Martin B. Sweatman is a geochemist at the University of Edinburgh who gained wider recognition with the publication of PreHistory Decoded  in 2019. In it, he discusses many subjects dealt with in this compilation, such as Göbekli Tepe, Younger Dryas, and the Sphinx offering what the book’s subtitle describes as “a science odyssey unifying astronomy, geochemistry and archaeology.”
Building on the work of Clube & Napier he believes that around 10,900 BC an encounter with a fragment of Comet Encke led to catastrophic climate change of the Younger Dryas and kick-started the Neolithic Revolution. After an in-depth study of the carvings at Göbekli Tepe, he believes that they record astronomical events and in a 2017 joint paper with Dimitrios Tsikritsis, published in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, (Vol.. 17, No 1) they offer an illustrated outline of this theory(a).
>In 2021, Sweatman published two papers on the Researchgate website about the Younger Dryas Impact theory(e)(f).
He has also published a paper also on the Researchgate website in which he argues that knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes was known as far back as palaeolithic times(d).<
Sweatman had previously used his scientific training to decode an early zodiacal system found across western Eurasia, from European Palaeolithic caves to sites in Turkey, Egypt and Mesopotamia. He has now gone one step further by linking Pictish symbols to this system.(b)
For balance, I offer a link to a critical review of Sweatman’s theories(c).
2345 BC is a specific date offered by George Dodwell to identify the time for which there was consistent evidence that the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis was altered(c). He believed that this event caused the Flood of Noah.
biblical Deluge, which in turn led to the destruction of Atlantis (p262 5th edition).
More recently, Reinaud de Jonge proposed(b) a similar linkage between the 2345 BC cosmic encounter and the biblical Deluge. He wrote a series of six papers on the 2345 BC catastrophe(d).
Possibly related is the year 2350 BC when“there was a ‘near-simultaneous’ collapse which saw great societies crumble and the Middle East plunged into a dark age”, according to December 2019(a) “paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researcher W.M. Napier of Armagh University, Northern Ireland, wrote: ‘Studies of Earth’s history over the last 150,000 years have revealed that the climate is subject to sudden temperature changes, with transitions often taking place within decades or even a few years.”
The collapse of the Akkadian civilisation is specifically mentioned as a possible consequence of an encounter with fragments from a disintegrating Encke’s Comet hitting the Earth creating a ‘meteor hurricane’.
Mike Baillie, a leading dendrochronologist, presented to a Quantavolution Conference in Athens in 2011, compelling evidence for a catastrophic event in 2345 BC.
Victor Clube & Bill Napier are two British Astronomers, who published The Cosmic Serpent . in 1982, which was later revised as The Cosmic Winter ,>which was also the title of a lecture given by Clube(b).<
They have promoted what became known as ‘Coherent Catastrophism’, which envisions encounters between our Earth and large comets, events that are recorded in ancient history and mythology. They claim, for example, that the biblical Exodus story contains an early reference to Halley’s Comet! Among other encounters, they date the story of Phaëton, mentioned by Plato, to 1369 BC and also discuss catastrophic close encounters with Encke’s Comet or a proto-Encke.
Although Clube & Napier do not refer to Atlantis, from time to time, some commentators have claimed some connection between the demise of Atlantis and encounters with comets named and unnamed.
Philip R. “Pib” Burns has an extensive overview(a) of Clube and Napier’s work on his excellent website.>It is argued by some that Clube & Napier should have given greater recognition to the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky(c).<
Archaeoastronomy is a relatively new scientific discipline, which as the name implies combines archaeology and astronomy, particularly in the study of ancient megalithic monuments and their possible alignment with various celestial bodies.
Arguably the most famous example is Stonehenge, but our globe is littered with ancient monuments incorporating solar, lunar or astral alignments. Not all are as impressive or accessible as Stonehenge, Callanish or Newgrange but in remote places such as Nabta Playa or Fajada Butte (see Hadingham[1308.152]).
The subject was initially considered by some to be a ‘fringe’ topic, but in 1999 Clive Ruggles was appointed Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester(a) and is the author of the encyclopedic Ancient Astronomy +.
The University of Maryland has had a Center for Archaeoastronomy since 1978(c).
