Stelios (Stel) Grant Pavlou (1970- ) is a British writer of Cypriot extraction, who developed a website (a) devoted to Atlantis and other lost cities, as well as a section on comparative mythology. The site is well presented but unfortunately, it has not been updated since April 2011 until it was resuscitated in late 2013, but due to family illness had to go offline again. In late 2015, he announced that he will be resuming his posting soon. However, this did not come to pass and he finally closed down his website, which was a distinct loss to students of Atlantology.
Pavlou has also written an interesting, if somewhat convoluted, paper(a) on Manetho’s Egyptian King List compared with Conventional Egyptian Chronology and is its relevance to the dating of Atlantis. This forensic study led him to conclude that Plato’s 9,000 years were, in reality, only 3,942 years, placing the time of Atlantis somewhere in or around 4532 BC.
Although Pavlou has closed his Atlantipedia.com website, his interest in Atlantis has not diminished. He along with geologist Jess Phoenix was due to appear in a new documentary series about Atlantis, with Morgan Freeman as executive producer, in June 2021(c), which promised ‘new evidence’. Various ancient sites will be investigated, including Pavlou’s yet-to-be-revealed location, as well as his somewhat controversial dating claims. However, shortly before the broadcast date, the series was unexpectedly delayed until late July. Jason Colavito informs us(d) that “Discovery pulled all references to the program from its website, and Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment does not list the show among its projects..“ Speculation has also suggested that the cancellation may be a consequence of the recent merger of Discovery and Warner Bros!
Colavito has revealed that Hunting Atlantis had been cancelled because it “generated controversy online after critics (Colavito included) pointed out that the Atlantis myth has long been used in support of colonialist, imperialist, and racist narrative, including the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the Anglo-American expansionist colonialism the Age of Empires, and Nazi searchers for the Aryan homeland” and “But the optics of glorifying a narrative long used to support white supremacy also didn’t look great the same week that competing channels were honoring the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.”(e)
Thorwald C. Franke quickly pointed out how historically incorrect Colavito’s comments are. Plato has not been used as a support for racism, but, not mentioned by Colavito, is the fact that the Bible has given more succour to racism than any other document. Does Colavito call for the closing of churches?
Am I now to be labelled racist because I write or broadcast matters relating to Atlantis? I’m surprised that Discovery allowed themselves to be bullied by Colavito & Co and ignored the provisions of their nation’s First Constitutional Amendment.
Anyway, after all this excitement Episode 1 was aired in the US on July 21st 2021. Jason Colavito, a prominent atlantiphobe, produced his review(f) within a day. He begins by trying to undermine the credibility of the presenters during which he states that Pavlou ‘operates Atlantipedia,‘ which is factually incorrect. Pavlou did run the excellent Atlantipedia.com website some years ago and has no connection with this site Atlantipedia.ie. He proceeds to attack the entire story of Atlantis during which he claims that Plato wrote that the Atlanteans “came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean”. This is also wrong, as it is a flawed translation by Jowett. The original text says ‘Atlantic Sea’. The word ‘ocean‘, which had a specific meaning for the Greeks was never used by Plato concerning Atlantis.
To be clear, I do not agree with Pavlou’s location or date for Atlantis and I have not seen the first episode, its production value would appear to have been below par according to Colavito’s concluding paragraph below –
“Hunting Atlantis is one of the worst, most incoherent, poorly written, and badly produced pseudohistory documentaries in its genre. Alan Landsburg of In Search Of… would roll in his grave to see the travesty of a show that doesn’t stop long enough even to tell the audience what the hell it’s talking about. It’s TV made by people who only know of TV from YouTube reaction videos and TikTok reviews.”
Pavlou places the destruction of Atlantis at the beginning of the 5th millennium BC and most surprising, in an article by Candida Moss, he has declared himself to be ‘agnostic’ regarding Atlantis(g). Moss reports how archaeologist Dr Flint Dibble undertook a study of Pavlou’s paper used as background for Hunting Atlantis and not unexpectedly debunked it. There appears to have been an explosion of comments on social media, some with apparent racist undertones.
Thorwald C Franke commenting on Dibble’s Twitter critique has accused him of wanting to have Atlantis “to be closely linked to racism”(h).>After all six episodes were broadcast in Germany Franke posted a fairly positive review of the series in his Newsletter No. 189(i).<
Pavlou is the author of Decipher, a bestselling speculative novel centred on the tale of Atlantis and is also well-known as a screenwriter (e.g. 51st State).
Pavlou now lives with his family in Colorado, USA.
(a) https://atlantipedia.com/ [Not to be confused with this site] (offline Jan. 2017)
(h) https://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlantis_newsl_archive.htm (See Newsletter 182)