9,000 is arguably the most important number in Plato’s Atlantis narrative. It is found in Critias 108e describing the number of years between the war with Atlantis and the time of Solon’s visit to Egypt. However, in Timaeus 23e it is also given as the number of years since the foundation of Athens.
Taken at face value, it implies that around 9600 BC Atlantis launched an attack on Athens and Egypt. However, archaeologically this makes no sense as the is no evidence of structured societies at either location until many thousands of years later.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that when Greek numerical notation was developing, 9,000 was the largest value that could be expressed by a single character. Later, it was sometimes used to describe a large but indefinite amount. A Bible study site tells us that “The use of definite numerical expressions in an indefinite sense, that is, as round numbers, which is met with in many languages, seems to have been very prevalent in Western Asia from early times to the present day.”(a)
This apparent contradiction has baffled commentators for centuries. The ancient Egyptians had three calendars, solar, lunar and seasonal. As the solar years made little sense, attention turned to the lunar calendar used for religious purposes, keeping in mind that Solon received the Atlantis story from priests. Dividing 9,000 lunar cycles by 13 gives us around 692 solar years or circa 1300 BC for the war with Atlantis, which in isolation is more credible.
However, there are many other large numbers used by Plato in the Atlantis narrative relating to the military strength and dimensions of architectural features, which also seem to be exaggerations and, in my opinion, are all seeingly inflated to a similar degree! As I see it, there are two possible solutions. Either the numbers are the result of a variety of unrelated translations and/or transcription errors or we must consider the possibility that there is a single explanation for all the apparent anomalies. Reluctantly, I have suggested ‘factor ten‘ as the most likely solution.
>However, there are other details in the Atlantis narrative that conflict with this early date for the war with Atlantis. Plato clearly states that following the submergence of Atlantis its remains lay in shallow waters creating a maritime hazard and continuing to remain a danger to shipping until at least Plato’s time (Tim 25d). Since 9600 BC saw the ending of the last ice age, sea levels have risen 400 feet since then with minimal increases during the last couple of millennia. Shallows created in 9600 BC could not have lasted until Plato’s day.<
>Additionally, the earliest known solid wheels were not in use until the 5th millennium BC and were not developed as the lighter spoked wheels, suitable for chariots, until a millennium or more later. So when Plato refers to the Atlanteans having 10,000 chariots (Crit.119a), he could not have been referring to an army in 9600 BC. Furthermore, the greatest chariot battle in history took place in what is now Syria at the Battle of Kadesh in 1275 BC, between the Egyptians and the Hittites. The total number of chariots involved was between 5,000 and 6,000. In other words, a literal acceptance of what Plato wrote suggests that the Atlanteans had twice the number of chariots as that of the opponents at Kadesh combined. On top of that, those that accept the Atlantis story try to tell us that the Atlanteans had 10,000 chariots, eight thousand years earlier than Kadesh, millennia before chariots were invented!<
>Add to that, the clear evidence that horse domestication doesn’t appear in the archaeological record until about 5,500 years ago(b). Plato records that Atlantis had horse racing (117C) and horse baths (117b)! Not in 9600 BC.<
David Hildebrandt is an American researcher, who has published two books, The first, Forbidden Fruit, is a 784-page tome  with the self-explanatory subtitle of The Evolution of Human Intelligence. He has also turned his attention to the subject of Plato’s Island in Atlantis – The Reawakening ,in which he offers a vigorous attempt to convince readers that Britain had been home to Atlantis, with Stonehenge as the Temple of Poseidon.
Many aspects of his hypothesis have already been expressed over past centuries, but his synthesis does offer some new perspectives. For me, his dating, location and identity of the Atlanteans does not ring true, particularly why Stone Age people in Southern Britain would want to launch an attack on Athens, over 2,000 miles away, a city-state which did not even exist at the time. Those early Britons did not have the wheel, yet Plato tells us that the Atlanteans had chariots!
Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC has been variously attributed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe climate change. It is extremely unlikely that all these occurred around the same time through coincidence. Unfortunately, it is not clear to what extent these events were interrelated. As I see it, political upheavals do not lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought and so can be safely viewed as an effect rather than a cause. Similarly, climate change is just as unlikely to have caused eruptions or seismic activity and so can also be classified as an effect. Consequently, we are left with earthquakes and volcanoes as the prime suspects for the catastrophic turmoil that took place in the Middle East between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Nevertheless, August 2013 saw further evidence published which blamed climate change for demise of civilisations in the region.
Robert Drews dismisses any suggestion that Greece suffered a critical drought around 1200 BC, citing the absence of any supporting reference by Homer or Hesiod as evidence. He proposes that “the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms’ downfall.”
This extended period of chaos began around 1450 BC when the eruptions on Thera took place. These caused the well-documented devastation in the region including the ending of the Minoan civilisation and probably the Exodus of the Bible and the Plagues of Egypt as well. According to the Parian Marble, the Flood of Deucalion probably took place around the same time.
Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos has written of the ‘seismic storm’ that beset the Eastern Mediterranean between 1225 and 1175 BC(a). Similar ideas have been expressed by Amos Nur & Eric H.Cline(b)(c). The invasion of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians, and parts of Plato’s Atlantis story all appear to have taken place around this period. Plato refers to a spring on the Athenian acropolis (Crit.112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Rainer Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was rediscovered by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer, who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC.
(this is a shorter version of (c) below)
The Population of Atlantis has been estimated by a number of Atlantologists, based on the data provided by Plato.
Otto Muck considered the population of Atlantis to have been at least 20 million.
“Let us begin with the allegedly excessive numbers of inhabitants. This can be roughly calculated from the details Plato gives of the organisation of the Atlantean armed forces: 480,000-foot soldiers, 120,000 horsemen, 160,000 manning the 10,000 heavy chariots and 60,000 light chariots, and 240,000 sailors. These add up to approximately one million men under arms.” From this, Muck extrapolated a total population of between twenty and forty million for Atlantis.
Wolter Smit estimates(a) the Atlantean population figure to be between 28 and 155 million. Constantin Benetatos suggests(b) a lower figure of between 6 and 10 million but also considers Plato’s data to be exaggerated.
The total population of the entire world in 10,000 BC has been estimated at somewhere between one and ten million (c)(d)(e)(f). Even if we accept the somewhat questionable higher figure, we can see that this is only a half or a quarter of the population of Atlantis on its own. Consequently, we are forced to conclude that either Plato’s dating is wrong or the Atlantean military manpower figures are exaggerated or, as I suspect, both are incorrect. Therefore, once again we are forced to view Plato’s numbers with some suspicion.
Recently, P.P. Flambas in his oversized Plato’s Caribbean Atlantis has suggested that the world population at 11,000 BC was stable at around three million people, although there is a greater consensus that the figure was one million. However, Plato’s total for the Atlantean military alone is one million, which forces us to either consider that his date for the Atlantean War and/or the size of the Atlantean army is seriously wrong. I consider both to be exaggerated by a similar factor. The fact that the Athenians defeated the Atlanteans suggests much smaller armies and a lack of any archaeological evidence on Greek territory of more than a handful of troglodytes in the 10th Millennium BC contradicts the date.
Chariots numbering ten thousand are mentioned as an important part of Atlantis’ armed forces. However, it is generally accepted that chariots first appeared in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC and became fairly commonplace by the middle of the second millennium BC. There is no evidence of any of the major Late Bronze Age nations having any more than a few hundred chariots. It would also appear that these chariots were normally reserved for nobles, wearing full bronze armour. War chariots were only effective over open and relatively flat ground.
We should also keep in mind that the invention of the wheel itself is currently dated to not much earlier than 3500 BC(c) indicating that Plato’s reference to Atlantean chariots is anachronistic if we accept his apparent claim that the war with Atlantis took place around 9600 BC.
