Willy Ley (1906-1969) was a German-American science writer, who left Nazi Germany in 1935 and eventually ended up in the United States. His great interest was rocketry about which he wrote a number of books on the subject including one with Wernher von Braun. Ley also wrote a regular science column for Galaxy Science Fiction from 1954 until his death.
In the late 1930’s he wrote a number of short articles in English describing the controversial ‘Baghdad Batteries’, which until then had only been discussed in German. One such paper is republished in L.B. Radka’s book[948.151].
In 1969 sixteen of those articles were published in book form with one of them about Atlantis being used for the title, Another Look at Atlantis and Fifteen Other Essays. Ley supported the idea that the eruption of Thera had been the inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis story.
Advanced Technology is regularly claimed by ‘fringe’ writers to have existed in ancient, even prehistoric, times. These claims usually have one of two aims, either to support the idea that in ancient times there was a civilisation/s with highly advanced technology since lost, or that such technology was given to ancient societies by aliens from other planets and which was also lost over time. Both schools of thought offer the same ‘evidence’ to support their claims.
Technology can be defined as techniques, skills, methods and processes, usually intended to improve the human lifestyle. ‘Advanced’ is a relative term implying superiority over what had previously existed – wheeled vehicles were an improvement on sledges or bronze tools were better than copper ones.
When such writers refer to advanced technology, they really mean apparent anachronistic technology, which is frequently inferred from the existence of structures that cannot be duplicated with today’s technology. It is argued by proponents of ancient advanced technology that many ancient monuments, such as Stonehenge, Lixus, Baalbek or the Pyramids, could not have been built without some unknown power source, frequently attributing the existence of such technologies to extraterrestrials from the planet ‘Zog’.
Also from Egypt is the claim that there is compelling evidence of powered stone cutting ‘machinery’ there in antiquity. Similar evidence is also claimed to be found in South America. A one-hour Russian video with English dialogue, relating to this, is quite thought-provoking(g). While the evidence is strong, we cannot rule out the possible existence of long-forgotten techniques rather than mechanical technologies, of which nothing has been found. In the case of ancient Egypt, we have the remains of their primitive tools as well as tomb walls decorated with the same implements. If they had possessed some advanced technology, why did they need those simple tools, which are still available to us, or depict such technology on their tomb walls?
For me, it is also remarkable that cultures such as that of the Pueblo people of the American Southwest managed to “create architectural complexes using advanced geometry — with incredible mathematical accuracy”(o) despite having no written language or system of numerical notation.
Chris Dunn, famous for his belief that the Great Pyramid was in fact built as a power generator, has also claimed that the ancient Egyptians were capable of advanced machining(k) . Margaret Morris, a respected Egyptologist, took issue with Dunn, challenging him to a debate, which, as far as I can ascertain, never materialised. Morris encapsulated her objections thus(l): “In short, Chris Dunn’s methodology is so poor that he has resorted to inventing a cataclysm that cannot be scientifically substantiated and he elevates the pyramid builders to the technological level of space travelers, with no physical evidence at all for either assertion.”
For my part, if the 2.9m high red granite head of Amenhotep III was carved by the Egyptians, without alien intervention, Dunn’s claims are pretty shallow. However, I think it is only fair that readers should have access to Dunn’s side of the dispute(m),>which can be found in Atlantis Rising magazine #26(aa). The debate continued in issue #27 with further comments from Morris and Stephen Mehler joining the fray, generally in support of Dunn(ab).<
However, I must point out that the late Dr Jose Alvarez Lopez was insistent that he had seen evidence of ancient machining on exhibits in the Cairo Museum that were later removed!(t).
Sometimes the process is reversed and simple technology is discovered today, which could have been known in the past, but since lost, which might explain the megalithic structures that still fill us with awe. An example of this is the discovery by W.T. Wallington(j), which he calls a ‘rediscovery’, of a simple method using a lever and a couple of pivots, for moving concrete blocks weighing many thousands of pounds.
>Another or comparable technology may have been used by Edward Leedskainin when he single-handedly built Coral Castle in Florida City(n). What is certain is that Leedskainin had no help from intergalactic visitors. In 2016, Jim Solley published an unnecessarily long paper(ab) claiming that Coral Castle had been built using artificial stone, poured or cast, rather than sculpted. This would have been similar to the building method proposed by Professor Joseph Davidovits that he claims was used for the building of the Egyptian pyramids, as well as other ancient structures!<
While Wallington’s ‘rediscovery’ may not answer all the mysteries of the past it does raise the real possibility that future discoveries may provide unexpected explanations for some of today’s ‘mysteries’.
