Trevor Palmer (1944- ) is an English Professor of Biology now living in Scotland. Apart from his day-job of enzymology and the study of genetic disorders, which led to an interest in evolution, which in turn brought him to research catastrophism, he has written several books on these subjects, including Perilous Planet Earth, which places today’s “concern about the threat to Earth from asteroids and comets within a historical context.” He devotes two chapters of this comprehensive work to the subject of Atlantis, in which he reviews (chap.13) some of the late 19th and early 20th century theories as well as more recent developments (chap.28) exposing many of the weaknesses in the arguments on offer.
While Palmer does not express any personal views on the subject, it is noteworthy that he wrote an introduction to the 2005 Barnes & Noble edition of Lewis Spence’s The History of Atlantis. After a brief look at Spence’s life, Palmer gives an overview of the principal strands of Atlantology today and concluded that many of the issues debated 80 years ago are still unresolved and for that reason, Spence’s book continues to be worth studying.
Palmer wrote a short paper(a) in 1987 in which he was cautiously sceptical of the Atlantis story, particularly the possibility that it was destroyed during the Late Pleistocene era, with which I concur. He also touched on the subject of the Carolina Bays, apparently adding support to the now-discredited idea that they were created by wind action. I expect that he may have modified his views by now.>However, the US Geological Survey is now (2021) identifying the bay as ‘relict thermokarst lakes’.(h)
Palmer presented a paper entitled Catastrophes: The Diluvial Evidence at the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) Silver Jubilee Conference in September 1999.(i) He also addressed the SIS in 2004 on the background to his book published the previous year(d).<
Palmer has written two papers(b)(e) on the history of catastrophism from the time of Velikovsky and the ensuing debates, until the present, when catastrophism has greater acceptance and which now offers a variety of competing ideas regarding the number, source, date and consequences of specific catastrophes.
Palmer has also written a 2018 review(c) of Perilous Planet Earth in the light of developments since it was first published.
Palmer and Gunnar Heinsohn have been debating Heinsohn’s claim that our chronology of the 1st millennium AD is deeply flawed, on the Q-Mag website(a). Palmer has also written a lengthy paper supporting his views(a).
(a) See Archive 3026
Ancient Chronology is a subject fraught with difficulties(a) as well as the focus of intense academic debate, particularly over the past half-century.
Archbishop Ussher (1581-1656) calculated the date of creation to have been October 23rd 4004 BC(d). Incredible as it may seem, even today (2019), there are still people prepared to give further consideration to his ideas (c)(e).
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) became the first ‘modern’ revisionist of accepted ancient chronology. His work was heavily criticised and few serious advances were made until the development of Egyptology following Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the end of the 18th century.
Difficulties with details of Egyptian dating slowly accumulated, particularly when endeavouring to align it with Greek, Minoan and other eastern chronologies. The scholarly debates became very public in the middle of the 20th century with the eventual publication of Ages in Chaos by Immanuel Velikovsky and the attempts made to suppress it altogether. The refining of Velikovsky’s theories followed, with important contributions by S. Talbott, Edward Schorr and John Bimson.>Some have accused Velikovsky of being over-dependent on his belief in the inerrancy of biblical chronology.<
The Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS)(b) was founded in 1974 and produces regular publications. This was followed a few years later by three important books by David Rohl and Centuries of Darkness  by Peter James, who also wrote The Sunken Kingdom in which he places Atlantis in Turkey. Rohl & James were in agreement on many details, but fell out over the identity of Shishak (was he Ramesses II or III?),
On the occasion of the SIS Jubilee Conference in 1999 a paper by P. John Crowe was presented, which gave a valuable insight into historical revisionism before and after Velikovsky(a).
Gunnar Heinsohn (1943- ) is Professor Emeritus at the University of Bremen but is also an ardent chronology revisionist, concerned not just with the dating problems of the ancient world(l) but also with difficulties to be seen in the first millennium of the Common Era(m).
One of the most controversial aspects of Plato’s Atlantis story is the old Egyptian priest’s claim that Atlantis was destroyed 9,000 years before Solon’s visit. He also related that Athens, who fought the Atlanteans, was established one thousand years before the Egyptian state or as is more likely, before the foundation of the city of Sais. Apart from anachronisms in Plato’s narrative, the archaeological evidence completely contradicts the dates seemingly offered by the priests of Sais. It is interesting that most of the chronology revisionist debate centres on the second millennium BC which is arguably the most rational timeframe for the destruction of Atlantis based on the Bronze Age references in Timaeus and Critias, provided they are not just anachronistic embellishments.