The subject has never been central to Atlantis studies but has hovered in the background, with writers such as Egerton Sykes(b) and Graham Hancock who employed aspects of the discipline in their publications.
Giulio Magli (1964- ) is an Italian archaeaostronomer with a website in English(e) dedicated to the application of the discipline in Egypt. In 2013, Magli proposed that aspects of the Göbleki Tepe site are related to the recent appearance of Sirius in the night sky around 9300 BC(f). Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale argue against this interpretation(g), which is perhaps understandable as they support a linkage with the Cygnus constellation. A 2004 paper by Magli, on precessional effects in ancient astronomy(h), has recently been applied by Lenie Reedijk to her contention that the Maltese temples were oriented to Sirius.
A further application of the discipline was employed by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis who used it to interpret the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe. In a 2017 paper(d) they concluded that the pillars there were used to record meteor showers and cometary encounters. They believe that one such encounter involved the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that kick-started the Neolithic Revolution. Scientists who have worked on the site responded critically(i), which in turn evoked further comments from Sweatman and Tsikritsis(j).
Sweatman later expanded their theory in his book Prehistory Decoded .
The Sixth Oxford International Conference on Archaeoastronomy and the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Société Européenne pour I’Astronom~e dans la Culture (SEAC, European Society for Astronomy in Culture) was held jointly on the days around the summer solstice of 1999 at the Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos, in the historical city of La Laguna, in the island of Tenerife. One hundred participants from more than 20 countries of the five continents and almost 60 talks indicate undoubtedly the relevance of this meeting. The Proceedings of that Conference are available online(l) offering a global view of the subject.
Noah Brosch of Tel Aviv University offers a wide-ranging paper on the ancient sites and artefacts around the world that clearly had astronomical functions(k).
Archaeoastronomy is one of only a few dozen words with four consecutive vowels.
+ Available online: https://archive.org/details/an-encyclopedia-of-cosmologies-and-myth-in-ancient-astronomy-clive-ruggles/mode/2up *
(j) https://www.academia.edu/33931844/MORE_THAN_A_VULTURE_A_RESPONSE_TO_SWEATMAN_AND_TSIKRITSIS (See the end of the paper)
Younger Dryas is also known as Dryas III was a mini Ice Age that lasted from around 10,700 BC until around 9600 BC. It is named after a wildflower called Dryas octopetala that flourished during this relatively short period. In Ireland, the period is known as the Nahanagan Stadial and in Britain as the Loch Lomond Stadial. For about thirteen hundred years the glaciers had been slowly retreating until within a short timespan temperature dropped and they began to advance again. The cause of this cooling is not entirely clear. One view is that a sudden release into the North Atlantic of vast quantities of freshwater that had been contained by huge ice dams is assumed to have closed down the Gulf Stream, resulting in a twelve hundred year lowering of global temperatures. There is evidence that the change only took one or two decades. The same threat is said to exist today with the possibility of the melting of the Greenland ice cap. It also seems that this YD cooling ended with the same rapidity.
A recent application of archaeoastronomy by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis led them to conclude that the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe recorded an encounter involving the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that provided the impetus for the Neolithic Revolution. Sweatman later expanded their work in his book Prehistory Decoded  and an article on the Ancient Origins website(k). In June 2021, Sweatman had a paper entitled ‘The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis: review of the impact evidence’ published in the journal ‘Earth Science Review’ of the University of Edinburgh(u).
Kevin A. & Patrick J. Casey maintain that a globally catastrophic event occurred 13,000 years ago(j). The kernel of their theory is that originally the Earth had two moons that at some later point collided, producing our current Moon, while the remnant of the second one eventually exploded over North America kick-starting what we refer to as the cooler Younger Dryas period. They are adamant that it was not a comet or asteroid that caused the devastation, and so clash with the conclusions of Richard Firestone and his colleagues.
A completely different view is expressed in Rod (Carl) Martin’s latest book , where he proposes that the Younger Dryas ended as a result of a catastrophic event. Is it possible that there were two cataclysmic episodes? John Ackerman, a keen follower of Immanuel Velikovsky claims that there were two such events related to “the capture of the Moon into its current orbit,” marking the beginning and the end of the Younger Dryas period(q).
