William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) was a renowned English Egyptologist, who developed improved archaeological methods, some of which are still employed today. One of his first publications was in 1883, entitled The Pyramids and Temples 0f Gizeh.>This is now available online, while a 1990 edition has additional material supplied by Zahi Hawass(c).<
Jason Colavito has drawn attention(a) to a short article written by Flinders Petrie in Ancient Egypt, September 1924, in which he finds value in the work of Reginald Fessenden, who was an advocate of Atlantis in the Caucasus. However, I note that he makes no explicit comment on Fessenden’s Atlantis theory. Petrie was interested in the evidence that strongly suggested that people from the Caucasus region had an influence on the development of the ancient Egyptian culture, noting again a couple of year s later “It appears, then, that the cultural connections of the earliest Egyptians, as well as the physical descriptions in their mythology, point to the Caucasus region. When, further, we find there the names of the principal places of the mythology in their relative positions, it gives strong grounds for regarding that region as the homeland of the earliest civilization of the Egyptians”. (Ancient Egypt, June 1926) (b) .
Dr. Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who worked with Petrie, was also sympathetic to this view. More recently, Ronnie Gallagher has taken up this cause and has gone further by suggesting the possibility that not only were migrants from the Caucasus responsible for kick-starting the development of Egyptian culture, but that people from the same region had a similar influence on the early inhabitants of Sumeria and the Indus Valley.
The Caucasus Mountains lie between the Black and Caspian Seas and contain the highest mountain in Europe, Mount Elbrus (Russia). In ancient times it was the location of several kingdoms of whom two were known as Albania and Iberia
Delisle de Sales was probably the first to suggest the Caucasus as the home of the original Atlantis, with refugees from there establishing Plato’s Atlantis in the Central Mediterranean. However, the greatest proponent of the Caucasus location for Atlantis was R.A. Fessenden who wrote an extensive multi-volume work  on the subject early in the 20th century.
More recently, Ronnie Gallagher, an admirer of Fessenden, has studied the Caucasus region, in particular, the hydrology of the Caspian Sea(a), where he identified strandlines up to 225 metres above sea level, which he considers to be evidence of a vast inland Eurasian sea at the end of the last Ice Age. In Azerbaijan, he also found cart ruts similar to those on Malta as well as stone circles on the Absheron Peninsula(b). Professor E. N. Badyukova has offered some critical comments regarding Gallagher’s claims(k).
Flinders Petrie also referenced Fessenden in his (1926) paper The Origins of the Book of the Dead(f), in which he concluded “that the cultural connections of the earliest Egyptians, as well as the physical descriptions in their mythology, point to the Caucasus region. When, further, we find there the names of the principal places of the mythology in their relative positions, it gives strong grounds for regarding that region as the homeland of the earliest civilisation of the Egyptians.”
A few years later, an article by M. A. Murray in Antiquity (Volume 15 – Issue 60 – Dec. 1941) noted that Petrie’s “opinion was based entirely on literary and philological evidence” resulting in archaeologists being slow to accept it. To partially counter this Murray offered two pieces of evidence in support of Petrie’s proposed Egyptian-Caucasus connection.(i)
However, I must point out that in 1874 Hyde Clarke delivered a paper to the Royal Anthropological Institute in which he claimed that the Colchians in the Caucasus had been an Egyptian colony(h). Clarke also employed language similarities to support his contention. So we can reasonably ask, who was right or were both Clarke and Flinders Petrie wrong?
A forum on Graham Hancock’s website offered some more discussion about an Egyptian link with the Caucasus(j).
The Amazons of Greek mythology are thought by some to have originated in the Caucasus and as late as 1671, Sir John Chardin reported that a tribe of Amazons existed in Georgia. Interestingly, a 19th-century photo shows two armed ladies from Armenia captioned as ‘Amazons of Armenia 1895’.
An added mystery was offered by Alexander Braghine, who recounted that “I was present when a former Russian officer of Georgian origin found himself able to talk with the natives of Vizcaya immediately upon his arrival in Northern Spain: he spoke Georgian, but the Basques understood this language.” [156.187]
Currently, Bruce Fenton has claimed the Caucasus as the home of giants. However, Jason Colavito has demonstrated the unreliability of his claims(c).
In the Krasnodar region of southern Russia hundreds (3,000 and counting) of dolmens are to be found on both sides of the Caucasus. Interestingly, they show a distinctive form of megalithic architecture(g).
