The Daily Express is a well-known British tabloid newspaper. Together with its sister publications, The Sunday Express and its online Express.co.uk, it has recently set a new record for the number of ‘might be Atlantis’ articles published, all with the byline of Callum Hoare. During the first three weeks of 2019, he has managed to produce four stories suggesting four different locations for Atlantis – Doggerland(a), Malta(b), Azores(c) and the Bahamas(d). But I did not have to wait long for the next regurgitation from Hoare, with another piece mined from a recent Amazon Prime documentary, where the Atlantis in the Canaries theory is reviewed (21.1.19)(e). I note that Hoare was also the author of similar BS Atlantis stories for another alleged UK newspaper, The Daily Star. The quality of research continues to be abysmal, citations are often years old, facts are mangled and quite misleading. Definitely ‘Fake News’.
Unfortunately, this outpouring of nonsense continued on in 2020. June 30th saw the ‘Express’ publish another article(f) by Hoare with an “Atlantis Located” headline. This gem begins by repeating the view of ‘expert’ Matthew Sibson, who advocates Rockall as the site of Atlantis and then switches to the opinions of Christos Djonis who claims the Aegean Sea as the home of Atlantis. According to Hoare, in this instance, Djonis refers to the research of Mark McMenamin of around 25 years ago who noticed on some Carthaginian gold staters of the fourth century BC that they had tiny engravings that he subjectively interpreted as rough maps showing both Asia and America and centred on Sardinia(g). This, according to Djonis, indicates the possibility that the Greeks may have had knowledge of America!
Djonis and Hoare were obviously unaware that in 2000, McMenamin was obliged to confirm that the coins in question were fakes(k) as revealed in his book, Phoenicians, Fakes and Barry Fell .
Furthermore, Djonis is contradicted by the clear statement of Herodotus that the Greeks only knew three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya (Africa)(h). Finally, if Djonis thinks that Atlantis was located in the Aegean what has America got to do with his theory?
July 2020 saw Hoare pollute the Express with another ‘Atlantis Found’ piece, this time locating it off the coast of Cornwall(j). This story is a quarter of a century old and a few years ago its credibility and even the existence of the institution to which its original author, Viatcheslav Koudriavtsev, was supposed to belong to, was brought into question(i).
Hoare ended the year with another pathetic attempt(l) to revive interest in the Minoan Hypothesis as well as the failed claim that the Spanish Donana Marshes held the remains of Atlantis or Tartessos!
>In January 2021, he continued his recycling of old Atlantis claims, with the 35-year-old story of the submerged rock formation off Yonaguni in Japan(m). Later in the same month we were regaled with yet another “Atlantis Found?” headline(n), which led on to report that the remains of another submerged city had been discovered off the Greek island of Zakynthos. No direct link with Atlantis was claimed!<
(h) Herodotus, Histories 4.42.
Greece as the home of Atlantis was unknown until the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries when the Minoan Hypothesis began to evolve and is still one of the more popular theories today. Other locations in the Aegean have been proposed by researchers such as Paulino Zamarro and C. A. Djonis as well as three Italian linguists, Facchetti, Negri and Notti, who presented a paper(a) to the 2005 Atlantis Conference outlining their reasons for supporting an Aegean backdrop to the Atlantis story.
Mainland Greece has also been proposed as home to Atlantis. In the middle of the 20th century R. L. Scranton suggested Lake Copaïs in Boeotia, an idea later modified by Oliver D. Smith, who subsequently completely abandoned the idea of Atlantis as a reality. More recently, it has been proposed that Atlantis was just an allegory of Athens and that its port, ancient Piraeus, was partly the inspiration behind Plato’s description of Atlantis(b). >On the other hand, the Dutch linguist, Joannes Richter, also views the Plato’s story as fiction and suggested that “probably Plato used the model of the draining and irrigation system at Lake Copais as a model for the ancient metropolis at the ‘island Atlantis’ in an imaginary war between Athens and Atlantis.”(c)<
(b) https://erenow.com/ancient/lordsoftheseaatheniannavy/20.html (see last paragraphs)
Christos A. Djonis is a Greek Cypriot now living in the United States. His first book Cyprus-The Island of Aphrodite, is a travel guide to that island. He has now ventured into much deeper waters with his latest book Uchronia-Atlantis Revealed. The central core of his theory is that Atlantis lay in the Aegean Sea, to the north of Thera, which itself contained the capital city of the Atlantean confederation. He gives no credit to Paulino Zamarro who proposed a similar location fifteen years ago.