A somewhat technical paper, published in July 2020, challenges the comet impact theory because of geochemical anomalies, Instead, they argue that the YD event was a consequence of volcanic activity(s), rather than an impact! Martin Sweatman refutes this in a paper on Graham Hancock’s website(i).
In 2015, a paper constraining the impact date to within 100 years using Bayesian statistical analyses, now proposed as 12,835 -12,735 years ago(h).
Coincidentally, Emilio Spedicato independently concluded that it was a cometary impact in the North Atlantic that was responsible for the Younger Dryas. Subsequently, when temperatures rose again it resulted in the flooding of vast areas of low-lying landmasses that in Spedicato’s opinion included Atlantis, which he locates in Hispaniola.
Conflicting evidence regarding the possibility of the Younger Dryas being caused by such an impact is impartially outlined on the internet(a).
The November 2013 issue of the BBC Focus magazine (p.30) had a brief article on the impact theory, noting that the northern hemisphere saw a drop of as much as 15°C around 11,000BC. In the absence of a suitable impact crater of the right age, there is still much scientific scepticism(b).
However, in early 2017, further possible evidence of an impact at the start of the Younger Dryas was offered by a team led by Christopher Moore of the University of South Carolina, when they identified a distinct layer of platinum in the soil that coincided with the start of YD. Commenting on this anomaly Moore noted that “Platinum is very rare in the Earth’s crust, but it is common in asteroids and comets.”(e) In 2019, Moore published further data(m) supporting the extraterrestrial impact theory, based on studies carried out on sediments, which date back 20,000 years, from White Pond Lake, situated in southern Kershaw County, South Carolina. “Other examples of excessive platinum grains have been found across Europe, western Asia, Chile, South Africa(r) and North America.” (n)
In early 2018, two papers were published online(i), reinforcing the YD impact theory and adding evidence that the event resulted in a conflagration that “may have consumed ~10 million km2, or ~9% of Earth’s terrestrial biomass.” Related to this is a paper by Andrew Collins that draws attention to the ‘Usselo horizon’, a charcoal-rich layer of between 1 and 8 inches, found on all continents, indicating widespread fires, now dated to 12,900 years ago(l).
Ice cores from Greenland indicate a further cooling period circa 6200 BC that may be related to the abandonment of many Neolithic settlements during this period. Other periods of abrupt climate change have been identified from 3800 BC to 3500 BC and 2800 BC to 2000 BC.
The fact that Plato’s apparent date for the demise of Atlantis, circa 9600 BC, roughly corresponds with the current, best estimate for the date of the Younger Dryas is interesting but unfortunately not conclusive proof of any direct connection. In the absence of any supportive archaeological evidence, a linkage between Atlantis and the Younger Dryas will have to remain a matter of faith rather than fact. Interesting but inconclusive.
In 2017, Graham Hancock reviewed the Younger Dryas debate over the previous decade in a lengthy essay(v). This was prior to the publication of America Before. He finished with the following comment. “Perhaps the lost civilization that I have spent the last quarter of a century trying to track down had its most significant outpost, possibly even its heartland, in North America in the period BEFORE the Younger Dryas cataclysms of 12,800 to 11,600 years ago?” Hancock is inferring here that there was a single global civilisation, a hyperdiffusionist stance that I consider indefensible.
A short paper by John Patrick Hill offers a theory that requires more than faith to accept it; he wrote “Just over 12 thousand years ago, the world was struck by an immense meteor group. It destroyed all of North America and much of Europe and went weIl beyond……… I found proof to support that the creators of the Giza Three and Stonehenge used the Barringer Crater in Arizona as part of the geometry for their massive structures.” Later he reveals that at “Giza, when one takes the distance between the outside corners of the three large pyramids there, that distance is equal to 0.72 miles, the exact distance (diameter) at Barringer.” An expanded version of his paper is available online.(t)
Recent discoveries in northern Sudan of dozens of skeletons, the majority of whom were killed by flint-tipped arrows, have led to the suggestion(c) they were the result of food shortages resulting from the Younger Dryas that in turn led to warfare over diminished food availability.
