Graham Hancock the well-known investigator of prehistoric mysteries has never discussed the Atlantis enigma in depth. In fact, he once remarked on BBC Television that he avoids using the word ‘Atlantis’ in his books “because most people when they hear the word Atlantis immediately think that they’re dealing with the lunatic fringe”.
Furthermore, he emphasises the potential value of myths as transmitters of historical facts, albeit distorted.
In his 1995 tome on civilisations submerged at the end of the last Ice Age, Fingerprints of the Gods [275.462] he briefly discusses the subject of Atlantis. He accepted that the Atlantic was not harbouring any lost continent, although he was seeking a continental-sized home for his vanished civilisation. Paul Heinrich has posted a review(v) of ‘Fingerprints’.
Similarly, in his earlier work, The Sign and the Seal [678.319], Hancock had clearly discounted the Atlantic as the home of Atlantis. At this point, he appeared to be considering the Antarctic location proposed by the Flem-Aths.
His book, Underworld  was published in 2002 and was followed by a TV programme, Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, which was based on it. The latter evoked a highly critical review(s) from N.C. Flemming, who has written widely on maritime matters including sea-level changes and sunken cities . Hancock wrote an equally strong response(r) to this.
Hancock maintains an interesting website(a) that is regularly updated with contributions from a wide range of contributors. His bestselling Fingerprints of the Gods is now available online(b).
The other side of the coin is that Hancock’s evidence supporting his theories has been heavily criticised as flawed(g) and misleadingly presented(h).
Hancock “ regularly draws attention to what he considers mystical relationships between the Great Pyramid of Giza and the radius, circumference, and axial precession of the earth…….. Proponents of these “mystical” relationships contend, in addition to existing in the first place, that the relationships must be purposeful and therefore provide direct evidence of advanced capabilities in technology, mathematics, and precise astronomical observing techniques that scholars have long asserted were not available to humans when the pyramids were constructed.” These are among the opening remarks by Thomas W. Schroeder, who published two papers in 2019 criticising Hancock’s scholarship.(y-z)
>E.J. de Meester who proposed an English location for Atlantis, before his website went offline, was critical of Graham Hancock’s hyperdiffusionist concept of Atlantis commenting that “In 1999 Discovery Channel broadcast a three-part series called ‘Quest for the lost Civilisation’.In it, Graham Hancock stated that the pyramids, Angkor Vat, Stonehenge, the stones of Carnac, the Nazca lines, temples in Mexico and the statues of Easter Island were all part of an ancient global civilisation of seafarers who were apparently obsessed by astrology. The temples of Angkor Vat (in Cambodia) were said to be built in the shape of the zodiac sign Draco, the pyramids of Gizeh in the shape of Sirius; the Sphinx is supposed to be looking at the sign of Leo. It’s all rather vague. Hard to say whether it’s nonsense or not. More information can be found in Hancock’s books, like ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ and ‘Heaven’s Mirror’  .” De Meester’s comments are still (2023) available on the archive.org website(ar).
For my part, I consider this hodgepodge of locations presented by Hancock as parts of his global civilisation to be utter nonsense. The sites listed above have little in common; Carnac and Stonehenge are probably the only two that might be considered to be related. Perhaps the most obvious weakness in his claim is the fact that some of the sites are separated by millennia. Easter Island, Angor Wat and Nazca were developed long after Atlantis was submerged<.
Further criticism of Hancock’s scholarship has come from Garrett Fagan, particularly in relation to his comments regarding Antarctica.(aa)
Jason Colavito has written(c) a critical review of Hancock’s work and his recent advocacy “for ayahuasca, a South American hallucinogen. Since taking the drug for his 2005 book Supernatural, Hancock has supported the concept that mind-altering substances give their users access to a spirit world where one can commune directly with the ‘gods’.”
In April 2015, Hancock was due to engage in a debate with Zahi Hawass on the subject of their conflicting views of ancient history. However, when Hawass saw that Hancock included an image of Robert Bauval in his presentation, he refused to continue with the arranged format(d)(t).
