The Megalithic Yard is a controversial unit of measurement originally proposed by Alex Thom following a study of hundreds of megalithic sites in Britain and Brittany. Very many attempts have been made to verify his conclusions but to no avail. Wikipedia(d) offers an interesting overview of the wide-ranging theories that the controversy has thrown up.
Humans have used their body parts as measuring tools right up to the present day, e.g. foot, finger or hand, so it was not surprising that the human pace provided a unit of measurement which has been suggested by many as the original megalithic ‘yard’.
>Paul Screeton in his Quicksilver Heritage [1882.48] noted that “the first person to write on prehistoric standard distances was Edward Milles Nelson (1851-1938).” He concluded that the megalith builders used a unit of measurement of 12.96 inches.<
Not unexpectedly, some researchers, such as Ulf Erlingsson(a), Sylvain Tristan(b) and Jim Allen(c) have endeavoured to link the megalithic yard with their interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis, sometimes using convoluted associations with ancient Egyptian and/or Sumerian metrics!
There is also an ancient unit of measurement known as the ‘long foot’ of 12.7 inches (32.2 cm). In early 2019, archaeologists from the University of Manchester and University College London concluded, after a study of three small carved chalk ‘drums’, that they “could be ancient replicas of measuring devices used for laying out prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge.” They found that “a string wound 10 times around the smallest of the drums would give a measure of exactly 10 long feet — a length used to lay out several ancient henge monuments“(e).
Douglas C. Heggie , an astronomer and mathematician as well as the late Aubrey Burl (1926-2020) , arguably the leading authority on British stone circles, have both expressed the view that Thom’s evidence was at best ‘marginal’.(f)
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and at over three kilometres is arguably the highest navigable lake in the world**, shared by Peru and Bolivia. In spite of claims to the contrary it is a fresh water lake, but is slowly reducing in size due reduced inflow from the retreating Andean glaciers. Lake Poopó to the south has now dried out completely(a).
***Karakul in Tajikistan exists at 4,000 metres and “is so salty, it’s almost impossible to navigate a boat on it without capsizing due to the vessel riding so far out of the water.”(e)*
To the south of the lake are remarkable archaeological remains of Tiwanaku and the equally exciting Puma Punku. Both sites have produced some extreme theories regarding the builders of these monuments, their technology level and the date of their construction. Arthur Posnansky, followed by Kurt Bilau have proposed a date of circa 9500 BC as the date of fall of Tiwanaku. There are also reports of pre-Incan structures submerged in Titicaca(d) .
South of Lake Titicaca, near Lake Poopó is Pampa Aullagus, a site identified by Jim Allen as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. While there is little doubt that advanced cultures existed around Titicaca, linking the region to Plato’s story is stretching credibility to its limits. I have already argued in respect of Jim Allen’s Andean theory, that the idea of an invasion of the eastern Mediterranean by an army from the west side of South America is untenable. That they would try it in reed boats like those of Titicaca is equally daft. Then, that this mighty army from ten regions of South America were defeated by the small city-state of Athens is just as laughable.
Equally questionable is the idea that there was a Sumerian presence around Titicaca, in relation to which Clyde Winters quotes(b) James Bailey as well as Ruth and A. Hyatt Verrill in supporting the idea that Lake Manu in Sumerian tradition was in fact Titicaca. The controversial(c) Fuente Magna bowl is also offered as evidence of this idea.
Hyperdiffusion with Atlantis at its centre was argued at great length by Ignatius Donnelly when he proposed Atlantis as the mother culture, located in the Atlantic. Through colonisation and migration their civilisation was brought to the Americas and the Mediterranean, particularly Egypt. The idea received widespread support at the time and has persisted until today(a). A similar proposal was made by James Churchward in connection with his Pacific island of Mu.
However, even earlier, in the seventeenth century, Olof Rudbeck “purported to prove that Sweden was Atlantis, the cradle of civilization, and Swedish the original language of Adam from which Latin and Hebrew had evolved.”(i)
Since Atlantis in the Atlantic is considered by many to be highly improbable and Mu only existed in Churchward’s imagination, a more likely explanation is that diverse ideas emerged independently in different locations, possibly around the same time. These developments then diffused through trade and migration in various directions, sometimes returning in an improved format. The result is that today we are finding that most ancient civilisations show evidence of cultural influences from more than one source.
