Pyramids, are designed and built to be very stable structures. They are first encountered in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC, known as ziggurats. Unfortunately, they were built of sun-dried mud bricks and so, over time have crumbled. These early pyramids were stepped with between two and seven tiers. Their function was ceremonial.
Pyramids around the World
Pyramidal structures are now to be found around the globe; whether this is a consequence of diffusion or independent design is uncertain, possibly both.
For Ignatius Donnelly, the pyramids of Egypt and Central America were the result of a shared heritage originating in Atlantis. However, the millennia that separate their construction in the two regions would seem to militate against this idea. The Mayan pyramid at Mirador in Northern Guatemala was thought to be the largest in the world, by volume, at 2.8 million cubic metres, however, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is 4.45 million cubic metres(au)(bq). This is now rivalled by the Mayan pyramid at Toniná, Chiapas(bd).. The great Giza pyramid is 2.5 million cubic metres in volume.
Even more spectacular was the 1996 discovery of pyramids on the southern Atlantic coast of Brazil dated as early as 3000 BC, predating the earliest Egyptian Pyramids by a few hundred years. However, two sites in Peru, Caral and Sechin Bajo, are claiming pyramid complexes with dates of 3500 BC(j). Very ancient pyramids have also been claimed for Crimea(af).
What is arguably the greatest concentration of pyramids in the world is to be found in the Lambayeque Valley of northern Peru, numbering 250, built of mud brick, and dated to circa 750-1100 AD. The late Philip Coppens referred to the valley in his book, The New Pyramid Age  and it was also the subject of a BBC documentary(an).
Apart from Meso-America, pyramids have also been discovered as far apart as the Canaries, Sicily, Sardinia and Mauritius(k) as well as Russia(dc) and China(cp). A website by Gabriele Lukacs, dedicated to possible European pyramids is now available(g). The remains of three pyramids have also been identified on the Greek Peloponnese, one of which has been dated to 2720 BC ± 580 years.
In 2005, an ongoing debate was ignited when the Bosnian-American ‘archaeologist’ Semir Osmanagic announced that he had identified a gigantic manmade pyramid beside Visoko, 30km north of Sarajevo. Highly publicised excavations began in 2006. Readers should be aware that Osmanagic has expressed  rather bizarre notions including a belief that the Maya were descendants of the Atlanteans who in turn arrived on Earth from the Pleiades! A French commentator, Douglas Moonstone, has a comparable belief, namely, that the Atlanteans came from the constellation of Orion and furthermore that the “Neanderthals fled their bases on another near planet, probably a planet of Sirius B and a planet of Alnitak, as we have seen in previous volumes, and they have saved Hopis, Sapiens, in a space station in orbit.”(cc)
On one side, we had Philip Coppens offering support for Osmanagic(cl), while on the other, an on-site investigation by Robert Schoch concluded that the Visoko ‘pyramid’ was probably not man-made!(cm).
Osmanagic updated his claims in December 2011(o) and as recently as August 2016, He was still offering a spirited defence of his views(bi).
Gigantic pyramids have also been proposed for Germany by K. Walter Haug(ab). and demonstrated on his heavily illustrated website(aj).
Maxim Yakovenko was the founder of the world-pyramids.com website(bf). in 2008. It has a range of interesting articles that relate to pyramids around the globe. Unfortunately, the news section does not appear to have been updated over the past two years.
A recent (2010) site, lists(h). the eight largest pyramids in the world. A wide range of free papers, in pdf format, relating to the Giza Pyramids is available online(l)..
Perhaps even more dramatic is a recent claim(q) of a pyramid older and larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza, known as Mount Sadahurip in Garut, West Java, Indonesia .
July 2012 saw Linda Moulton Howe publish(r) a two-part illustrated article about an anomalous feature in Alaska which has been identified as a buried pyramid larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza. This feature was first identified twenty years ago, but the story appears to have been suppressed, according to a retired U.S. Counter-intelligence officer who contacted Howe. A comparable claim has also been made for pyramids in Antarctica and later shown to be a hoax(w).
Now for some further light relief, earlier in 2012, a nonsensical report(s) of an underwater glass pyramid in the Bermuda Triangle emerged. I’m sure it will be soon followed by a sighting of Elvis creating crop circles in Antarctica.
In September 2013, it was reported(y) that “researchers have discovered an underwater pyramid 60 meters high with a 8000 meters square base near the Bank De João de Castro, between the islands of Terceira and São Miguel” in the Azores. Shortly afterwards the Portuguese Navy denied the existence of any such structure.(aa) This claim has now spawned its own website(ad).
Even more ridiculous was a report in the UK’s Daily Star which claimed that an underwater pyramid estimated to be between 3.5 and 11 miles across had been spotted on Google Earth, situated off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific(cd).
Finally, it appears that in order to satisfy the public interest in pyramids the meaning of the term itself has been extended to include a range of natural features as well as man-made structures. Robert Schoch is happy to see Newgrange as a type of pyramid, others see Silbury Hill as a pyramid(e). while some writers apply the term to mountains as is the case with Jeff Nisbet(f). who sees ‘pyramids’ in Scotland. Nisbet attempts to justify his view with a very unconvincing suggested link between ancient Egypt and Scotland incorporating freemasonry and Princess Scota(bh).. Similar stories are widespread in Ireland where Scota is allegedly buried in Kerry in Gleann Scoithin, now known as Foley’s Glen. Scotia was another ancient name for Ireland. Andrew Power expands on the Scota story in his Ireland: Land of the Pharaohs  as well as Ralph Ellis  and Loraine Evans .
