Ilias D. Mariolakos
Ilias D. Mariolakos is professor emeritus of Geology and Palaeontology at Athens University. In 2010 he presented a paper(a) to the 12th International Congress of the Geological Society of Greece, in which he concluded that the prehistoric Greeks were quite familiar with the Atlantic and its Gulf Stream. He also identifies Iceland as Ogygia, based on his interpretation of the writings of Plutarch.
>Mariolakos focussed on Plutarch’s comment that “An isle, Ogygia, lies far out at sea, a run of five days off from Britain as you sail westward” and from that he calculated that “Accepting that vessels similar to Argo (the ship of the Argonauts), could develop speeds approximately 4 – 5 miles/hour, then the distance traveled within 5 days must have been in the order of 5 x 24 = 120 hours, 120 x 4 m/h = 480 miles ? 900 km. According to these, and using a simple school atlas, Ogygia should correspond to present-day Iceland.”<
Mariolakos further maintains that the ancient Greeks exploited the Michigan copper mines to supply the needs of their bronze industry. Their expertise was accumulated between the beginning or end of the 3rd millennium BC until shortly after the conclusion of the Trojan War towards the close of the Mycenaean period at the end of the 1st millennium BC. The onset of the ‘Dark Ages’ saw this maritime knowledge ‘forgotten’ until the ensuing Archaic Period when Greek civilisation revived.
Mariolakos bases his conclusions on the works of Homer, Hesiod, Orphic poetry and Plutarch as well as the 20th-century writer Henriette Mertz.
Migration and Diffusion is the brainchild of Dr. Christine Pellech who wrote that “the basic theme of my website is cultural contacts and migration covering the time range from human origins up to the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492.” For over ten years it has been regularly publishing articles by a range of writers on subjects that frequently touch on aspects of Atlantology. While Pellech does not refer directly to Atlantis, she does claim that the Caribbean had been the centre of an extensive maritime trading culture, millennia before Columbus. I highly recommend the site(a) for anyone interested in our ancient past.
It is relevant to refer you to a paper(b) delivered to the 12th International Congress of the Geological Society of Greece in 2010 by Professor Ilias D. Mariolakos. In it he concluded that the Mycenaeans had extensive knowledge of the Atlantic and its islands as well as the Michigan copper mines which they exploited for their bronze industry. He believes that this lasted from the beginning or middle of the 3rd millennium BC until some time after the Trojan War at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. There then followed the Dark Ages which resulted in this maritime knowledge being lost and the succeeding Greek civilisation began again from scratch.
Ogygia is the home of Calypso, referred to by Homer in Book V of his Odyssey. It is accepted by some as an island in the Mediterranean that was destroyed by an earthquake before the Bronze Age. The Greek writers Euhemerus in the 4th century BC and Callimachus who flourished in the 3rd century BC, identified the Maltese archipelago as Ogygia. Others have more specifically named the Maltese island of Gozo as Ogygia. Anton Mifsud has pointed out that Herodotus, Hesiod and Diodorus Siculus have all identified the Maltese Islands with Ogygia.
John Vella has added his support to the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in a paper published in the Athens Journal of History (Vol.3 Issue 1) in which he noted that “The conclusions that have emerged from this study are that Homer’s Ogygia is not an imaginary but a reference to and a record of ancient Gozo-Malta.”
Adding to the confusion, Aeschylus, the tragedian (523-456 BC) calls the Nile, Ogygian, and Eustathius, a Byzantine grammarian (1115-1195), claimed that Ogygia was the earliest name for Egypt(j).
Isaac Newton wrote a number of important works including The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended , in which he discussed a range of mythological links to Atlantis, including a possible connection with Homer’s Ogygia. There is now evidence that he concurred(c) with the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in The Original of Monarchies(d).
Strabo referred to “Eleusis and Athens on the Triton River [in Boiotia]. These cities, it is said, were founded by Kekrops (Cecrops), when he ruled over Boiotia (Boeotia), then called Ogygia, but were later wiped out by inundations.”(i) However, Strabo also declared that Ogygia was to be found in the ‘World Ocean’ or Atlantic (j). To say the least, these two conflicting statements require explanation.
