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

Latest News

  • NEWS September 2023

    NEWS September 2023

    September 2023. Hi Atlantipedes, At present I am in Sardinia for a short visit. Later we move to Sicily and Malta. The trip is purely vacational. Unfortunately, I am writing this in a dreadful apartment, sitting on a bed, with access to just one useable socket and a small Notebook. Consequently, I possibly will not […]Read More »
  • Joining The Dots

    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 »
Search

Recent Updates

Michael Shermer

Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis

The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH) is based on the claim that around 12,800 years ago the Earth had an encounter with a very large asteroid or comet that broke up in an airburst over North America and of which some fragments possibly hit the ground directly(a).

Many effects have been linked with this event with varying levels of enthusiasm including a suggested association with the demise of Atlantis. Elsewhere, megafaunal extinctions, cataclysmic floods, the disappearance of the Clovis people and the creation of the Carolina Bays(g), have all been proposed as consequences of this episode.

In 2006, Richard Firestone, Allen West & Simon Warwick-Smith published the foundations of the YDIH in The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes [110]. A year later the hypothesis had a more public airing at the American Geophysical Union Press Conference, Acapulco, Mexico, on May 23(d). This was followed the same year by the publication of a formal paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America(f).

Since then volumes have been written on the subject, both pro and con(c).

A 2014 paper(h) entitled Nanodiamond-Rich Layer Across Three Continents Consistent with Major Cosmic Impact at 12,800 Cal BP by Charles R. Kinzie et al., has developed further the idea of this event being associated with the Younger Dryas. In a similar vein is an article(f) from Megan Gannon.

December 2014 saw Graham Hancock raising the issue of a cometary cause for the Younger Dryas and its possible association with ancient Egypt(e).

Martin Sweatman brought further evidence to bear on this debate in an article(i) on the Graham Hancock website. This focuses on the investigations at Hall’s Cave in Texas described in a paper by Sun et al, where the team concluded that the trace elements found there could indicate a volcanic rather than an impact as the cause of the Younger Dryas cooling! Sweatman disagrees with their conclusions claiming that there seems to be an element of selectivity in choosing data, leading to a wrong conclusion.

2019 also gave us a paper that included an extensive bibliography and overview of the YDIH debate(k).

In 2020, the eminent geologist James Lawrence Powell published Deadly Voyager [1911], which offered further support to the YDIH. This book was instrumental in changing the negative stance of a number of ardent sceptics including Michael Shermer(j).

In 2022 Powell concluded a paper reviewing the YDIH debates with the following

“Finally, we can now assess Sweatman’s suggestion that the YDIH may be ready for promotion from hypothesis to the status of theory. If we combine the definitions of “theory” from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, it would read something like this:

 ‘A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed.’

Those who have read this article and Sweatman’s have the information to decide whether the YDIH meets this definition. In this author’s opinion, there is a strong case that it does. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that no other single theory can explain the YD and its associated effects.”(l)

I note that Robert Schoch claims that there is no evidence to support the Younger Dryas impact theory, instead, he believes that “it was most likely due to reduced solar activity at that time, a solar shut-down.”(n) Schoch’s wide-ranging critique has been refuted by the Comet Research Group.(o)

In 2012, Jennifer Marlon et al published a paper, now made available by Marlon on the Academia website, in which they present “arguments and evidence against the hypothesis that a large impact or airburst caused a significant abrupt climate change, extinction event, and termination of the Clovis culture at 12.9 ka. It should be noted that there is not one single Younger Dryas (YD) impact hypothesis but several that conflict with one another regarding many significant details.”(m)


Scienceopen.com is a website offering “A peer-reviewed open-access journal collection covering all aspects of airbursts and impacts on Earth by comets and asteroids”. October 2023 brought the publication of five papers on the subject(p).

>In March 2024 The New York Times Magazine published an updated overview of the history and current status of the YDIH(q). The sceptical tone of the article includes an interesting look at the psychological drivers behind the popularity of the hypothesis with the general public. It concludes by noting that

In a sense, what West and his collaborators think now hardly matters. The hypothesis has already penetrated deeply, and perhaps indelibly, into the public imagination, seemingly on its way to becoming less a matter of truth than a matter of personal and group identity. Nobody I spoke with seemed to think it would go away soon, if ever. West, though, took a measured view. “All we can say is this is a hypothesis,” he said. “It’s still a debate. We may be wrong; we may be right. But only time will tell.”<

(a) https://humanoriginproject.com/evidence-younger-dryas-impact-hypothesis/

(b) YDIH: Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis | Thongchai Thailand (archive.org)

(c) https://cometresearchgroup.org/publications/

(d) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1GCgOI3B1o

(e) https://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/HancockG13.php

(f) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994902/

(g) https://cosmictusk.com/carolina-bays-in-the-midwest

(h) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268390328_Nanodiamond-Rich_Layer_Across_Three_Continents_Consistent_with_Major_Cosmic_Impact_at_12800_Cal_BP

(i) Volcanic or cosmic impact origin of the YD mini ice-age? New evidence from Hall’s Cave, Texas – Graham Hancock Official Webs*ite 

(j) In praise of intellectual honesty – The Cosmic Tusk 

(k) YDIH: Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis | Thongchai Thailand (tambonthongchai.com)

(l) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00368504211064272 

(m) (99+) Arguments and Evidence Against a Younger Dryas Impact Event | Jennifer Marlon – Academia.edu 

(n) https://www.robertschoch.com/plasma_iceage.html  

(o) https://cosmictusk.com/comet-research-group-responds-to-robert-schoch/

(p) https://blog.scienceopen.com/2023/10/introducing-comet-research-group-on-scienceopen/

(q) The Comet Strike Theory That Just Won’t Die – The New York Times (nytimes.com)*

Christopher, Kevin

Kevin Christopher is a confirmed sceptic, whose paper, Atlantis: No way, No How, No Where (a) , is widely available on the internet. It is a lightweight offering, frequently quoting two of the most extreme location theories, such as, Bolivia and Antarctica as justification for his view that the Atlantis story is ‘entirely fictional’.

