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
Ophir is referred to in the Bible as a source of gold, silver, precious stones and exotic animals. King Solomon was reputed to have received a cargo of such goodies every three years, a detail which points to Ophir being a considerable distance from Israel.
The exact location of Ophir is the subject of continuing controversy. In broad terms the most popular regions suggested are, or have been, India(g) , Africa(f) and the Americas(a) , but they were not the only proposed locations, even Australia and the Solomon Islands were considered. Emilio Spedicato has opted for Tibet, where an ancient goldmine fits the bill, which he outlines in his paper entitled Ophir, It’s Location Unveiled.
There is also a claim that the Batanes Islands off the Northern Philippines held the site of Ophir(b) . Further west, Dhani Irwanto has claimed that Punt was also known as Ophir(d) and was situated on Sumatera (Sumatra) in Indonesia(c) . However, he went further and also located Atlantis in Indonesia in his book, Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea . His chosen site is just north of Bawean Island in the Java Sea.
However, Irwanto was not the first to link Atlantis with Ophir, Theodore L. Urban was the author of a paper delivered to the Lancaster County Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1897. In it, he denied that Atlantis had been completely destroyed and argued that the biblical Ophir was in fact Atlantis, suggesting that it had been located in the Americas, which explained the three years that the round trip took(e).
Landbridges, in the distant past are believed to have played a critical part in early human migration. Similarly, landbridges,both real and speculative are important components in many Atlantis theories. There is no doubt that the ending of the last Ice Age and the consequent rising sea levels led to the creation of islands where continuous land has previously existed. The separation of Ireland and Britain from each other and from mainland Europe is just one example, the latter leading to a number of writers to identify ‘Doggerland‘, which lay between Britain and Denmark as the home of Atlantis.
The two most discussed landbridges were at the Bering Strait, where it is thought that it provided the gateway for humans to enter the Americas from Asia and an Atlantic landbridge, which was very popular at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries>and even as late as the 1970s was espoused by Rene Malaise(a),<but is now completely abandoned. Although there was only one suggestion that the Bering Strait was in any way connected with Plato’s Atlantis, an Atlantic landbridge was seized upon by many leading scientists of the day as an explanation for the similarity of flora and fauna on both sides of the Atlantic, which was reinforced by the discovery of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge around the same time.
A number of landbridges have been proposed for the Mediterranean and linked to a variety of Atlantis theories, the most notable being proposed for the straits of Gibraltar, Sicily and Messina. Less popular theories have been constructed involving landbridges in locations, such as the Caribbean and Indonesia.
>(a) Atlantis, Vol.27, No.1, Jan-Feb 1974.<
Punt is the name given to a land with which the ancient Egyptians traded. The leading theory is that it was located to the southeast of Egypt, roughly occupying what is now called ‘the Horn of Africa, although there is also a popular view that it was situated on the Arabian Peninsula. Others suggest that a combination of parts of both regions might be nearer the truth. An article of November 2016 elaborates on the claim for this identification(e).
In 2013, a short book by Ahmed Ibrahim Awale, placed Punt in the same region, namely, in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. A favourable and well illustrated review(f) of Awale’s book is worth a read.
Frank Joseph in his Atlantis Encyclopedia[0104.37] claims that “the Lands of Punt (are) often associated with the islands of Atlantis.” Joseph expands on this in an Atlantis Rising article(a) where he refers to an ancient Egyptian story of “The Shipwrecked Sailor” in which the ‘Serpent King’ is identified as master of the island of Punt, which again Joseph claims to be Atlantis.
More recently, a small number commentators have identified Punt/Atlantis with Indonesia(b)(c). Dhani Irwanto, who is a leading advocate of an Indonesian Atlantis published in November, 2015 an extensive article online(d) in which he specifically names the Indonesian island of Sumatera (Sumatra) as the land of Punt. He has now expanded this into a book, Land of Punt: In Search of the Divine Land of the Egyptians . Irwanto goes further and also identifies the mysterious land of Ophir in the Bible as Punt.
