An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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    Joining The Dots

    I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato’s own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.Read More »
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Lixus

Hassler, Gerd von

Gerd von Hassler (1928-1989) was a German author of radio plays for children, who also had an Gerd von Hasslerinterest in music and ancient history. In 1976 he published Noahs Weg zum Amazonas (Noah’s way to the Amazon), which was translated into English by Martin Ebon and republished as Lost Survivors of the Deluge[0777]. In it he links the biblical deluge with the destruction of Atlantis. He also identifies Sumerian flood of Gilgamesh with that of Noah*. In fact he suggests that Gilgamesh voyaged from Lixus to South America . However, overall he seems happy to follow the ideas of Otto Muck who placed Atlantis in the Atlantic and destroyed by an asteroid impact. Von Hassler further identifies Atlantis with the Garden of Eden. His idea that Noah sailed the Atlantic is to say the least wildly speculative, but no doubt broadly welcomed by the Mormons.

Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert and in particular its northern regions have attracted its share of attention from Atlantis investigators. However unlikely it may appear as a possible location for Atlantis it must be kept in mind that the Sahara of prehistory was very different from what we see today. Not only was it wetter at various periods in the past, but also there is clear evidence for the existence of a large inland sea extending across the borders of modern Algeria and Tunisia. This evidence is in the form of the chotts or salt flats in both countries. This proposed sea is considered by some to have been the Lake Tritonis referred to by classical writers. It is suggested that some form of tectonic/seismic activity, common in the region, was responsible for isolating this body of seawater from the Mediterranean and eventually turning it into the salt flats we see today.

An even more extensive inland sea, further south, was proposed by Ali Bey el Abbassi and based on his theory a map was published in 1802 which can be viewed online(c).

More recently, Riaan Booysen has published an illustrated paper on the ancient inland Saharan seas as indicated on the 16th century maps of Mercator and Ortelius(i). King’s College London runs The Sahara Megalakes Project which studies the Megalakes and the Saharan Palaeoclimate record(m).

A 2013 report in New Scientist magazine(d) revealed that 100,000 years ago the Sahara had been home to three large rivers that flowed northward, which probably provided migration routes for our ancestors.

Other studies(h) have shown the previous existence of a huge river system in the Western Sahara, which flowed into the Atlantic on the Mauritanian coast.

An article in the Sept. 2008 edition of National Geographic pointed out that the Saharan climate has been similar for the past 70,000 years except for a period beginning 12,000 years ago when a number of factors combined to alter this fact. A northerly shift by seasonal monsoons brought additional rain to an area the size of contiguous USA. This period of a greener Sahara lasted until around 4,500 years ago.

More recent studies claim that there’s geologic evidence from ocean sediments that these orbitally-paced Green Sahara events occur as far back as the Miocene epoch (23 million to 5 million years ago), including during periods when atmospheric carbon dioxide was similar to, and possibly higher, than today’s levels. So, a future Green Sahara event is still highly likely in the distant future.”

More recent studies claim that there’s geologic evidence from ocean sediments that these orbitally-paced Green Sahara events occur as far back as the Miocene epoch (23 million to 5 million years ago), including during periods when atmospheric carbon dioxide was similar to, and possibly higher, than today’s levels. So, a future Green Sahara event is still highly likely in the distant future.” (p)

Henri Lhote contributed an article to the Reader’s Digest’s, The World’s Last Mysteries [1083], regarding the ‘green’ Sahara that existed prior to 2500 BC. An interesting question might be; what happened circa 2500 BC to cause this reversal? Some have suggested a connection between the aridification of the Sahara and the destruction of Atlantis!

More recently, human activity has been blamed as a major contributory factor for the desertification of the Sahara region less than 10,000 years ago.(n)

Related to the above is a recent study of sediments off the west coast of Africa, which resulted in the discovery of what was “primarily a new “beat,” in which the Sahara vacillated between wet and dry climates every 20,000 years, in sync with the region’s monsoon activity and the periodic tilting of the Earth.” (o) 

In Mauritania a huge natural feature known as the Richat Structure has been claimed as the remnant of Atlantis by George Sarantitis [1470as well as by Alexander & Rosen. 

In 1868, it was proposed by D.A. Godron, the French botanist, that the Sahara was the location of Atlantis. In 2003, the non-existent archaeologist Dr.Carla Sage announced that she was hoping to lead an international expedition to the Sahara in search of Atlantis. Her contention was that “Atlantis was the capital of a vast North African empire with ports on the Gulf of Sidra”. This report is now confirmed to have been a hoax! I am indebted to Stel Pavlou for uncovering the origin of this story(e).

