Plain of Atlantis
The Plain of Atlantis is one of the principal features recorded by Plato in great detail. He describes it being “3000 stades in length and at its midpoint 2000 stades in breath from the coast” (Critias 118a, trans. Lee). The shape of the plain is frequently given as ‘rectangular’ or ‘oblong’ and contained an efficient irrigation system that was fed by mountain streams. The fertility of the plain gave the inhabitants two crops annually.
The dimensions given by Plato would translate into 370 x 555 km (230 x 345 miles). However, the late Ulf Richter has recently proposed(a) that the dimensions originally given to Solon by the priests of Sais used the Egyptian ‘khet’ (52.4 meters) as the unit of measurement. Possibly Solon recorded the figures without mentioning the units employed. In Ireland, we changed over to the metric system some years ago, but builders still speak and write of using ‘2×4’ lengths of timber without specifying that they are referring to inches. Such unqualified notations made at present could be interpreted in the future as 2×4 centimetres. This illustrates how reasonable Richter’s suggestion is. The acceptance of it would give us a more credible 105 x 157 km (65 x 97 miles) as the dimensions of this plain. Richter also maintains that the plain was in fact a river delta, which explains the remarkable fertility of the land.
Jim Allen, who supports an Andean location for Atlantis, offers a strong argument against other principal Atlantis candidates by critically examining the plains included in alternative location theories(c). However, it must be pointed out that Allen had to divide Plato’s dimensions for the plain by two in order to shoehorn it into his chosen location.
While I accept that there is evidence that there was flooding on the Altiplano, it took place some thousands of years before the Bronze Age Atlantis described by Plato and certainly long before he wrote “this is why the sea in that area is to this day impassible to navigation, which is hindered by mud just below the surface, the remains of the sunken island.” (Timaeus 25d – Desmond Lee) This is not a description that can be applied to anywhere on the Altiplano during the 1st millennium BC. Apart from that, Plato’s account clearly states that Atlantis was submerged and was still so in his own day, making Allen’s critique somewhat redundant.
An interesting suggestion, although badly flawed, was made by Jean Deruelle who proposed ‘Doggerland‘ in the North Sea as the location of Atlantis, adding an interesting twist to Plato’s description of the Plain. “Deruelle, an engineer and a geologist by profession, offers a hypothesis that is rational, highly precise, and based on his areas of expertise. No other hypothesis than Deruelle’s tackles so credibly the most outlandish elements in Plato’s description of Atlantis: the description of a vast plain, surrounded by a man-made ditch, 180 meters broad and thirty meters deep, large enough to circulate supertankers: it was not a ditch, but a dyke, build over centuries to protect a large part of Doggerland against the slowly rising waters of the North Sea.”(d)
Diaz-Montexano maintains that Plato never said that the plain was shaped like a rectangle.
The Mediterranean, between Sicily and North Africa, has been offered by a number of commentators, such as Alberto Arecchi and Alex Hausmann, as the location of the Plain of Atlantis. There is evidence of large areas of land having been submerged within the region between Malta and the Pelagie Islands. I include here a passing reference from Ernle Bradford who sailed the region which may be of interest to supporters of a Central Mediterranean Atlantis. When discussing the Egadi Islands off the west coast of Sicily he describes Levanzo, the smallest of the group as being “once joined to Sicily, and the island was surrounded by a large fertile plain. Levanzo, in fact, was joined to more than Sicily. Between this western corner of the Sicilian coast and the Cape Bon peninsula in Tunisia there once lay rich and fertile valleys-perhaps, who knows, long lost Atlantis?” [1011.57]
The number of different locations that have been proposed for the plain is obviously a reflection of the number of sites suggested for the city of Atlantis. I list the most popular below with the added comment that, at best, only one can be correct while all may be wrong.
Plain of Atlantis
Cuba (Norman Frey) *
Mauritania (David Edward) *
Mesara Plain on Crete (Braymer)
Central Plain of Ireland (Erlingsson)
Sea of Azov (Flying Eagle & Whispering Wind)
Altiplano of Bolivia (Jim Allen)
Andalusian Plain (Diaz-Montexano)
North Sea (Doggerland) (Jean Deruelle)
Plain of Catania, Sicily
Plain of Campidano, Sardinia (Giuseppe Mura) *
Souss-Massa Plain, Morocco (Michael Hübner) (Mario Vivarez) *
Greenland (Mario Dantas)
Beni, Bolivia (David Antelo)
Mesopotamia in Argentina (Doug Fisher)
Black Sea (Werner E. Friedrich) (George K. Weller) *
Plain of Troy (J.D.Brady)
South of England (E.J. deMeester)
Carthage (Pallatino & Corbato)
Celtic Shelf (Dan Crisp)
Western Plain, Cuba (Andrew Collins)
Portugal (Peter Daughtrey)
Wales (Paul Dunbavin)
Florida (Dennis Brooks)
Atlantic Floor (Michael Jaye)
Baffin Bay, Greenland (Ian Fox)
Between Sicily and Malta (Axel Hausmann)
Pannonian Plain, Hungary+(Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu)
Guadalete River Plain (Karl Jürgen Hepke)
South China Sea Indonesia (Dhani Irwanto) (Bill Lauritzen) *
Saudi Arabia (Stan Deyo)
Venezuelan Basin (Caribbean) Brad Yoon (P.P. Flambas)
Yucatan Peninsula (Mark Carlotto)(b)
(b) A Commentary on Plato’s “Myth” of Atlantis – Before Atlantis
(e) Comparison of Plato’s Critias with George K. Weller’s concept of ancient Atlantis and its actual location. – The Weller Farm (archive.org) *
Morocco was known in ancient times as Maurusia and Mauretania and was mentioned by both Herodotus and Strabo. Herodotus referred to its inhabitants as Atalantes. It is the only African country with a coast on both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Its capital is Rabat and the largest city is Casablanca.
