining that “using a cosmological epistemology, I hypothesize the cosmological principles that were expressed in the astronomical and matricentric design of Mnajdra.”<
Carmelo Raymond Sant is a retired engineer and the author of two books [1701/2] concerning the Maltese temples and their function as calendars, which are supported by a fully illustrated website(y). His intense study of the temples and the evidence that over time their orientation changed leading him to conclude that within human experience some form of tectonic rotation south of Sicily has taken place. To quote Sant “two main anomalies became evident in the megalithic calendar. The first obvious one was related to alignment. Unknown geological events had taken place, which contradict the established view on plate tectonics (see micro-plate rotations). The second concerns Earth dynamics. The evidence in the design hint strongly to abrupt changes in the Earth axial tilt, in contradiction to established thinking.“(z)
Malta is home to some of the earliest and most spectacular megalithic monuments in Europe. Dr Mifsud has pointed out that the size and number of these ancient monuments are greater than an island of Malta’s present extent could be expected to produce. This view when combined with the mysterious ‘cart-ruts’[ that run straight off cliffs, and then reappear on the opposite side of a bay or across open sea, all point to Malta having been a much larger landmass within the experience of man, namely, not earlier than 5000 BC. The cartruts.com website shows(d) the possible shoreline of Malta at 5000 BC and 8000 BC. The same site has a page on ‘torba’ an alleged prehistoric Maltese cement. The tiny island of Filfla three miles off the south coast of Malta had cart ruts visible on it before it was used for target practice by the British military(g). The clear implication being that it had been connected to the main island while it was inhabited. Furthermore, three miles offshore from Sliema on the north side of Malta submerged ruins of what is thought to be a temple (now named ‘Gebel Gol-Bahar’)(h) were discovered in 1999.
I expect that further discoveries will be made, but as it is, there is sufficient evidence to prove that when it was initially settled and certainly as late as some of the Temple Period, the archipelago had been considerably greater in extent than today. A short history of Filfla is worth a read(o).
An underwater study (2013) of the seafloor between Malta and Sicily revealed that the archipelago had been connected to Sicily by a 40 km wide land bridge, now submerged by rising sea levels following the last Ice Age(w).
In 2010, a former co-author of Mifsud’s, Charles Savona-Ventura, rather strangely, independently published a fourteen-page booklet, In Search of Atlantis, in which he reiterated his support for Malta as Atlantis!
In 2014, it was reported(k) in the Times of Malta that a huge underwater canyon, previously unknown, with an extent eight times the size of the Maltese Islands, had been discovered in an area known as the Malta Escarpment. It was also found that the canyon had been active recently, highlighting the geological instability in the region. (The link below includes a short video clip).
In 1923, R. M. Gattefossé commented  that many of Malta’s ancient monuments were “Atlantean” in character, although he believed that Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic. Dr Mifsud attributes the earliest linking of Malta with Atlantis to the 16th-century writer, Bibischok. However, it was over three hundred years before the suggestion was made again, when in 1854, Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse, the renowned Maltese architect, proposed that the Maltese Islands were remnants of Atlantis. In 1910 the celebrated Maltese botanist, John Borg offered the opinion that Atlantis had been situated on the submerged land between Malta and North Africa .
D. H. Childress reports that in 1922, the archaeologist, Joseph Bosco also supported this idea. Three-quarters of a century passed before the idea of a Maltese connection with Atlantis was again revived, in particular by the publication of two books, one by Anton Mifsud and the other Francis Galea, in English and Maltese respectively. Both of these books are the result of extensive investigation and have inspired others to continue the study. Graham Hancock was prompted to visit the island and gained material there for his popular book on ancient flooded cities.
Mifsud is widely accepted as Malta’s leading atlantologist and was the principal author of Malta, Echoes of Plato’s Island, in which a very strong case was made for considering Malta as Atlantis. In 2017, he published Island of the Gods (available on the academia.edu website), which strengthened his Atlantis theories with complementary material. As can be seen from the bibliography here, Mifsud has written several books and papers concerning the history and prehistory of this strategically situated island and the endless procession of traders and occupiers – Neanderthals, Megalith Builders, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans.
Another contributor to the study and literature of the island’s prehistoric origins that should be mentioned is the late Joseph S. Ellul. He was a Maltese teacher and the author of a paper, Malta’s Prediluvian Culture…, that links the submergence of some of Malta’s monuments with Noah’s Flood, which he identified with the controversial idea of the breaching of a land bridge between Spain and Morocco.