In September 2015, Hancock published his, Magicians of the Gods , which worryingly sounds like a von Däniken book title! Already, he is trailing this publication with teasers, such as a claim that he has finally identified the ‘smoking gun’ that demonstrates that a cometary impact destroyed an advanced civilisation in the Antarctic 12,800 years ago(e) Shortly after the initial report was published, Hancock had to correct errors in it(f), the principal one being that the impact site was the North American ice cap NOT Antarctica. An interview with Hancock shortly before the publication of ‘Magicians’(n) is online as is also a review of the book itself(o). A full-length video lecture based on the book is available online(x).
Hancock also climbed aboard the Gobekli Tepe bandwagon, incorporating it along with Noah’s Ark and Atlantis into one narrative(p).
Hancock’s book also engages in scaremongering, with a sales-boosting prediction that an asteroid impact is possible in 2030 when the Earth once again enters the orbit of the remains of Encke’s Comet!
Jason Colavito’s critical review of ‘Magicians‘ is now online(j). A more favourable evaluation of his book is now available from Dr Jon Epstein of Greensboro College, who expresses some interesting views on the closed-mindedness of many academics(k). Epstein’s review prompted further comments from Colavito(l). Following correspondence between Epstein and Colavito, additional claims of academic conspiracy to block Hancock have emerged.
Michael Shermer, a professional sceptic, attacked Hancock’s ‘Magicians’ in a Scientific American article arguing first of all that, “no matter how devastating an extraterrestrial impact might be, are we to believe that after centuries of flourishing, every last tool, potsherd, article of clothing, and, presumably from an advanced civilization, writing, metallurgy and other technologies—not to mention trash—was erased? Inconceivable.” (ab)
Hancock recently received the endorsement of the South African Professor of Philosophy, Bert Olivier, which swiftly produced a response from Colavito(q).
Hancock’s next book, America Before, published in April 2019, proposes that North America was inhabited 130,000 years ago and was home to an advanced civilisation that was destroyed by a cometary impact at the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 10,000 BC. The fact that this is contradicted by Plato does not seem to bother him. Hancock proposed cometary impact damage as the cause of Atlantis’ demise, Plato says flooding. I would prefer Plato’s account as he was nearly two and a half millennia nearer the event. Hancock claims that Atlantean survivors spread their alleged high-tech civilisation around the world. Plato does not describe Atlantis as any more advanced than any other culture. Hancock offers no tangible evidence for his claim.
When asked what he meant by ‘advanced’ Hancock revealed(u) that “I think we’re talking about a civilization – more than 12,000 years ago – which was as advanced as our civilization was, say in the late 18th century or early 19th century. In other words, they could navigate the world, they could explore the world, they could measure the world accurately, they had precise astronomy, they could create beautiful maps that were accurate in terms of latitude and longitude. That kind of level of civilization.”
In late 2022, Hancock had a TV series entitled Ancient Apocalypse transmitted on Netflix. It was, of course, joyously greeted by his fans, but received more muted reviews in other quarters(ad). Not unexpectedly Jason Colavito(af) and Thorwald C. Franke (Newsletter 206)(ae). Murdoch’s The Sun tabloids offered a voice(ac) for the cries of protest from academics. It appears that the series has been used as a multi-episode aggressive rant against conventional archaeology. Perhaps it was just the ayahuasca speaking.
In response, this week (Dec.2, 2022), the Society for American Archaeology published an open letter(ah) to Netflix and the television production house ITN requesting that they re-classify its new series Ancient Apocalypse as a work of fiction rather than a docuseries(ag). Eventually, Hancock responded with a lengthy article(al) described by Jason Colavito as ‘hysterical’(am), but in my view, it contains many interesting points.
The uproar over the Hancock-Netflix series continues unabated with Colavito offering the following addition to his website(ai) and a longer piece on The New Republic website(aj); “It has also sparked unparalleled outrage from archaeologists and journalists, resulting in dozens of think pieces decrying the show’s many false claims and illogical arguments, analyzing its racist implications, and declaring the series everything from “fishy” to the “most dangerous” show on Netflix. “Why has this been allowed?” asked Britain’s The Guardian. The answer to that seemed pretty obvious: Hancock’s son, Sean Hancock, is Netflix’s senior manager for unscripted originals.”