This claim of an Egyptian link with Ireland has been recently repeated by Steve Preston in his Egyptians in Ireland . David Halpin, an Irish writer from Carlow, has also written a three-part paper on the connections between Egypt with Ireland(av).
Pyramids of Egypt
The actual number of Egyptian pyramids recorded is variously cited as 118 or as many as 138. However, the greatest number of pyramids is to be found in Sudan, with around twice as many as Egypt, but are far less spectacular(df).
August 2012 brought a report(u) that two possible new Egyptian pyramid complexes have been discovered using Google Earth. However, subsequent inspection on the ground showed them to be less interesting(v).
A site providing a wonderful 360º view of the Giza Plateau is now available(m). while another site offers a remarkable panoramic aerial view(t).
Another site offers a remarkable collection of old images of the pyramids dating back to the mid-nineteenth century(br).
Another matter that has caused continual controversy is the layout of the three Giza pyramids. Robert Bauval is probably best known as the original promoter of the Orion Correlation Theory, which claims that the layout of three principal Giza pyramids mirrors ‘Orion’s Belt’ in that constellation. This received widespread coverage when it was outlined in The Orion Mystery . written by Bauval and Adrian Gilbert and in Keeper of Genesis . written with Graham Hancock, published two years later. In fact, Bauval had first published his theory in 1989 in Discussions in Egyptology(cw).
While the theory of Bauval & Gilbert are very well known, a more elaborate claim was proposed by Scott Creighton in his The Giza Oracle , in which he suggests that 11 pyramids in the Giza complex along “with the Great Sphinx forms a grand ‘Precession Wheel’, indicating key dates from humankind’s remote past – and indeed, its future”!(cy).
Further alignment claims and debate relating to two shafts that some claim were originally directed at particular stars(cx).
Date of the Egyptian Pyramids
The Pyramids of Egyptare are generally accepted to have been constructed in the third millennium BC in the period 2700 – 2150 BC. However, a number of investigators have inferred a much greater antiquity for some of these remarkable structures particularly the Great Pyramid (G.P.) at Giza. They believe that by pushing back the date for the construction of the Great Pyramid and/or Sphinx endorses the possibility that Plato’s early date of 9600 BC for the Atlantean War is factual.
Hossam Aboulfotouh calculated the date of the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza as 3055 BC, which he claims was also the time of the Deluge or what he refers to as the “tsunami of the Mediterranean”.(da)(db)
Ralph Ellis, a British researcher, has investigated the erosion to be seen at Giza, Meidum and Dashur and concluded  that there is evidence for an 8000 BC or an even earlier date for the construction of these structures(a). Ellis also has an article on the internet outlining his evidence for an earlier date for the construction of the Great Pyramid. More recently Robert Schoch announced the discovery of evidence of erosion INSIDE the Great Pyramid suggesting that a more ancient core had been exposed to the elements for a long period before being built upon to give us the structure we have today.
Edgar Cayce ‘revealed’ in 1932 that the Great Pyramid was built over a hundred year period from 10,490 to 10,390 BC(ap). At the other end of the time spectrum, Huang Heqing, a professor in the department of art and archaeology at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, amused the world with the claim that the Egyptian pyramids were built in the 19th century, in fact he goes further and maintains “that all the achievements of ancient Western cultures were fabricated in the nineteenth century”, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus in Athens and the ruins of Persepolis in Iran(cu).
The late Joseph Jochmans related  how it was recorded that the outer casing stones showed water marks halfway up the height of the Pyramid before the Arabs removed them. Geologists have found evidence of a final catastrophic flooding event in Egypt circa 10,000 BC. Furthermore, radiocarbon dating of organic inclusions in a fourteen-foot layer of silt around the base of the Great Pyramid offered a date of around 9600 BC.
This suggested extended age for the pyramids has been incorporated into the argument to prove the possible existence of other advanced ancient civilisations that were concurrent with the 9600 BC date given by Solon for the antiquity of Atlantis.
Understandably, these revolutionary ideas have been met with fierce opposition by establishment archaeologists. This is a debate that will run for some time yet.
The earliest historical references to the pyramids can be found in early Egyptian and Greek documents(ch). However, the oldest known papyri, discovered at the Egyptian site of Wadi el-Jarf offer evidence supporting a date of about 2500 BC for the construction of the Great Pyramid, which reinforces conventional dating theories. One of the documents, written by Merer an overseer, records details of the construction of the final stages of the G.P.(ce). This, of course, seriously undermines the extended antiquity for the pyramids by proponents such as Graham Hancock.
Zecharia Sitchin, the controversial ‘alternative’ historian, entered the fray in 1980, with the claim that the only concrete evidence that the Great Pyramid had been built by Khufu, was an inscription forged by Colonel Richard Howard-Vyse(d). (see below). Philip Coppens has also written an article(cq). about Sitchin’s claim. The Howard-Vyse forgery debate has been stirred up again by researcher, Scott Creighton, who produced copies of Howard-Vyse’s papers to support the claim of fraud(ah). If true, this would lend some support to a redating of the structure.
2014 began with a report that two idiotic Germans, Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, had chiselled off part of the ‘Vyse’ cartouche from inside the Great Pyramid, which led to an international incident. They claim that the objective of their foolhardy act was to demonstrate that the Pyramid is older than generally accepted and was in fact a remnant of the Atlantean empire(z).