Christopher also questions the chain of transmission of the story, describing it as ‘tenuous’. But as I have pointed out elsewhere, if Plato had simply concocted the Atlantis tale, it is reasonable to expect that he would also have invented a more straightforward provenance. Consequently, any perceived difficulties in this regard, actually enhance the credibility of the narrative.

>Some years ago Rod Martin wrote a short paper grading the arguments of some of the better known Atlantis sceptics, such as Michael Shermer and Kevin Christopher(b) .<

(a) https://www.csicop.org/sb/show/atlantis_no_way_no_how_no_where

(b) Mission: Atlantis, by Rod Martin, Jr. — Grading the Skeptics — Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (archive.org) *

Younger Dryas

Younger Dryas is also known as Dryas III was a mini Ice Age that lasted from around 10,700 BC until around 9600 BC. It is named after a wildflower called Dryas octopetala that flourished during this relatively short period. In Ireland, the period is known as the Nahanagan Stadial and in Britain as the Loch Lomond Stadial. For about thirteen hundred years the glaciers had been slowly retreating until within a short timespan temperature dropped and they began to advance again. The cause of this cooling is not entirely clear. One view is that a sudden release into the North Atlantic of vast quantities of freshwater that had been contained by huge ice dams is assumed to have closed down the Gulf Stream, resulting in a twelve-hundred-year lowering of global temperatures. There is evidence that the change only took one or two decades. The same threat is said to exist today with the possibility of the melting of the Greenland ice cap. It also seems that this YD cooling ended with the same rapidity.

In 2011 a paper by Nicholas Pinter et al offered a critical review of the evidence available at that time which, from their perspective, did not fully support the YDIH(z).

A recent application of archaeoastronomy by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis led them to conclude that the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe recorded an encounter involving the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that provided the impetus for the Neolithic Revolution. Sweatman later expanded their work in his book Prehistory Decoded [1621] and an article on the Ancient Origins website(k). In June 2021, Sweatman had a paper entitled The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis: a review of the impact evidence’ published in the journal ‘Earth Science Review’ of the University of Edinburgh(u).

Kevin A. & Patrick J. Casey maintain that a globally catastrophic event occurred 13,000 years ago(j). The kernel of their theory is that originally the Earth had two moons that at some later point collided, producing our current Moon, while the remnant of the second one eventually exploded over North America kick-starting what we refer to as the cooler Younger Dryas period. They are adamant that it was not a comet or asteroid that caused the devastation, and so clash with the conclusions of Richard Firestone and his colleagues.

A completely different view is expressed in Rod (Carl) Martin’s latest book [1623], where he proposes that the Younger Dryas ended as a result of a catastrophic event. Is it possible that there were two cataclysmic episodes? John Ackerman, a keen follower of Immanuel Velikovsky claims that there were two such events related to “the capture of the Moon into its current orbit,” marking the beginning and the end of the Younger Dryas period(q).

A somewhat technical paper, published in July 2020, challenges the comet impact theory because of geochemical anomalies, Instead, they argue that the YD event was a consequence of volcanic activity(s), rather than an impact! Martin Sweatman refutes this in a paper on Graham Hancock’s website(i).

In 2015, a paper constraining the impact date to within 100 years using Bayesian statistical analyses, now proposed as 12,835 -12,735 years ago(h).

Coincidentally, Emilio Spedicato independently concluded that it was a cometary impact in the North Atlantic that was responsible for the Younger Dryas. Subsequently, when temperatures rose again it resulted in the flooding of vast areas of low-lying landmasses that in Spedicato’s opinion included Atlantis, which he locates in Hispaniola.

Conflicting evidence regarding the possibility of the Younger Dryas being caused by such an impact is impartially outlined on the internet(a).

The November 2013 issue of the BBC Focus magazine (p.30) had a brief article on the impact theory, noting that the northern hemisphere saw a drop of as much as 15°C around 11,000BC. In the absence of a suitable impact crater of the right age, there is still much scientific scepticism(b).