Regarding the Atlantis story, we must comment that 10,000 chariots controlled by one army, would only be required if a battleground had large tracts of flat land and if the enemy also possessed a similar force of chariots. Since no such enemy had been identified, we are forced to consider the clear possibility that the chariot numbers, as with so many other of the figures in Plato’s story, are suspect.
The greatest chariot battle in history took place in what is now Syria at the Battle of Kadesh in 1275 BC, between the Egyptians and the Hittites. The total number of chariots involved was between 5,000 and 6,000. In other words, a literal acceptance of what Plato wrote suggests that the Atlanteans had twice the number of chariots as that of the opponents at Kadesh combined, eight thousand years earlier! On top of that, those that accept the Atlantis story literally, try to tell us that the Atlanteans had 10,000 chariots, eight thousand years earlier than Kadesh, millennia before chariots were invented! As an aside, I should mention that the Battle of Kadesh was not the great victory by Ramses II that is often claimed(f).
The date given by Plato for the destruction of Atlantis is 9600 BC. This would make the existence of chariots at that time, not to mention in such numbers, a complete anachronism. It is not likely that Atlantis would have needed 10,000 chariots at any time without their enemies being similarly equipped, which is equally improbable at that early date and, of course, it required a battlefield suitable for such a clash. Plato’s date would appear to be out by about 8,000 years.
Since chariots were only introduced into Britain in the 5th century BC, in other words after Solon. This would seem to rule out Britain as the home or even a colony of the original empire of Atlantis. Similarly, with no evidence of chariots in the ancient Americas or the Caribbean, it would not be unreasonable to rule them out as the Atlantis of Plato. If the reference to chariots is to be taken as a real attribute of the Atlantean military machine, we are forced to look, in very general terms, to the Mediterranean region, both inside and outside the Strait of Gibraltar as far as the Black Sea and Egypt.
I must also add that from a functional point of view the most efficient chariots required spoked wheels and that the oldest examples of which have been dated no earlier than 2000 BC(a). This alone is a reason to question Plato’s Atlantis date.
Arthur Cottrell, in his Chariot, discusses how the chariot lost its dominance in battle but developed as a form of entertainment with the introduction of chariot racing and was frequently used in funerary rituals of several cultures. Chariot racing as a spectator sport in Rome dates back to around the 6th century BC. It was also quite popular among the Etruscans and the Lucanians of Sicily in the 5th century BC. It was recently revealed that Roman racing chariots had an additional iron tyre fitted to the right wheel greatly enhancing the charioteer’s chance of winning(e).
The close of the Bronze Age saw an end to the supremacy of the war chariot with the introduction of new weaponry and military tactics. Robert Drews is Professor of Classics and History at Vanderbilt University has claimed in his book, The End of the Bronze Age, that these changes were responsible for the collapse of so many eastern Mediterranean cities around 1200 BC. A review(b) of Drews’ book should also be read.
In conclusion, Plato’s reference to 10,000 chariots being employed in 9600 BC is either a colourful embellishment or a mangled account of the military power of an unnamed Bronze Age society. If the former, supporters of this early date for Atlantis must explain the total lack of archaeological evidence of chariots as early as 9600 BC as well as its continued absence during the succeeding six or seven thousand years.