I feel that the Caucasus will have a lot more to tell us.
(i) Antiquity, Vol. 15, Issue 60, Dec. 1941 p.384-386
Ronnie Gallagher is a retired environmental manager and an amateur archaeologist with a great interest in the Caucasus region, where he has carried out extensive research. He has written an interesting paper on the effects of the post-glacial flooding of the Caspian Sea and its former physical connection with the Black Sea as well as with the Arctic Ocean(a).
Gallagher has also drawn attention to cart ruts in Azerbaijan(b) similar to, but not as numerous as, those on Malta. He is also an admirer of the work of Reginald Fessenden who placed Atlantis in the Caucasus(c) and proposed that migrants from that region were responsible for kick-starting what we know as the Egyptian civilisation. The renowned Flinders Petrie and Margaret Murray were sympathetic to this view, as is Gallagher(d).
>Gallagher expanded on his view that migrants from the Caucasus had settled in Egypt, suggesting that they brought with them memories of their homeland and one of its best-known landmarks – Mount Barmak in modern Azerbaijan and used its outline to inspire the Great Sphinx at Giza(g)!!! In another paper, he expands on anthropomorphic images in Azerbaijan(l).<
His own conclusion regarding the location of Atlantis in the Caucasus region was that it was inundated as a consequence of the creation of a vast ‘flooded Eurasia’ that resulted from the collapse of glacial ice-dams(d)(h)(m), comparable with the Lake Missoula Floods in America.
Gallagher’s paper should be read in conjunction with a 2004 paper(e) from a team of Russian and US scientists that relates to a ‘Giant Siberian Lake’.
>Related to this is a recent study that has shown that 12 million years ago the same vast region was home to the Earth’s largest-ever lake, which the authors have called Paratethys(i). In fact, it is claimed that its history begins even further back at 34 million years ago and at its greatest extent stretched from Germany to China!(j)<
Gallagher’s studies in Azerbaijan continue, where he has identified an extensive number of strandlines in the region resulting from ancient catastrophic flooding.
>His presentation to the Second International Conference on the Aral Sea Problems in 2019 in St. Petersburg is available online in a lengthy and extensively illustrated pdf file(k).<
He has now published a number of extended abstracts of recent papers on the academia.edu website(g). He concluded one(f) with the following: “However, the thorny problem of what might have caused the Gilazi strandlines and the inferred worldwide flood can only be speculated on and will be controversial.
Perhaps open-minded discussion on the theories, such as the reality of the diverted Russian Rivers, an enlarged Ponto Caspian and the ingress of marine waters into the Eurasian continental interior might begin to reveal a different pre-history and provide support for a world-wide flood.”
(e) See Archive 2372)
(k) Strandlines on Azerbaijan’s Mud Volcanoes and coastal interior: New evidence of a catastrophic marine flood impacting the Ponto Caspian and Aral Sea regions with its implications to natural sciences and humankind (zin.ru)
Writing in Atlantis. The text of Plato makes it quite clear that writing was a feature of Atlantean culture. This is just another element in the overall picture presented by Plato of Atlantis as a Bronze Age civilisation, although there is always the possibility that the inclusion of writing might be a Platonic addition, designed to enhance the underlying core tale of a very ancient civilisation destroyed by flooding. If this flooding coincided with the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age then it could be dated to around 9500 BC, a date that is in agreement with Solon’s apparent date for the demise of Atlantis.
R. Cedric Leonard(a) has developed the idea that an even older writing system in Western Europe, such as that found on the Glozel Tablets may have had a link with Atlantis. These tablets have been dated to as early as 10,000 BC, but I have some reservations regarding the reliability of this date. Similarly, the writing of the Vinca culture of Eastern Europe is believed to date from around 5500 BC.
However, an article in New Scientist (20.02.10) reports that a study of cave markings at 146 sites in France revealed that a total of just 26 signs were used with a varying frequency between 33,000 BC and 8000 BC. The symbols were only found in Southern France as most of the north was glaciated for much of this period. If these findings are substantiated it will raise questions regarding the date of the arrival of modern man into Europe.
Genevieve von Petzinger a Canadian paleoanthropologist and rock art researcher has studied geometric signs found in caves and other sites dating back 40,000 years. In a 2019 paper, her work is discussed including that she has identified “32 recurring symbols in all cultures of 40,000 years ago.” That was the easy part, now they must be interpreted(g).
