Civilisation Collapse has occurred many times over past millennia in all parts of the world. The American anthropologist, Joseph A. Tainter defines collapse as “a rapid shift to a lower level of complexity(a) .” Societal disintegration immediately brings to mind the Maya, the Indus Valley and in what are relatively more modern times, the Western Roman Empire.
The causes are usually a combination of factors, such as, climate change, warfare, disease or excessive expansionism. Global catastrophes such as encounters with comets or asteroids are rare, while more local events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis can also be thrown into the mix. These have all been encountered from time to time, but have rarely been blamed for the collapse of a society; recovery from such limited regional events is usually possible.
The Mediterranean has seen its share of all these catastrophic events. A major tsunami on Sardinia, volcanic eruptions in Italy, earthquakes in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. Close encounters with extraterrestrial bodies have also been proposed in that region.
Perhaps the best documented civilisation collapse is that which occurred around 1200 BC and affected many societies, particularly in the Middle East(b) . Israel Finkelstein, a leading Israeli archaeologist, has attributed this event to climate change and is of the view that this disruption was global in extent.
Inevitably, Atlantis has been cited as an example of civilisation collapse, particularly supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis, who link the 2nd millennium BC eruptions of Thera with the demise of the Minoans on Crete. Also popular is the idea that Atlantis had been a large island in the Atlantic Ocean destroyed by a cometary impact or the rising sea levels as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age.
A variety of other theories have associated Atlantis with the collapse of a civilisation. For example, Frank Joseph claims that 40,000 years ago “sudden sea-level rises triggers migration from Mu around. The Pacific motherlanders settle on a large, fertile island about 380 kilometers due west from the Straits of Gibraltar. There, the newcomers merge with the native Cro-Magnon inhabitants, resulting in a new, hybrid culture – Atlantis.”
William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) was a renowned English Egyptologist, who developed improved archaeological methods, some of which are still employed today. One of his first publications was in 1883, entitled The Pyramids and Temples 0f Gizeh.>This is now available online, while a 1990 edition has additional material supplied by Zahi Hawass(c).<
Jason Colavito has drawn attention(a) to a short article written by Flinders Petrie in Ancient Egypt, September 1924, in which he finds value in the work of Reginald Fessenden, who was an advocate of Atlantis in the Caucasus. However, I note that he makes no explicit comment on Fessenden’s Atlantis theory. Petrie was interested in the evidence that strongly suggested that people from the Caucasus region had an influence on the development of the ancient Egyptian culture, noting again a couple of year s later “It appears, then, that the cultural connections of the earliest Egyptians, as well as the physical descriptions in their mythology, point to the Caucasus region. When, further, we find there the names of the principal places of the mythology in their relative positions, it gives strong grounds for regarding that region as the homeland of the earliest civilization of the Egyptians”. (Ancient Egypt, June 1926) (b) .
Dr. Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who worked with Petrie, was also sympathetic to this view. More recently, Ronnie Gallagher has taken up this cause and has gone further by suggesting the possibility that not only were migrants from the Caucasus responsible for kick-starting the development of Egyptian culture, but that people from the same region had a similar influence on the early inhabitants of Sumeria and the Indus Valley.
The Origin of the Atlantis Narrative is declared by Plato to have been Egyptian as it was brought to Athens from Egypt by Solon. This is the almost universally accepted provenance of the story. However, other suggestions have emerged from time to time.
Another even more exotic claim(a) is that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reworking of the destruction of Lankapura as recorded in the Ramayana(b), one of the two great Hindu epic poems.
(a) https://archives.sundayobserver.lk/2001/pix/PrintPage.asp?REF=/2013/03/17/mon06.asp (Offline Sept.2017 – See Archive 2058)
>(b) http://www.valmikiramayan.net/ (link broken)<
(c) https://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-CloserHYPERLINK “https://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-Closer&id=313482″&HYPERLINK “https://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-Closer&id=313482″id=313482
Normally I would ignore such drivel but as M. Dolciani has also ventured into the area of Atlantology, I feel free to comment on his views. He has decided that when Plato referred to ‘island’ he actually meant ‘centre of civilisation’, which he identifies as Egypt, the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia! His explanation for Plato’s 9000 ‘years’ is that they were in fact periods of 73 days because it agrees with both the synodical revolution of Venus and our solar year!! With reasoning like that we have little to fear from 2027.