At the opposite end of the speculation spectrum is a recent book by Emmet Sweeney, The Pyramid Age , in which he claims that the pyramids were in fact far more recent and bravely suggests a date of around 800 BC for their construction. In this regard it is to be recorded that the Bible makes not the vaguest reference to one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world. It has been erroneously stated that Herodotus, a prolific recorder of trivia and who claims to have travelled as far south as Elephantine, failed to mention the pyramids. This is not true, as can be seen in Book II of his Histories 124-134. However, it is possible that it was meant to say that Herodotus did not refer to the Sphinx! It has been claimed that he was describing the pyramids at Dashur and not Giza(ao)!
In May 2013, Peter James, a structural engineer, published a new theory on why the building of pyramids ceased(x).
The Pyramid Builders
For a long time it was thought that the pyramids had been built by slaves, possibly Israelite. Recent years has seen this idea debunked(at). and reinforced by papyri put on display for the first time in July 2016, which clearly indicate that the pyramid builders were paid and were not slaves (or extraterrestrials)(be).. A sober review of development of pyramid building and the technology involved was offered by Owen Jarus in June, 2016(bo).
Unfortunately. there are a number of commentators who have attributed the construction of the Great Pyramid to extraterrestrials, who cannot accept that the Egyptians built the pyramids, in desperation have interpreted the existence of the pyramids as ‘evidence’ of extraterrestrial visitations!(ae).
One such proponent is Peter Lemesurier who identifies the elohim of the Old Testament as the designers of the GP and that they came from the star Sirius . He claims that they left prophetic messages in the structure of the GP for humanity.
Many and varied are the claims regarding the pyramid builders and their methods, including that they were built by refugees from Atlantis(bl). . October 2017 had Gerry Cannon & Malcolm Hutton claim(bx). that the Great Pyramid was built by an advanced civilisation, which may have been Atlantis! Graham Hancock holds similar views.
Even more entertaining is a claim by two Irishmen, Francis J. and Francis P. Ward, that druids from Ireland, which they consider to have been Atlantis, built the pyramids at Giza!(bt).
The Great Pyramid Building Methods
The idea that a gently-sloping ramp was used has been a popular idea for a long time, but weaknesses in the concept were soon apparent. For example, the material required to build some of the proposed ramps would have been greater than the pyramid itself. Franz Löhner has developed what he calls a ‘rope roll’ to demonstrate that simple technology available to the Egyptians could have been used to lift the pyramid’s blocks into place. Löhner has worked in a quarry and consequently has an intimate knowledge of the practicalities involved. He has co-authored a book (German only) , with Dr. Heribert Illig which expands on his idea and has developed an interesting website(cg), in English and German, with further information.
The most persistent question relating to the pyramids and in fact all megalithic structures is “how did they manage to build them using such large heavy rocks and blocks”? Many ingenious solutions are on offer but perhaps the most remarkable is that proposed by W. T. Wallington who has demonstrated(n) that using basic materials, which were available to the Egyptians, one individual can manipulate a 4500kg stone block. His website includes a remarkable video clip of his method. A review(bu) of this video is worth a read. More recently a collaboration between Matter Design and CEMEX Global R&D has demonstrated that irregularly shaped cement objects weighing many tons can be moved easily by hand, suggesting that the manpower required to build many ancient monuments was far less than is generally assumed today. The conclusion being that technique is the key to how many of the ‘impossible’ structures of the past were constructed(ci). Ashley Cowie has written an article in which he looks at how these techniques may have been applied to the construction of the megalithic walls of Cuzco in Peru, the ancient capital of the Inca(cj). Cowie also holds that a huge earthquake caused a major change in Inca construction methods(ck).
How the pyramids were built is still uncertain with a range ingenious theories on offer. At first it was thought that a huge ramp was used, until it was realised that such a ramp with the required gentle incline would require a greater volume of material than the Great Pyramid itself! Two suggestions that still have considerable support are that (A) many of the stone blocks were ‘cast’ in situ as proposed by Joseph Davidovits(bm). and (B) that an internal ramp within the pyramid was used as claimed by Jean-Pierre Houdin(bn).
In 2006, Dr. Michel Barsoum of Drexel University of Philadelphia claimed to have proof that the Egyptians had used a lime-based cement in the building of the pyramids(cz).
What may be relevant was what was found at Giza(bk) and described as ‘melted limestone’, which led Robert Schoch to consider it the result of ‘a plasma event’.
Margaret Morris offers a comprehensive account of the features of the Great Pyramid and possible construction methods on her website(bb) and in three books . Morris is a supporter of Joseph Davidovits who proposed the controversial idea that the building blocks of the Pyramid were cast in situ.
In 2007, petrographer, Dipayan Jana, refuted Davidovits theory and as far as I’m aware, no rebuttal has been forthcoming from either Davidovits or Morris. Later in 2008, Ioannis Liritzis and his team also challenged the theory of Davidovits, when they pointed out that the material used to build Egypt’s most famous monuments “contain hundreds of thousands of marine fossils” that are distributed throughout the rock in a manner compatible with natural rock(dd).
However, it struck me that if Davidovits was correct, this ‘rock’ might instead be some of his liquid geopolymer that had been spilt and hardened in the sun!
In 2019, Fehmi Krasniqi produced a three and a half hour video(cv) on the building of the Egyptian pyramids, primarily based on Davidovits’ claim that the Egyptians used a form of concrete to make the building blocks in situ. However, Krasniqi ventures beyond Egypt, suggesting that the ancient Egyptians travelled to America, stopping off for supplies in Atlantis, now the Azores.