Richard Cassaro and Jim Allen have both published online large collections of images(b)(c)(d) that clearly demonstrate widespread diffusion. This is particularly so in the case of South America where influences from both east and west are clearly evident. While it is regularly claimed that Egypt influenced South American civilisations it is obvious that Asian inspiration was equally, if not solely, at work. The existence of pyramids in both Egypt and Mesoamerica is put forward as evidence of contact between them. However, the problem is that the American pyramids were constructed hundreds if not thousands of years later than the Egyptian ones. However, in spite of this separation by time and distance, the Egyptians and the Aztecs also shared feathered-serpent deities(g)! What appears to be overlooked is the fact that the Chinese pyramids are more like Mesoamerican examples and are dated to the second half of the first millennium BC, again closer to the development of pyramids in Mesoamerica.
An even more unusual hyperdiffusionist opinion was expressed by the Argentine paleontologist, Florintino Ameghino (1854-1911), who thought that mankind originated in South America(h).
A 1986 paper(f) by Ben Urish entitled Cultural Diffusion should be read in this connection..
(g) See: Archive 2827
Pampa Aullagas is the ancient site of Atlantis on the Altiplano of Bolivia according to Jim Allen(a). Compared with the acres of megalithic remains on view at Tiwanaku and Puma Punku(c), the Pampa Aullagas location would appear(b) to offer nothing more than a huge collection of builders’ rubble.
An extensive series of images of the site with interpretations of its features by Allen is available onlined).
Sean Bambrough is a New Zealand researcher of ancient mysteries. Since 1999 he has been developing a theory which places Plato’s Atlantis in the Andes and identifies its city as Tiwanaku. He has published 37 pages of notes in support of this contention(a)(c). A reader will find them tough going and at times repetitious, but it is clear that he has put a lot of study into the subject even if he has, in my opinion, produced a very flawed theory.
A number of researchers have assumed that when Plato referred to an ‘opposite continent’ he was referring to the Americas, however Herodotus, who flourished after Solon and before Plato, was quite clear that there were only three continents known to the Greeks, Europe, Asia and Libya [4.42].
Bambrough’s first major error is to equate the sinking of Atlantis with the uplifting of the Andes! The Andes are rising at a rate of some millimetres per year. and the geological evidence is that in the past the uplift rate was somewhat more rapid, which “in geologic terms, rapid means rising one kilometer or more over several millions of years.”(b)(e)
There is no evidence that the cataclysmic upheaval described by him could have occurred around 1400BC. He does not explain how these newly elevated mountains created muddy shoals that made the Atlantic impassable.
As I have already argued in respect of Jim Allen’s Andean theory, the idea of an invasion of the eastern Mediterranean by an army from the west side of South America is untenable. That they would try it in reed boats like those of Titicaca is equally daft. Then, this mighty army from ten regions of South America were defeated by the small city-state of Athens is equally laughable.
I could go on, but just a final couple of points; Plato never described Atlantis as a continent and Kircher’s speculative map depicts Atlantis quite clearly in our Atlantic Ocean between Spain and America.
Bambrough has recently updated his website(d), however, his writing style is as irritating as ever, in particular his excessive use of retronyms (forward slashes).
In 2017, he published(f) an extended ‘check-list’ which he feels supports his location theory. This offering is far too long and repetitious. It is clearly a triumph of quantity over quality.
In September 2020 Bambrough gave me a new link(g).
(f) https://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=36133 (link broken Dec. 2019)
The Fuente Magna Bowl is a remarkable artefact sometimes called ‘the Rosetta Stone of the Americas.’ It was discovered accidentally near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The bowl’s claim to fame is that it has been inscribed with cuneiform writing, similar to Sumerian.
It is claimed that thermoluminescence dating has shown the object to be quite ancient and not a forgery. The same site(a) quotes at length a translation of the text by Clyde Winters, but a German website(b) denounces his translation as nonsense, although it accepts that the Bowl as genuine. Another site(c) offers a selection of detailed images of the Bowl.
Carl Feagans’ website(f) is equally critical of Winters’ ‘translation’ and raises a number of questions regarding the authenticity of the artefact.
Jim Allen and his supporters have sought to link the Bowl with the theory of Atlantis in the Andes(d).
The bad archaeology website has reasonably balanced article(e) on the bowl which should be read.