While most researchers have focused on the extraordinary number of ancient monuments on the small archipelago, it might be worth considering what is not found on the islands, namely, anything to do with military action. There are no obvious defensive structures and no depiction of warriors or their weaponry. Everything seems to indicate a peaceful society, perhaps, as I and others have already speculated, it was originally a place of pilgrimage(m)(n) or some form of sanctuary!
Hubert Zeitlmair, a retired German real estate investor, is fascinated by the Megalithic remains on Malta, but unfortunately, he ascribes their existence to the intervention of alien visitors a la Zechariah Sitchin. He has outlined his views in a book, written in German with an English version promised in the future. Zeitlmair expands on a number of his outlandish claims on his website(f), UFOs, Nibiru as well as “the Atlantean ‘Cold Fire Fusion’ Power house in Malta that still generates Non-lethal High-Frequency Active Auroral Energy.” Similar waffle has been published in the first two books of a trilogy by Francis Xavier Aloisio, who claims that the Maltese temples “are a Reservoir of Consciousness, so we need to start to look at the structures in a very different way. They were ‘charge compressors’, ‘energy generators’ and ‘power houses.’ In a word, they were ‘energy centres’ for planet Earth.”
Quite recently, Aloisio’s wife, Christine, also joined the ‘lunatic fringe’ and published The Crystal City of Atlantis , which she claims is under Malta. The promotional blurb tells us how “The reader is taken through a remarkable chronicle of how they found Ashua.ra.ta.ra, the Crystal City of Atlantis and met the High Priest who shares with the author his wisdom and describes their Inner Earth Kingdom. The High Priest also reveals how he and his fellow Atlanteans fled there, after the last devastating flood of Atlantis.” For good measure, the author reveals that Lemuria had been situated in California in ancient times!
Anton Mifsud has noted that “Without the use of metal, the ancient Maltese were erecting the first domed structures of the world; these sanctuaries were also being built in accordance with an anti-seismic blueprint, and, amongst other designs, most if not all of these temples incorporated highly advanced acoustics that is still retained in the ‘closed’ surviving framework at the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum”(ab) Glenn Kreisberg, is an American researcher, who has investigated archaeoacoustics and has visited the Hypogeum and carried out experiments there(ac).
In 2020, it was announced that acoustic engineers from the University of Salford had demonstrated that Stonehenge had acoustic qualities that allowed “any sounds produced inside the temple would have been much less audible to anybody outside the circle, despite the monument almost certainly not having a roof.
The findings, therefore, suggest that any sounds generated by activities carried out inside the circle were not intended to be shared with the wider community. This reinforces theories suggesting that the potential religious activities conducted inside Stonehenge were reserved for an elite of practitioners, rather than for a wider communal congregation.”(ad)(ae)
Casey Terry notes[1542.36] that Pavel Smutny, a Czech researcher, who is an ardent promoter of the idea of ancient advanced technology, has gone further and proposed that the Maltese temple complexes “were used probably as generators of high-frequency acoustic waves. The purpose was (maybe) to arrange a communication channel between various islands”!(ag) A similar claim regarding the Maltese temples as acoustic communication centres is to be found in a paper written by Glenn Kreisberg (ab).
Another site(aj) noted that “There is no denying that a sophisticated school of architectural knowledge was already in place a thousand years before the Egyptians started building pyramids. (The same people who created Hal Saflieni also engineered a complete solar calendar in one of their above-ground megalithic structures, with solstice and equinox sunrise alignments that still function today.)”
The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum has produced a mystery, a controversy and an accusation of conspiracy. When it was excavated several longheaded skulls were found. However, since the middle of the 20th century, most of these skulls have quietly vanished. Fortunately, Dr Anton Mifsud has not let the matter rest and tracked down some of these and in a detailed publication(ak) has explained: “that they have been intentionally hidden from the general public for various reasons, political, national and cultural for over a century.”
The most recent and more rational support for a Maltese location has come from Albert Nikas, a computer engineer, who submitted a paper(b) to the 2008 Atlantis Conference. Sunday, November 19th 2017 saw the publication of an article(l) by Nikas in Malta’s Sunday Independent, in which he describes his recent visit to many temples in the archipelago. He goes on to claim that he has located the ruins of an ancient city, just offshore, which he believes to have been the capital of Atlantis, not far from Valletta, the modern capital.
Massimo Rapisarda submitted another paper to the same conference suggesting that Atlantis had been located in Sicily in the vicinity of the seaport of Marsala. That conference also heard Axel Hausmann identify a region that included part of North Africa and the area between Libya and Sicily as the home of Atlantis.