However, in early 2017, further possible evidence of an impact at the start of the Younger Dryas was offered by a team led by Christopher Moore of the University of South Carolina, when they identified a distinct layer of platinum in the soil that coincided with the start of YD. Commenting on this anomaly Moore noted that “Platinum is very rare in the Earth’s crust, but it is common in asteroids and comets.”(e) In 2019, Moore published further data(m) supporting the extraterrestrial impact theory, based on studies carried out on sediments, which date back 20,000 years, from White Pond Lake, situated in southern Kershaw County, South Carolina. “Other examples of excessive platinum grains have been found across Europe, western Asia, Chile, South Africa(r) and North America.” (n)

In early 2018, two papers were published online(i), reinforcing the YD impact theory and adding evidence that the event resulted in a conflagration that may have consumed ~10 million km2, or ~9% of Earth’s terrestrial biomass.” Related to this is a paper by Andrew Collins that draws attention to the ‘Usselo horizon’, a charcoal-rich layer of between 1 and 8 inches, found on all continents, indicating widespread fires, now dated to 12,900 years ago(l).>An additional paper by Hans Kloosterman offers additional background information on the charcoal-rich layer(ab).<

Ice cores from Greenland indicate a further cooling period circa 6200 BC that may be related to the abandonment of many Neolithic settlements during this period. Other periods of abrupt climate change have been identified from 3800 BC to 3500 BC and 2800 BC to 2000 BC.

The fact that Plato’s apparent date for the demise of Atlantis, circa 9600 BC, roughly corresponds with the current, best estimate for the date of the Younger Dryas is interesting but unfortunately not conclusive proof of any direct connection. In the absence of any supportive archaeological evidence, a linkage between Atlantis and the Younger Dryas will have to remain a matter of faith rather than fact. Interesting but inconclusive.

In 2017, Graham Hancock reviewed the Younger Dryas debate over the previous decade in a lengthy essay(v). This was prior to the publication of America Before. He finished with the following comment. Perhaps the lost civilization that I have spent the last quarter of a century trying to track down had its most significant outpost, possibly even its heartland, in North America in the period BEFORE the Younger Dryas cataclysms of 12,800 to 11,600 years ago?”  Hancock is inferring here that there was a single global civilisation, a hyperdiffusionist stance that I consider indefensible.

A short paper by John Patrick Hill offers a theory that requires more than faith to accept it; he wrote “Just over 12 thousand years ago, the world was struck by an immense meteor group. It destroyed all of North America and much of Europe and went weIl beyond……… I found proof to support that the creators of the Giza Three and Stonehenge used the Barringer Crater in Arizona as part of the geometry for their massive structures.”  Later he reveals that at “Giza, when one takes the distance between the outside corners of the three large pyramids there, that distance is equal to 0.72 miles, the exact distance (diameter) at Barringer.” An expanded version of his paper is available online(t).

In another paper Hill(aa) says that “the Younger Dryas Meteor Event struck 12.8 thousand years ago and it was so large, it is wrote down not only in geologic records but also in holy books, as Noah’s Flood.”

Recent discoveries in northern Sudan of dozens of skeletons, the majority of whom were killed by flint-tipped arrows, have led to the suggestion(c) they were the result of food shortages resulting from the Younger Dryas that in turn led to warfare over diminished food availability.

I note that Robert Schoch claims that there is no evidence to support the Younger Dryas impact theory, instead, he believes that “it was most likely due to reduced solar activity at that time, a solar shut-down.”(o) Schoch’s wide-ranging critique has been refuted by the Comet Research Group.(p)

In 2020, James Lawrence Powell (1936- ), a noted geologist, author, former college president and museum director entered the Younger Dryas debate with the publication of Deadly Voyager [1911]. In it, Powell offers wholehearted support to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH), understandably generating a favourable review from Graham Hancock(w).

>In 2020, Tony Petrangelo argued that the Younger Dryas event did not destroy Atlantis, but that it was more compatible with the story of Phaeton(ac).<

Even more important, is that Powell’s book induced a number of heavy-duty critics of YDIH, including Michael Shermer to change their opinion(x).

Powell offered a further review of the YD debates in a 2022 paper(y).

(a) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20130310032309/https://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/climatedebate/

(b) https://www.livescience.com/39362-younger-dryas-meteor-quebec.html

(c) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/saharan-remains-may-be-evidence-of-first-race-war-13000-years-ago-9603632.html

(d) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268390328_Nanodiamond-Rich_Layer_Across_Three_Continents_Consistent_with_Major_Cosmic_Impact_at_12800_Cal_BP

(f) https://www.space.com/17676-comet-crash-ice-age.html

(g) https://popular-archaeology.com/issue/winter-2017/article/discovery-of-widespread-platinum-may-help-solve-clovis-people-mystery

(h) https://cosmictusk.com/new-paper-younger-dryas-boundary-impact-date-constrained-within-100-years/

(i) https://www.dailygrail.com/2018/02/a-comet-impact-13000-years-ago-set-fire-to-10-of-the-planet/

(j) https://www.academia.edu/38380799/13k_Theory_Atlantis_Revisited.pdf

(k) https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-important-events/younger-dryas-0012216

(l) https://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/Lommel.htm

(m) https://theconversation.com/new-evidence-that-an-extraterrestrial-collision-12-800-years-ago-triggered-an-abrupt-climate-change-for-earth-118244

(n) https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/29/world/ice-age-extraterrestrial-impact-scn/index.html

(o) https://www.robertschoch.com/plasma_iceage.html

(p) https://cosmictusk.com/comet-research-group-responds-to-robert-schoch/

(q) https://www.firmament-chaos.com/va_scenario.html

(r) https://www.q-mag.org/the-impact-that-set-the-earth-on-fire-12800y-ago-geological-evidence-now-found-also-in-the-southern-hemisphere.html

(s) https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/31/eaax8587

(t) Archive 6555 | (atlantipedia.ie)  