Peter Daughtrey is a British researcher and the author of Atlantis and the Silver City in which he identifies a location in Portugal, where he lived until recently, for Atlantis. The publicity blurb looks promising as it reads as follows: “Over 2000 books have previously attempted to find the answer but invariably stumbled by matching only a handful of Plato´s clues for this fabled lost civilisation. This book matches almost 60 and includes the discovery of the ancient capital with its harbour that Plato described in great detail and the great sunken plain with at least one group of submerged ruins. Everything fits – the precise location, climate, topography, crops and animals, even the incredible wealth. It sits uneasily by one of the world’s most lethal seismic fault lines which in the past has wreaked havoc up to ten times more powerful than the recent quake off Japan with tsunamis 100 feet high. The great Atlantis empire is traced together with their leaders odysseys to civilize South America and Egypt. The unique Atlantean physical characteristics are pinpointed and an ancient alphabet traced from which Phoenicians and Greek developed.” However, a pre-publication critique(a) has been rather less than encouraging.
Now that I have read the book I must declare that Daughtrey has produced a work that offers a spirited argument for considering Portugal’s Algarve as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. In fact he designates not just the Algarve and the submerged area in front of it as Atlantis, but the whole of that south-west Iberian region, starting immediately outside the straits of Gibraltar. The first half of it is the Costa da Luz in Spain. I note that Greg Little has written a positive review of Daughtrey’s book.(f)
Daughtrey recently elaborated that his “position for the great plain that Plato referred to is now the seabed front of southern Portugal and southern Andalucia as far Gibraltar. I think it would also have extended onto the submerged area of northern Morroco and onto the existing mainland .There would only have been a much extended narrow straits from Gibraltar dividing it for a good length.”
More specifically he identifies the town of Silves, just west of Faro, as the Silver City in the title.
In order to compile Atlantipedia I have had to read many books supporting a wide range of theories. I can say that Daughtrey’s offering would be in my top dozen Atlantis titles, along with those of Jim Allen, Andrew Collins, Anton Mifsud, Otto Muck and Jürgen Spanuth. They have all made valuable contributions to Atlantology even though I do not accept all their conclusions.
Neverthe less, without going into a string of nitpicking comments, I would prefer to clearly state where I believe Daughtrey is fundamentally wrong. Which is in accepting Plato’s (or should that be Solon’s) 9,000 years literally. He is not the first to take this approach as the consequence is that either Atlantis attacked an Athens (and Egypt) that did not even exist as organised societies at the time or the science of archaeology as we know it must be abandoned. It is interesting that when it suits him, Daughtrey is prepared to revise Plato’s dimensions for the Plain of Atlantis. I prefer to reinterpret all of Plato’s numbers, which I believe are seriously flawed.
In spite of the above, this book is a valuable addition to any Atlantis library.
September 2014 saw the History Channel preparing to broadcast a documentary on Atlantis in the Algarve that includes extensive interviews with Daughtery(b). However, following airing of the program he seemed rather disappointed(c) that many of what he considered his most important arguments had been omitted from the final cut and that the producers were more interested in extraterrestrials.
Daughtrey’s book is supported by a website(e) that includes updates and additional articles.
Susa is the name of a 6,000-year-old site in modern Iran that was once the capital of the Elamite Empire. In his most recent book Jim Allen has speculated that Susa was one of the cities of ancient Persia that may have inspired Plato’s description of the capital city of Atlantis. August Hunt goes further and clearly identifies[747.170] Susa as Atlantis.
Mesoamerica is the term used to describe a region which includes Mexico and Central America that was home to a number of important pre-Columbian cultures including that of the Mixtec, Toltec and Maya peoples. When news of Columbus’ rediscovery of America got back to Europe it did not take long for theories linking the ‘New World’ with Plato’s Atlantis to develop. While most initial speculation focused on the idea that America was Atlantis. As time went by, this concept was downgraded to just identifying America as the home of refugees from Atlantis, usually located in the Atlantic.
By the 19th century the similarity between the pyramids of Mesoamerica and those of Egypt began prompting the thought that Egypt may also have been home to Atlantean refugees. However, further comparisons of ancient Indian architecture with that of ancient Central America has led to a set of new theories(a) that generally excludes Atlantis. While Jim Allen has illustrated(c) a number of interesting cultural links between Mesopotamia and Bolivia, Richard Cassaro has published(b) an extensive series of images linking Egypt and Mesoamerica.
Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a German Franciscan priest and important cartographer who was the first, in 1540, to show the two Americas joined to each other but unconnected to any other landmass(d). Under the word ‘Orbis’ in South America is written “Insula Atlantica” which simply means ‘Island of Atlantic’, but is claimed by some(a) to mean ‘Atlantis Island’! Among supporters of this interpretation is Jim Allen(b), the leading proponent of ‘Atlantis in Bolivia’ theory and others, such as Dieter Groben, who seek to capitalise on his theory.(c)
(c) https://www.groben-turismo.com/en/atlantis-en.html (link broken Nov. 2019) See: https://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-3469/