The idea of an African Atlantis was highlighted in 2021 with the publication of Atletenu [1821], in which the author, Diego Ratti, identified the Hyksos as Atlanteans with their capital at Avaris in the eastern Nile Delta. At the other end of North Africa, the chotts of Tunisia and Algeria were nominated by Holden Zhang as the location of Atlantis in a YouTube clip(q).

Gary Gilligan, the well-known catastrophist, wrote a thought-provoking article(k) on the origin of the Saharan sands, which he claims are extraterrestrial in origin and expands on the idea in his 2016 book Extraterrestrial Sands [1365].

David Mattingly, an archaeologist at Leicester University has found that an ancient people known as the Garamantes had an extensive civilisation in the Sahara(l). He has evidence of at least three cities and twenty other settlements. The Garamantes reached their peak around 100 BC and then gradually diminished in influence as fossil water supplies reduced until in the 7th century AD they were subjected to Islamic domination. Some researchers such as Frank Joseph  have identified the Garamantes as being linked with the Sea Peoples. Bob Idjennaden has published short but informative Kindle books about both the Garamantes [1194] and the Sea Peoples [1195], without a suggestion of any connection between the two.

The discovery of the megalithic structures discovered at Nabta Playa (Nabta Lake) in the Egyptian Sahara has provided evidence for the existence of a sophisticated society in that area around 5000 BC. In the same region, near the Dakhleh Oasis, archaeologists have produced data that supports the idea that pre-Pharaonic Egypt had Desert Origins rather than being an importation from Mesopotamia or elsewhere(a).

Nabta Playa is not unique, in fact the largest megalithic ellipse in the world is to be found at Mzorah, 27 km from Lixus in Morocco(b). It appears that the construction methods employed at both Mezorah and Nabta Playa are both similar to that used in the British Isles. An even more impressive site is Adam’s Calendar in South Africa which has been claimed as 75,000-250,000 years old.

West of Cairo near the border with Libya is the Siwa Oasis, where it has now been demonstrated that “it is in fact home to one of Ancient Egypt’s astounding solar-calendar technologies– the solar equinox alignment between the Timasirayn Temple and the Temple of Amun Oracle in Aghurmi.”(j).

I think we can expect further exciting discoveries in the Sahara leading to a clearer picture of the prehistoric cultures of the region and what connections there are, if any, with Plato’s Atlantis. In the meanwhile in the Eastern Egyptian Desert, Douglas Brewer, a professor of archaeology at the University of Illinois, has discovered over 1,000 examples of rock art, including numerous depictions of boats although the sites, so far undisclosed, are remote from water.

Even more remarkable is the report(e) of March 2015 that a survey of the Messak Settafet escarpment in the central Sahara revealed that there were enough discarded stone tools in the region to build more than one Great Pyramid for every square kilometre of land on the continent”! Coincidentally, around the same time it was reported that over a thousand stone tools had been found in the Northern Utah Desert(g). What the Utah discovery lacked in quantity was made up for in quality with the finding of the largest known Haskett point spear head, measuring around nine inches in length.

(a) Saudi Aramco World (2006, Vol. 57, No.5 p.2-11)

(b) https://www.ancientpages.com/2015/09/05/was-megalithic-stone-circle-of-mzoura-the-tomb-of-giant-antaeus/

(c) https://web.archive.org/web/20201019061756/http://catalog.afriterra.org/zoomMap.cmd?number=1036

(d) NewScientist.com, 16 September 2013, https://tinyurl.com/mg9vcoz

(e) https://books.google.com/books?id=GvMDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA46&dq=dr.+carla+sage+archaeologist&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GSENVKiaO9W0yASJgoIY&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=dr.%20carla%20sage%20archaeologist&f=false

(f) https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/saharan-carpet-of-tools-is-the-earliest-known-man-made-landscape

(g) https://westerndigs.org/over-1000-ancient-stone-tools-left-by-great-basin-hunters-found-in-utah-desert/

(h) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/nov/10/ancient-river-network-discoverd-buried-under-saharan-sand

>(i) 7. The lakes in the middle of the Sahara desert – Page 8 (archive.org)<

(j) https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/astronomically-aligned-temple-siwa-oasis-ancient-calendar-device-006852?nopaging=1

(k) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170614023816/https://www.godkingscenario.com/articles/origin-sahara-desert