Alberto Arecchi, who also advocates a Central Mediterranean Atlantis noted that “We can identify in this system the “Heracles’ columns” of the ancient mythology (one of the two “columns” appears identifiable with the island of Malta).” (s)
I do not know what future investigations will reveal, but I am certain that they will demonstrate that Malta had a more important part to play in the Atlantis story than is generally accepted today. The megalithic heritage of Malta predates that of Egypt by a millennium, considerably enhancing its candidacy as the location of Atlantis. A wonderful panoramic view of some of the temples can be seen on the Internet(c).
The second largest of the Maltese archipelago, Gozo, is claimed by some to have been Ogygia the home of the mythical Calypso. Today, there is a cave overlooking Gozo’s Ramla Bay which, by tradition, is thought to be “the one where the beautiful nymph Calypso keeps Odysseus as a “prisoner of love” for seven years.” (x)
Gozo also claims to have the oldest free-standing temples in the world known as Ggantija. In the early 19th century a Danish-German artist painted a number of watercolours of the Ggantija area that “show stones and reliefs that have since been destroyed” (ai).
Many websites discuss the prehistory of Malta(a). One well-illustrated site(e) concentrates on the evidence of catastrophic events affecting the landscape of the archipelago in the distant past. A newspaper report of June 2016(j) pushes back the prehistory of Malta by 30,000 years with the claim that Neanderthals may have lived on the island, assuming that it was an island then! In 2016, Mifsud published Dossier Malta – Neanderthal  in which he outlines the evidence for the existence of Neanderthal Man on Malta.
Malta also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon wine in the town of Marsaxlokk appropriately, but not uniquely, called Atlantis.
On Sunday, January 13th 2019. the UK’s Sunday Express delighted its readers with TWO Atlantis stories(q)(r). The online edition of the paper offered a video clip of the Maltese island of Filfla, while the commentator told us that Plato had said that a devastating earthquake had destroyed Atlantis it was finished off by an eruption. This is factually incorrect as Plato never mentioned an eruption. Then, as if that was not enough, the same edition of the same newspaper has another story by the same ‘reporter’, with an ‘Atlantis Discovered’ headline claims that the remains of an ancient 8,000 year-old city, home to ‘tens of thousands’ of people, had been discovered in the North Sea, in a huge region sometimes referred to as Doggerland. The reporter cites Dr Richard Bates in support of this account. Unfortunately, the 2012 comments by Dr Bates never mentioned ‘a city’, only a vast area occupied by ‘tens of thousands’ of people, presumably early farmers(p). These two accounts are a sad reflection on the quality of media reporting today.
I cannot leave this subject without mentioning Julian Cope’s The Megalithic European , described as “the most extensive study of European megalithic sites to date.” This beautifully illustrated book offers information on 300 sites, including Malta, visited by the author, some of which were new to me.
(u) ‘The Location of the Maltese Neolithic Temple Sites’, Sunday Times, 26 August 2007, pp. 44–46.
The Phaistos Disk is the most famous ancient artefact ever found on Crete and as Axel Hausmann says, can be considered the world’s oldest ‘printed’ document, dated to around 1700 BC. This is because the characters were created using incised punches, similar in effect to movable type.
Noting that this ‘document’ was produced using some sort of character ‘punches’, brings to my mind three questions – (1) were these the only set of punches created? And (2) have any other objects been discovered that show a similar use of punches? And (3) if not, why not? These questions prompted some to claim that the Disk was a hoax! (See below)
Another artefact with characteristics remarkably similar to the Phaistos Disk is the inscribed Magliano Disk, made of lead, which was discovered in Magliano, Tuscany in the 1889’s(ac). However, the two discs were very far apart in time and location and so similarities are just superficial. Like the Phaistos Disk, the one from Magliano has also presented translation problems as the Etruscan script in which it is written is still only partly decipherable.
The Phaistos Disk was discovered around a hundred years ago by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier (1874-1937) and despite an amazing number of efforts(a) it has defied a definitive decipherment ever since. The interpretations so far have ranged from it being a prayer to a description of the eruption of Thera, while one writer in a light-headed moment went as far as to suggest that it might hold a message from extraterrestrials!
One of the most fascinating suggestions is that the disk was in fact a board game based on an ancient Egyptian game called Senet(b)(o), which was proposed by Peter Aleff, an explanation later supported by Philip Coppens(af). However, it seems that this idea was first proposed by Fernand Crombette at least half a century ago(r).