José Angel Hernández is an Independent Spanish researcher with an interesting website(a), which, although in Spanish, translates quite well with Google into English. Although his subject matter is wide-ranging he has produced a number of papers relevant to the subject matter of this site.
He first(b) compares the bull cult of Atlantis with the status of the bull in the Indus Valley civilisation. He then takes a sceptical view of the Atlantis story arguing strongly against the idea that the 9,000 years recorded by Plato should be treated as ‘months’ or ‘seasons’. In another section(c) he outlines parallels between Tartessos and ancient India and goes so far as to suggest the Indus Valley city of Lothal established colonies north and south of the Strait of Gibraltar and known as Tartessos. Unexpectedly, he then proceeds to identify the Tarshish of the Bible with the coast of the Indus Valley!
Ronnie Gallagher is a retired environmental manager and an amateur archaeologist with a great interest in the Caucasus region, where he has carried out extensive research. He has written an interesting paper on the effects of the post-glacial flooding of the Caspian Sea and its former physical connection with the Black Sea as well as with the Arctic Ocean(a).
Gallagher has also drawn attention to cart ruts in Azerbaijan(b) similar to, but not as numerous as, those on Malta. He is also an admirer of the work of Reginald Fessenden who placed Atlantis in the Caucasus(c) and proposed that migrants from that region were responsible for kick-starting what we know as the Egyptian civilisation. The renowned Flinders Petrie and Margaret Murray were sympathetic to this view, as is Gallagher(d).
>Gallagher expanded on his view that migrants from the Caucasus had settled in Egypt, suggesting that they brought with them memories of their homeland and one of its best-known landmarks – Mount Barmak in modern Azerbaijan and used its outline to inspire the Great Sphinx at Giza(g)!!! In another paper, he expands on anthropomorphic images in Azerbaijan(l).<
His own conclusion regarding the location of Atlantis in the Caucasus region was that it was inundated as a consequence of the creation of a vast ‘flooded Eurasia’ that resulted from the collapse of glacial ice-dams(d)(h)(m), comparable with the Lake Missoula Floods in America.
Gallagher’s paper should be read in conjunction with a 2004 paper(e) from a team of Russian and US scientists that relates to a ‘Giant Siberian Lake’.
>Related to this is a recent study that has shown that 12 million years ago the same vast region was home to the Earth’s largest-ever lake, which the authors have called Paratethys(i). In fact, it is claimed that its history begins even further back at 34 million years ago and at its greatest extent stretched from Germany to China!(j)<
Gallagher’s studies in Azerbaijan continue, where he has identified an extensive number of strandlines in the region resulting from ancient catastrophic flooding.
>His presentation to the Second International Conference on the Aral Sea Problems in 2019 in St. Petersburg is available online in a lengthy and extensively illustrated pdf file(k).<
He has now published a number of extended abstracts of recent papers on the academia.edu website(g). He concluded one(f) with the following: “However, the thorny problem of what might have caused the Gilazi strandlines and the inferred worldwide flood can only be speculated on and will be controversial.
Perhaps open-minded discussion on the theories, such as the reality of the diverted Russian Rivers, an enlarged Ponto Caspian and the ingress of marine waters into the Eurasian continental interior might begin to reveal a different pre-history and provide support for a world-wide flood.”