A 2014 study(ag) revealed that the Egyptians were able to move the pyramid building blocks over wet sand. “By using the right quantity of water they could halve the number of workers needed.” This is comparable with the documented method employed by the Chinese to transport 200/300-ton blocks used in the construction of their ‘Forbidden City’(ai). In October 2018 it was revealed that the remains of a ramp flanked by two staircases with postholes was discovered at an ancient quarry at Hatnub in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. “Using a sled which carried a stone block and was attached with ropes to these wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on very steep slopes of 20 percent or more.”(cf). While this may explain how blocks could have been moved, with relative ease, to pyramid building sites, it does not tell us how the pyramids were actually constructed.
Great Pyramid’s Function
Edward Malkowski supports(ax) the ideas of Edward Kunkel(ay) and John Cadman(az), who believed that the Great Pyramid was designed to function as a water pump. However, Malkowski goes further, suggesting that this pump was used to generate subtle electrical fields that were used to assist plant growth, which seems unnecessary, considering the fertility of the Nile Valley renewed naturally by the annual flooding of the river.
Steven Myers has written two books(ba) on the subject of ancient Egyptian hydraulics.
In 2009, Dean Talboys published his theory(co). which suggests that the remarkable internal features of the GP, including the King’s Chamber and the Grand Gallery were part of a device which used sea water to generate enough torque to drive an electric dynamo. Talboys suddenly ends his dissertation with the unexpected admission that “we are still left with the problem of what to do with the electricity it generates we could, at least, be a little closer to understanding why someone went to all that trouble”!
Many and varied are the theories that have been put forward regarding the intended function of the Great Pyramid. A most recent (Jan.2021) has been offered by Konstantin Borisov, who suggested that the purpose of the Great Pyramid of Giza was to emit free electrons to the Ionosphere, with the objective of creating light on the planet! This capability was enhanced by Giza’s location near the maximum geographical center of Earth and the use of nummulitic limestone in the construction of the Great Pyramid! Further details are revealed in an article published on the Ancient Origins website(ct).
2014 also saw the publication of Pyramid Gravity Force(ac) by John Shaughnessy in which he claims that “The pyramids were built to prevent and/or control tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity, tidal waves, major earth quakes, land movements and the magnetic field movements on Earth.” I suggest that all the Amazon reviews are read before purchasing.
It was recently revealed(ar). that, Ben Carson, a former Republican candidate for the US presidency, once proposed to an assembly of students at Andrews University that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain! This idea has been traced back to the sixth century, when there was a belief that the pyramids had been the granaries of Joseph, as Julius Honorius (Cosmographia, c. 500 CE), Antoninus of Piacenza (Itinerary 43, c. 570 CE), and Geoffrey of Tours (History of the Franks 1.10, 594 CE), among others, all testify! This theory was later popularized by works such as ‘The Book of John Mandeville’, a hugely popular 14th century travelogue.”(bs).
Perfection of the Great Pyramid!
Among the numerous mysteries related to the Great Pyramid is the fact that each side of the structure is actually slightly concave, making it the only known eight-sided pyramid (pedants would probably claim nine sides, including the base). This feature was first photographed in 1940(al). Jean-Paul Bauval has written a paper on this concavity, arguing that it was a design feature and not a construction error. He goes further and proposes “that the geometry generated by the concavity on the overall shape of the monument shows a clear relationship, whether intended or by accident, between the Egyptian Royal Cubit (RC) to the meter unit (m) . Finally, this geometrical design has the peculiarity of creating a ‘virtual space’ at the top of the monument on which might have been placed a spherical object”(cr).
The assumed accuracy of the orientation and dimensions of the Great Pyramid was recently called into question by Mark Lehner and Glen Dash(bj).
Apart from the disputed question of age of the Great Pyramid, its very structure has prompted its own share of debate with persistent claims that its location, dimensions and orientation have significance in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and geography. Lists of these connections are available online(p).
A June 2016 report revealed(bc). that the builders of the Great Pyramid had made a very minor miscalculation resulting in the west side being around 5 inches longer than the east side. The research team, led by Glen Dash and Mark Lehner, also noted that the pyramid is not oriented as precisely with the cardinal points as we have been led to believe since “The pyramid’s north-south axis (or meridian) runs 3 minutes 54 seconds west of due north while its east-west axis runs 3 minutes 51 seconds north of due east, he told Live Science. The east-west axis also runs through the center of a temple built on the east side of the pyramid. These measurements mean that the Great Pyramid is oriented just slightly away from the cardinal directions, the degree of error from north-south and east-west being almost the same.” However, these very minor defects cannot detract in any way from the magnificence of the structure constructed so long ago.
In a 2018 paper(ca), Glen Dash returned to the very slight misalignment of the Great Pyramid with the cardinal points.“The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree.” Dash claims that the engineers who designed the plans for the Great Pyramid have used the fall equinox to seamlessly align this pyramid to the cardinal points. “He also claims that all three major Giza pyramids exhibit the same type of error in that they are rotated slightly counter-clockwise from the cardinal points.”
November 2017 began with an exciting claim published in Nature magazine(bv). that a huge cavity had been identified above the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid of Giza. This discovery was made using non-invasive technology, which suggests that physical verification will require some degree of interference with the structure of the pyramid, which may not be allowed by the Egyptian authorities. The initial announcement was quickly followed by a refutation of the claim of a void over the Grand Gallery by Zahi Hawass(bw). Nevertheless, further investigation now (2019) seems to have confirmed the existence of this void(cn).