The Guardian newspaper (UK) took another perceived aspect of the series to accuse “Hancock – who describes himself as a journalist presumably to avoid being called a pseudo-scientist” – of taking “the story to a new controversial level in suggesting that survivors of such a deluge were the instigators of the great works of other civilisations, from Egypt to Mexico and Turkey to Indonesia. As (Flint) Dibble states, such claims reinforce white supremacist ideas. ‘They strip indigenous people of their rich heritage and instead give credit to aliens or white people.’ In short, the series promotes ideas of ‘race science’ that are outdated and long since debunked.”(ak).
On April 2023, Jason Colavito reported(an) “In a surprise move, Graham Hancock pulled out of June’s Cosmic Summit, a meeting of catastrophists in support of the theory that a comet hit the Earth at the end of the last Ice Age and destroyed a high-tech lost civilization. Atlantis speculator Jimmy Corsetti, who was also scheduled to speak, also said he would not be attending. Corsetti claimed he had been ‘removed’ against his will from the list of speakers, leaving the conference in chaos.” There is some suggestion that problems arose over a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Hancock offered the following explanation on his website(ao) “Serious concerns have been brought to my attention that has caused me to lose confidence in the fundamental philosophy and direction of this conference.”
In June 2023, Michael Shermer published an article in Skeptic magazine that attacked Hancock’s theories generally and the 2022 Netflix series in particular(ap).
The Netflix episode dealing with the Maltese megaliths has drawn criticism from archaeologists in Malta, one of whom appeared briefly in the episode and later implied that her appearance was “manipulated to suit the narrative that the series is trying to push.” (aq)
(o) Archive 2904
(al) Response by Graham Hancock (GH) to the open letter to Netflix dated 30th November 2022 from the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) concerning the eight-part docuseries Ancient Apocalypse presented by Graham Hancock – Graham Hancock Official Website
(ap) Skeptic » Reading Room » Alternative Civilization and Its Discontents: An Analysis of the Alternative Archaeologist Graham Hancock’s Claim That an Ancient Apocalypse Erased the Lost Civilization of Atlantis
Planet X, also known as Nibiru, Marduk, Draco or Plutinos, was introduced to the world over 30 years ago by Zecharia Sitchin. He claimed that this planet has an orbit that takes it to the outer reaches of our solar system returning to the inner planets, including earth, every 3,600 years. He further claimed, based on his interpretation of Sumerian texts, that a superior civilisation developed on Planet X and that on one of their periodic visits near Earth they landed here and created Man becoming his gods. This outlandish idea was taken up by others and embellished further, sometimes changing the periodicity of the planet, claiming that various catastrophic events such as the Flood of Noah, the Plagues of Egypt and the destruction of Atlantis were caused by a close encounter with Planet X and promising(a) further devastation when it returns in 2012. Books purporting to be guides for surviving this event were widely promoted. It would seem that the use of fear is an effective way of selling books.
Feeble attempts were made to give this daft idea a scientific basis, such as when it was suggested that anomalies in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune could only be explained by the gravitational pull of Planet X. However, in 1993 it was found that these ‘anomalies’ were the result of orbital computation errors. Furthermore, the idea that this ‘12th planet’ harboured life similar to our own is even greater nonsense. Life on earth would cease if we were deprived of the sun’s heat and light for a short period, so to suggest that a planet could wander off into the outer reaches of the solar system for thousands of years and sustain life as we know it, is as stupid an idea as that of a flat earth.
The idea of an extraterrestrial body returning periodically to threaten our planet did not begin with Sitchin. Two physicists, Daniel Whitmire and Albert Jackson proposed the existence of a ‘Planet X’ in the 1980s to explain what they perceived to be evidence for recurring mass extinctions every 26 million years. The development of this idea is told in Nemesis  by another physicist, Dr Richard Muller.