Richard Hennig opted for Madeira following the opinion of von Humboldt. Spanuth argued strongly against either Madeira or the Canaries[0017.149] and gave his support to the Azores as the most likely location of Calypso’s Island.. Not unexpectedly the Azores, in the mid-Atlantic, have also been nominated as Ogygia by other 20th century researchers such as Sykes(e) and Mertz. In a 2019 paper(f), Gerard Janssen also placed Ogygia in the Azores, specifically naming the island of Saõ Miguel, which both Iman Wilkens [610.239] and Spanuth [015.226] also claimed. Spanuth added that until the 18th-century Saõ Miguel was known as umbilicus maris, which is equivalent to the Greek term, omphalos thallasses, used by Homer to describe Ogygia in chapter eight of the Odyssey!
Homer in his Odyssey identifies Ogygia as the home of Calypso. The Roman poet Catullus writing in the 1st century BC linked Ogygia with Calypso in Malta(g). However, Gozo’s claim is challenged by those supporting Gavdos in Crete(k). This opinion has been expounded more fully by Katerina Kopaka in a paper published in the journal Cretica Chronica(l), where her starting point is the claim that Gavdos had been previously known as Gozo! Another Greek claimant is Lipsi(o) in the Dodecanese. We must also add Mljet in Croatia to the list of contenders claiming(p) to have been the home of Calypso. Mljet is also competing with Malta as the place where St. Paul was shipwrecked!
>Further south is the beautiful Greek island of Othoni near Corfu where local tradition claims an association with Calypso. An article on the Greek Reporter website(r) suggests that “Evidence confirming this legend appears in the writings of Homer, who described a strong scent of cypress on Ogygia. Many cypress trees are grown on Othonoi.
Shortly after departing the island on a raft, Odysseus is shipwrecked on Scheria, which we know of today as Corfu. This implies that the two islands Homer described were relatively close. Likewise, the islands of Othonoi and Corfu are separated by a relatively short distance. Due to this mythological connection, during the 16th century, many naval maps described Othonoi as ‘Calypso island.‘”<
Mifsud quotes another Roman of the same period, Albius Tibullus, who also identified Atlantis with Calypso. Other Maltese writers have seen all this as strong evidence for the existence of Atlantis in their region. Delisle de Sales considered Ogygia to be between Italy and Carthage, but opted for Sardinia as the remains of Calypso’s island.
Other researchers such as Geoffrey Ashe and Andrew Collins have opted for the Caribbean as the home of Ogygia. Another site supports Mesoamerica as the location of Ogygia, which the author believes can be equated with Atlantis(h). An even more extreme suggestion by Ed Ziomek places Ogygia in the Pacific(b)!
In the Calabria region of southern Italy lies Capo Collone (Cape of Columns). 18th century maps(m) show two or more islands off the cape with one named Ogygia offering echoes of Homer’s tale. Respected atlases as late as 1860 continued to show a non-existent island there. It seems that these were added originally by Ortelius, inspired by Pseudo-Skylax and Pliny(n) . Additionally, there is a temple to Hera Lacinia at Capo Colonne, which is reputed to have been founded by Hercules!
By way of complete contrast, both Felice Vinci and John Esse Larsen have proposed that the Faeroe Islands included Ogygia. In the same region, Iceland was nominated by Gilbert Pillot as the location of Ogygia and Calypso’s home. Ilias D. Mariolakos, a Greek professor of Geology also makes a strong case(a) for identifying Iceland with Ogygia based primarily on the writings of Plutarch. He also supports the idea of Minoans in North America.
A more recent suggestion has come from Manolis Koutlis , who, after a forensic examination of various versions of Plutarch’s work, in both Latin and Greek, also placed Ogygia in North America, specifically on what is now the tiny island of St. Paul at the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada, a gulf that has also been proposed as the location of Atlantis.
Jean-Silvain Bailly also used the writings of Plutarch to sustain his theory of Ogygia, which he equated with Atlantis having an Arctic location[0926.2.299], specifically identifying Iceland as Ogygia/Atlantis with the islands of Greenland, Nova Zembla and Spitzbergen (Svalbard) as the three islands equally distant from it and each other.