Not long after, it was reported in the UK’s Daily Mail that an Italian archaeoastronomer, Giulio Magli, believes that the void at the center of the Great Pyramid houses a throne made from meteorites, used to help the pharaoh in the afterlife(bz). Magli has previously received public notice with a paper which explored the possibility that Göbekli Tepe had been constructed to “celebrate and successively follow the appearance of a new, extremely brilliant star in the southern skies: Sirius.”(ca).
In 2020, some notes of Isaac Newton’s from the 1680’s were auctioned, which revealed Newton’s interest in the pyramids. It seems that “Newton was trying to uncover the unit of measurement used by those constructing the pyramids. He thought it was likely that the ancient Egyptians had been able to measure the Earth and that, by unlocking the cubit of the Great Pyramid, he too would be able to measure the circumference of the Earth.” (cs).
The pseudoscience of pyramidology took off in the 19th century, with a range of outlandish claims(aq), based on external and/or internal dimensions of the Great Pyramid, supporting anything from the British Israelites or the early Jehovah’s Witnesses, to being a source of divine prophecy!
In the 20th century, Adam Rutherford, a British Israelite, founded The Institute of Pyrmidology in 1940. Between 1957 and 1974, Rutherford published a set of four books on the subject, although a fifth volume was planned . When Adam died, his son James took over the Institute, but following his death in a car accident the Institute ended.
Nevertheless, pyramidology was given a new twist in November 2015 when a Spanish architect, Miquel Pérez-Sánchez, added the old alphanumeric system of gematria to the mix and claimed that he had identified the name ‘Atlantis’ when ‘translating’ some of the dimensions in the structure of the Great Pyramid(by). Scott Onstott is also a modern advocate of the existence of Mathematical Encoding in the Great Pyramid.(as)
For those interested in the possible significance of numbers and the Great Pyramid, there are three related papers available on Keith M. Hunter’s website(aw).
Ralph Ellis, mentioned above, is a controversial English revisionist of biblical and ancient Egyptian history, who bravely argues(b) that Mount Sinai, of Ten Commandments fame, was in fact the Great Pyramid of Giza ! John Taylor (1781-1864) claimed in 1859 that Noah was the builder of the Great Pyramid . Even more imaginative was the claim by C.E. Getsinger in the 1920’s that Noah’s Ark was in fact the Great Pyramid(bp)!
(b) Archive 2926
(d) Archive 2494
(j) Archive 2138
(p) Archive 3620
(ab) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2013HYPERLINK “http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2013&id=375″&HYPERLINK “http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2013&id=375″id=375
(af) Archive 3619
(ah) Archive 2806
(am) See: Archive 2564
(ao) See: Archive 2818
(bb) Archive 3057
(bn) Archive 3631
(bp)The Thomson Review, Thomson, Illinois, July 19th, 1922 – p.3
(bx) Archive 3618
(cw) Discussions in Egyptology, volume 13, 1989, pp. 7-18
Alewyn J. Raubenheimer is a retired South African engineer and a member of the South African Archaeological Society. In 2010 he published Survivors of the Great Tsunami, in which he links Noah’s Deluge with the flood, dated at 2193 BC, which is referred to in the controversial Oera Linda Book. He suggests that this flood was caused by the impact of the asteroid which created the submarine Burkle Crater in the Indian Ocean.
Raubenheimer touches on the subject of Atlantis, but is reluctant to identify it with the Atland destroyed in the Oera Linda Book.
Raubenheimer’s defence of the OLB has generated considerable support(a)(b).
On the other hand while there is little doubt that the OLB is also widely believed to be a hoax or a forgery, a contribution to Wikipedia on the subject notes that “The current article mentions several times that the book is a hoax/parody/forgery. The sources (from the article) which I have been able to check do not go in to detail about why the book is a hoax.”(c)
(a) https://www.merkuriusz.wieczorna.pl/historia-starozytna/pseudohistoria-czy-autentyczna-relacja-ksiega-oera-linda (Polish) (offline Jan. 2018)
The Scott Stones were discovered in 1997 submerged off the Bahamas and touted as remnants of Plato’s Atlantis. Through a series of press releases, from Aaron DuVal, claims of dramatic discoveries were made, but never substantiated. Attempts, by writers Christopher Dunn and Andrew Collins, to view the ‘stones’ were initially agreed to but eventually they came to nothing. The most rational explanation on offer so far is that these stones are in fact jettisoned ballast. It would be prudent to consider the whole story as a badly organised hoax.
Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) and Sir Arthur Evans famed as the discoverers of Troy and Knossos respectively are sometimes claimed to have believed in the existence of Atlantis. John Michell quotes [0704.200] the following from Schliemann; “I have come to the conclusion that Atlantis was not only a great territory between America and the west coast of Africa, but the cradle of all our civilisation as well.” This extract is from a letter that was allegedly given to his grandson, Paul Schliemann. However, the letter in question was just part of a larger hoax perpetrated in 1912.
Although Schliemann is credited with the discovery of Troy at Hissarlik in Turkey, he was not the first to suggest the site, in fact nearly a century earlier, ironically, in the year that Schliemann was born, Charles Maclaren (1782-1866), a Scot, also claimed that Hissarlik was the location of Troy in a work entitled, A Dissertation on the Topography of the Plain of Troy. Others have cast doubt on the specific site identified by Schliemann.