(l) See: Archive 3268

(m) https://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enIE665IE665&q=the+sahara+megalakes+project&gs_l=hp..0.41l52.0.0.0.2769………..0.&gws_rd=ssl

(n) https://popular-archaeology.com/issue/winter-2017/article/did-humans-create-the-sahara-desert

(o) https://phys.org/news/2019-01-sahara-swung-lush-conditions-years.html#jCp

(p) https://www.livescience.com/will-sahara-desert-turn-green.html

Rutot, Aimé-Louis (L)

Aimé-Louis Rutot (1847-1933) was a Belgian archaeologist who wrote extensively on Rutotprehistoric civilisation. In 1920[533] he identified Agadir on the Atlantic coast of Morocco as the location of the capital city of Atlantis. He suggested that Lake Tritonis was a large inland sea where the chotts are today. He also proposed a further large ‘Inner Lake’ existed across Hauts Plateau in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria. Rutot further identified the island of Hesperides as a large section of what is now mainland Africa, opposite the Canaries, and formerly the site of the ancient city of Lixus.

North Africa

North Africa has received considerable attention as a possible location for Atlantis since the beginning of the 19th century. Gattefosse and Butavand are names associated with early 20th century North African theorists. They, along with Borchardt, Herrmann and others have proposed locations as far west as Lixus on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, on through Tunisia and Libya and even as far east as the Nile delta.

One of the earliest writers was Ali Bey El Abbassi who discussed Atlantis and an ancient inland sea in the Sahara. The concept of such an inland sea, usually linked with Lake Tritonis, has persisted with the Chotts of Tunisia and Algeria as prime suspects. There is acceptance that a seismic/tectonic convulsion in the vicinity of the Gulf of Gabés cut off this inland sea from the Mediterranean. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book dating it to around 1250 BC. If such an event did not occur, how do we explain the salt laden chotts? However, proving a connection with Atlantis is another matter.

Whether this particular geological upheaval was related to the episode that destroyed parts of ancient Malta is questionable as the Maltese event was one of massive subsidence.

It should be kept in mind that Plato described the southern part of the Atlantean confederation as occupying North Africa as far eastward as Egypt (Tim.25b & Crit.114c). This of course conflicts with the idea of the Atlanteans invading from beyond ‘Pillars of Heracles’ situated at Gibraltar since they apparently already controlled at least part of the Western Mediterranean as far as Italy and Egypt.

*One of the principal arguments against Atlantis being located in North Africa is that Plato clearly referred to Atlantis as an island. However, as Papamarinopoulos has pointed out that regarding the Greek word for island, ‘nesos’ “a literary differentiation between ‘island’ and ‘peninsula’ did not exist in alphabetic Greek before Herodotus’ in the 5th century BC. Similarly, there was not any distinction between a coast and an island in Egyptian writing systems, up to the 5th century BC.” In conversation with Mark Adams[1070.198] Papamarinopoulos explains that in the sixth century BC, when Solon lived, nesos had five geographic meanings. “One, an island as we know it. Two, a promontory. Three, a peninsula. Four, a coast. Five, a land within a continent, surrounded by lakes, rivers or springs.”

Personally, from the context, I am quite happy to accept that the principal city of the Atlantean alliance existed on an island as we understand the word. This was probably north of Tunisia, where a number of possible candidates exist. However, it may be unwise to rule out a North African city just yet!

Another argument put forward that appears to exclude at least part of North Africa is that Plato, according to many translations, he refers to Atlantis as ‘greater’ than ‘Libya’ and ‘Asiacombined, using the Greek word, ‘meizon‘, which had a primary meaning of ‘more powerful’ not greater in size. Atlantis could not have been situated in either Libya or Asia because ‘a part cannot be greater than the whole’. However, if Plato was referring to military might rather than geographical extent, as seems quite likely, North Africa may indeed have been part of the Atlantean alliance, particularly as Plato describes the control of Atlantis in the Mediterranean as far Tyrrhenia and Egypt.*

 

Melqart

Melqart was the son of El the supreme deity of the Phoenicians. He was the Melqartprincipal god of the city of Tyre and was sometimes known as Baal. As Tyre gained supremacy throughout the Phoenician world, Melqart also gained prominence. Melqart is the only Phoenician god mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The Temple of Melqart in Tyre was similar to that built for Solomon in Jerusalem. This is understandable as craftsmen from Tyre built the temple in Jerusalem and there would have had a natural exchange of religious ideas, as they were neighbours. Herodotus describes the main entrance to the sanctuary as being flanked by two columns or pillars known as ‘betyls’, one made of gold and the other of ‘smaragdus’— often translated as ‘emerald.’