(a) See: Archive 2790
Dhani Irwanto (1962- ) is an Indonesian hydraulic engineer, who is the latest proponent of the Sundaland location for Atlantis, in his April 2015 book, Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea. A review of his book online(a), shows quite clearly that the author has made a serious effort to match Plato’s narrative with his chosen location for Atlantis, namely off the southern coast of the island of Kalimantan in the Java Sea. Irwanto also uses his professional expertise to analyse Plato’s many references to the waterways of the Atlantean capital and it extensive plain. The review also includes a number of maps and video clips used to support Irwanto’s views.
Irwanto has also adopted(c) the 32-point checklist of dos Santos and expanded it to 60 points.(d)
Irwanto also claims that the biblical Garden of Eden and the legendary island of Taprobane were situated on the island of Kilimantan. In an extensive online(b) article in November 2015, he identified the Indonesian island of Sumatra as the land of Punt, >which he thinks was also known as the Ophir referred to in the Old Testament (1 Kings 9.26 & 10.11).<
In June 2017, Irwanto published an illustrated paper(e) on Aurea Chersonesus, referred to by Ptolemy in his 2nd century Geographia . Irwanto has matched details in Ptolemy’s description with a place in western Sumatra called Tanjungemas renowned for its gold mines in the ancient times.
Gunung Padang is a megalithic site on the Indonesian island of Java, which was first surveyed in 1914 by the Dutch colonial authorities and published as Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (Report of the Department of Antiquities). A post-war Australian investigation concluded that the site was much older than previously believed. Now, with presidential support, local archaeologists are carrying out an extensive investigation of the site.
The site has recently been claimed as part of Atlantis. A few years ago the late Arysio dos Santos was the leading proponent of Sundaland, which included Indonesia, as Atlantis. Now Danny Hilman Natawidjaja an Indonesian geologist has made a similar claim in his Kindle ebook, Plato Never Lied: Atlantis Is in Indonesia. In it Gunung Padang plays an important role. Mount Padang has also been claimed as the world’s oldest pyramid!
Nevertheless, a recent (May 2017) assault on Natawidjaja’s theories in an open letter(i) from Rebecca Bradley has laid bare the weaknesses in his claims.
Andrew Collins has now added an article(h). to his website that examines the preliminary claim that the lower levels at the site could be 12,000 years older than Gobekli Tepe. If confirmed, it will undoubtedly require some rewriting of history books. Do not lose sight of the fact that radiocarbon dating has limitations, being accurate for up to around 6,000 years with increasing unreliability up to perhaps 50,000 BC after which it is generally useless.
We now (Nov. ’14) have a report(e) that some type of ‘electrical device’ has been discovered at the site ‘made out of gold and copper and seems to resemble a primitive electrical capacitator.’ Until further information is available this claim must be treated with caution.
There are, however, dissenting voices as reported by journalist, Michael Bachelard(g), such as vulcanologist Sutikno Bronto, who says “Gunung Padang is simply the neck of a nearby volcano, not an ancient pyramid.Danny Hilman is not a vulcanologist. I am.” As for the carbon-dated cement between the stones, on which Hilman relies for his claims about the age of the site, Sutikno believes it is simply the byproduct of a natural weathering process, ”not man-made”. Other sceptics are even tougher. One archaeologist, who does not wish to be named since the President took such an interest, says the presidential taskforce is deluding itself. ”In the Pawon cave in Padalarang [about 45 kilometres from Gunung Padang], we found some human bones and tools made of bones about 9500 years ago, or about 7000 BCE. So, if at 7000 BCE our technology was only producing tools of bones, how can people from 20,000 BCE obtain the technology to build a pyramid?” the archaeologist asks.
Danny Hilman Natawidjaja is an Indonesian geologist who is no stranger to media interest, as he is regularly wheeled out for comment after the all-too-frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in his country.