It is generally thought that there is no evidence of any developed writing system until around 3500 BC in Harappa in the Indus Valley, while a few hundred years later the Sumerians were using a sophisticated cuneiform script and the Egyptians had developed a system of hieroglyphics(d). In 2010, Orly Goldwasser had an article published in the Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) in which she traced the development of the Canaanite alphabet from Egyptian hieroglyphics!(n)
In turn, the Phoenicians developed their script circa 1000 BC and from them, the Greeks developed their Linear A & B. However, the discovery in 1993 of the Dispilio Tablet(j) in Greece has pushed back the use of writing in Greece to around 5200 BC, which is long before the people recognised as Phoenicians emerged in the 2nd millennium BC(i)!
In 2017, an ancient ivory comb was discovered and dated to around 1700 BC. It was later spotted that the object had been inscribed with the earliest complete sentence in a Canaanite dialect(l).
This debate regarding the origins of writing, both when and where will continue for some considerable time. An article on the Ancient Origins website in September 2022 ended with the following comment – “Conventional history dictates that these kinds of Neolithic discoveries are merely evidence of proto-writing, a term which refers to a way of communicating limited information, rather than proof of an entire language. But should additional artifacts comparable to the Dispilio tablet emerge, they could completely change the history of writing and with it the story of humanity.”(k)
Crete had crude writing around 3000 BC, but it would be another 1000 years before the earliest alphabetic inscription discovered so far would be inscribed on a rock, in what is now Southern Egypt. This has been dated to the 1900s BC, two hundred years earlier than expected. This particular epigraph has prompted speculation that what we know as an alphabet originated in Egypt, but it is not unreasonable to think that this revision will not be the last. However, the March/April 2010 edition of the respected Biblical Archaeology Review has an article that identifies the early alphabet as a development of hieroglyphics(c).
This evolution from hieroglyphs to modern European scripts is now available as a chart by Matt Baker(o).*
Although the Phoenicians have often been credited with the invention of the precursor to modern Western scripts around 1,100 BC, it now appears more likely that they were responsible for the adaptation of an even earlier character system. The earliest known Hebrew writing has now been dated to the 10th century BC(b).
Peter Daughtrey in his book, Atlantis and the Silver City  has devoted chapter seventeen to offering the claim that the earliest alphabet developed in southwest Iberia and by extension in Atlantis. An abbreviated version can be read on his website(h).
In Meso-America, the Olmecs appear to have been the first to develop a writing system around 900 BC, 600 years earlier than the Maya. However, the late emergence of a script there would appear to argue against a common Atlantean source for cultures on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 1905, Flinders Petrie and his wife, also an archaeologist, discovered strange signs on the side of a mine in the Sinai Peninsula, which they identified as alphabetical. After a decade of study, Sir Allan Gardiner published a decipherment of the symbols in 1916(f). They became known as proto-Sinaitic script and dated to between 1850 and 1550 BC. However, there were individual ‘letters’ whose identities were disputed. In 2017, Douglas Petrovich claimed to have solved all outstanding issues . Today, Orly Goldwasser, an Israeli Egyptologist, is arguably the leading promoter of the idea that this was the earliest example of an alphabet discovered so far(e).
The insistence by some on the great antiquity of ancient scripts is driven by those Atlantis researchers who blindly accept the 9,600 BC date for the destruction of a literate Atlantis given by Plato. If an early date for writing cannot be more fully substantiated then Plato’s date must be reappraised.
>An “Atlantean language was created for the film Atlantis: The Lost Empire by Marc Okrand, who worked with John Emerson, a designer at Disney, to produce an alphabet for the language. The language is spoken and written by the people of Atlantis in the film and is integral to the plot.”(m)<
(c) https://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=36&Issue=02&ArticleID=06 (link broken) *
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, (1866-1932), was a remarkable Canadian who, at the age of 24, had been head chemist to Thomas Edison. He was Professor of postgraduate Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, Western University of Pittsburgh and Engineering Commissioner, Ontario Power Commission. While there he took on the challenge of wireless communication and he made his first radio voice ‘broadcast’ on Christmas Eve, 1906, at a time when Marconi was still signalling in Morse code. In fact, his first voice transmission was on December 23rd 1900 which was heard one mile away.