>Plato’s numbers are obviously flawed and are matters that I deal with more comprehensively in Joining the Dots and the Dating Atlantis entry here.<
Britain.>For as long as I can remember, received wisdom told us that the ancestors of the British (and Irish) had Celtic origins. Then in 2007, Dr Stephen Oppenheimer, professor of genetics at Oxford University ‘threw a cat among the pigeons’ when he bluntly wrote “Everything you know about British and Irish ancestry is wrong. Our ancestors were Basques, not Celts” in Origins of the British .R.Cedric Leonard reviews Oppenheimer’s claims in the book and two earlier papers(d)(e)(f).<
Britain as the home of Atlantis has been claimed by many writers and not without undertones of nationalism by some of the British authors. Nevertheless, support for the idea has been offered by a number of more disinterested researchers. Probably the first to advance this idea was John Wallis (1660-1703), who, in 1700, proposed that the Atlantis story had been corrupted over time and was a reference to the destruction of the landbridge that had existed between France and England, leaving a British Atlantis more isolated (The original Brexit!)(c). It was nearly a century before the idea was taken up by Thomas Pennant and then more than another century passed before Cooper, Spence, Beaumont and Calestani produced related theories. Fast forward to the 21st century, when Donald Ingram identifies the Wessex II culture as Atlantean and Melville Nicholls considers Britain to be one of the Atlantean islands referred to by Plato.
The precise location, the exact date and the probable cause of the destruction of Atlantis are the basis for a range of theories. There is general acceptance that following the deglaciation at the end of the last Ice Age vast regions of low-lying land that had linked Ireland and Britain to mainland Europe were gradually flooded.
One school of thought is that these flooded regions contained Atlantis, of which the most extensive was in the North Sea and is now known as Doggerland. Other offshore locations proposed for Atlantis are the Celtic Shelf (Gidon, Steuerwald & Koudroiavtsev) and the Irish Sea (Dunbavin). These lands had been settled and following the inundations, its inhabitants were forced to retreat to the higher ground of what is modern Europe and the British Isles.
David L. Hildebrandt in Atlantis-The Reawakening  proposes a reworking of the ‘Atlantis in Britain’ theory with some new perspectives. For me, his dating, location and identity of the Atlanteans do not ring true, particularly why Stone Age people in Southern Britain would want to launch an attack on Athens, over 2,000 miles away, a city-state that did not even exist at the time. Those early Britons did not have the wheel, yet Plato tells us that the Atlanteans had chariots!
E. J. de Meester on his now-defunct website postulated a link between Stonehenge and Atlantis(b). After arbitrarily dividing Plato’s dimensions by ten, he suggested that the plain described by Plato lay in a rectangle between Salisbury and Chichester.
The Army of Atlantis, according to the details given by Plato portrays a force comparable with any of the major empires of the Mediterranean or Middle East.
Even today the U.S. army only numbers around 1.5 million active soldiers. Atlantis had 800,000 foot soldiers, 200,000 horses, 10,000 chariots, and 1,200 ships. Most writers seem to have glossed over the enormous size of the Atlantean war machine although a few such as Wolter Smit have commented on it(a).
There is no need to maintain an army of that size unless there are potential enemies of similar strength. Who were these enemies? If the 9600 BC date is accepted, the size of this Atlantean army seems quite excessive. A fascinating military website(b)should have its first three chapters studied closely. Among many other matters it describes how in 2300 BC, Sargon of Akkad was hard put to maintain an army of 5,400 men. The same site relates how a thousand years later the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II had a mainly conscript army of 100,000 soldiers to maintain his entire empire, although another source(c) puts the figure as low as 20,000. Towards the end of the Roman Empire an army of 350,000 men controlled its vast territories.
The Battle of Karkar (Qarqar) in 853 BC was fought between the Assyrian army of Shalmaneser III against an alliance of eleven kings led by the king of Damascus. It is claimed to have had the greatest number of combatants up to that date. The Assyrians claimed to have had 100,000 troops, but this is disputed by some scholars(d).
The military numbers presented by Plato do appear inflated to the same extent as his dimensions of the Atlantean capital city as well as the date of the war with Atlantis. Either the entire story is an invention or Plato felt obliged to embellish an account of a real prehistoric military power with his own numbers in order to emphasise their might. Alternatively, we must consider the real possibility that all of Plato’s large numbers are suspect and should be revised downward by a common factor, probably ten!