(e) See Archive 2372)
(k) Strandlines on Azerbaijan’s Mud Volcanoes and coastal interior: New evidence of a catastrophic marine flood impacting the Ponto Caspian and Aral Sea regions with its implications to natural sciences and humankind (zin.ru)
Jim Alison has written an extensive paper(a) on the highly controversial subject of a global aligment of ancient sites such as the Great Pyramid, Easter Island and Machu Picchu(b). At the end of the first page he concludes that the Cape Verde islands are possibly the remnants of Plato’s Atlantis, based on the geodetic fact that “Machu Picchu and the Great Pyramid are equally distant from the Cape Verde Islands. Easter Island and the Indus Valley are also equally distant from Cape Verde.” For similar reasons he thinks that the Bay of Bengal as well as near Ilha Martin Vaz, a location off the coast of Brazil, should also be considered as possible candidates.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) with its strange statues, known as moai, remains one of the great archaeological mysteries. As with most ancient enigmas, various writers have tried to link Easter Island with either Atlantis, Mu or extraterrestrials.
I cannot subscribe to such silliness and would not normally include Easter Island in this Encyclopedia, but in recognition of the level of general interest in the subject I have included a link(a) to the serious archaeological work that continues on the island. This study is now in its fifth season and is directed by Dr. Jo Anne Van Tilburg. One aspect of the work was to demonstrate that many of the Easter Island ‘heads’ have buried bodies, often, until now, with hidden petroglyphs(t). A recent (June 2015) blog(g) has proposed that some of the markings represent tattoos.
Van Tilburg has been working on Rapa Nui for more than three decades. Her Easter Island Statue Project is supported in part by UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. “A 2019 report from her radically alters the idea that all standing statues in the Rano Raraku quarry were simply awaiting transport out of the quarry,” Van Tilburg said. “That is, these and probably other upright Moai in Rano Raraku were retained in place to ensure the sacred nature of the quarry itself. The Moai were central to the idea of fertility, and in Rapanui belief their presence here stimulated agricultural food production.”(aa)
The other great Easter Island mystery(i) is the rongorongo script found there. All attempts to decipher it have failed(c)(d). An extensive article by Jacob Mikanowski offering insights into the history of the island and its script and the many efforts to decode it is available online(q). David Pratt has also compared rongorongo with ancient Chinese and Indus Valley scripts(r). Pratt has written a number of papers on various aspects of Easter Island(s).
>Jean-Michel Schwartz has noted [1792.93] the views of Dr. Heine Geldern who “pointed out strong resemblances between rongo-rongo signs and certain archaic Chinese characters, particularly from the Shang period.”<
Similarities between rongorongo and symbols carved on the Ingá Stone in Brazil have also been noted(v).
Some years ago Andis Kaulins wrote An Astrological Zodiac In the Script of Easter Island(x), in which he also links the Easter Island script with the Indus Valley as well as possible calendrical and astronomical associations.
“In 1932, Wilhelm de Hevesy was the first academic to suggest a link between Rongorongo and the Indus script of the Indus Valley Civilization in India, claiming that as many as forty Rongorongo symbols had a correlating symbol in the script from India. For a while, the idea was entertained and debated until radiocarbon dating of the Indus Valley culture was placed between c. 3,300 – 1,900 BC, a finding which officially separated the two cultures by over 2,000 years. Recent research however, has opened the debate again as the finding of Indus Valley DNA in Australian Aborigines suggest a contact between the two cultures c. 2,000 BC.”(v) There is also an extensive study of the two scripts available on the Academia.edu website.(w)
A new suggestion has recently emerged linking Easter Island and the ongoing discoveries at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey(b). This dates back to early 2010 and has now been given greater prominence in Robert Schoch’s recent book, Forgotten Civilization . On a lighter note, when Robert Schoch, suggested a link between Göbekli Tepe and Eastern Island(m), in spite of the eleven millennia time difference, it was no surprise that Jason Colavito scornfully dismissed the idea(n).
Pre-Colonial contacts between Easter Island and South America have recently been supported by DNA evidence(f). This would appear to be contradicted by a 2017 study by a team from the University of California -Santa Cruz, which appears to rule out pre-European contact with South Americans! Details are published in the October 12th edition of Current Biology.(p)
The Milwaukee Journal of June 17th 1923 had a headline that announced the disappearance of Easter Island(e), proving that you really can’t believe everything you read! Coincidentally, 1923 also gave us an early attempt(h) to link Easter Island with Atlantis.