(u) The_Younger_Dryas_impact_hypothesis_MBS.pdf (ed.ac.uk)

(v) The Younger Dryas Impact research since 2007 – The Cosmic Tusk

(w) https://grahamhancock.com/deadly-voyager/

(x) In praise of intellectual honesty – The Cosmic Tusk

(y) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00368504211064272

(z) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0012825211000262 

(aa) Migration & Diffusion (migration-diffusion.info)

(ab) http://www.catastrophist.org/home/usselo-2002/#:~:text=The%20Usselo%20horizon%20was%20found,white%20sand%20with%20black%20speckles”. *

(ac) https://atlantis.fyi/blog/atlantis-and-the-younger-dryas-impact-hypothesis *

Sceptics

Sceptics regarding the existence of Atlantis have been around since the time of Plato. The first such critic was assumed to be Aristotle, a pupil of Plato’s, who apparently denounced the Atlantis tale as an invention. However, this presumed scepticism of Aristotle has now been seriously challenged by Thorwald C. Franke in a 2012 book, Aristotle and Atlantis[706] specifically dealing with the subject. Nevertheless, Aristotle does record the existence of a large island in the Atlantic known to the Phoenicians as Antilia, inadvertently supporting Plato’s story(i).

Franke has recently outlined the extensive support for the existence of Atlantis from the earliest times in his recent German-language book[1255]. He has followed that with a YouTube video(j) in which he relates how scepticism became more extensive in the 19th century.

Sprague deCamp was probably the most quoted Atlantis sceptic of the second half of the 20th century. He offered the blunt declaration that Plato concocted the whole story, basing the tale on a mixture of the wealth of Tartessos in Spain, and the destruction of the Greek island of Atalanta all intermingled with the mythology of Atlas.

One of deCamp’s most quoted extracts is that “you cannot change all the details of Plato’s story and still claim to have Plato’s story.” While I fully endorse this comment, I must point out that there is a difference between changing and interpreting details. For example, when Plato refers to Asia or Libya, even deCamp accepted that in Plato’s day ‘Asia’ was not the landmass we know, stretching from the Urals to Japan, but interpreted Plato’s ‘Asia’ as a reference to a much smaller territory [0194.27].

Many modern commentators believe that in the interests of dramatic effect Plato heavily embellished the core truth underlying the story, namely that of an ancient submerged civilisation.

A claim frequently put forward by sceptics was echoed by Ian Alex Blaise, who wrote(l) that “we can summarise the ‘Timaeus and Critias’ as a parable of good (ancient Athens) triumphing over evil (Atlantis).” This, however, would appear to run counter to Plato’s narrative that records that both vanquished and victorious armies were destroyed, which is not what you would expect from a morality tale.

Commenting on the suggestion that the story of Atlantis was intended as a morality tale Eberhard Zangger noted that “the description of the natural disasters also contradicts the occasional speculative conjecture that Plato did not mean to illustrate the ideal state with Atlantis, but with archaic Greece. After all, he says Atlantis was punished for its gradual moral decline by being destroyed (Vidal-Naquet, 1964). But if the story is supposed to be a moral parable, why is the “good” Greek side first punished with natural disasters? And why does Plato mainly describe the “barbaric” enemies instead of the old Hellenic civilisation? The traditional attempts at interpretation offer no answers to these questions.”(o)

Another critic, Joe Garcia, offers a paper attacking both the Minoan and Spanish location theories(m).

However, when we consider modern sceptics we find that they have been provided with unlimited ammunition by the poor scholarship of many Atlantis supporters and the outright ravings of the likes of Blavatsky, Steiner, Cayce, and a profusion of other authors, who claim to have channelled information regarding Atlantis.

Edwin Ramage, in his essay[522] on Atlantis, makes the interesting comment that “believers tend to overshadow the sceptics for the simple reason that a positive theory, whether it is simple or elaborate, tends to be more attractive and to make better reading than any attempt at refutation, no matter how well taken it may be.” This is probably akin to referenda questions being framed by governments in a manner that favours a Yes vote that will provide the outcome that they want. This is because most people prefer to say Yes rather than No.

However, if the Atlantis narrative has any truth in it, the legitimate criticisms of sceptics must be given due consideration. One such sceptic is Paul Jordan who has produced a highly critical work[418] on the subject. Jason Colavito is another vocal non-believer and has written a considerable amount on the subject(d). Several other websites(b)(c)(e) can also be recommended, in particular,  a seven-part offering by Pat Linse(b).

I recently came across a sceptic review of Atlantis theories by Justin Spring which I thought contained some novel views and although I totally disagree with his conclusions, I feel it should be given a reading(g).

While I expect that few sceptics will be reading this entry, I would recommend to anyone a paper by Karla Mclaren, a former New Age ‘believer’ who developed into a sceptic(f).

A 2015 survey by the Chapman University of California was repeated in 2016, which suggested that nearly 40% of Americans believe that an advanced prehistoric civilisation, such as Atlantis, existed, causing consternation among sceptics(h). Why they found it so depressing is hard to understand since popular belief is no guarantee that it is supported by reality. After all, it was once commonly thought that the sun revolved around the earth!