Advanced Technology is regularly claimed by ‘fringe’ writers to have existed in ancient 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 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’. Similar evidence is also 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 only fair that readers should have access to Dunn’s side of the dispute(m).
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), who calls it a ‘rediscovery’, of a simple method using a lever and a couple of pivots, for moving concrete blocks weighing many thousands of pounds.
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.
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.
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 implies 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 existing 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!
(u) https://www.456fis.org/EVIDENCE_FOR_ANCIENT_ATOMIC_WARFARE.htm (link broken)
America as the home of Atlantis took off as an idea shortly after its discovery (or perhaps more correctly, rediscovery) by Columbus. Initially, reports sent back to Europe designated America as ‘Paradise’
until its identification as Atlantis quickly took hold. John Dee in the time of Elizabeth I was convinced that the newly discovered Americas were in fact Atlantis, an idea endorsed by Francis Bacon. The first time that America was so named on a map was on the 1507(c) Waldseemüller map, sometimes referred to as “America’s birth certificate.” A rare copy of this map was recently found in Germany(e).
As late as 1700, a map of the world by Edward Wells was published in Oxford that highlights the paucity of information regarding the Americas at that time. However in this instance the accompanying text notes that “this continent with the adjoining islands is generally supposed to have been anciently unknown though there are not wanting some, who will have even the continent itself to be no other than the Insula Atlantis of the ancients.”
For over five centuries a variety of commentators have associated Atlantis with America and many of its ancient cultures together with a range of location theories that stretch from Maine through the Caribbean and Central America to Argentina.
Although most proponents of an American Atlantis, particularly following the continent’s discovery, did not specify a location but were happy to consider the Americas in their entirety as Plato’s lost land. In 2019, Reinoud de Jonge published a paper declaring that from 2500-1200 BC America had been an Egyptian colony. He expanded on this in 2912(l) , when he claimed that the American colonies, North and South had supplied the copper and tin for the Bronze Age of the Mediterranean. For good measure, he threw in a wildly speculative translation of the Phaistos Disk to support these contentions.
Over time attention was more focused on Mesoamerica and the northern region of South America, where the impressive remains of the Maya and Incas led many to consider them to be Atlantean.
North America received minimal attention until the 19th century, when an 1873 newspaper report(i) claimed that there was support from unnamed scientists for locating remnants of Atlantis in the Adirondacks and some of the mountains of Maine! More recently Dennis Brooks has advocated Tampa Bay, Florida, while John Saxer supports Tarpon Springs, also in Florida as Atlantean. To confuse matters further, Mary Sutherland locates Atlantis in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky and for good measure suggests that King Solomon’s mines are to be found in the same region!
For example, the discovery of the remains of the remarkable cultures of Mesoamerica generated speculation on the possibility of an Atlantean connection there. This view gained further support with the publication of Ignatius Donnelly’s groundbreaking work on Atlantis.
Some have seen an Atlantic location for Atlantis as a conduit between the culture of ancient Egypt and that of Meso-America(d).
Half a century ago Nicolai Zhirov claimed that Plato had knowledge of America [458.22] indicated by his statement that Atlantis was in a sea with a continent encompassing it. He thought that this was the earliest record of a continent beyond the Atlantic.
However, Plato also said that Atlantis was surrounded ‘on all sides’ by this continent, which is not compatible with the Azores, advocated by Zhirov as the location of Plato’s sunken island. In an effort to strengthen this claim Zhirov also claims that there is evidence that King Sargon of Akkad travelled to America in the middle of the third millennium BC, an idea that has gained little traction.
The idea of Sumerians in America was promoted by A.H. Verrill and his wife Ruth, who claimed  that King Sargon travelled to Peru, where he was known as Viracocha. The Verrills support their contention with a range of cultural, linguistic and architectural similarities between the Sumerians and the Peruvians.