The novelist Samuel Butler (1835-1902) identified Pantelleria as Calypso’s Island, but the idea received little support(q).
However, Ireland has been linked with Ogygia by mainly Irish writers. In the 17th century historian, Roderick O’Flaherty(1629-1718), wrote a history of Ireland entitled Ogygia, while in the 19th century, Margaret Anne Cusack (1832-1899) also wrote a history in which she claimed a more explicit connection. This was followed in 1911 by a book by Marion McMurrough Mulhall in which she also quotes Plutarch to support the linking of Ireland and Ogygia. More recently, in The Origin of Culture Thomas Dietrich promotes the same view, but offers little hard evidence to support it.
>In 2023, an article on the Greek Reporter website renewed speculation regarding the possible identification of Ireland with Ogygia(s).<
This matter would appear to be far from a resolution.
(c) See: Archive 3439
(e) ‘Where Calypso may have Lived’ (Atlantis, 5, 1953, pp 136-137)
(g) Lib. iv, Eleg. 1
(i) Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 18
(n) See: Note 5 in Armin Wolf’s Wayback Machine (archive.org)
Copper was obviously a vital commodity for the Bronze Age Atlantis described by Plato. The source of this copper has led to frequent speculation among Atlantologists. Frank Joseph proposed that copper was the foundation for the wealth of Atlantis. He is convinced that there is evidence of enormous copper mining activities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula around 1000 BC. He refers to these miners as Atlanteans  and maintains that the extracted copper was brought to the Mediterranean, claiming that there is no trace of it in North America!
Joseph’s wild claim runs counter to the evidence offered by one of the leading mining engineers of his day, T.A. Rickard (1864-1953)(m). In 1934, Rickard published an extensive paper in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland entitled The Use of Native Copper by the Indigenes of North America(n). Rickard notes how early European colonists observed the native Americans using copper for tools and ornaments. A more recent entry(o) in Wikipedia offers further details reinforcing Rickard’s contention. Similarly, a March 2021 article in Archaeology offers evidence that native Americans were producing artefacts from copper as early as the 7th millennium BC and were probably the world’s first coppersmiths(r)(s).
In another article in Atlantis Rising magazine, Joseph proposed that the exploitation of the Michigan copper began in the sixth millennium BC with the arrival of the Red Paint People from Europe!(i)
Frank Joseph and Gavin Menzies are late with their claims regarding the exploitation of the Michigan copper by Atlanteans. In 1928, it was Giacinto Perrone in his book L’Atlantide  who was an early promoter of the idea of Atlantean involvement in the ancient Michigan copper mining(t).
J.S. Wakefield has written an extensive article(j) linking the Michigan mines with Poverty Point in Louisiana, where, he contends that the copper was cast into oxhide ingots. In the same article, he identified the Sea Peoples as the Atlanteans and their allies. In another paper(q) he presents a case for identifying the copper oxhide ingots discovered in the Late Bronze Age Uluburun shipwreck found off Turkey as originating in Michigan. He bases his claim on the unusual 99.5% purity of these copper ingots, which he claims is only to be found in the Great Lakes mines. Wakefield is a co-author with Reinoud de Jonge of Rocks & Rows: Sailing Routes Across the Atlantic and the Copper Trade .
Roger Jewell has written an important book  on this same historical mystery but dates the early mining to 2500 BC and estimates the quantity of copper mined at 20 million pounds. Jewell offers a range of evidence that points to Minoan traders, an idea taken up recently by Gavin Menzies, who quotes estimates of between three and five hundred million pounds, while others have suggested as much as 1.5 billion pounds have been extracted. These wild speculations have been derided by commentators such as Jason Colavito(b).
Dale Drinnon has an extensive entry on the Michigan copper mines on his wide-ranging website(c).
Philip Coppens also wrote a speculative article on the possible part that Michigan’s copper plated in global trade around 3000 BC(g). Commenting on the possible market for the Michigan copper, he wrote that it is remarkable, “that Bronze Age Europe ended in 1200 BC, which coincides with the end of the mining activities in America. Coincidence? The mining technique in America is also identical to those used on the British Isles, where the other component, tin, originated from.”