A recent article on the Ancient Origins website by Lia Mangolini(r) offers her view that crude chemistry, using plant extracts, provided the means of dissolving rock, which could explain how some quality artefacts as well as tight-fitting ancient masonry, such as found in Peru and Egypt, may have been achieved. This is certainly worth a read, but I would prefer to see a demonstration.>She expanded on the use of this acid, known in the Middle East as ‘shamir’, in a separate paper(ae).<
The idea that advanced technology existed in Atlantis has been regularly claimed by various writers since the latter part of the 19th century. However, I must emphasise that Plato offered no suggestion of the existence of any such technology.
In 1886, Frederick S. Oliver (1866-1899) wrote a channelled book entitled A Dweller on Two Planets in which he attributed a number of technologies to the Atlanteans including anti-gravity and flying machines. This book has been the source of much more recent New Age drivel. Edgar Cayce also spoke of Atlantis having flying machines, but more entertainingly, he had them made of elephant skins!
However, leaving all that speculative nonsense aside, is it not strange that this ‘technologically advanced’ civilisation was defeated by the Athenians and that such a culturally sophisticated society was referred to by Plato as barbarians? Even more important is the fact that Plato, who provided such a detailed description of Atlantis, never gave the slightest hint that the Atlanteans had anything more technologically advanced than the chariot.
Technology worldwide, circa 9600 BC, is generally accepted as having been greatly inferior to that described by Plato in Atlantis. The reconciliation of this conflict is the greatest challenge facing supporters of such an early date for Atlantis. Their stance is quite understandable given that Plato refers to the war with Atlantis occurring 9,000 years before Solon’s visit to Egypt around 600 BC and that Atlantis was destroyed ‘afterwards’.
Plato’s description is totally consistent with a Late Bronze Age society. Not only does Plato’s Atlantis appear to be technologically advanced, in Bronze Age terms, but also their military might imply the existence of equally powerful potential enemies supported by similar technology. Consequently, it is not sufficient to claim that Atlantis disappeared along with its superior skills. It would be reasonable to expect that archaeology would uncover comparable technologies in various locations that existed around the same time, particularly since imperial Atlantis is supposed to have occupied or at least heavily influenced both north and south of the Mediterranean as far as Tyrrhenia and Libya respectively.
Some authors in an effort to verify Solon’s date have highlighted a number of controversial instances of apparently anachronistic advanced technology to support the possibility of an early Atlantis date. Artefacts such as the Antikythera Mechanism, the Baghdad Battery(a) and even the Ark of the Covenant(b) have all been adduced to give credence to such an idea. Even more daring are the independent claims that both the lighthouses at Pharos in Egypt and Faro in Portugal were powered by electricity. The claim of ancient Egyptian electricity is regularly trotted out(f) and was the subject of a recent book, edited by Larry Brian Radka. In all these instances hard proof is clearly lacking, with the sole exception of the Antikythera Mechanism, which, however, cannot be dated earlier than the 2nd century BC. The ingenuity of our ancestors was often underrated until something such as the Antikythera Mechanism was found and we were forced to modify our view of the past, but not necessarily abandon the accepted view that technology has evolved gradually, even if there are a few ‘missing links’ in the chain.
Even more worrying is the recurrent claim that atomic warfare was engaged in on the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago(z). The late Philip Coppens wrote a short paper on this possibility in 2005(c). David Hatcher Childress has also endeavoured to cash in on the same claim in a number of his books  and online(u). Childress also offers a list of his top-ten technologically advanced ancient civilisations(y). Nick Redfern has also entered this market with his Weapons of the Gods .
Debunking such ideas is a free 25-page ebook published by Jason Colavito(v).
Equally persistent are claims of flying machines in ancient India(w) which were given impetus by the publication of Aeronautics, a Manuscript From the Prehistoric Past, a translation of the 3,000-year-old Vymanika Shastra by G.R.Joyser.Some have gone so far as to claim that space flight had been achieved thousands of years ago in India(x).