>A somewhat harsh assessment of Schliemann’s sitework noted that “he recklessly dug deeper and deeper—right through the ruins that were most likely the Troy he was looking for, until he found a city that predated the Trojan war by at least 1,000 years. There’s even a big gap in the excavation map where King Priam’s palace was found. Schliemann removed it and threw it away. So we can all thank Schliemann for everything we do and don’t know about these ruins. He discovered the site, then demolished a lot of the important bits with his hamfisted approach.”(b)<
The principal objection to Schliemann’s Troy was that the city he had located was too small to match the historical descriptions of Troy. The same might be said of many of the sites proposed as Plato’s Atlantis.
Schliemann also discovered many hundreds of swastikas throughout the Hissarlik site and is credited with bringing that symbol back to Germany, where it was later hijacked by the Nazis and came to represent evil oppression.(a)
Carla Sage, a British archaeologist, announced in November 2003 her support for a North African location for Atlantis, in particular she believed that the Gulf of Sidra (Syrtis Major) in Libya holds the remains of Atlantean ports. She was apparently impressed by ancient accounts that recorded how the Mycenaean, Cretan and Egyptian civilisations all traded with Atlantis. She concluded that this was improbable if Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic(a).
Sage contended that Atlantis had flourished when North Africa had been a very fertile region. However, desertification following a dramatic climate change led to the destruction of Atlantis by sand rather than water as described by Plato. Dr. Sage was reportedly planning a multinational expedition to seek concrete evidence to support her theories.
I have unsuccessfully endeavoured to locate an archaeologist named Carla Sage. The deafening silence in the intervening years has cast doubt on the factual correctness of the original press report, in fact, some are now happy to call it a hoax(b), a view that is not unreasonable. This has now been confirmed, as the Sage story originally appeared in the now defunct and largely fictional US tabloid magazine, Weekly World News, (11/11/2003). It was then picked by many less than diligent websites and took on a life of its own. I am indebted to Stel Pavlou for uncovering the origin of this story(c).
(a) See: Archive 2821
Vlaceslav Jurikov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced in 1994 that Atlantis had been located near the Lipari or Aeolian Islands off the northern coast of Sicily. He specified a point 15km from Cape Peloro at a depth of about 500 feet. This region is also favoured by Winfried Huf as the centre of the Atlantean sphere of influence.
He questions Plato’s report that Atlantis was submerged in a day and a night, suggesting instead that it was a much slower process allowing its inhabitants time to emigrate.
>In 2015, the Atantisforschung.de website reported that evidence had emerged suggesting that Jurikov had never been a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and that the whole Lipari claim was just an invention(a)!
Glozel is a village about 20km from Vichy in the centre of France. In 1924 a seventeen-year-old boy, Émile Fradin (1906-2010)(b), discovered a number of artefacts including inscribed tablets with writing similar to ancient Phoenician scripts. Some of the pottery depicted animals extinct in the area for over 10,000 years. A group of academics were assembled in 1927 to decide on the authenticity of the find. The experts decided that the whole collection were forgeries. It must be remembered that at the time the Piltdown controversy was at its height leaving any reputation conscious scientist very wary.
Nearly fifty years passed until, in 1975 using a new dating method known as thermoluminescence, the antiquity of the Glozel objects was confirmed as ranging from 300 BC to 1300 AD, exonerating the then 68-year-old Émile Fradin from any suggestion of fraud.
Discoveries of similar objects have been found at other nearby sites, for example at Moulin Piat, 2.5km south, at Guerrier 3 km away on the right bank of the River Vareille (some pieces can be found at the Earth Science Museum of Villeurbanne University); at Puyraval 10 km upstream. In recent times an extensive Neolithic site with a remarkable megalithic alignment composed of over 100 stones was discovered near Glozel.
The Atlantis perspective on this is that Glozel appeared to offer evidence of ancient cultural development, including writing, in this part of Europe, far earlier than previously thought possible. The initial claims were seen as possible support for the 9600 BC date given by Solon for Atlantis.
However, it does not appear to me that it is credible that 10,000 year old inscriptions exist that are similar to Phoenician scripts. The intervening 8,000 years would have altered the shape of the characters out of all recognition just as our modern Roman script is totally different to its antecedents in the Eastern Mediterranean just three thousand years ago. The thermoluminescence tests support this view but the Glozel writing still has value as examples of ancient scripts.
Alice Gerard, a retired archaeologist from New York, has spent the last decade studying the mystery of the Glozel site and has written of her efforts to verify the authenticity of the discoveries there and dispel the initial response of scientists who dismissed it as a hoax. Her book is supported by a website(a).
The excellent Migration and Diffusion website has a paper(c) written by the American Donald B. Buchanan, Secretary of The Epigraphic Society, which offers a preliminary decipherment of the Glozel script. Paulo Stekel has built on Buchanan’s work and offers a couple of papers of his own(d)(e). A (French) site dedicated to Glozel translation attempts is also available(f).
Philip Coppens on the internet(g)(h) and later in The Lost Civilisation Enigma, reviews[1275.16] the early years of the Glozel debate in which his account reflected very badly on the professional archaeologists of the day and later. While the evidence now indicates that no fraud by Fradin was involved, there are still questions outstanding, relating to the mixed datings of the artefacts themselves.
Hoaxes associated with Atlantis are of various types; the most common sort are those perpetrated by writers who write volumes of balderdash about information they claim to have received through psychic channels. The simple fact that so many of these authors contradict each other demonstrates the fictional nature of their offerings. To be extremely kind, I might accept that some of these people are simply self-deluded but to be brutally honest, I believe that the majority of them are simply churning out their rubbish, in collusion with equally opportunistic publishers, in order to separate gullible readers from their cash.