The very early human occupation of Morocco was confirmed in 2007 when beads were discovered in a cave in Eastern Morocco dated to around 80000 BC. A few years earlier a prehistoric city, dated to 13000 BC, was discovered in Western Sahara controlled by Morocco(f).
This has now been overshadowed by a 2017 report(c) that the remains of early relatives of homo sapiens had been discovered in Morocco and dated to between 300,000 and 350,000 years ago.
The Mzora Stone Circle is a huge megalithic monument in Morocco and is reputed to be the largest stone ellipse in the world. However, there are many other megalithic monuments in the country and across the Maghreb generally. Over twenty years ago Natalya Marquand published a study of ‘Megaliths and Stone Circles of Morocco and Their Relation to Those of the Mediterranean and Europe’. In conclusion, she noted that “The relations between the megaliths of Morocco may not be directly related to those in the rest of North Africa, and may be related to those in Spain. We can never really be sure, but in some way, all the megaliths of the Euro-Mediterranean region are connected (and they even extend further, into sub-Saharan Africa) connecting people, beliefs and culture the whole region over.” >Marquand’s paper is available on the Internet Archive website(e).<
Morocco was suggested as the possible location of Atlantis as early as 1868 by D.A. Godron. A few years later E.F Berlioux and Gustave Lagneau, a French anthropologist adopted the same idea. They were followed by a number of other commentators such as A.F.R. Knötel and Eduardo Saavedra, but the theory seems to have had little support beyond the 1920s.
However, the speculations of these researchers were replaced at the end of the 20th century with a more scientific approach by writers such as Jonas Bergman. He is considered by many to be today’s leading exponent of the ‘Atlantis in Morocco’ school of thought. His ideas can be read on an Atlantis Rising forum(a). Bergman bases his theory on a topographical comparison of Morocco with Plato’s text.
Originally, Bergman had opted for the ancient city of Lixus as the site of Atlantis but later changed his opinion and now favours a location near Rabat that had been an ancient Phoenician colony on the river Bou Regreg, called Salé, Sala or Chellah. Bergman presented three papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference outlining his theories[629 .473-506].
>M.P. Courville has proposed that Atlantis was a Phoenician colony situated on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. He expands on this in his 2022 book, Ancient Navigators .<
Erick Wright, another regular contributor to Atlantis Rising forums, had supported Bergman’s idea of Atlantis in Morocco. However, he later found that his investigations forced him to review his position and has now opted for a location in southern Turkey.
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano favours the region on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar as the original realm of Atlantis with the location of the capital city now submerged. In a similar manner, Thomas Dietrich in The Origin of Culture considers Morocco an Atlantean colony.
More recent support for a Moroccan Atlantis was presented in a paper presented at the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens, by the late M. Hübner an independent German researcher, which offered circumstantial evidence for the existence of Atlantis in the southern Moroccan region of Souss-Massa-Draâ. His theory is supported by a website(b) that includes a number of video clips and a 32-page synopsis of his book, Atlantis? Ein Indiezienbeweis, which has yet to be published in English.
>In 2019, Stefan Bittner joined the ‘Atlantis in Morocco Club’ with the publication of Atlantis – wissenschaftlich analysiert (Atlantis Scientifically Analysed) . Atlantisforschung commenting on Bittner’s book noted that he has “made a challenging contribution to solving the Atlantis problem. He comes to the remarkable conclusion that ‘Plato uses a historical source and reinterprets it as a philosophical metaphor’.”<
Thorwald C. Franke has written an interesting review(d) (in English) of Bittner’s 500-page book. Translating from the original German, Franke reveals that Bittner places Atlantis around 1650 BC and locates it “in the valley of the river Oued Laou, the Wadi Laou in northeast Morocco, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea at a small town of the same name.”
(e) Mzora: Moroccan Megaliths and Stone Circles (archive.org) *
(f) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2004-08-20/prehistoric-desert-town-found-in-western-sahara/2028740 *