The America Unearthed TV series, presented by Scott Wolter, also examined the idea of Minoans mining in Michigan (S1 E3). Jason Colavito wrote a highly critical review of the episode(k), while an even more extensive critique can be found on the Archyfantasies.com website(l).
Ilias D. Mariolakos is a Professor Emeritus of Geology and Paleontology at the University of Athens. In 2010 he presented a paper to the 12th International Congress of the Geological Society of Greece stating that the prehistoric Greeks were familiar with the Atlantic Ocean and its Gulf Stream. He also claims that they exploited the Michigan copper mines to meet the needs of their bronze industry.
Additionally, the late Bernhard Beier published two articles(v)(w) on the debate surrounding the astounding quantity of copper apparently mined in Michigan. It is clear that he, like Peter Marsh and others, was sympathetic to the idea that Old World miners were involved, who were possibly Phoenicians, Berbers or Egyptians.
John Jensen has noted(x) that “curiously, North American Indian mounds have been found to contain copper sheets made in the shape of animal hides. Called “reels,” their function, if any, is unknown. The reels do, however, resemble oddly shaped copper ingots common in European Bronze Age commerce. Their peculiar shape earned these ingots the name “oxhides” and has been found in Bronze Age shipwrecks, and are even said to be portrayed on wall paintings in Egyptian tombs. The standardized hide-like shape, with its four convenient handles, was useful in carrying and stacking heavy ingots. Could the reels from the North American mounds have been copied from the oxhides? It is tempting to speculate that the Copper Culture miners were actually an Atlantic rim colony.“
A further word of caution regarding North American copper oxhide ingots is offered by a report from Andy White outlining his attempts to verify their existence(y).
So far, we have on offer, Native Americans, Red Paint People, Sea Peoples, Greeks, Minoans, Hittites, Atlanteans, Berbers and Phoenicians all allegedly involved in the ancient exploitation of the Michigan copper. Take your pick, but base your choice on evidence, if any, rather than speculation.
It is claimed that the local Indians have folk memories of the mines being worked by ‘light-skinned’ men, suggesting a possible European or Mediterranean connection. Frank Joseph implies that these natives had little interest in copper although one of the cultures in the Great Lakes region was known as the Old Copper Indian because of their extensive use of copper for weapons, tools and ornaments(h). Furthermore as early as 1585 British settlers on Roanoke Island noted that the indigenous people there put a high value on copper.
A more conventional analysis of the Michigan copper mining mystery is presented by local archaeologists. They point out that the views of commentators such as Frank Joseph are very generous with speculation but somewhat mean with evidence. Dr Susan R. Martin of Michigan Technological University has published a point-by-point refutation(a) of the many wild claims that have been made about the Michigan mines in The Michigan Archaeologist [41 (2-3) p119-138. June-September 1995].
Even more extreme was the suggestion made by Reinoud M. de Jonge in a 2009 paper(e) where he boldly claimed “that during the whole period of the (Michigan) copper trade, America was part of the Egyptian Empire” and during the Old Kingdom “this huge empire was known as Atlantis”! De Jonge expanded on this in a 2012 paper, justifying his claims with an incredibly detailed interpretation of the Phaistos Disk, which appears to be highly speculative(p).
In the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, taking its name from copper, provided much of that metal, which enabled the development of the Bronze Age there. In the central and Western Mediterranean ancient copper mines have been identified in Iberia, Morocco and Sardinia as well as sources of tin. However, a 1982 paper(f) claimed that Laurion in Attica, Greece was equally as important as Cyprus as a source of Bronze Age copper.
The earliest known metal mine in the British Isles was on Ross Island, near Killarney in Ireland. Copper was mined there from 2400 BC until 1900 BC(d) and the site is thought to have been the principal source of the metal for the two islands at that time.
Supporters of an earlier date for Atlantis can point to evidence of worked metal around 9000 BC discovered in Anatolia, Turkey. More recently there were metal beads discovered in Bulgaria tentatively dated to 6000 BC.
(a) See Archive 2547
(c) See: Archive 3597
(g) See Archive 2724
(i) See Archive 3389