The father of such drivel has to be Edgar Cayce, although I am inclined to think that he personally was in some way one of the self-deluded and did not have any financial motivation. However, it was pure greed or should it be impure greed that ‘inspired’ the vast majority of writers who followed Cayce, building on his foundation of spurious information.
Other types of hoaxers must include Madame Blavatsky, the godmother of occultic garbage, who was declared a fraud in 1884 by the London Society for Psychical Research. Her first book, Isis Unveiled, published in 1877 devotes just one page out of two volumes to Atlantis. Her second book The Secret Doctrine (1888) expands greatly on her ‘knowledge’ of Atlantis. It is worth pointing out that these extended ‘revelations’ were produced only a few years after the success of Ignatius Donnelly’s groundbreaking book in 1882.
A more harmless story, frequently touted in books on Atlantis, is that of the S.S. Jesmond that was reported to have discovered an uncharted island in the Atlantic on which they found artefacts including a sarcophagus complete with occupant. The ‘discovery’ was published in a New Orleans newspaper after the ship arrived there on April 1st, 1882, the same year that Donnelly’s book was published. The newspaper retracted the story later.
Another frequently quoted claim is the alleged discovery of an underwater pyramid by the late Dr. Ray Brown, which does not stand up to the most cursory examination.
In 1970 a book entitled Mu Revealed purported to have evidence which supported Churchward’s claims, but was subsequently revealed as a hoax perpetrated by one Raymond Buckland, writing under the pen-name of Tony Earll, an anagram of ‘not really’.
Blatant commercial frauds have also been perpetrated invoking Atlantis as the ultimate source. One such instance is the sale of replicas of the so-called ‘Atlantis Ring’, an object that is decorated with special geometric symbols and is claimed to emit electromagnetic waves that protect the wearer, give increased psychic abilities, healing powers and bring the owner good luck. It is claimed that the original was found in 1860 in the Valley of the Kings by “well-known French Egyptologist” Marquis d’Agrain who claimed that it came from Atlantis. He is supposed to have bequeathed the ring to another “famous Egyptologist” Arnold de Belizal. An Internet search reveals little about either person apart from this alleged connection with the Atlantis Ring. Two more articles about it are available online(d)(e), unfortunately they include a lot of psychic twaddle. One supplier charges $350 for replica rings(a).
There are so many other Atlantis related claims which stretch credibility beyond breaking point that a book devoted to that subject alone is warranted.
In fact, some years ago the Atlantis Online website had a forum devoted to the subject of Atlantis hoaxes(c). But Atlantis was not the only classical subject that has a hoax associated with it. In 1924, Di Martino, editor of Mouseion, an Italian classics journal, claimed to have discovered all the lost books of Livy(b).
Jason Colavito has written an interesting article(f) on hoaxes, which were more prevalent before WWII.
However, before anyone cries ‘hoax’ or ‘fake’, they should remember the case of the Parian Marble (Parian Chronicle), which was found in two sections on the Greek island of Paros in the 17th century. In 1788, Joseph Robertson (1726-1802) declared the Chronicle to be a ‘modern’ fake in a lengthy dissertation, a claim disproved by the discovery of the final third piece, over a century later.
The Phaistos Disk is the most famous ancient artefact ever found on Crete and as Axel Hausmann says, can be considered the world’s oldest ‘printed’ document, dated to around 1700 BC. This is because the characters were created using incised punches, similar in effect to movable type.
Noting that this ‘document’ was produced using some sort of character ‘punches’, brings to my mind three questions – (1) were these the only set of punches created? And (2) have any other objects been discovered that show a similar use of punches? And (3) if not why not? These questions prompted some to claim that the Disk was a hoax! (See below)
Another artefact with characteristics remarkably similar to the Phaistos Disk, is the inscribed Magliano Disk, made of lead, which was discovered in Magliano, Tuscany in the 1889’s(ac) . However, the two discs were very far apart in time and location and so similarities are just superficial. Like the Phaistos Disc, the one from Magliano has also presented translation problems as the Etruscan script in which it is written is still only partly decipherable.
It was discovered around a hundred years ago by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier (1874-1937) and despite an amazing number of efforts(a) it has defied a definitive decipherment ever since. The interpretations so far have ranged from it being a prayer to a description of the eruption of Thera, while one writer in a light-headed moment went as far as to suggest that it might hold a message from extraterrestrials!
One of the most fascinating suggestions is that the disk was in fact a board game based on an ancient Egyptian game called Senet(b)(o), which was proposed by Peter Aleff, an explanation later supported by Philip Coppens(af). However, it seems that this idea was first proposed by Fernand Crombette at least half a century ago(r).
Alan Butler, who has written a book on the subject, provides a more conventional offering in which he sees the disk as being primarily an astronomical aid. Rosario Vieni has promoted the idea that the disk had a calendrical use and has published his reasons, in French, on the Internet(c). Paul Dunbavin has also suggested that the disk may have been a spiral calendar[099.181].
Naturally, Atlantis has not been excluded from this wide ranging Phaistos speculation, although the linking of the disk with Atlantis is tenuous at best. Jean Louis Pagé has produced a bilingual offering that combines the Phaistos, Mayan and Aztec disks in an effort to locate Atlantis. Axel Hausmann, writing in German, has also done little to provide a clear connection between Atlantis and the disk.