There are times when I regret that I have not had a university education and then along comes a qualified academic who manages to remove any such feeling. One of those is Seth Stein, a professor at Northwestern University, who specialises in plate tectonics, who was reported in early 2018(k) to have proposed that “one of the strongest reasons to dispel Atlantis as a true ancient civilization is the fact that we haven’t found it.” This asinine comment shows a total abandonment of critical thinking because he seems to think that because something has not been found, proves that it does not exist. For example, before Heinrich Schliemann, Troy did exist but had yet to be located. Professor Stein’s stupid statement is also built on a flawed understanding of what Plato said or more correctly, did not say. Plato never described Atlantis as a continent, as assumed by Stein and it can be reasonably argued that our Atlantic Ocean where he sought Atlantis was not the Atlantic ‘Sea’ referred to by Plato. I suggest that Stein sticks to earth sciences and leave Atlantis to others.

In October 2021, Franke published an essay on what he calls the ‘dark side’ of Atlantis scepticism, which offers an interesting overview of anti-Platonism since the time of the philosopher(n).

>Some years Rod Martin wrote a short paper(p)  in which he grades the arguments of a number of the better known Atlantis sceptics, such as, Kevin Christopher and Michael Shermer.<

(b) Skeptic » Junior Skeptic » The Search for Atlantis (issue #10)   

(c) The Wild Side of Geoarchaeology Page (archive.org)

(d) https://searchatlantis.blogspot.com/2007/08/atlantis-mu-and-maya.html

(e) https://web.archive.org/web/20190530104546/https://www.skepticssa.org.au/html/atlantis.html

(f)  https://web.archive.org/web/20180605101330/https://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridging_the_chasm_between_two_cultures/

(g) https://scyllasoulspeak1.blogspot.ie/2011/06/atlantis-what-was-plato-really-up-to.html 

(h) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/chapman-university-survey-finds-astonishing-levels-of-belief-in-ancient-astronauts-and-atlantis

(i) Strabo, II, 102 and XII, 598. Cf. Proclus In Timaeum 61a (Diehl I, p. 197).

(j) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF62FLucvQk

(k) https://www.newsweek.com/could-lost-city-atlantis-exist-ocean-mapping-reveals-likelihood-legendary-city-828457

(l) https://www.oocities.org/debunkinglc/atlantis.html (link broken)  

(m) https://www.academia.edu/8064249/Did_Atlantis_Exist 

(n) The Dark Side of Atlantis Scepticism – Atlantis-Scout 

(o) Wayback Machine (archive.org) 

(p) Mission: Atlantis, by Rod Martin, Jr. — Grading the Skeptics (archive.org) *

 

Hancock, Graham

Graham Hancock_thumb[1]Graham Hancock the well-known investigator of prehistoric mysteries has never discussed the Atlantis enigma in depth. In fact, he once remarked on BBC Television that he avoids using the word ‘Atlantis’ in his books “because most people when they hear the word Atlantis immediately think that they’re dealing with the lunatic fringe”.

Furthermore, he emphasises the potential value of myths as transmitters of historical facts, albeit distorted.

In his 1995 tome on civilisations submerged at the end of the last Ice Age, Fingerprints of the Gods [275.462] he briefly discusses the subject of Atlantis. He accepted that the Atlantic was not harbouring any lost continent, although he was seeking a continental-sized home for his vanished civilisation. Paul Heinrich has posted a review(v) of ‘Fingerprints’.

Similarly, in his earlier work, The Sign and the Seal [678.319], Hancock had clearly discounted the Atlantic as the home of Atlantis. At this point, he appeared to be considering the Antarctic location proposed by the Flem-Aths.

His book, Underworld [274] was published in 2002 and was followed by a TV programme, Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, which was based on it. The latter evoked a highly critical review(s) from N.C. Flemming, who has written widely on maritime matters including sea-level changes and sunken cities [1682]. Hancock wrote an equally strong response(r) to this.

Hancock maintains an interesting website(a) that is regularly updated with contributions from a wide range of contributors. His bestselling Fingerprints of the Gods is now available online(b).

The other side of the coin is that Hancock’s evidence supporting his theories has been heavily criticised as flawed(g) and misleadingly presented(h).

Hancock regularly draws attention to what he considers mystical relationships between the Great Pyramid of Giza and the radius, circumference, and axial precession of the earth…….. Proponents of these “mystical” relationships contend, in addition to existing in the first place, that the relationships must be purposeful and therefore provide direct evidence of advanced capabilities in technology, mathematics, and precise astronomical observing techniques that scholars have long asserted were not available to humans when the pyramids were constructed.”  These are among the opening remarks by Thomas W. Schroeder, who published two papers in 2019 criticising Hancock’s scholarship.(y-z)

E.J. de Meester who proposed an English location for Atlantis, before his website went offline, was critical of Graham Hancock’s hyperdiffusionist concept of Atlantis commenting that In 1999 Discovery Channel broadcast a three-part series called ‘Quest for the lost Civilisation’.In it, Graham Hancock stated that the pyramids, Angkor Vat, Stonehenge, the stones of Carnac, the Nazca lines, temples in Mexico and the statues of Easter Island were all part of an ancient global civilisation of seafarers who were apparently obsessed by astrology. The temples of Angkor Vat (in Cambodia) were said to be built in the shape of the zodiac sign Draco, the pyramids of Gizeh in the shape of Sirius; the Sphinx is supposed to be looking at the sign of Leo. It’s all rather vague. Hard to say whether it’s nonsense or not. More information can be found in Hancock’s books, like ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’[0275]  and ‘Heaven’s Mirror’ [0855] .” De Meester’s comments are still (2023) available on the archive.org website(ar).