I should also mention that while the debates regarding the Bronze Age chronologies rage on, further controversy has arisen regarding claims of duplicated centuries in the first millennium of our era. Leading the charge here are Anatoly Fomenko(k) , Heribert Illig(h)(i)(j) and Gunnar Heinsohn(g). A keen supporter of Fomenko’s work is Garry Kasparov the former World Chess Champion(p). A more critical view of Fomenko’s work is on offer from Stephen Sorensen(s).
Up to this point, I have outlined some of the problems and theories concerning the accurate alignment of specific events with particular years. A clash of archaeology and accepted history, secular and religious. has generated libraries of debate. However, our problems do not end with the counting of years, but contention has also arisen over the length of the day before the seventh century BC. Evidence is available to show that there was a 360-day year in use around the world in those ancient times.
Some religious sites have proposed that before the Deluge we had a 365-day year, then it changed to 360 days and then reverted to the current 365.2422 days(q). By way of complete contrast Danny Faulkner, a creationist astronomer rejects the idea that the world was created with a 360-day year, although it is a view held by many creationists(r).
William Whiston was one of the first ‘modern’ commentators to conclude that in very ancient times a 360-day year was used(n). More recently, Immanuel Velikovsky devoted a chapter of Worlds in Collision to The Year of 360 Days(o). The Brit-Am movement endorsed Velikovsky’s views in this regard, as does William F. Drankenbring.
(o) I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Part 2, Chapter Viii, p.316
Sumeria was unknown until the middle of the 19th century. With the discovery and the decipherment of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets the sophistication of their culture prompted the idea that Sumer had been ‘the cradle of civilisation.’ Subsequent discoveries, such as those in the Indus Valley and more recently Göbekli Tepe have now somewhat diluted that idea.
The origin of the Sumerians is still something of a mystery as is their language which seems to be an ‘isolate’, unrelated to any known language group(q)*. Ronnie Gallagher has suggested that migrants from the Caucasus had provided the impetus that led to the development of the Sumerian civilisation. Gallagher’s theory is supported by Jerald Jack Starr on his Sumerian Shakespeare website, who emphatically attributes a Caucasian origin to the Sumerians(l).
Emilio Spedicato has controversially suggested that the Sumerians came from the Tibetan region!(m) Equally provocative were the views of Catherine Acholonu-Olumba, who as the author of Eden in Sumer on the Niger , claimed that her book, “provides multidisciplinary evidence of the actual geographical location in West Africa of the Garden of Eden, Atlantis and the original homeland of the Sumerian people before their migration to the “Middle East”. By translating hitherto unknown pre-cuneiform inscriptions of the Sumerians, Catherine Acholonu and Sidney Davis have uncovered thousands of years of Africa’s lost pre-history and evidences of the West African origins of the earliest Pharaohs and Kings of Egypt and Sumer such as Menes and Sargon the Great.”(p)
Sumeria has now been proposed as a possible source of the Atlantis story. Dr Ashok Malhotra, a professor of Engineering, has suggested(a) that that ‘the likelihood of the Atlantis stories being of Sumerian origin is strengthened by the fact that the submergence of ancient cities was a strong part of the Sumerian mythology. It dominates their historical tradition. The destruction of the ancient city as a result of sin was also part of their beliefs.’ Malhotra then proposes that these Sumerian stories reflected actual flooding events in the Indus Valley region that were brought first to Sumeria and then were later transferred to Egypt and from thence via Solon to Plato to us.
George Michanowsky went much further and claimed that the Sumerians had known Atlantis under the name of NI-DUK-KI, known today as Dilmun[282.66]. The renowned Henry Rawlinson interpreted this name to mean ‘blessed hill’ or ‘blessed isle’. While Michanowsky’s suggestion is highly speculative, if correct, it would be the earliest known reference to Atlantis.
The Sumerian king list(e) from Larsa records eight kings (some versions note ten) before the Deluge, which may have been reflected, in a distorted fashion, in the ten patriarchs of Genesis and/or the ten kings of Atlantis! Another suggested link is with the eight generations between Adam and Noah recorded in Genesis chapter 5.
John Sassoon would seem to support Malhotra’s thesis in his book, which proposes a Sumerian origin for the Jews with possible earlier links with the Indus valley. He is not concerned with Atlantis, just the ancestry of the Jewish people of whom Abraham was born in Sumeria around 2000-1800 BC. Sassoon’s views offer a possible transmission route for Eastern traditions and myths to have reached Egypt and subsequently through Solon to Athens.