The cult of Melqart was brought to Carthage, the most successful Tyrian colony, and temples dedicated to Melqart are found in at least three sites in Spain; Gades (modern Cadiz), Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Near to Gades, at the Strait of Gibraltar, the mountains on either side were first known as the Pillars of Melqart, and then later changed to the Pillars of Heracles. Across the Strait of Gibraltar, at the Atlantic coast of Morocco was the Phoenician colony of Lixus, where there was another temple of Melqart.

In classical literature, Melqart and Heracles have been referred to interchangeably, by many historians such as Josephus Flavius.

It is thought that the city of Cadiz was originally founded as Gadir (walled city) by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC, although hard evidence does not prove a date earlier than the 9th century BC. In his 2011 book, Ancient Phoenicia, Mark Woolmer has claimed [1053.46] that the archaeological evidence indicates a date around the middle of the 8th century BC.

It is regarded as the most ancient functioning city in Western Europe. Gadir had a temple that was dedicated to the Phoenician god Melqart. Some consider that the columns of this temple were the origin of the reference of the Columns of Heracles. Commentators on Plato’s Atlantis story have linked Cadiz (formerly Gades) with the second son of Poseidon, Gadirus.

Lixus

Lixus is an ancient site on a hilltop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, north of the port of Larache on the Loukkos River between Rabat and Tangier in Morocco. Its topography has led some to favour it as a possible location for Atlantis. Jonas Bergman was a lixusleading exponent of this idea but has recently(a) opted for a site further south between Rabat and Casablanca. Unsurprisingly, Frank Joseph has also claimed [108.111] an Atlantean connection for Lixus as well as Mogador, another ancient Moroccan port city situated further south.

It is generally accepted that it was a prehistoric seaport that the Carthaginian occupied around 800 BC, when they built on top of more ancient structures, so that its ruins today show three distinct cultural styles. On top are the most recent Roman remains, underneath which are Carthaginian and below that again a type reminiscent of the pre-Incan masonry in Peru. This lower style incorporates huge massive stones and the peculiar polygonal design found at Sacsahuaman and Andalusia in Spain. The explorer Thor Heyerdahl and the writer R. Cedric Leonard(b) have both remarked upon this feature. The question of how such unusual but similar types of masonry can be found on both sides of the Atlantic instantly leaps to mind.

Understandably, some have interpreted this as evidence of a transatlantic civilisation – Atlantis.  If not, what are these strangely similar masonry styles doing on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean?

According to Dr. Gerald S. Hawkins(1928-2003), formerly of the Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory, these lower megalithic walls are carefully aligned with the sun, noting that the earlier name for the city was Maqom Shemesh, or “City of the Sun” (Hawkins, 1973).

(a) https://www.paim.net

*(b) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170102134158/https://www.atlantisquest.com/Archeology.html*

Hesperides

 

The Hesperides in Greek mythology were the daughters of Atlas. They lived on an island in the far west guarding a tree that bore golden apples made famous in the story of the twelve labours of Hercules who was charged with obtaining some of the apples.

The Hesperides have also been referred to as the Fortunate Islands and is the name applied by classical writers to islands off the west coast of Africa that have been variously identified with the Azores, Canaries or Cape Verde islands. Other opinions place the garden at Gades or on the Atlantic coast of Morocco,> such as Pliny’s suggested location of Lixus(b).<

>According to Wikipedia “the Sicilian Greek poet Stesichorus, in his poem the “Song of Geryon”, and the Greek geographer Strabo, in his book Geographika (volume III), the garden of the Hesperides is located in Tartessos, a location placed in the south of the Iberian peninsula.”(c)<

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés writing in the 16th century [1117] considered the Antilles in the Caribbean to have been the legendary Isles of Hesperides.

While the majority opinion is that the name specifically refers to the Canaries, a minority view espoused by Andrew Collins[072](a) is similar to that of Oviedo, namely that Hesperides refers to the Caribbean, where he is convinced that Cuba had been the home of Atlantis.

>Reginald Fessenden argued that the Hesperides lay in the east not the west in chapter one of The Deluged Civilization of the Caucasus[1012].<

(a)  https://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=122922&t=122922

(b)  Pliny the Elder. Historia Naturalis – Book V. *

(c) Hesperides – Wikipedia *

Bergman, Jonas

Jonas Bergman is a Swedish Atlantologist living in Uppsala, who actively promotes his theory that Plato’s Atlantis was located in Morocco (PAiM). His lixusexcellent website(a) concentrates on matching the topography of Morocco with Plato’s description, together with a detailed re-appraisal of Plato’s original text.