For my part, I consider this hodgepodge of locations presented by Hancock as parts of his global civilisation to be utter nonsense. The sites listed above have little in common; Carnac and Stonehenge are probably the only two that might be considered to be related. Perhaps the most obvious weakness in his claim is the fact that some of the sites are separated by millennia. Easter Island, Angor Wat and Nazca were developed long after Atlantis was submerged.

Further criticism of Hancock’s scholarship has come from Garrett Fagan, particularly in relation to his comments regarding Antarctica.(aa)

Jason Colavito has written(c) a critical review of Hancock’s work and his recent advocacy “for ayahuasca, a South American hallucinogen. Since taking the drug for his 2005 book Supernatural, Hancock has supported the concept that mind-altering substances give their users access to a spirit world where one can commune directly with the ‘gods’.”

In April 2015, Hancock was due to engage in a debate with Zahi Hawass on the subject of their conflicting views of ancient history. However, when Hawass saw that Hancock included an image of Robert Bauval in his presentation, he refused to continue with the arranged format(d)(t).

In September 2015, Hancock published his, Magicians of the Gods [1119] which worryingly sounds like a von Däniken book title! Already, he is trailing this publication with teasers, such as a claim that he has finally identified the ‘smoking gun’ that demonstrates that a cometary impact destroyed an advanced civilisation in the Antarctic 12,800 years ago(e) Shortly after the initial report was published, Hancock had to correct errors in it(f), the principal one being that the impact site was the North American ice cap NOT Antarctica. An interview with Hancock shortly before the publication of ‘Magicians’(n) is online as is also a review of the book itself(o). A full-length video lecture based on the book is available online(x).

Hancock also climbed aboard the Gobekli Tepe bandwagon, incorporating it along with Noah’s Ark and Atlantis into one narrative(p).

Hancock’s book also engages in scaremongering, with a sales-boosting prediction that an asteroid impact is possible in 2030 when the Earth once again enters the orbit of the remains of Encke’s Comet!

Jason Colavito’s critical review of ‘Magicians‘ is now online(j). A more favourable evaluation of his book is now available from Dr Jon Epstein of Greensboro College, who expresses some interesting views on the closed-mindedness of many academics(k). Epstein’s review prompted further comments from Colavito(l). Following correspondence between Epstein and Colavito, additional claims of academic conspiracy to block Hancock have emerged.

Michael Shermer, a professional sceptic, attacked Hancock’s ‘Magicians’ in a Scientific American article arguing first of all that, “no matter how devastating an extraterrestrial impact might be, are we to believe that after centuries of flourishing, every last tool, potsherd, article of clothing, and, presumably from an advanced civilization, writing, metallurgy and other technologies—not to mention trash—was erased? Inconceivable.” (ab)

Hancock recently received the endorsement of the South African Professor of Philosophy, Bert Olivier, which swiftly produced a response from Colavito(q).

Hancock’s next book, America Before, published in April 2019, proposes that North America was inhabited 130,000 years ago and was home to an advanced civilisation that was destroyed by a cometary impact at the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 10,000 BC. The fact that this is contradicted by Plato does not seem to bother him. Hancock proposed cometary impact damage as the cause of Atlantis’ demise, Plato says flooding. I would prefer Plato’s account as he was nearly two and a half millennia nearer the event. Hancock claims that Atlantean survivors spread their alleged high-tech civilisation around the world. Plato does not describe Atlantis as any more advanced than any other culture. Hancock offers no tangible evidence for his claim.

When asked what he meant by ‘advanced’ Hancock revealed(u) that “I think we’re talking about a civilization – more than 12,000 years ago – which was as advanced as our civilization was, say in the late 18th century or early 19th century. In other words, they could navigate the world, they could explore the world, they could measure the world accurately, they had precise astronomy, they could create beautiful maps that were accurate in terms of latitude and longitude. That kind of level of civilization.”

In late 2022, Hancock had a TV series entitled Ancient Apocalypse transmitted on Netflix. It was, of course, joyously greeted by his fans, but received more muted reviews in other quarters(ad). Not unexpectedly Jason Colavito(af) and Thorwald C. Franke (Newsletter 206)(ae). Murdoch’s The Sun tabloids offered a voice(ac) for the cries of protest from academics. It appears that the series has been used as a multi-episode aggressive rant against conventional archaeology. Perhaps it was just the ayahuasca speaking.

In response, this week (Dec.2, 2022), the Society for American Archaeology published an open letter(ah) to Netflix and the television production house ITN requesting that they re-classify its new series Ancient Apocalypse as a work of fiction rather than a docuseries(ag). Eventually, Hancock responded with a lengthy article(al) described by Jason Colavito as ‘hysterical’(am), but in my view, it contains many interesting points.

The uproar over the Hancock-Netflix series continues unabated with Colavito offering the following addition to his website(ai) and a longer piece on The New Republic website(aj); “It has also sparked unparalleled outrage from archaeologists and journalists, resulting in dozens of think pieces decrying the show’s many false claims and illogical arguments, analyzing its racist implications, and declaring the series everything from “fishy” to the “most dangerous” show on Netflix. “Why has this been allowed?” asked Britain’s The Guardian. The answer to that seemed pretty obvious: Hancock’s son, Sean Hancock, is Netflix’s senior manager for unscripted originals.”