In 2013 he garnered further attention with two dramatic claims. The first was a declaration that the huge megalithic site at Gunung Padang on Java was also home to the oldest pyramid in the world(a). Not content with that, he has also stated that the same site is evidence for Atlantis in Indonesia(b). Apart from the media attention he also received support from the Indonesian president. Graham Hancock and Robert Schoch have both visited the site along with Danny Hilman(c).
Natawidjaja published his Atlantis theory in a Kindle ebook, Plato Never Lied: Atlantis Is in Indonesia.
November 2016 saw a further incredible claim coming from Natawidjaja, namely that a 2500-year-old ‘electrical device’ had been found on Gunung Padang, which is claimed to be some form of capacitor and has been compared with the design of the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The report(d) that I’ve seen does not include any images, but until more concrete information is available, my scepticism is on ‘red alert’.
In May 2017, Rebecca Bradley, in an open letter, wrote(e) an extensive attack on Natawidjaja’s Gunung Padang claims.
Tripura is the name of a triple city in Hindu mythology that was famed for its architecture and rich adornments. Its inhabitants are reputed to have become greedy over time and were destroyed by Shiva (Mahabharata, Bk7, Drona Parva, Sec.XI). The story is almost the same as that of Atlantis and its demise. Since 1997 until his death in 2005 the late Arysio Nunes dos Santos has championed the idea that Plato’s Atlantis narrative regarding a submerged civilisation had been borrowed from the east. He also linked Atlantis with Tripura(a).
2005 not only saw the death of dos Santos shortly after the publication of his theory in book form, while in Moscow, Sergey Teleguin had his book, Anatomy of a Myth, published in Russian, in which he also identified Tripura with Atlantis. An English translation of part of his book has now been provided by Teleguin(c).
R. Cedric Leonard has also linked Atlantis with Tripura, the capital of the island of Atala(b). However, Leonard has chosen the Azores as the most likely location for Atlantis and dos Santos opted for Sundaland, a large landmass, now partly submerged encompassing, among others, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia!
Scylla and Charybidis were a sea monster and a whirlpool in Greek mythology who according to Homer and other writers were located opposite each other across a narrow strait. This led to the idiomatic phrase “between Scylla and Charybidis” similar to our more modern phrase of being “between the devil and the deep blue sea” describing being caught between two opposing forces.
Many, such as Heinrich Schliemann, assume the original to have been located between Sicily and the Italian mainland at the strait of Messina. Arthur R. Weir in a 1959 article(d) refers to ancient documents, which state that Scylla and Charybdis lie between the Pillars of Hercules(c) .
A minority have opted for the Scylla being Calpe (The Rock of Gibraltar) and Charybdis being Mt. Abyla across the strait in North Africa or in other words the Pillars of Heracles(a) . However, Professor Arysio Santos promoting his Atlantis in Indonesia theory suggested that the ‘original’ Pillars of Heracles were in at Sunda Strait and later brought to ancient Greece where it was included by Homer in his Odysseus as Scylla and Charybdis!(b)
>Anatoly Zolotukhin has proposed that Scylla & Charybdis has been situated in the Bosporus near the Pillars of Heracles, while he located Atlantis itself in Crimea near Evpatoria(e).<
Writers who have located the wanderings of Ulysses in the North Atlantic have gone further afield in their search for Scylla and Charybdis with the west coast of Scotland (Pillot and Nyland), the Orkneys (Sora) southwest Cornwall near the Scilly Isles (Wilkens) .