He presented a paper at the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos in which he outlined the evidence for linking Atlantis with the Phoenicians, in particular their western colonies. Bergman contends that although Plato never applied the Greek word for continent, epiros, to Atlantis. his statement that Atlantis was greater than Asia and Libya combined was a reference to its size rather than its military might. Bergman supports his contention with a quotation from Strabo (Geography 2.3.6) who employs the term epiros in a similar manner.

Although he originally favoured the ancient city of Lixus on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, Bergman later modified his views and has now opted for Chellah (sometimes Salah or Shelah), a site on the river Bou Regreg near the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

Bergman also presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in which he quoted from fourteen classical authors a “range of parallels between Plato’s primeval Athenians and those of the Heroic tradition. The idea that Plato invented the whole thing seems highly unlikely.” [0750.103]

Some years ago, Georgeos Díaz-Montexano published a paper(b)(c) on the now-defunct AtlantisRising.com website in which he strongly criticised Bergman’s identification of Chellah with the Phoenician city of Sal? and by extension with the city of Atlantis.

In December 2016, Bergman published the first of a series of Kindle books with the title of The Foundations of Plato’s Atlantic Tale [1395]. In it he focuses on the credibility of Plato’s account and some of the apparent contradictions in the text. This is a short 36-page offering and in my opinion, is somewhat overpriced.

(a) https://www.paim.net/morocco/ (offline Sept.2016)

(b) http://desdelavegard.blogspot.com/2011/05/el-nombre-original-de-atlantis-ispalis.html  (Span)

(c) Archive 6379

 

Atlantides

Atlantides, in Greek mythology was the collective name given to the seven beautiful daughters of Atlas, the founder of Atlantis. They were also known as Pleiades or Hesperides, after their mother Hesperis. As the Hesperides they were considered the protectors of the Seven Isles of the Blest, which contained the Gardens of Atlas, their father. The Garden of the Hesperides was located, according to Eustatius in the field of Atlas.

Hercules had to locate ‘the golden apples’ in the Garden of the Hesperides.  Jonas Bergman has identified the ‘golden apples’ as the oranges of Morocco, with a site near Lixus providing the Garden of the Hesperides. *[The late Michael Hübner who was also an advocate for a Moroccan site for Atlantis proposed that the fruit of the Argan tree found in the Souss-Massa region were the ‘golden apples.]*

If these interpretations are is correct, it implies that Hercules was familiar with apples but not oranges and hence he must have come from a more northerly climate; which raises a series of other questions not pertinent to this work.

Mavor, James Watt

James Watt Mavor Jnr. (1923-2006) was an American who worked for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He helped build Alvin, the mini-sub that recovered the lost H-bomb off Spain some years ago. He spent several years cruising Santorini’s central bay in the research ship Chain, using sonar to map the bottom of the bay and bringing up evidence of the civilisation destroyed by the volcanic explosion in the second millennium BC. Unfortunately, following his second expedition to Thera, Mavor was asked to not return because he was stealing attention from the Greek archaeologist working on the project, Spyridon Marinatos.

James MavorMavor keenly supported Thera as the site of Atlantis and outlined his research and conclusions in his 1969 book, Voyage to Atlantis[265]. A critical review(b) by Sir Moses Finley (1912-1986) evoked a response(c) from Mavor not long afterwards.

After retiring from WHOI in 1980, he devoted himself to researching and writing about ancient history, anthropology, and archaeoastronomy.

Mavor has also surveyed the huge megalithic site of Mezorah (Mzora, Msoura), situated about 27 km from Lixus in Morocco. It is claimed to be the largest megalithic ellipse in the world.

>According to Hugh Newman in a paper on the global ubiquity of stone circles(d), he refers to Mavor’s work and notes that Mzora “appears to have been constructed either by the same culture that erected the megalithic sites in France, Britain and Ireland or by one that was intimately connected with them.”<

Robert Temple has commented extensively on Mezorah in his Egyptian Dawn[736]. A recent website supports the view that both Mezorah and Nabta Playa were constructed in conformity with the geometry employed in the construction of some British stone circles(a).

(a) https://www.stonepages.com/news/archives/004222.html

(b) https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1969/05/22/atlantis-or-bust/

(c) https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1969/12/04/back-to-atlantis-again/

>(d) https://grahamhancock.com/newmanh3/<