Djonis accepts 9600 BC as the time of its existence as the lower sea level then would have created a single landmass with a large central plain. Among his other claims is the idea that during the Bronze Age the Minoans “were not only heavily mining copper from the area around Lake Superior, but they were regularly carrying tobacco and other spices from the Americas back to Santorini.”(d)
He supports this link with North America with the geographical spread of the human mitochondrial DNA designated Haplogroup X. In his own words(e),
“While most geneticists today maintain that haplogroup X walked to America via the Bering Strait, genetic maps show that the furthest region east of the Mediterranean with small traces of haplogroup X, is the Altai Republic in Southern Russia. No traces of haplogroup X exist between Altai Republic and the greater region of the Great Lakes. If haplogroup X infiltrated North America via the Bering Strait, why then does the greatest concentration of haplogroup X (away from the Mediterranean) exist around the Great Lakes and not in Alaska or alongside the west coast? Most importantly, how do we otherwise explain that heavy traces of haplogroup X incidentally also exist in Scotland, Orkney Islands, Faroe islands and Iceland, essentially all the island stops to North America from Europe.”
Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito, who denies the existence of Atlantis, wrote a highly critical review of Djonis’ claims and had further exchanges with Djonis in the comments section of his blog(i).
Even more damning is that Djonis cites the 1996 claim of Mark McMenamin that ancient Carthaginian coins depicted America. Unfortunately, Djonis was apparently unaware that in 2000, McMenamin was obliged to confirm that the coins in question were fakes(k) as revealed in his book, Phoenicians, Fakes and Barry Fell .>Nevertheless, as recently as 2020 Djonis was still being quoted in the media(m)(n) as using the fake coins as evidence for the existence of Atlantis.<
Djonis does not explain why Plato unambiguously stated that the Atlanteans came from the west (Tim.25b & Crit.114c) and yet Djonis’ Atlantis is situated to the southeast of Athens and north of Egypt? In fact, what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are far west of both Athens and Egypt.
Instead, he prefers to parrot the discredited ancient astronaut theories of Zechariah Sitchin, based on his flawed interpretation of Sumerian texts. These include claims that humans were ‘created’ by these extraterrestrial visitors. In fact, he wastes over half his book discussing UFOs and ETs.
In April 2016 Djonis had an article published on the Ancient Origins website(j), in which he discussed Sitchin’s theory of Planet X without arriving at any conclusions. Why?
I did not find Djonis convincing regarding either the Annunaki or Atlantis.
January 2016 had Djonis plunge into the muddy waters relating to the early discovery of America with a three-part article on the Ancient Origins website(f). Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito had few caustic comments to offer on this latest offering from Djonis(g).
Recently, Djonis and I exchanged emails in which I offered some of my reasons for rejecting his ideas. Clearly unhappy with my comments, he has now used Ancient Origins to rehash(h) his flawed ideas. Included in his offering is a sarcastic reference to me as an ‘expert’, a title I have never used or claimed. Apart from his support for the idea of ancient astronauts, which he carefully avoided in this recent article, my main gripe is that Djonis’ is content to discard elements in Plato’s account without any justifiable reason. Djonis presumptuously wrote of me that there is “no doubt in his mind that Atlantis was a myth.” On the contrary, I believe that it is highly probable that Atlantis existed, but, it is also quite clear that Plato’s narrative contains mythical elements that may have impeded researchers seeking to identify the historical Atlantis.
>In 2021, Djonis published Atlantis: The Find of a Lifetime , in which, unsurprisingly, he just recycles the Uchronia material along with a degree of padding. This new and ‘expanded’ edition is in fact listed as 20 pages shorter. As of June 21st, I found it strange that the book is not mentioned on Djonis’ website(l)!<
A YouTube clip(b) and PowerPoint presentation(c) are also available.
Orichalcum is one of the many mysteries in Plato’s Atlantis narrative. It is mentioned five times in the Critias [114e, 116c-d, 119c] as a metal extensively used in Atlantis. I am not aware of any reference to it anywhere else in his writings, a fact that can be advanced as evidence of the veracity of his Atlantis story. Plato took the time to explain to his audience why the kings of Atlantis have Hellenised names. However, he introduces Orichalcum into the story without explanation, which suggests that the metal was something well-known to the listeners. It is therefore natural to expect that metals might play an important part in determining the credibility of any proposed Atlantis location.
Bronze was an alloy of copper and tin, while brass was a mixture of copper and zinc, their similarity is such that museums today refer to artefacts made of either refer to them as copper alloys.