(d) Atlantis – A New Theory, Science Fantasy #35, June 1959 pp 89-96
Diffusion is the anthropological term used to describe how similar customs, beliefs and artefact designs are spread between cultures through migration, invasion or trade. Diffusion is not just a ‘one-way street’ as history has shown that ideas have travelled in all directions, while in fact most ancient civilisations can be demonstrated to have absorbed cultural elements from a multiplicity of foreign societies. Today, globalisation has increased exponentially the variety of influences that all societies now experience. Not only is the number of these influences greater but the rate of increase is apparently accelerating. The ubiquity of Coca-Cola, T-shirts, Irish pubs, Japanese cameras, German cars, English language, Guinness, Chinese toys, ABBA, AK-47s etc., etc., etc., are indicative of the global reach of commercial ‘empires’ today. In older civilisations trade was more concerned with commodities such as metals, olive oil, wine, amber, obsidian, or timber, so the technologies involved in their production or exploitation were also exchanged.
The development of agriculture also saw techniques spread, which had to be modified to suit different climates, although recent studies indicate that agriculture started around the same time in a number of centres(I).
in the Fertile Crescent as far north as the Zagros Mountains. Further north, on the steppes of Russia, horses were domesticated and apparently there also the use of chariots originated. A book by David W. Anthony also attributes the region with being the source of what is known as the Proto-Indo-European family of languages.
Societal concepts, religious or legal were no different as their geographical spread can also be traced over time. Consider the different strands of the Abrahamic faiths, beginning with Judaism, which spawned Christianity and later was joined by Islam through Muhammad, who claimed to be a descendant of Abraham. Similarly, democracy has slowly evolved and spread over time and still has a long way to go.
Since early man left Africa, he has had ample time to settle all over our planet and exploit it resources, moving from being a hunter-gatherer to becoming a settled farmer, developing urban centres (city states), then empires and the inevitable wars. Wars, then like today, led to the develop of new technologies, chariots, longbows, armour, to be copied and if possible improved upon, by each side.
My view is that initially, technology and techniques were freely exchanged between peoples, until gradually the idea of monopoly entered the human psyche, eventually leading to the paranoia and greed associated with the ownership of ‘intellectual property’ today. I would speculate that a freer and possibly gentler diffusion of ideas lasted until, at the earliest, the first millennium BC.
In 2014, the University of Connecticut published the result of studies which demonstrated that human technological innovation occurred intermittently throughout the Old World, rather than spreading from a single point of origin, as previously thought(j).
Egerton Sykes, a leading 20th century Atlantologist, was a committed diffusionist, describing it as “the lifeblood of civilisation”(h).
A more extreme view is the concept of ‘hyperdiffusion’, which is the idea that there was a single ‘mother-culture’ which led to the development of all major civilisations. Ignatius Donnelly was a hyperdiffusionist, advocating Atlantis as the mother culture. His ‘heretical’ views were highlighted by the range of similarities between structures around the world in apparently unrelated cultures, which seem to greatly exceed what could be expected by mere coincidence alone. This is explored further in a recent illustrated article on the Malagabay website(v).
Similarly James Churchward proposed his invention, Mu, as an alternative hyperdiffusion centre. Perhaps better known is the work of W. J. Perry who was convinced  that an archaic civilisation had begun in Egypt and gradually spread eastward through Asia and Polynesia, eventually reaching the Americas. Ben Urish published a paper(d) in 1986 that offers a critical overview of hyperdiffusion.
Konrad Kulczyk promotes a hyperdiffusionist theory that places his proto-civilisation, New Atlantis, just south of the Aral Sea(e).
Ivar Zapp proposes a global seafaring civilisation thousands of years before the Greeks, Egyptians or Sumerians(k) in an as yet unpublished book, Babel Deciphered.
Hyperdiffusion is clearly a seductive theory having attracted the attention of researchers such as Richard Cassaro, who has produced an impressive collection of visual cultural similarities between ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian America(a). While the idea is not new, Cassaro’s images highlight the concept of diffusion very effectively, although he has, in my opinion overinterpreted the evidence in order to support hyperdiffusion.