The Guardian newspaper (UK) took another perceived aspect of the series to accuse Hancock – who describes himself as a journalist presumably to avoid being called a pseudo-scientist” – of taking “the story to a new controversial level in suggesting that survivors of such a deluge were the instigators of the great works of other civilisations, from Egypt to Mexico and Turkey to Indonesia. As (Flint) Dibble states, such claims reinforce white supremacist ideas. ‘They strip indigenous people of their rich heritage and instead give credit to aliens or white people.’ In short, the series promotes ideas of ‘race science’ that are outdated and long since debunked.”(ak).

On April 2023, Jason Colavito reported(an) In a surprise move, Graham Hancock pulled out of June’s Cosmic Summit, a meeting of catastrophists in support of the theory that a comet hit the Earth at the end of the last Ice Age and destroyed a high-tech lost civilization. Atlantis speculator Jimmy Corsetti, who was also scheduled to speak, also said he would not be attending. Corsetti claimed he had been ‘removed’ against his will from the list of speakers, leaving the conference in chaos.”  There is some suggestion that problems arose over a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Hancock offered the following explanation on his website(ao)  “Serious concerns have been brought to my attention that has caused me to lose confidence in the fundamental philosophy and direction of this conference.”

In June 2023, Michael Shermer published an article in Skeptic magazine that attacked Hancock’s theories generally and the 2022 Netflix series in particular(ap).

The Netflix episode dealing with the Maltese megaliths has drawn criticism from archaeologists in Malta, one of whom appeared briefly in the episode and later implied that her appearance was “manipulated to suit the narrative that the series is trying to push.” (aq)

>Archaeologist Flint Dibble agreed to go head-to-head with Graham Hancock on the popular Joe Rogan Experience in April 2024(as). This lengthy encounter is available on YouTube(at). Because the discussion lasted over four hours, Jason Colavito could only see and review parts of the show(au). I get the impression that the debate did not produce the fireworks anticipated by some. I also wonder why Dibble had to wear a now clichéd Indiana Jones fedora hat.<

(a) https://www.grahamhancock.com

(b) https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/egipto/fingerprintgods/fingerprintgods.htm#contents

(c) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/1/post/2012/09/graham-hancock-maya-knew-about-5000-year-cycle-of-bureaucratic-civilization.html

(d) https://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/HancockG15.php

(e) https://metro.co.uk/2015/05/18/comet-which-hit-antarctica-13000-years-ago-wiped-out-advanced-civilisation-5202576/

(f) https://m.facebook.com/Author.GrahamHancock/photos/a.10151524582402354.1073741825.31260747353/10153324831577354/?type=1&theatre

(g) https://web.archive.org/web/20200225173834/http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mom/atlantis.html

(h) https://www.luckymojo.com/hancocklecture.html

(i) https://web.archive.org/web/20200804080428/http://csglobe.com/exclusive-comet-three-times-bigger-than-dinosaur-killer-could-soon-destroy-earth/

(j) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/magicians-of-the-gods-review.html#.VfaDWMtRFwF

(k) “But then, just for the hell of it, you decide to up the ante”- Review- Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods – Camel City Dispatch (archive.org)

(l) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/greensboro-college-professor-graham-hancock-is-showing-archaeologists-how-to-ask-real-questions

(m) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/sociologist-claims-hubris-of-archaeology-resulted-in-conspiracy-to-silence-graham-hancock

(n) https://andrewgough.co.uk/interviews_hancock_2015/

(o) Archive 2904

(p) Gobekli Tepe, Noah’s Ark & Lost Atlantis – Collective Evolution (archive.org) 

(q) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/south-african-philosophy-professor-endorses-graham-hancocks-lost-civilization-demands-paradigm-shift-in-archaeology

(r) https://grahamhancock.com/archive-underworld2/

(s) https://www.scribd.com/document/335992579/Nick-Flemming-Review-of-Flooded-Kingdoms-of-the-Ice-Age

(t) https://www.dailygrail.com/2015/04/game-of-groans-egyptologist-zahi-hawass-goes-into-meltdown-during-debate-with-graham-hancock/

(u) https://www.dailygrail.com/2019/04/watch-graham-hancock-discuss-his-new-book-america-before/

(v) The Cuicuilco Pyramid and Fingerprints of the Gods (archive.org)  

(w) An Analysis of the Quality of Graham Hancock’s Science (hallofmaat.com) 

(x) Magicians of the Gods Lecture by Graham Hancock at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey – YouTube

(y) https://www.hallofmaat.com/numerology/a-critique-of-graham-hancocks-forced-numerical-relationship-between-the-great-pyramid-of-giza-and-earths-dimensions-1/

(z)  https://www.hallofmaat.com/numerology/a-critique-of-graham-hancocks-forced-numerical-relationship-between-the-great-pyramid-of-giza-and-earths-dimensions-2/

(aa) https://www.hallofmaat.com/meh/antarctic-farce/

(ab) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/no-there-wasnt-an-advanced-civilization-12-000-years-ago/

(ac) https://www.thesun.ie/news/9782110/wild-atlantis-theory-netlfix-documentary/