According to James Bramwell[195.91], Albert Rivaud demonstrated that the term ‘orichalcum’ was known before Plato and not just invented by him. Similarly, Zhirov notes that both Homer and Hesiod refer to the metal[0458.46], , as does Ibycus, the 6th century BC poet, who compares its appearance to gold suggesting a brasslike alloy. Thomas Taylor (1825) noted that in a fragment from a lost book of Proclus, he seems to refer to orichalcum under the name of migma(c). Wikipedia also adds that “Orichalcum is also mentioned in the Antiquities of the Jews – Book VIII, sect. 88 by Josephus, who stated that the vessels in the Temple of Solomon were made of orichalcum (or a bronze that was like gold in beauty). Pliny the Elder points out that the metal had lost currency due to the mines being exhausted. Pseudo-Aristotle in ‘De mirabilibus auscultationibus’ describes orichalcum as a shining metal obtained during the smelting of copper with the addition of ‘calmia’, a kind of earth formerly found on the shores of the Black Sea, which is attributed to be zinc oxide.”
Orichalcum, or its equivalent Latin Aurichalcum, is usually translated as ‘golden copper’ referring to either its colour or composition (80% copper and 20% zinc) or both. However, Webster’s Dictionary translates it as ‘mountain-copper’ from ‘oros’ meaning mountain and ‘chalchos’ meaning copper.
Sir Desmond Lee described the metal as ‘imaginary’ without explaining away the classical references or the fact that ”In numismatics, orichalcum is the name given to a brass-like alloy of copper and zinc used for the Roman sestertius and dupondius. Very similar in composition to modern brass, it had a golden-yellow color when freshly struck. In coinage, orichalcum’s value was nearly double reddish copper or bronze. Because production cost was similar to copper or bronze, orichalcum’s formulation and production were highly profitable government secrets.”(m)
Modern writers have offered a range of conflicting explanations for both the origin and nature of orichalcum. A sober overview of the subject is provided by the Coin and Bullion Pages website(d).
In 1926 Paul Borchardt recounted Berber traditions that recalled a lost City of Brass. Salah Salim Ali, the Iraqi scholar, points out that a number of medieval Arabic writers referred to an ancient ‘City of Brass’ echoing the Orichalcum covered walls of Plato’s Atlantis.
Ivan Tournier, a regular contributor to the French journal Atlantis proposed that orichalcum was composed of copper and beryllium. Tournier’s conclusion seems to have been influenced by the discovery in 1936 at Assuit in Egypt of a type of scalpel made from such an alloy(e). An English translation of Tournier’s paper was published in Atlantean Research (Vol 2. No.6, Feb/Mar.1950). In the same edition of A.R. Egerton Sykes adds a few comments of his own on the subject.
An unusual suggestion was made by Michael Hübner who noted that “small pieces of a reddish lime plaster with an addition of mica were discovered close to a rampart” in his chosen Atlantis location of South Morocco. He links this with Plato’s orichalcum, but does so without any great enthusiasm.
Jim Allen, promoter of the Atlantis in Bolivia theory, claims that a natural alloy of gold and copper is unique to the Andes. Tumbaga is the name given by the Spaniards to a non-specific alloy of gold and copper found in South America. However, an alloy of the two that has 15-40% copper, melts at 200 Co degrees less than gold. Dr. Karen Olsen Bruhns, an archaeologist at San Francisco State University wrote in her book, Ancient South America, “Copper and copper alloy objects were routinely gilded or silvered, the original colour apparently not being much valued. The gilded copper objects were often made of an alloy, which came to be very important in all of South and Central American metallurgy: tumbaga. This is a gold-copper alloy which is significantly harder than copper, but which retains its flexibility when hammered. It is thus ideally suited to the formation of elaborate objects made of hammered sheet metal. In addition, it casts well and melts at a lower temperature than copper, always a consideration when fuel sources for a draught were the wind and men’s lungs. The alloy could be made to look like pure gold by treatment of the finished face with an acid solution to dissolve the copper, and then by hammering or polishing to join the gold, giving a uniformly gold surface”.
Enrico Mattievich also believed that orichalcum had been mined in the Peruvian Andes(b).
Jürgen Spanuth tried to equate Orichalch with amber. Paul Dunbavin links Orichalcum with Wales. Robert Ishoy implies a connection between obsidian and Orichalcum, an idea also promoted by Christian & Siegfried Schoppe, while Felice Vinci equates it with platinum.
Albert Slosman thought that there was a connection between Moroccan oricalcita, a copper derivative, and Plato’s orichalcum. Peter Daughtrey has offered [893.82] a solution from a little further north in Portugal where the ancient Kunii people of the region used ori or oro as the word for gold and at that period used calcos for copper.
Thorwald C. Franke has suggested[750.174] that two sulphur compounds, realgar and orpiment whose fiery and sometimes translucent appearance might have been Plato’s orichalcum. His chosen location for Atlantis, Sicily, is a leading source of sulphur and some of its compounds. I doubt this explanation as realgar disintegrates with prolonged exposure to sunlight, while both it and orpiment, a toxin, could not be described as metals in any way comparable with gold and silver as stated by Plato.