>Over sixty years ago Marcel Homet discussed the Phaistos Disk in the last chapter of his Sons of the Sun  noting that “The totality of the ideograms or symbols on the disc – they are all as familiar in the prehistoric Mediterranean countries as in the Ancient America (although of older date there) – leads us inevitably to search for a common origin, which can only be found in the northern part of the space which lies between the two continents (Eurasia and America), in other words: Atlantis!” [p193]<
Alan Butler, who has written a book on the subject, provides a more conventional offering in which he sees the disk as being primarily an astronomical aid. Rosario Vieni has promoted the idea that the disk had a calendrical use and has published his reasons, in French, on the Internet(c). Paul Dunbavin has also suggested that the disk may have been a spiral calendar[099.181].
Naturally, Atlantis has not been excluded from this wide-ranging Phaistos speculation, although the linking of the disk with Atlantis is tenuous at best. Jean Louis Pagé has produced a bilingual offering that combines the Phaistos, Mayan and Aztec disks in an effort to locate Atlantis. Axel Hausmann, writing in German, has also done little to provide a clear connection between Atlantis and the disk.
Christian O’Brien and his wife Barbara Joy, in an appendix to their book The Genius of the Few, have identified the writing on the disk as an early form of Sumerian cuneiform writing.>Based on this, O’Brien produced a complete translation of the Disk(ag)!<
>The disk is housed in the Iraklion Archaeological Museum which is also home to the Akralochori Axe also found on Crete in 1934 by Spyridon Marinatos, that was inscribed with 15 characters that have been identified with the Linear A script as well as some of the Phaistos characters(e). The Museum also holds (#2646) a lesser-known disk called ‘The Disk of Chronos’ by Richard Heath, who has identified it as a Bronze Age calendar(ah), which, according to him, among its other functions shows an early use of the seven-day-week. Heath has also written a paper on the Phaistos Disk, which he has interpreted as an eclipse predictor(ai).<
Brent Davis is one of the world’s leading experts on Bronze Age Aegean scripts and languages. In 2018, he published an article “in which, based on a close statistical analysis, shows that the while both the Phaistos Disc and Linear A are undeciphered writing systems, he can demonstrate that the both are, with a high degree of certainty, encode the same language!”(ad)
Two American academic twins, Keith and Kevin Massey have made available a 72-page pdf file(k) outlining their interpretation of the disk. They concluded that the disk was probably a receipt for goods deposited in a temple.
2008 was a busy year for Phaistos Disk studies. Panagiotes D. Gregoriades delivered three papers to the Atlantis Conference in Athens in which he identified the disk as a calendrical device used on land and sea. He subsequently published his ideas in book form in 2010 entitled The Creation of Prototypes. In 2008 a major international Phaistos Disk Conference was held in London(h) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its discovery.
Unfortunately, in 1999 a professional ‘wet blanket’ in the form of Dr Jerome Eisenberg declared the disk to be a fake when he wrote to The Economist declaring that the disk “a joke perpetrated by a clever archaeologist from the Italian mission to Crete upon his fellow excavators.” He expanded on this in a detailed, fully illustrated paper(z) in 2008. Brian E. Colless responded by pointing out(d) that such a hoax would first have required the “making 45 little stamps to imprint on clay, on both sides of the object, and printing 30 clusters of signs (words or phrases ?) on one side and 31 on the other.”
The Greek authorities have refused to allow the disk, which is just 16cm across, to be removed for testing, on the grounds of its extreme fragility. The idea of fraud has been suggested because of the lack of other documents ‘printed’ in the same manner and because none of the punches was ever found. Fortunately, that argument has now been refuted(u). My own response would be to point out that uniqueness is not necessarily a sign of a hoax. Otherwise, we would have to reject the Antikythera Mechanism, which is also a singular item with no objects of any intermediate sophistication discovered so far.
Dr Marco Guido Corsini, who has also written about Atlantis, has widely promoted his interpretation of the Phaistos Disk(o).
Mark Newbrook, who has studied linguistics, gave a good overview of the various attempts to decipher the disk to the 2008 Phaistos Conference. An even more extensive site (currently suspended) was offered by the Georgian mathematician Gia Kvashilavathat includes a very comprehensive bibliography. Kvashilava offers his own interpretation based on the Colchian (Proto-Kartvelian) language printed in the unique Colchian syllabo-logogramic Goldscript. His paper is quite technical and more suited to advanced students of the subject.
Reinoud de Jong has now entered this particular fray with a decipherment that he claims offers a description of the religion of Crete(i). However, this is rather strange as in a 2012 paper(ae), de Jonge claimed that the Disk contains details of the Bronze Age importation of copper and tin from the Americas. In the same paper, he also claimed that the Egyptians discovered America around 2500 BC and for good measure he slips in that the Empire of Atlantis existed from 2500 to 1200 BC, without any reference or explanation whatsoever! It is implied that there is a connection between Egypt, Atlantis and the exploitation of the Michigan copper. The level of detailed speculation on offer here is truly spectacular.