Casey Terry notes[1542.36] that Pavel Smutny, a Slovakian researcher has proposed that “maybe it is unusual and surprising, but in ornaments in old carpets are woven-in schemes, and principle plans of advanced technologies, which come from vanished cultures and thousands-year-old civilizations. These residues are probably the last ones, which can help revive forgotten, very sophisticated technologies and methods for exploitation of natural electrostatic energy sources.”
Smutny goes on to claim that the layouts of Egyptian temples “to a person familiar with the basics of computer technologies or even better to a person experienced with the construction of microwave circuits in bands above 1 gigahertz (GHz), he will tell you that these plans (of the temples) are schemes of PCB’s (boards for electronic circuits).”
Commenting on the Maltese temples Smutny proposes in his book Atlantis Unveiled , that the complexes “were used probably as generators of high-frequency acoustic waves. Purpose was (maybe) to arrange a communication channel between various islands.”
Although the idea of electricity in ancient Egypt is a recurrent speculation, the possibility of electricity in ancient India is only marginally more credible. However, James Hartman refers(p) to another Sanskrit text which supports this belief, telling us that “In another amazing Indian text, the Agastrya Samhita, gives the precise directions for constructing electrical batteries:
‘Place a well-cleaned copper plate in an earthenware vessel. Cover it first by copper sulfate and then moist sawdust. After that put a mercury-amalgamated-zinc sheet on top of an energy known by the twin name of Mitra-Varuna. Water will be split by this current into Pranavayu and Udanavayu. A chain of one hundred jars is said to give a very active and effective force.’ Agastya Samhita (Indian Princes’ Library)
By the way, MITRA-VARUNA is now called cathode-anode, and Pranavayu and Udanavayu are to us oxygen and hydrogen. This document again demonstrates the presence of electricity in the East, long, long ago. In the not-so-distant past strange events are recorded in Europe’s past.”
A sceptical view of these claims is presented by Jason Colavito(d)(e)(q) who points out that, according to some sources, the passage quoted above is not to be found in the original text!
My scepticism was reinforced when I looked at details presented in a paper(s) claiming to offer 17 artefacts that“suggest high-tech prehistoric civilizations existed.” Similar lists, frequently citing many of the items on the list below have been offered on various sites.
- Prehistoric Wall Near Bahamas? Explained
- 500,000-year-old spark plug? Debunked (ad)
- Million-year-old bridge? Debunked(ac)
- Prehistoric work site?
- 100-million-year-old hammer?
- Viking sword Ulfberht Explained
- The Iron Pillar of Delhi Explained
- 2.8-billion-year-old spheres?
- Drill bit in coal
- The Antikythera Mechanism
- 150,000-year-old pipes? (Explained)(ah)
- 2,000-year-old earthquake detector Invented by Zhang Heng – So what?
- Piri Reis Map (An ongoing controversy)
- 1.8-billion-year-old nuclear reactor. (a natural phenomenon)(af)
- Great Wall of Texas (An unusual but a natural geological formation)
- Ancient Egyptian light bulb? Debunked
- 2,000-year-old batteries (So-called Baghdad Battery – debunked)(ag)
- Columbian (Quimbaya) Gold aircraft
When a newcomer is first confronted with a list such as the above they are often overwhelmed. However, if you dig beneath the headlines the picture is less clear. For starters, a third of them are not prehistoric (6,7,10,12,13,17 & 18) and would appear to be deliberately included as ‘red herrings’ or just padding. Most of the remainder have been effectively debunked over the past century (1,2,3,11,&16), others are the result of misinterpretation and/or wild speculation (1,2,4,11), while others are natural features (1,3,8,11&14). If you look up ‘concretion’ in Wikipedia and the related images offered by Google you will see that nature has created some highly symmetrical concretions that could easily be thought to be manmade (2&8). Tara MacIsaac, the author of this list, in discussing (4) conceded that “as stated in the case of the hammer above (5), limestone has been known to form relatively quickly around modern tools. “
However, people believe what they want to believe, irrespective of any evidence to the contrary. Along with this, one should keep in mind Carl Sagan’s aphorism which demands that “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence”. The list above does not provide ‘extraordinary evidence’.
(u) https://www.456fis.org/EVIDENCE_FOR_ANCIENT_ATOMIC_WARFARE.htm (link broken)
(aa) Atlantis Rising magazine #26 http://www.pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At Abbreviated version of (m) *
(aa) Atlantis Rising magazine #27 http://www.pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At *