More recently, Andrew Collins has promoted the idea of Atlantis in the Caribbean, specifically Cuba. Followers of Edgar Cayce are still expecting the Bahamas to yield evidence of Plato’s island. Gene Matlock supports the idea of a Mexican location with an Indian connection, while Duane McCullough opts for Guatemala. Ivar Zapp and George Erikson have also chosen Central America for investigation. Further south Jim Allen has argued strongly for Atlantis having been located on the Altiplano of Bolivia. A website entitled American Atlantis Research from Edward Alexander , now offline, was rather weak on content and irritatingly referred to the ‘Andies’.
Although much of what has been written about an American location for Atlantis is the result of serious research, it all falls far short of convincing me that the Atlantis of which Plato wrote is to be found there. No evidence has been produced to even hint that any American culture had control of the Mediterranean as far Tyrrhenia in the north and Libya in the south. No remains or carvings of triremes or chariots have been found in the Americas. How could an ancient civilisation from America launch an attack across the Atlantic and at the furthest end of the Mediterranean 9,000 or even 900 years before Solon? An even more important question is, why would they bother? There is no evidence of either motive, means or opportunity for an attack from that direction.
A number of Plato’s descriptions of Atlantis would seem to rule out America as its location.
(a) As mentioned above, the ‘opposite continent’ referred to by Plato (Timaeus 25a) is described as encompassing the sea in which Atlantis lay. America cannot be described as enclosing the Atlantic. Around 550 AD, Procopius noted that when viewed from the southern side of the Strait of Gibraltar “the whole continent opposite this was named Europe”(m) (not America)!
(b) The Greeks only knew of three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya. Armin Wolf, the German historian, when writing about Scheria relates(f) 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.
(c) Herodotus described Sardinia as “the biggest island in the world” (Hist.6.2). In fact Sicily is marginally larger but as islands were measured in those days (Felice Vinci)  by the length of their coastal perimeter Herodotus was correct. Consequently, it can be argued that since Cuba and Hispaniola are much more extensive than Sardinia, the Greeks had no knowledge of the Caribbean.
(d) Plato makes frequent reference to horses in Atlantis. The city itself had a track for horseracing (Critias 117c). The Atlanteans had thousands of chariots (Critias 119a). The Atlanteans even had horse baths (Critias 117b). All these references make no sense if Plato was describing an American Atlantis as there were no horses there for over 12,000 years, when they died out, until brought back by the Spaniards millennia later. Furthermore, it makes even less sense if you subscribe to the early date (9600 BC) for Atlantis as it is thousands of years before we have any evidence for the domestication of the horse, anywhere.
A recent study of worldwide DNA patterns suggests that “no more than 70 people inhabited North America 14,000 years ago.”(b) But a more important claim has been offered by Professors Jennifer Raff and Deborah Bolnick who have co-authored a paper offering evidence(j) that the genetic data only supports a migration from Siberia to America. This certainly runs counter to any suggestion of transatlantic migration from Europe.In 1900,
>Peter de Roo put forward the idea that the ancient Greeks had knowledge of America, despite the fact that Herodotus clearly said that only three continents were known to them [Histories 4.42].<A 2013 book, L’America dimenticata , by Italian physicist and philologist Lucio Russo, also claims that the ancient Greeks had knowledge of America and it was gradually forgotten because of mistakes made by Ptolemy including a 15-degree error for the latitude of the Canaries(g).
>However, the idea that the Greeks had an awareness of America persists, with some claiming that they had colonies in Canada. Among these are Lucio Russo, Ioannis Liritzis(n) and Minas Tsikritsis(p). Manolis Koutlis has gone one further and claims that not only were there Greek Colonies in Canada but that Atlantis had been situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence(o).<
While there is extensive debate regarding the Americas being visited by ancient Greeks (Minoans), Phoenicians and even Sumerians, there seems little doubt that America had been visited by various other peoples prior to Columbus such as Welsh, Vikings or Irish. The case for the latter is strengthened by a 500-year-old report(h) of a long-established Irish colony in North America called Duhare.