(ad) Lost city of Atlantis rises again to fuel a dangerous myth | Archaeology | The Guardian 

(ae) https://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlantis_newsl_archive.htm

(af) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/review-of-netflixs-ancient-apocalypse 

(ag) Archaeologists Ask Netflix to Reclassify Graham Hancock’s ‘Unfounded’ Netflix Docuseries ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ as Fiction | Artnet News 

(ah) saa-letter-ancient-apocalypse.pdf

(ai) Read My New Piece on “Ancient Apocalypse” in “The New Republic” (substack.com)  

(aj) The Strange and Dangerous Right-Wing Freakout Over Ancient Apocalypse | The New Republic

(ak) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/nov/27/atlantis-lost-civilisation-fake-news-netflix-ancient-apocalypse

(al) Response by Graham Hancock (GH) to the open letter to Netflix dated 30th November 2022 from the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) concerning the eight-part docuseries Ancient Apocalypse presented by Graham Hancock – Graham Hancock Official Website

(am) Graham Hancock Issues Response to Archaeology Association’s Open Letter – JASON COLAVITO

(an) Graham Hancock Pulls Out of Cosmic Summit, Replaced by Scott Wolter – JASON COLAVITO 

(ao) https://grahamhancock.com/events/ 

(ap) Skeptic » Reading Room » Alternative Civilization and Its Discontents: An Analysis of the Alternative Archaeologist Graham Hancock’s Claim That an Ancient Apocalypse Erased the Lost Civilization of Atlantis 

(aq) https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/maltese-archaeologists-push-back-netflix-show-s-temple-claims.995910

(ar) https://web.archive.org/web/20090614050055/http://home-3.tiscali.nl/~meester7/engatlantis.html

(as) Why I Went on Rogan With Pseudoarchaeologist Graham Hancock (sapiens.org) *

(at) Joe Rogan Experience #2136 – Graham Hancock & Flint Dibble – YouTube *

(au) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/graham-hancock-and-flint-dibble-offer-few-fireworks-in-joe-rogan-debate *

Shermer, Michael

Michael Shermer (1954- ) is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and Skeptic.com. For eighteen years he wrote the ‘skeptic’ column for Scientific American(h).

Suffering as he does from terminal scepticism, Shermer could not resist offering his views on Atlantis(a), which michael-shermerbasically assume that Plato created the myth of Atlantis to support his political philosophy. This idea has been put forward by many sceptics. However, nobody seems to have suggested that while Plato may have been promoting his political philosophy with the Atlantis story, there is absolutely no reason why he could not have been using real historical events to achieve the same result. This explains how the late Professor Antonis  Kontaratos was able to point out at the 2005 Atlantis Conference that Plato states directly and indirectly, twenty-two times, in both Timaeus & Critias, that the story of Atlantis is true [629.79].

I should note here the comment of Martin Ebon that “the narrative, unlike the Republic, espouses no particular theory and reads more like historical fact, however confusing, than a myth.”[286.16]

Shermer does accept that Plato mixed history with myth but does not suggest how we might separate the two, instead, he is content to dispose of both baby and bath-water. I consider fatuous, his comment that “Plato’s Atlantean dialogues are essentially an ancient Greek version of Star Wars.” This silly comparison was recently (2018) echoed on an Australian website(d).

Georgeos Diaz-Montexano responded to Shermer’s views with a 2005 article, contentiously entitled Errors, Fallacies and Lies.

Shermer wrote an article(b) for Scientific American (Jan.1.2016) on the subject of ‘Homo Naledi, which generated a highly critical response, noting that Shermer preferred to speculate without evidence and publish an essay without fact-checking.” Even Shermer nods!

>Some years ago Rod Martin wrote a short but interesting paper grading the arguments of some of the better-known Atlantis sceptics, such as Shermer and Kevin Christopher(i)

In a 2017 article in Scientific American, Shermer offered a highly critical review(f)  of Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods.<

However, to give credit where credit is due I must acknowledge that recently (2020)  Shermer, among others, has back-pedalled on their previous sustained opposition to the idea of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis(e). The impetus for this volte-face seems to have been provided by James Lawrence Powell, also a former sceptic, and his book, Deadly Voyager [1911].

In June 2023, Shermer published an article in Skeptic magazine attacking Graham Hancock‘s theories in general and the Netflix 2022 eight-part series Ancient Apocalypse(g) in particular.

(a) https://michaelshermer.com/sciam-columns/myth-is-the-message/#more-52 

(b) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/did-this-extinct-human-species-commit-homicide1/

(c) Michael Shermer: Murdering the facts about Homo naledi? – john hawks weblog (archive.org) 

(d) https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/exposing-the-star-wars-code-the-atlantis-connection/news-story/1aae97d63ce040a076f09ca1c37819ad

(e) In praise of intellectual honesty – The Cosmic Tusk 

(f) No, There Wasn’t an Advanced Civilization 12,000 Years Ago – Scientific American 

(g) Skeptic » Reading Room » Alternative Civilization and Its Discontents: An Analysis of the Alternative Archaeologist Graham Hancock’s Claim That an Ancient Apocalypse Erased the Lost Civilization of Atlantis 

(h) https://michaelshermer.com/sciam-columns/ 

(i) Mission: Atlantis, by Rod Martin, Jr. — Grading the Skeptics (archive.org) *