Nevertheless, early January 2016 saw a claim(c) that a large planet probably exists in the outer reaches of our solar system, as it is the most likely explanation for unexpected movements by objects in the Kuiper Belt. The search for Planet Nine seems to have intensified as astronomers suggested(g) that the unusual ’tilt’ of our sun may be caused by this very large planet! New Scientist of 30th January 2016, explores the possible existence of this ‘Planet Nine’(f). The difficulty in locating such a planet may be explained by a snippet (p.7) in the same magazine which refers to an exoplanet with an orbit one trillion kilometres from its star.
In the same month, Daniel Whitmire, a retired astrophysics professor, “published findings in the January issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society that the as yet undiscovered “Planet X” triggers comet showers linked to mass extinctions on Earth at intervals of approximately 27 million years.”(d) This was not a new claim from him as he “and his colleague, John Matese, first published research on the connection between Planet X and mass extinctions in the journal Nature in 1985 while working as astrophysicists at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Their work was featured in a 1985 Time magazine cover story titled, “Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs? A Bold New Theory About Mass Extinctions.”
In 1982, J. J. Sepkoski & David Raup published a paper in which they claimed that the extinction of dinosaurs 66 mya was part of a cycle of mass extinctions that may have occurred every 26 million years. However, they did not offer a possible cause for these periodic events. Clark R. Chapman & David Morrison published a book, Cosmic Catastrophes  with a comparable theme. It was Richard Muller’s Nemesis, which contained the idea that a possible companion star to our sun. a brown dwarf, was the culprit. His theory held good until 2014, when an infrared survey found no brown dwarf up to 10,000 astronomical units (0.16 ly) from Sun.
Another writer has added to Sitchin’s Anunaki invention with embellishments that leave you wondering whether to laugh or cry(j). The author also managed to link the Anunnaki silliness with Atlantis with the following addition;
“In the heyday of Atlantis, there was space travel for the privileged classes. Teleportation was also common in those days for the privileged classes. As the Atlantean “slaves” became more and more advanced, they began to disobey their “gods”, the Anunnaki Elite. This concerned their masters. Thus a decision was made by them to destroy Atlantis.”
An extensive review(e) of Sitchin’s theory and astronomical data that seems to support the existence of another planet in the outer reaches of our solar system, concluded that “Quite simply, Zecharia Sitchin’s Nibiru, does not exist…”
“Caltech researchers have found mathematical evidence suggesting there may be a “Planet X” deep in the solar system. This hypothetical Neptune-sized planet orbits our Sun in a highly elongated orbit far beyond Pluto. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed “Planet Nine,” could have a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbit about 20 times farther from the Sun on average than Neptune. It may take between 10,000 and 20,000 Earth years to make one full orbit around the Sun.” This speculation is to be found on a NASA website(r).
Nevertheless, in 2016, two astronomers independently proposed that Planet 9 (should that be Planet IX?) was possibly responsible for changing the axial tilt of the other planets relative to the axis of our sun(h).
More recently an object with the exciting name of 2015 TG387, probably a dwarf planet, about 300 km in diameter, had its 40,000-year orbit determined. However, aberrations in that orbit are claimed by some to be evidence for a large distant body; the hypothesised Planet X(i)!
Another variation of the Planet X idea is offered by Stuart L. Harris whose visiting planet he named after the Babylonian god, Marduk. He claims that its close encounter in 9577 BC resulted in the destruction of Atlantis, which he places in the vicinity of Rockall in the North Atlantic. His ideas are expressed in a series of four papers on the Academia.edu website(m-p).
In 2000, Anthony Austin & Brian Crowley published The Dragon’s Tail  in which they also proposed a tenth planet, they called Draco. According to them it returns every 892 years to cause catastrophes on Earth, such as the biblical Deluge, the plagues of Egypt and the demise of Atlantis. According to Austin(k), following the death of the original publisher, it was republished in 2003, with some small changes, as Draco: The Tenth Planet by Black Rabbit Press(l).
In 2020, it was reported that evidence for the existence of Planet X continues to build(q) and with a new telescope at the Rubin Observatory in Chile due to be operational in the near future, final confirmation is hoped to be found.
(f) New Scientist No. 3058, Jan. 30 2016 (p.8)