For a long time it has been thought that warfare had wiped out much of its early population. This has now been debunked by a new study, led by Binghamton University anthropology professor Carl Lipo and published in the Feb. 2016 edition of the journal Antiquity(j). Shortly afterwards, a further study suggested that a more complex explanation for the early social collapse on the island has been put forward by Dr. Valentí Rull, who is a senior researcher of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona(k).
A further report(o) from Lipo highlighted further the complexity underlying the societal disintegration that took place on the island. Lipo outlined the commonly held explanation as follows; “One of the resources that they supposedly used up was trees that were growing on the island. Those trees provided canoes and, as a result of the lack of canoes, they could no longer fish. So they started to rely more and more on land food. As they relied on land food, productivity went down because of soil erosion, which led to crop failures…Painting the picture of this sort of catastrophe. That’s the traditional narrative.” Lipo’s studies has employed new technologies that have disproved these popular ideas and obviously forced a radical rethink.
There is a brief Smithsonian video clip available(l) which deals with the cutting and transportation of the moai.
The latest moai theory has come from a team of researchers, led by Carl Lipo, from New York’s Binghampton University, who have concluded that the statues were placed at location where potable water was available(u). To me it seems an excessively elaborate way of marking locations.
A recent study has added some confusion to conventional assumptions regarding early warfare on the island, claiming that there is now evidence that “Easter Island society did not collapse prior to European contact and its people continued to build its iconic moai statues for much longer than previously believed, according to a team of American researchers” Their conclusions were published in the February, 2020 issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.(y)
In the April 2020 edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science, Lipo et al offered a new paper(z) further debunking the Rapa Nui societal collapse theory.
(e) https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19230617&id=9f1EAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XyEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5420,3683626 (inaccessible Sept. 2016)
(m) https://web.archive.org/web/20160911175943/https://www.robertschoch.com/articles/schochgobeklitepenewdawnsept2010.pdf See: Sept/Oct 2010 edition of New Dawn Magazine (Issue 122)
The Swastika is a symbol that is said to have a 12,000-year-old history(I) and is occasionally suggested as having an Atlantean link. This is highly improbable as modern research has suggested that it was more likely to have originally represented an ancient cometary display in the sky(c), explaining the ubiquity of the symbol around the world. Fernando Coimbra wrote a paper(h)on this subject in 2011.
In 1896, the Smithsonian Institution published an extensive paper by Thomas Wilson (1832-1902), a curator at the U.S. National Museum, demonstrating the global spread of the swastika symbol.
Another site demonstrates the widespread use of the swastika and its variants in commercial iconography(d). In April 2014, a well illustrated report(k) revealed that a 7,000-year-old piece of pottery with a swastika on it was discovered in Bulgaria.
I recall that my native Dublin had a firm, founded in 1912 by a Mr. Brittain, called the Swastika Laundry, which had their vans liveried in bright red with a white swastika on a black background. The business lasted into the 1960’s.>However, the use of the swastika in Ireland goes back much further, perhaps to pre-Christian times. St. Brigid, one of Ireland’s patron saints, is generally thought to be a christianised version of the Celtic goddess Brighid. St.Brigid’s Cross, a popular symbol of the saint found all over Ireland, is considered to be a variant of the swastika. One Indian gentleman was amazed when he encountered a swastika inside the Catholic church at Ballintubber Abbey in Co. Mayo(s).<
James Churchward claimed that the swastika was a symbol of his invented civilisation, Mu, while Robert Stacy-Judd speculated[607.243] that it had originated in Atlantis. Others have attempted(e) to link the swastika and its presentation in red, white and black to be in some way connected with Plato’s reference to the colours of the rocks found in Atlantis. In a 1959 article in Sykes’ Atlantis magazine by Arthur Louis Joquel II declared(o) that the swastika had been the symbol of Atlantis! No evidence was offered.