By way of complete contrast, Gary Vey claims that the disk is merely some sort of inventory and also gives an overview of the difficulties attached to deciphering the disk as well as some interesting features overlooked by some researchers(j).
The Czech WM magazine has an extensive 2011 article on the decipherment of the Phaistos Disk(p), giving prominence to the work of Petr Kovar, who claims that the language is Proto-Slavic!(y)
Stephen E. Franklin has claimed that the Disk is a king-list of Cretan rulers and also that it had a calendrical function(ab).
Barbara Gagliano raised a few eyebrows with her claim that the Disk contained DNA information(q)!
Late 2014 saw another translation attempt published(s) by Dr Gareth Owens of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete, in which he claimed that the disk “contains a prayer to the mother goddess of the Minoan era.” Owens’ contribution provoked further controversy including further suggestions that the Disk might be a fake(t).
Linear B was the basis of Owens’ study, which was the result of a collaboration with John Coleman in Oxford University. They claim to have translated 80% of the text with certainty, along with another possible 15%, leaving just 5% undeciphered.(w)
Robert Bradford Lewis has offered a recent forensic study of the Disk, based on his view that the language used was Ugaritic, a long-extinct Semitic tongue(y). However, while the language may be Ugaritic, the script is not!
The number of theories relating to the Disk seems to rival the range of speculation relating to Atlantis. My selection here can be fruitfully augmented by the Wikipedia entry(x) on the subject.
A list of decipherment claims as well as a useful bibliography up to 2008 is available(y) and Charles River Editors has recently (2018) published two Kindle books  offering more information about the many attempts to solve the mystery of the disk.
Brent Davis is one of the world’s leading experts on Bronze Age Aegean scripts and languages. In 2018, he published an article “in which, based on a close statistical analysis, shows that the while both the Phaistos Disc and Linear A are undeciphered writing systems, he can demonstrate that the both are, with a high degree of certainty, encode the same language!”(a)
(o) https://www.phaistosgame.com/ (3 papers)
The Identity of the Atlanteans has produced a range of speculative suggestions nearly as extensive as that of the proposed locations for Plato’s lost island. However, it is highly probable that we already know who the Atlanteans were, but under a different name.
The list below includes some of the more popular suggestions and as such is not necessarily exhaustive. While researchers have proposed particular locations for Atlantis, not all have identified an archaeologically identified culture to go with their chosen location. The problem being that most of the places suggested have endured successive invasions over the millennia by different peoples.
It would seem therefore that the most fruitful approach to solving the problem of identifying the Atlanteans would be to first focus on trying to determine the date of the demise of Atlantis. This should reduce the number of possible candidates, making it easier to identify the Atlanteans.
A final point to consider, is that the historical Atlanteans were a military alliance, and as such may have included more than one or none of those listed here. The mythological Atlanteans, who included the five sets of male twins and their successors would be expected to share a common culture, wheras military coalitions are frequently more disparate.
Basques: William Lewy d’Abartiague, Edward Taylor Fletcher
Maltese: Anton Mifsud, Francis Xavier Aloisio, Kevin Falzon, Bibischok, Joseph Bosco, David Calvert-Orange, Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse, Albert Nikas, Joseph S. Ellul, Francis Galea, Tammam Kisrawi, Charles Savona-Ventura, Hubert Zeitlmair.
Maya: Robert B. Stacy-Judd, Charles Gates Dawes, Colin Wilson, Adrian Gilbert, L. M. Hosea, Augustus le Plongeon, Teobert Maler, Joachim Rittstieg, Lewis Spence, Edward Herbert Thompson, Jean-Frédérick de Waldeck,
Minoans: K.T. Frost, James Baikie, Walter Leaf, Edwin Balch, Donald A. Mackenzie, Ralph Magoffin, Spyridon Marinatos, Georges Poisson, Wilhelm Brandenstein, A. Galanopoulos, J. G. Bennett, Rhys Carpenter, P.B.S. Andrews, Edward Bacon, Willy Ley, J.V. Luce, James W. Mavor, Henry M. Eichner, Prince Michael of Greece, Nicholas Platon, N.W. Tschoegl, Richard Mooney, Rupert Furneaux, Martin Ebon, Francis Hitching, Charles Pellegrino, Rodney Castleden, Graham Phillips, Jacques Lebeau, Luana Monte, Fredrik Bruins, Gavin Menzies, Lee R. Kerr, Daniel P. Buckley.