I note that Robert Schoch claims that there is no evidence to support the Younger Dryas impact theory, instead, he believes that “it was most likely due to reduced solar activity at that time, a solar shut-down.”(o) Schoch’s wide-ranging critique has been refuted by the Comet Research Group.(p)
In 2020, James Lawrence Powell (1936- ), a noted geologist, author, former college president and museum director entered the Younger Dryas debate with the publication of Deadly Voyager . In it, Powell offers wholehearted support to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH), understandably generating a favourable review from Graham Hancock(w).
>Even more important, is that Powell’s book induced a number of heavy-duty critics of YDIH, including Michael Shermer to change their opinion(x).<
Dr. Steel has been employed by both NASA and the ESA. In 1995 he suggested that Stonehenge I had been constructed as a predictor of the Earth’s intersection with the path of a comet and its attendant debris, with a 19-year periodicity(a). This controversial idea named Encke’s Comet and the Taurid meteor shower as the principal culprits and dated the first encounters to around 3100 BC. This date coincides with the conclusions of David Furlong and Timo Niroma who note cultural and meteorological upheavals at that same time.
>A review of Steel’s book by Lucy McFadden, a visiting scientist at the Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland concluded with the following – “I can’t recommend Rogue Asteroids to someone who tires of reading numbers, or to someone who wants a pleasant easy-going read. The facts are grim, the message is important and could well be the most significant scientific result coming from the space programs of all the wprld’s governments in the latter years of this millennium. It is certainly reason to pause for an existential moment.”<
Steel has his own website(b).
(a) https://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba45/ba45feat.html (Offline Mar. 2016) see Archive 2657
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)
Further criticism of his 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.
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.”
(o) Archive 2904
Encke’s Comet has the shortest orbital period of just over three years and was the second comet after Halley’s to have its period determined. It is named after the German astronomer Johann Franz Encke (1792-1865) who announced its periodicity in 1819. More information about Encke’s Comet is available on Kevin Curran’s website(f), which promotes his book, Fall of a Thousand Suns, in which he analyses the effects that cometary encounters have had on religious beliefs.
One website(c) suggests that Encke was only part of an even larger comet, proto-Encke, sometimes identified as Tiamat in Babylonian mythology and that Encke gave birth to the Taurid meteor shower.
Victor Clube and Bill Napier published their groundbreaking book in 1982 in which they identify Encke’s Comet or more correctly its larger progenitor as having had catastrophic close encounters with the earth in the past. They expanded their book in 1990.
Martin Sweatman is a University of Edinburgh scientist and the author of Prehistory Decoded . Building on the work of Clube & Napier he believes that around 10,900 BC an encounter with a fragment of Encke that led to catastrophic climate change of the Younger Dryas and kick-started the Neolithic Revolution. After an in-depth study of the carvings at Göbekli Tepe he believes that they record astronomical events and in a 2017 joint paper with Dimitrios Tsikritsis, published in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, (Vol. 17, No 1) offers an illustrated outline of this theory.(g)
A number of investigators, including Frank Joseph have adopted their findings and have attributed the destruction of Atlantis, among other disasters, such as the eruption of Thera, to the repeated near misses by proto-Encke. In his latest literary recycling Joseph claims that Comet Encke in 1198 BC “scores a number of meteoric hits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and possibly on Atlantis itself, which perishes ‘in a single day and night’, according to Plato. The catastrophe is global, encompassing the destruction of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.” Joseph bases this claim on the conclusions of two Swedish geologists, Thomas B. Larsson and Lars Franzén.
Another writer, Martin Gray, claimed that in 3113 BC proto-Encke collided with asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter causing extensive meteor showers that punctuated the Bronze Age, including the partial destruction of Atlantis(a) . Without hard evidence we must treat this as nothing more than interesting conjecture.
A fully illustrated article detailing an encounter with Comet Encke is offered by Stuart Harris(b) who dates this event to 8366 BC and which led to catastrophic destruction across Europe. Harris also offered the possibility of a return visit during August-September 2012, if the Cluster still exists. He added further data in 2013(d).
Graham Hancock has gone further and suggested that 2030 will possibly have another catastrophic encounter with Encke, hidden in the Taurid meteor shower. This ‘prediction’ in his Magician of the Gods(e) will do no harm to sales figures!