Frank Joseph translates orichalcum as ‘gleaming or superior copper’ rather than the more correct ‘mountain copper’ and then links Plato’s metal with the ancient copper mines of the Upper Great Lakes. Joseph follows Egerton Sykes in associating ‘findrine’, a metal referred to in old Irish epics, with orichalcum. However, findrine was usually described as white bronze unlike the reddish hue of orichalcum.
Ulf Erlingsson suggested [319.61] that orichalcum was ochre, which is normally yellow, but red when burnt. He seems to have based this on his translation of the text Critias116b. In fact the passage describes the citadel flashing in a fiery manner, but it does not specify a colour!
Other writers have suggested that orichalcum was bronze, an idea that conflicts with a 9600 BC date for the destruction of Atlantis since the archaeological evidence indicates the earliest use of bronze was around 6000 years later.
Thérêse Ghembaza has kindly drawn my attention to two quotations from Pliny the Elder and Ovid that offer possible explanations for Plato’s orichalcum(n) . The former refers to a Cypriot copper mixed with gold which gave a fiery colour and called pyropus, while Ovid also refers to a cladding of pyropus. She also mentions auricupride(Cu3Au), an alloy that may be connected with orichalcum.
Zatoz Nondik, a German researcher, has written a book about Plato’s ‘orichalcum’, From 2012 to Oreichalkos, in which he describes, in detail, how the orichalcum may be related to Japanese lacquer and suitable for coating walls as described in the Atlantis(b) narrative!
The fact is that copper and gold mixtures, both natural and manmade, have been found in various parts of the world and have been eagerly seized upon as support for different Atlantis location theories. A third of all gold is produced as a by-product of copper, lead, and zinc production.
It is also recorded that on ancient Crete, in the Aegean, two types of gold were found, one of which was a deep red developed by the addition of copper. Don Ingram suggests that the reddish gold produced in ancient Ireland is what Plato was referring to.
Irrespective of what orichalcum actually was, I think it is obvious that it was more appropriate to the Bronze Age than 9,600 BC. Furthermore, it occurs to me that Plato, who was so careful to explain or Hellenise foreign words so as not to confuse his Athenian audience, appears to assume that orichalcum is not an alien term to his audience.
The result of all of this is that Orichalcum has been advanced to support the location of Atlantis in North and South America, Sundaland, Ireland, Britain and the Aegean. Once again an unintentional lack of clarity in Plato’s text hampers a clear-cut identification of the location of Atlantis.
A fascinating anecdote relating to the use of a term similar to ‘orichalcum’ to describe a mixture of copper and gold was used by a metalsmith in Dubai as recently as 2007 and is recounted on the Internet(a) .
The Wikipedia entry(f) for ‘orichalcum’ adds further classical references to this mysterious metal.
2015 began with a report that 47 ingots of ‘orichalcum’ had been found in a shipwreck off the coast of Sicily, near Gela, and dated to around 600 BC(g). What I cannot understand is that since we never knew the exact composition of Plato’s alloy, how can anyone today determine that these salvaged ingots are the same metal. Thorwald C. Franke has more scholarly comments on offer(h). Jason Colavito has also applied his debunking talents to the subject(i). In June of the same year, Christos Djonis, in an article(j) on the Ancient Origins website, wrote a sober review of the media coverage of the shipwreck. He also added some interesting background history on the origin of the word ‘orichalcum’.
An analysis revealed(k) that those ingots were composed of 75-80% copper, 15-20% zinc, and traces of nickel, lead and iron, but no proof that this particular alloy was orichalcum. The recovery of a further 39 ingots from the wreck were reported in February 2017 and the excavation of the sunken ship continues.
An extensive paper(o) on the Gela discovery reported “that Professor Sebastiano Tusa, an archaeologist at the office of the Superintendent of the Sea in Sicily, claimed the metal they had discovered in the remains of the ship was probably the mythical and highly prized red metal orichalcum.” However dissent was not long coming, as the paper also notes that “ Enrico Mattievich, a former physics professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, believes the metal has its origins in the Chavin civilisation that developed in the Peruvian Andes in around 1,200 BC. He claims the metal alloy is made from copper, gold and silver. He claims that the discovery off the coast of Gela is not true orichalcum.” I think that both are probably wrong as we do not know the exact chemical composition of Plato’s orichalcum and both are just engaging in speculation.
The most recent explanation for the term comes from Dhani Irwanto who has proposed that orichalcum refers to a form zircon(l) that is plentiful on the Indonesian island of Kilimantan, where he has hypothesised that the Plain of Atlantis was located [1093.110].
(e) Atlantis Research Vol 2. No.6, Feb/Mar 1950, p.86
(g) See: Archive 2460
(n) See: Archive 3456