Fessenden investigated an ancient civilisation in the Caucasus and identified it as Atlantis. The famous Egyptologist Flinders Petrie was interested in his work, which revealed evidence that people from the Caucasus had an influence on the development of ancient Egyptian culture(b). Dr Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who worked with Petrie, was also sympathetic to this view. More recently, Ronnie Gallagher has taken up this cause(c) and has gone further by suggesting the possibility that not only were migrants from the Caucasus responsible for kick-starting the development of Egyptian culture but that people from the same region had a similar influence on the early inhabitants of Sumeria and the Indus Valley.
Fessenden approached the Smithsonian seeking help with organising an expedition to Russia to search for evidence in support of his theories. Their response of March 1924 is available online(e).
Fessenden was also the author of The Deluged Civilisation of the Caucasus Isthmus published in three parts between 1923 and 1933 and now available on the Internet(a). In this extensive work, he discusses an alternative interpretation of the geography of early Greek myths and its consequences for Plato’s story of Atlantis.
>The journal Nature published a very brief review of Fessenden’s work in the 20th Dec. 1924 edition(g).
Fessenden’s monumental work on the civilisations of the Caucasus concludes with a short paper having the interesting title of Synopsis of Some Unpublished Chapters of the Deluged Civilization of the Caucasus Isthmus he notes a number of intriguing points, keeping in mind that this was written nearly a century ago.
“The names of the gods of the Babylonian Creation legend, i.e. Lakamu, Lakmu, Kingu, Anshar, An, Marduk, Gaga, are the names of the most prominent mountains of the Caucasus range. The names are all unchanged except Kingu, now Elbruz, and Anshar, now Kasbek; whose old names are given in the Encyclopedia Britannica, article “Caucasus”.
Almost all of these names are very distinctive and are found nowhere else, e.g. Lakamu, Gaga, etc., though Kingu is found as Kongur on the shore of Lake Sevanga. In addition, their characteristics correspond with those of the gods. For example, Kingu is the greatest, Anshar next, then An; and Marduk is near Anshar, and Gaga is a smaller mountain between Marduk and Terek. The Apsu was the crest of the range.” (f)
He also identified the Jakin or eastern Pillars of Hercules as shown on one of Adolf Stieler’s maps on the old shore of the Caspian Sea and furthermore, he quoted from Encyclopedia Britannica, ‘Babylonia’ where similarities between the names of locations in Babylonia and Finland are noted!<
In 1940, Fessenden’s widow, Helen, just a year before her own death, completed Reginald’s unfinished autobiography . In Chapter 28, his support for Atlantis being situated in the Caucasus is reiterated.
Jason Colavito has written a short critique of Fessenden’s work(d).
Hyde Clarke (1815-1895) was English philologist, engineer and historian who suggested in 1885, that “the head seat of the great king (of Atlantis) was possibly in the Caribbean Sea; it may be in St. Domingo (Hispaniola)”. His book can be read online(a).
Clarke also held the view that ‘Atlantis’ was the name of the king rather than the kingdom. Another of his odd suggestions was that the elephants of Atlantis were in fact tapirs! He further claimed that Australia had been known in remote antiquity(d).
>In 1874 Clarke delivered a paper to the Royal Anthropological Institute, in London, in which he claimed that the Caucasus had been home to an Egyptian colony(f). A few decades later Flinders Petrie suggested that the Egyptians had originated in the Caucasus(e). Both cannot be right!<
Jason Colavito reviewed Clarke’s Atlantis ideas in a June 2014 blog(b), the following day, Colavito’s article was republished under the name of author Gabriel Cohen!(c)
(c) See: Archive 2466
(e) https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/abs/connexions-between-egypt-and-russia/5CC9FECE9A13B6B336F6F4A57386B2DC Antiquity, Vol. 15, Issue 60, Dec. 1941 p.384-386 *
Mark James Foster runs a small London design agency(a) and is also an historical researcher who had an interesting website that is principally concerned with ancient Egypt. His first book was as co-author with Simon Cox on an A–Z of Atlantis. This small volume offers nothing new and is just a re-working of well-known material. Foster has also worked with Ralph Ellis on a number of articles(c).
*W.M. Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) investigated what he described as ‘trial passages’ near Giza’s Great Pyramid. Foster has written an extensive article on them and in November 2017 he updated this article(d) in the light of the claimed discovery of previously unknown voids in the GP.*