Christian O’Brien and his wife Barbara Joy,in an appendix to their book The Genius of the Few, have identified the writing on the disk as an early form of Sumerian cuneiform writing.
The disk is housed in the Iraklion Archaeological Museum which is also home to the Akralochori Axe also found on Crete in 1934 by Spyridon Marinatos, that was inscribed with 15 characters that have been identified with the Linear A script as well as some of the Phaistos characters(e).
Brent Davis is one of the world’s leading experts on Bronze Age Aegean scripts and languages. In 2018, he published an article “in which, based on a close statistical analysis, shows that the while both the Phaistos Disc and Linear A are undeciphered writing systems, he can demonstrate that the both are, with a high degree of certainty, encode the same language!”(ad)
Two American academic twins, Keith and Kevin Massey, have made available a 72-page pdf file(k) outlining their interpretation of the disk. They concluded that the disk was probably a receipt for goods deposited in a temple.
2008 was a busy year for Phaistos Disk studies. Panagiotes D. Gregoriades delivered three papers to the Atlantis Conference in Athens in which he identified the disk as a calendrical devise used on land and sea. He subsequently published his ideas in book form in 2010 entitled The Creation of Prototypes. In 2008 a major international Phaistos Disk Conference was held in London(h) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its discovery.
Unfortunately, in 1999 a professional ‘wet blanket’ in the form of Dr. Jerome Eisenberg declared the disk to be a fake, when he wrote to The Economist declaring that the disk “a joke perpetrated by a clever archaeologist from the Italian mission to Crete upon his fellow excavators.” He expanded on this in a detailed, fully illustrated paper(z) in 2008. Brian E. Colless responded by pointing out(d) that such a hoax would first have required the “making 45 little stamps to imprint on clay, on both sides of the object, and printing 30 clusters of signs (words or phrases ?) on one side and 31 on the other.”
The Greek authorities have refused to allow the disk, which is just 16cm across, to be removed for testing, on the grounds of its extreme fragility. The idea of fraud has been suggested because of the lack of other documents ‘printed’ in the same manner and because none of the punches were ever found. Fortunately that argument has now been refuted(u). My own response would be to point out that uniqueness is not necessarily a sign of a hoax. Otherwise, we would have to reject the Antikythera Mechanism, which is also a singular item with no objects of any intermediate sophistication discovered so far.
Dr. Marco Guido Corsini, who has also written about Atlantis, has widely promoted his interpretation of the Phaistos Disk(o).
Mark Newbrook, who has studied linguistics, gave a good overview of the various attempts to decipher the disk to the 2008 Phaistos Conference. An even more extensive site (currently suspended) was offered by the Georgian mathematician Gia Kvashilavathat includes a very comprehensive bibliography. Kvashilava offers his own interpretation based on the Colchian (Proto-Kartvelian) language printed in the unique Colchian syllabo-logogramic Goldscript. His paper is quite technical and more suited to advanced students of the subject.
Reinoud de Jong has now entered this particular fray with a decipherment that he claims offers a description of the religion of Crete(i). However, this is rather strange as in a 2012 paper(ae), de Jonge claimed that the Disk contains details of the Bronze Age importation of copper and tin from the Americas. In the same paper he also claimed that the Egyptians discovered America around 2500 BC and for good measure he slips in that the Empire of Atlantis existed from 2500 to 1200 BC, without any reference or explanation whatsoever! It is implied that there is a connection between Egypt, Atlantis and the exploitation of the Michigan copper. The level of detailed speculation on offer here is truly spectacular.
By way of complete contrast, Gary Vey claims that the disk is merely some sort of inventory and also gives an overview of the difficulties attached to deciphering the disk as well as some interesting features overlooked by some researchers(j).
The Czech WM magazine has an extensive 2011 article on the decipherment of the Phaistos Disk(p), giving prominence to the work of Petr Kovar, who claims that the language is Proto-Slavic!(y)
Stephen E. Franklin has claimed that the Disk is a king-list of Cretan rulers and also that it had a calendrical function(ab).
Barbara Gagliano raised a few eyebrows with her claim that the Disk contained DNA information(q)!
Late 2014 saw another translation attempt published(s) by Dr. Gareth Owens of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete, in which he claimed that the disk “contains a prayer to the mother goddess of the Minoan era.” Owens’ contribution provoked further controversy including further suggestions that the Disk might be a fake(t).
Linear B was the basis of Owens’ study, which was the result of a collaboration with John Coleman in Oxford University. They claim to have translated 80% of the text with certainty, along with another possible 15%, leaving just 5% undeciphered.(w)
Robert Bradford Lewis has offered a recent forensic study of the Disk, based on his view that the language used was Ugaritic, an long extinct Semitic tongue.(y) However, while the language may be Ugaritic, the script is not!
The number of theories relating to the Disk seems to rival the range of speculation relating to Atlantis. My selection here can be fruitfully augmented by the Wikipedia entry(x) on the subject.
A list of decipherment claims as well as a useful bibliography up to 2008 is available(y) and Charles River Editors has recently (2018) published two Kindle books  offering more information about the many attempts to solve the mystery of the disk.
Brent Davis is one of the world’s leading experts on Bronze Age Aegean scripts and languages. In 2018, he published an article “in which, based on a close statistical analysis, shows that the while both the Phaistos Disc and Linear A are undeciphered writing systems, he can demonstrate that the both are, with a high degree of certainty, encode the same language!”(a)
(o) https://www.phaistosgame.com/ (3 papers)