The Uluburun Shipwreck is arguably one of the most important underwater discoveries of the 20th century. It was located in 1982 not very far from the town of Kas in southern Turkey. Eleven consecutive campaigns of three to four months duration took place from 1984 to 1994 totaling 22,413 dives, revealing one of the most spectacular Late Bronze Age assemblages to have emerged from the Mediterranean Sea(a). Because the wreck lay at a depth of 44-61 metres divers could only spend a very limited time working on it, hence the large number of dives involved.
Radiocarbon dating techniques and the presence of identifiable pottery types place the date of the wreck as sometime in the late 14th century BCE, probably between 1330 and 1300 BCE.
>Peter James wrote a highly critical paper regarding the dendrochronological dating of the Uluburun shipwreck explaining “why the Uluburun date is dubious in the extreme and how its status as a ‘scientific’ date has gradually unravelled”(e).<
The main cargo of the ship was raw materials. The largest items were copper ingots, 348 of them, totalling 10 tons in weight. These took the form of ‘oxhide’ and circular buns, which refers to the shape they had, forms common in the Bronze Age Mediterranean(b). Isotope analysis revealed the ingots were pure copper and from Cyprus(c). Additionally, the cargo included a ton of tin ingots. These metals were estimated to be enough to make 5,000 bronze swords.
It did not take long before this discovery generated some wild speculation J.S. Wakefield & Reinoud DeJonge proposed that the Uluburun copper had come from the Michigan mines in their book Rocks & Rows, Sailing Routes across the Atlantic and the Copper Trade . The late Gavin Menzies went further and proposed that not only was the Uluburun copper from Michigan but that it had been brought from America by the Minoans identified by him as Atlantean.
Now that exploration of the wreck has finished, scientists are engaged in a study of the amazing array of artefacts salvaged. Articles in 2022 and(d) 2023(f) revealed some of the unexpected discoveries made, including the source of the tin ingots.
Poverty Point is an ancient site in north-eastern Louisiana with remarkable concentric ridges reminiscent of Plato’s description of Atlantis. Frank Joseph suggests a definite link with the Atlanteans. Poverty Point is claimed as the remains of the oldest city in North America having been dated to around 1600 BC. Estimates have put the population of the city at 5-15,000 people at its greatest with two major influxes around 1600 and 1000 BC. It appears to have been suddenly abandoned and eventually covered with debris until it was discovered in 1950, when it was spotted from the air.
“The site is composed of some six C-shaped concentric ridges with each ring separated by a gulley. The ridges are all half circles. While the ridges range from 0.3 feet to 6 feet, they would have been much higher in the past as they have worn down over the many years. Much of the geometric design is hard to make out today on the ground, the scale and geometric design of the site only became apparent after aerial photographs were taken.“(e)
The purpose of the site is unknown, although various theories are put forward on a regular basis, one of which is that it was used as the world’s largest solstice marker(b)!
The late Antonis Kontaratos presented three papers [750.237] to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens in which he expressed strong support for the American Hypothesis and that Poverty Point had been the capital of Plato’s Atlantis.
Gavin Menzies claimed [780.290] that Poverty Point was actually where the Minoans processed copper brought down the Mississippi from Michigan before transporting it back to the Mediterranean to feed the Bronze industries there! J.S. Wakefield expressed similar ideas, in great detail, in a 2015 article(d).
It has been suggested that the mounds of prehistoric Louisiana, including those at Poverty Point, were constructed as a protection against seasonal flooding! Poverty Point has now been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site of which there are less than 1,000 worldwide and only 24 in the United States (2019)(f).
The results of a study of Mound A, published in the January 2013 edition of Geoarchaeology, have revealed that the structure was built in 90 days or less(a).
An extensive paper from 1996 by Jon L. Gibson is available online(c).
>Dr Diana Greenlee of the University of Louisiana Monroe and station archaeologist at Poverty Point was involved in recent research that shows Poverty Point to be more complex than previously believed. Thanks to a 2019 Preservation Technology and Training Grant from the National Park Service, ULM and Minnesota State University Moorhead were able to use radar to send electromagnetic pulses into the earth, helping shed light on what lies below and between the mounds and ridges. What they discovered was a new ridge hidden underground and more information about the creation of the site(g).<
Work continues at the site.
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