More recently, Dr Willem McLoud, a South African researcher, commented that “we have good reason to think that Atlantis was not located beyond the pillars of Heracles in the Atlantic Ocean, as is so often propagated, but that it was actually none other than the ancient land of Sumer itself.” Mcloud is primarily concerned with the Sumerians and Akkadians, which he will expand on in a forthcoming book(n).
In 2001, a book by Radek Brychta was published in the Czech Republic in which he also advocates a Sumerian connection. He identifies Atlantis with the legendary Dilmun of Sumerian legend and locates it on the Indus civilisation island of Dholavira. Excerpts from this fascinating book are available on the Internet and are worth a read.
However, the most extreme claims came from Zechariah Sitchin who proposed that the Sumerians had been ‘influenced’ by ancient astronauts from the planet Nibiru, which information is to be found in their cuneiform tablets if Sitchin’s translation is to be believed. Similar daft ideas(g) have been put forward by Hermann Burgard but so far have only been foisted on a German-reading public.
As if that was not bad enough, we now (Oct 2016) have the Iraqi Transport Minister claiming, among other matters, that the Sumerians launched spaceships 8,000 years ago(h)!
Jim Allen, the leading advocate of ‘Atlantis in the Andes’ has also claimed(b) a Sumerian connection with South America citing Ruth & Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, who include in their book[838.293] three pages of Sumerian words compared with the language of ancient Peru as well as other cultural aspects there. They also believed that Sargon (2369-2314 BC) was known in Peru as the deity Viracocha! Their fanciful idea stems from an account of Sargon sailing to the west and spending three years there! Zhirov supported this claim[458.23] describing it as ”a seemingly semi-fantastic theory”. My reason for considering this claim to be nonsensical, is simply that Sargon was continually engaged in expanding his empire and constantly dealing with rebellions in the various city-states that he ruled over. The idea that he took three years out to visit America, 14,000 km away, is in no way credible.
Nevertheless, the idea of Sargon in South America persists with James Bailey repeating it in Sailing to Paradise[0150.66] and more recently by the Afrocentrist, Clyde Winters in an article on the Ancient Origins website(f) in which he quotes Bailey and the Verrills as supporting Lake Titicaca as the Lake Manu of Sumerian tradition. A further article(j) on the same website begins with the forceful claim that “it is becoming increasingly clear that the Sumerians had established a colony in South America called Kuga-Ki.” The paper is based on a series of questionable artefacts, the Fuente Magna Bowl, the Crespi Collection and the Pokoyia monument!
The Fuente Magna Bowl is frequently offered as evidence of a pre-Columbian link with the Sumerians in America(c), although its provenance is unclear and there are suggestions of a hoax. A sceptical view of the ‘Bowl’ by Carl Feagans(k) is available.
>Other commentators have suggested that the Sumerians reached Spain. Dr Paul Haupt (1858-1926}, an early Assyriologist proposed that the ‘two rivers’ in the story of Utnapishtim, a Noachian equivalent, were the Guadalquivir and Guadiana of Andalusia(r). Mario Mas Fenollar is a modern advocate for Sumerians in Spain.<
The very existence of Sumerians has recently been attacked in an appendix to The Three Ages of Atlantis by Marin, Minella & Schievenin. They maintain that the Sumerian ‘language’ “could be an artificial construct created by Akkadian priests” to be used for liturgical purposes. These ideas were first expressed at the end of the 19th century by the respected Orientalist, Joseph Halévy. Andi Zeneli has expressed comparable ideas(d) regarding the Sumerian language.
Uwe Topper’s son Ilya has also put forward the idea that the Sumerians did not exist(o). His paper is a critique, originally in Spanish, of Gunnar Heinsohn’s Die Sumerer gab es nicht.
Dendrochronology is the science of dating the age of timber by comparing the sequence of its tree-ring width variations with that of timbers of a known date, ideally belonging to the same species and from the same location. As with any science it is not without its difficulties(c), but is generally considered to be more accurate than radiocarbon dating, which is frequently calibrated using dendrochronology. Fully anchored chronologies now exist for river oaks in parts of Germany dating back over 10,000 years and a similar chronology extending back 6500 years exists for the bristlecone pine of California’s White Mountains. A new project(b) involving the Kauri trees of New Zealand has commenced, which should give an accurate climate record for the past 30,000 years. Some of these trees are dated to 130,000 years ago.
Professor Mike Baillie, one of the leading dendrochronologists in Europe, has written about ‘dendro’ evidence of cometary impacts. One such impact has been suggested by a number of commentators, as the possible cause of the demise of Atlantis.