America as Atlantis and the source of freemasonry knowledge was recently repackaged in a brief article on the Odyssey website(k) quoting Manly P. Hall who in turn cited Plato and Sir Francis Bacon. It then proceeds to speculate on what lessons the story of this original American Atlantis offers the America of today!
(m) Vandal Wars 1.1.7
(o) ENSKIA (archive.org) *
Horse Racing in Atlantis is an unexpected reference by Plato (Critias, 117c). It should be pointed out that his reference is, it would appear to be to horse racing as opposed to chariot racing, both of which were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 638 BC, and later were avidly followed in the Roman Empire. It is worth mentioning here that Paul Cartledge, professor of Greek History at Cambridge University informs us that at Olympia and other Greek locations, both the running and horse racing tracks were straight where laps were up and back. This would seem to suggest a foreign source for the Atlantis story rather than it being a concoction of Plato’s.
Originally horses were hunted for food and their hides. Our knowledge at present is that the horse was first domesticated in central Asia around 4500 BC. A 2011 report suggested that Saudi Arabia saw the domestication of horses 9,000 years ago(g). A major study published in May 2018(e) has reinforced this ‘steppe theory’ and importantly has shown how the spread of horse domestication went hand-in-hand with the proliferation of Indo-European languages.
Marsha A. Levine, a leading expert in this field, has pointed out that the earliest existing evidence for the use of the horse, as a means of transport is around 2000 BC, with the Sintashta chariot burials. Sintashta was in the steppes east of the Urals. However, there is evidence that horses were used for riding as early as 4000 BC. This is based on the type of bit wear found on the molars of excavated remains. On the other hand, these early horses were much smaller than their modern successors and in the view of some were too small for riding and so must have been driven. Our knowledge of the prehistoric horse is still developing and subject to considerable debate. A number of researchers have argued for a very early date for the domestication of the horse including the archaeologist, Evan Hadingham, who points to evidence that indicates the existence of this domestication as early as the Upper Palaeolithic.
The latest evidence for the domestication of the horse as early as 3500 BC has come from studies carried out in Kazakhstan(a)(c). However, this is put in the shade by the discovery of the 9,000-year-old al-Maqar civilisation in Arabia where evidence for domestication is pushed back to late Neolithic period(b).
A recent paper now offers evidence that equine dentistry was practiced as early as 1150 BC in northern Mongolia(f).
Actual horsemanship has now been dated to as early as 1600 BC in the steppes of Eurasia according to a 2020 report from the South Ural State University(h).
There is a record that in 1,340 BC a remarkable Mitanni called Kikkuli was enticed by the Hittite king Suppililuma to become his horse manager. After training the Hittite horses to a high degree, they were instrumental in wiping out the Mitanni.
In the case of Plato’s Atlantis tale, we have not only the horse racing to consider but also the considerable number of chariots referred to. It should be borne in mind that war chariots were only of use in open and reasonably flat terrain. Effective chariots were dependent on spoked wheels, which were not invented until around 2000 BC. This could be a clue to the origin of the Atlantis story.
There is also a reference to a statue in the Temple of Poseidon, the god of horses, of a chariot drawn by six winged horses. (Why would such chariots require wheels?)
Even more bizarre, is Plato’s description of horse baths (Critias 117b), a facility that was highly unlikely around 9600 BC. Furthermore, if we take Plato’s text at face value, all these references to horses clearly rule out America as the location of Atlantis, as horses were not found there until imported by the Spaniards.
>Jürgen Spanuth claimed that “Among the racecourses of the Bronze Age still in existence today must be counted the stone circle of Stonehenge which must have been erected by men of the Atlantean culture many centuries before the Atlantis report was written. The racecourse at Stonehenge, in its original, immense dimensions, cannot be an imitation of a Greek stadium.” [017.126]<
An interesting website dealing with the relationship between humans and the horse is available(d).
(d) See: Archive 2370