Leaving conjecture aside it can be demonstrated that the swastika was an ancient Hindu symbol and also used in the Indus Valley civilisation(b).>In fact the use of the swastika has now been traced back to circa 10,000 BC. This image is included in the incredibly well-illustrated lecture by Robert M. Chapple, which also includes a large section with many images of swastikas used from early christian times in Ireland until the present(r).<
While Heinrich Schliemann was excavating Troy at Hissarlik, he discovered many hundreds of swastikas throughout the site and was responsible for bringing what had been, until then, a benign symbol back to Germany, where it was later hijacked by the Nazis and came to represent oppression(n).
The long honourable history of the swastika should not be erased because of its abuse at the hands of the Nazis. The residents of Swastika in Ontario, have for decades steadfastly refused to change the name of their community, which has been in use since 1907.
In 1925, the people of Panama’s indigenous province of Guna Yala adopted a flag having a black left-facing swastika, said to represent the four directions and the creation of the world(p).>Also in the Americas, Gary A. David has highlighted the use of the swastika in a more benign way by the Hopi of northern Arizona along with its innocent use in other cultures including the Minoans, as well as in 20th century USA(q).<
Jacques Gossart wrote a book on the history of the swastika and in Denys Eissart’s now inactive website, L’épopée atlante (The Atlantis Epic) he devoted a page to a discussion on the subject(a). More recently Richard Cassaro has published two articles(f)(g) highlighting the extensive use of the swastika. The articles are well illustrated including some fascinating images. He also attempts, unsuccessfully in my view, to suggest a link between swastika and Atlantis. A Reclaim the Swastika website(j) is campaigning for the promotion of the swastika as a spiritual symbol as it had been in the past.
A number of large swastika shaped features have been spotted from the air(m).
(o) Atlantis, Vol.12, No.3, March/April 1959.
Sumeria was unknown until the middle of the 19th century. With the discovery and the decipherment of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets the sophistication of their culture prompted the idea that Sumer had been ‘the cradle of civilisation.’ Subsequent discoveries, such as the those in the Indus Valley and more recently Göbekli Tepe have now somewhat diluted that idea.
The origin of the Sumerians is still something of a mystery as is their language which seems to be an ‘isolate’, unrelated to any known language group. Ronnie Gallagher has suggested that migrants from the Caucasus had provided the impetus that led to the development of the Sumerian civilisation. Gallagher’s theory is supported by Jerald Jack Starr on his Sumerian Shakespeare website, who emphatically attributes a Caucasian origin to the Sumerians(l).
Emilio Spedicato has controversially suggested that the Sumerians came from the Tibetan region!(m)>Equally provocative were the views of Catherine Acholonu-Olumba, who as the author of Eden in Sumer on the Niger , claimed that her book, “provides multidisciplinary evidence of the actual geographical location in West Africa of the Garden of Eden, Atlantis and the original homeland of the Sumerian people before their migration to the “Middle East”. By translating hitherto unknown pre-cuneiform inscriptions of the Sumerians, Catherine Acholonu and Sidney Davis have uncovered thousands of years of Africa’s lost pre-history and evidences of the West African origins of the earliest Pharaohs and Kings of Egypt and Sumer such as Menes and Sargon the Great.”(p)<
Sumeria has now been proposed as a possible source of the Atlantis story. Dr. Ashok Malhotra, a professor of Engineering, has suggested(a) that that ‘the likelihood of the Atlantis stories being of Sumerian origin is strengthened by the fact that the submergence of ancient cities was a strong part of the Sumerian mythology. It dominates their historical tradition. The destruction of the ancient city as a result of sin was also part of their beliefs.’ Malhotra then proposes that these Sumerian stories reflected actual flooding events in the Indus Valley region that were brought first to Sumeria and then were later transferred to Egypt and from thence via Solon to Plato to us.
George Michanowsky went much further and claimed that the Sumerians had known Atlantis under the name of NI-DUK-KI, known today as Dilmun[282.66]. The renowned Henry Rawlinson interpreted this name to mean ‘blessed hill’ or ‘blessed isle’. While Michanowsky’s suggestion is highly speculative, if correct, it would be the earliest known reference to Atlantis.