While the science of dendrochronology is perfectly sound there can a need for fine tuning to take account of unexpected factors like the nibbling of tree trunks by animals such as sheep. Recent studies in Norway(d) over a nine year period provided data enabling appropriate calibration to be achieved.
In 2014, Gunnar Heinsohn, a German chronology revisionist, questioned the value of dendrochronology, which was followed by a rebuttal from Mike Baillie(e). This debate continues, with many specific details far from resolved (f).
Professor Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, of the University of Tennessee, has a most informative website(a) on dendrochronology.
(c) See Archive 3046
The Hyksos is the name applied to two dynasties of foreign kings who ruled Egypt around 1650-1530 BC(a). Gerard Gertoux suggests three dynasties reigning from circa 1750- 1530!(l) They are generally accepted to have been a Semitic people, from an unknown land, who invaded Egypt around 1710 BC. They ruled for over a hundred years until defeated by the Egyptian Pharaoh Amasis I.
Their name was originally taken to mean ‘Shepherd Kings, but more recently, it is accepted that the Egyptian term ‘heqa-khase’ which means ‘rulers of foreign lands’ gives us a simple but credible title of ‘Foreign Kings’. It has been suggested by David J. Gibson (1904-1966) that the modern interpretation indicated that the Hyksos ruled a vast empire and has devoted a book to justifying this view(g). This empire lay mainly to the east of Egypt with the possible exception of Crete. Gibson identifies the Hyksos with the biblical Edomites!
Walter Baucum summarises his view on the subject as follows, “The Early Hyksos Shepherd Rulers of Egypt were descendants of Shem and identical with Typhon and the Titans, the peoples of Set, and to some degree with the Hebrews. The early Hyksos were to a large degree Israelites but after they left, the Amalekites conquered Egypt and were also referred to as Hyksos”.
There have also been persistent suggestions that there were strong links between the Hyksos and Crete, as referred to both above and below. But the exact nature of the links is unclear and may not be more than you get between nations trading over an extended period. The relevance of such links, if they were ever shown to be political rather than commercial, would take on new significance for supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis. Time will tell.
>Peter A. Clayton, an Egyptologist and author of Chronicle of the Pharaohs suspected that the Hyksos had their origins in Crete.<E. J. de Meester has suggested links between Crete and the Hyksos, an idea included in an article by Philip Coppens(b). In a similar vein, Diaz-Montexano claims that a study of the names of the Hyksos pharaohs suggests to him that they were proto-Greek or Mycenaeans.
An example of the diversity of opinions regards the origins of the Hyksos is a brief article written by Emilio Spedicato who identifies them with the Scythians. Gunnar Heinsohn (1943- ) is a German professor emeritus at the University of Bremen, who presented a paper entitled ‘Who were the Hyksos’ to the 6th International Congress of Egyptology in 1993, in which he concluded that they were to be identified with the Old-Akkadians(j).
Perhaps even more radical is the suggestion by Riaan Booysen that the Hyksos were the fleeing Israelites in the biblical Exodus story(c). He claims that there were two ‘exoduses’ which coincided with two separate eruptions on Thera. This idea is not as new as it might seem as something similar was proposed by the 1st century AD Jewish historian Josephus(d).
Nick Austin also identifies the Hyksos as Jews [1661.184] but is more generous than Booysen claiming that there were four separate eruptions of Thera. Like many others he has also associated the biblical Exodus and the Plagues of Egypt with the Theran eruptions.
Ralph Ellis, among others, has endorsed(e)(f) the idea that the biblical Exodus and the historical Expulsion of the Hyksos describe the same event.
There are theories, many and varied, regarding the origins and post-Egyptian settlement of the Hyksos. Arguably, the most exotic was put forward by a Chinese geochemist, Sun Weidong, who proposed that Hyksos migrants were responsible for the founding of the Chinese civilisation!(h)(i)
In July 2020, it was reported that “new research led by Bournemouth University archaeologists supports the theory that the Hyksos, the rulers of the 15th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, were not from a unified place of origin, but Western Asiatics whose ancestors moved into Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, lived there for centuries, and then rose to rule the north of Egypt.”(k)
The full facts relating to the Hyksos’ rule are only slowly emerging(m) and I expect that it will be some years before a definitive history can be agreed upon. Just over a year after I wrote this, In March 2021, Diego Ratti published Atletenu, in which he identified the Hyksos as Atlanteans, with their capital situated at Avaris in the eastern Nile Delta(n).
(b) See: Archive 2133
(g) See: Archive 3468