Cassaro published The Missing Link in 2016 in which he expands on the widespread distribution of what he refers to as the ‘godself icon’. Although he clearly demonstrates that the motif has an extensive geographical spread it is equally obvious that the appearance of the icon is spread over a vast period of time apparently coinciding with the emergence of civilisation in different places at very different times, which, in my view, is not fully compatible with the concept of hyperdiffusion, as I would have expected a ‘mother-culture’, if such existed, to have spread its global influence far more rapidly.
A comparable discovery has been made by Ozgür Baris Etli, who has drawn attention(o) to carved hands at Göbekli Tepe that have counterparts in many other parts of the world where hands meeting at the navel are similarly depicted. I recently came across an image of(q) a megalithic statue in the Indonesian Bada Valley(u) showing its hands in a similar position.
Having mentioned Indonesia, I must draw your attention to a recent book by Dhani Irwanto, entitled Sundaland: Tracing the Cradle of Civilizations (1618), in which he makes a strong case for considering his native land as an ancient diffusionist centre, which experienced waves of emigration at the end of the Younger Dry as period that influenced the great civilisations of the Indus Valley, Egypt and Greece. Irwanto also claims that their cultural impact included the transference of the story of Atlantis from its original home in Sundaland.
Equally intriguing is the ‘Three Hares’ motif, found across Europe, the Middle East and as far as China(p) and now the subject of a book by Greeves, Andrew & Chapman. Another stylised symbol is that of the rosette found in the Mediterranean and spread as far as India(r)(s).
In a similar vein Jim Allen has devoted chapter three of his latest book to outlining what he entitled Bolivia and the Sumerian Connection(b). Arguably even more impressive is the array of images presented by Allen(c) suggesting that the civilisations of America were greatly influenced by ancient cultures in both east and west. It is obvious that a number of artifacts can be developed independently, but at some point the number of similar items produced by two separate cultures can exceed the number that can be reasonably put down to coincidence. The number of similarities presented by Allen alone clearly exceeds that threshold, demonstrating that the Americas were influenced by different sources, ruling out Americas as the home of a mother-culture.
The whole subject of diffusion is wide ranging and complex and well beyond my competence to do it justice in this short entry. However, for those interested in pursuing the subject further, I would like to recommend a 1997 paper(l) by David H. Kelley (1924-2011), available on Dale Drinnon’s website.
Egypt is frequently mentioned in this regard being seen as the influence behind Neolithic megalith building AND the pyramids of Central America, in spite of the fact that Newgrange was constructed before the Egyptian Pyramids and the New World pyramids were built thousands of years after those in Egypt. Atlantis is regularly suggested as another mother- culture but without a single piece of evidence to support this speculative contention. For decades the idea that the pyramids of Egypt and those in the Americas were the consequence of diffusion from a common source, namely Atlantis situated in the Atlantic was heavily promoted. However, we can now more closely identify the pyramids of America with the step-pyramids of China!
Consequently, for me, hyperdiffusion is not convincing. History has clearly shown that inventions have frequently been independently developed at the same time in different countries, while even in prehistoric times it has been demonstrated(f) that the evolution of stone tools took place as a result of the innovative abilities of local populations, addressing the same needs.
A word of warning; “recent research published in Nature by a team led by Tomos Proffitt at the University of Oxford shows that capuchin monkeys regularly produce sharp-edged flakes indistinguishable from those made by early hominins.”(t)
Even today technologies are developed independently throughout the world, but not in complete isolation, because of the instant worldwide communications available.
As a result of global marketing, in Ireland now we drive German, British and Japanese cars, use US computer technology and play with Chinese toys. However, being generous by nature, we gave the world the Irish pub, Riverdance and Guinness.
A two-part blog(m)(n) highlighting the many weaknesses in the concept of hyperdiffusion should be required reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Although Donnelly and his contemporaries, focused on the possibility of Old World influences in the New World, today, there is less of a Mediterranean centred or Eurocentric approach to diffusionism. Instead, there is greater acceptance that the Americas have also had extensive cultural influences from Asia.
(l) See: Archive 3563
(u) Atlantis Rising No.110 March/April 2015 p.41