The Sumerian king list(e) from Larsa records eight kings (some versions note ten) before the Deluge, which may have been reflected, in a distorted fashion, in the ten patriarchs of Genesis and/or the ten kings of Atlantis! Another suggested link is with the eight generations between Adam and Noah recorded in Genesis chapter 5.
John Sassoon would seem to support Malhotra’s thesis in his book, which proposes a Sumerian origin for the Jews with possible earlier links with the Indus valley. He is not concerned with Atlantis, just the ancestry of the Jewish people of whom Abraham was born in Sumeria around 2000-1800 BC. Sassoon’s views offer a possible transmission route for Eastern traditions and myths to have reached Egypt and subsequently through Solon to Athens.
More recently, Dr. Willem McLoud, a South African researcher, commented that “we have good reason to think that Atlantis was not located beyond the pillars of Heracles in the Atlantic Ocean, as is so often propagated, but that it was actually none other than the ancient land of Sumer itself.” Mcloud is primarily concerned with the Sumerians and Akkadians, which he will expand on in a forthcoming book(n).
In 2001, a book by Radek Brychta was published in the Czech Republic in which he also advocates a Sumerian connection. He identifies Atlantis with the legendary Dilmun of Sumerian legend and locates it on the Indus civilisation island of Dholavira. Excerpts from this fascinating book are available on the Internet and worth a read.
However, the most extreme claims came from Zechariah Sitchin who proposed that the Sumerians had been ‘influenced’ by ancient astronauts from the planet Nibiru, which information is to be found in their cuneiform tablets if Sitchin’s translation is to be believed. Similar daft ideas(g) have been put forward by Hermann Burgard but so far have only been foisted on a German-reading public.
As if that was not bad enough, we now (Oct 2016) have the Iraqi Transport Minister claiming, among other matters, that the Sumerians launched spaceships 8,000 years ago(h)!
Jim Allen, the leading advocate of ‘Atlantis in the Andes’ has also claimed(b) a Sumerian connection with South America citing Ruth & Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, who include in their book[838.293] three pages of Sumerian words compared with the language of ancient Peru as well as other cultural aspects there. They also believed that Sargon (2369-2314 BC) was known in Peru as the deity Viracocha! Their fanciful idea stems from an account of Sargon sailing to the west and spending three years there! Zhirov supported this claim[458.23] describing it as ”a seemingly semi-fantastic theory”. My reason for considering this claim to be nonsensical, is simply that Sargon was continually engaged in expanding his empire and constantly dealing with rebellions in the various city states that he ruled over. The idea that he took three years out to visit America, 14,000 km away, is in no way credible.
Nevertheless, the idea of Sargon in South America persists with James Bailey repeating it in Sailing to Paradise[0150.66] and more recently by the Afrocentrist, Clyde Winters in an article on the Ancient Origins website(f) in which he quotes Bailey and the Verrills as supporting Lake Titicaca as the Lake Manu of Sumerian tradition. A further article(j) on the same website begins with the forceful claim that “it is becoming increasingly clear that the Sumerians had established a colony in South America called Kuga-Ki.” The paper is based on a series of questionable artifacts, the Fuente Magna Bowl, the Crespi Collection and the Pokoyia monument!
The Fuente Magna Bowl is frequently offered as evidence of a pre-Columbian link with the Sumerians(c), although its provenance is unclear and there are suggestions of a hoax. A sceptical view of the ‘Bowl’ by Carl Feagans(k) is available.
The very existence of Sumerians has recently been attacked in an appendix to The Three Ages of Atlantis by Marin, Minella & Schievenin. They maintain that the Sumerian ‘language’ “could be an artificial construct created by Akkadian priests” to be used for liturgical purposes. These ideas were first expressed at the end of the 19th century by the respected Orientalist, Joseph Halévy. Andi Zeneli has expressed comparable ideas(d) regarding the Sumerian language.
Uwe Topper’s son Ilya has also put forward the idea that the Sumerians did not exist(o). His paper is in Spanish and was influenced by the work of Gunnar Heinsohn, another chronology revisionist.