Ancient Seafaring is a controversial subject owing principally to a dearth of physical evidence. The earliest known boat is the Pesse
Canoe (see right) which was discovered in The Netherlands and thought to be around 10,000 years old. The second oldest boat was also a canoe, found in Malawi and dated to about 8,000 years ago(g). Wikipedia lists all the surviving boats, which shows that until the third millennium BC all that have been found are canoes.
Seafaring and Atlantis are inextricably linked. In Critias 117d Plato anachronistically refers to the shipyards of Atlantis being full of triremes, which were not developed until the 7th century BC, long after the demise of Atlantis. However, the term ‘trireme’ was probably employed by Plato to make his narrative more relevant to his audience. He credits the Atlantean navy with 1200 ships, which for me seems like borrowing and rounding the numbers of either the Achaean fleet of 1186 vessels in Homer’s Iliad or that of the 1207 ships of the later Persian invaders. That ships were used in the war with Athens can be inferred from the fact that Atlantis, or at least its capital, was situated on an island.
Professor Seán McGrail (1928-2021) wrote in his monumental work, Boats of the World “There is no direct evidence for water transport until the Mesolithic even in the most favoured regions, and it is not until the Bronze Age that vessels other than logboats are known” [1949.10]. For those that adhere to a 10th millennium BC date for the Atlantean War with Athens, this lack of naval evidence to support such an early date undermines the idea. An invasion fleet of canoes travelling from beyond the Pillars of Herakles to attack Athens seems rather unlikely!
Apart from the flimsy Solar Boats of the Egyptians, such as the Khufu Boat (see left), the first seagoing vessel listed by Wikipedia does not appear until around 1500 BC.
Seldom referred to, but perhaps even more interesting is to be found earlier in Critias 113e which describes the mythological beginnings of Atlantis and reads “for at that time neither ships nor sailing were as yet in existence”. However, we are given little information to bridge the time up to its development as a major trading entity. It is reasonable to assume a gap of several thousand years.
Recent studies(a) have suggested that primitive seafaring took place in the Mediterranean thousands of years earlier than originally thought and may even have been engaged in by Homo Erectus and Neanderthals in the form of island hopping and coastal-hugging, the latter continuing into historical times.
Plato describes an advanced maritime trading nation with a powerful naval capacity. How much was part of the original story brought from Egypt by Solon or whether it was in any way embellished by Plato is unclear. The earliest known trading empire is that of the Minoans which began in the 3rd millennium BC and has led to many identifying them with the Atlanteans. However, there are very many other details in Plato’s narrative that seriously conflict with this hypothesis.
The limitations of ancient seafaring raise many questions regarding the navigation supports available to these early sailors(b). Initially, sailing, probably for fishing, would have been confined to daytime travel and keeping within the sight of land. With the development of maritime trade, the demand for improved navigation methods also grew.
In time sailors acquired a familiarity with the night sky that enabled them to use the stars as navigational aids, given clear skies. Gradually, as nighttime travel became more common, the use of beacons and later lighthouses also expanded. The lighthouse at Pharos near Alexandria came to be counted as one of the wonders of the Old World. Similarly, it is thought that the Colossus at Rhodes performed a similar function.
Different navigation skills have been identified in different parts of the world. In the Pacific, the navigational capabilities of the Polynesians are legendary(c). The ancient Chinese employed magnetism(e) and in the cloudy North Atlantic, the Vikings used their ‘sunstones’(d).
In their book, Atlantis in America  Ivar Zapp & George Erikson claimed that the stone spheres of Costa Rica had a navigational function [p34] as Zapp discovered that the sightlines of all the stones remaining in their original positions, did point to important ancient sites such as Giza, Stonehenge and Easter Island!
A most imaginative proposal has come from Crichton E.M. Miller who proposed  that the ubiquitous Celtic Cross is an image of an ancient navigational device. He further claims that “This instrument can tell the time, find latitude and longitude, measure the angles of the stars, predict the solstices and equinoxes and measure the precession of the equinoxes. It can also find the ecliptic pole as well as the north and south poles; it can make maps and charts, design pyramids and henges and—used in combination with these sites—can record and predict the cycles of nature and time(f) “. Then for good measure, he proceeded to patent the device.
(f) Atlantis Rising magazine #35 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
Gary A. David is an American independent researcher and author dealing with archaeological ruins and rock art of the American Southwest. His focus is on the Hopi tribe of northern Arizona and its archaeo-astronomy. Although he has not written directly about Atlantis, he has contributed a number of interesting papers relating to subjects peripheral to our study here. Most of these are available on the Academia.edu website(a).
David has also written about the Orion Correlation Theory (OCT) of Bauval & Gilbert, which claims that the alignment of the three stars in Orion’s ‘belt’ is reflected in the layout of the three principal pyramids at Giza.
>David has expanded on the OCT of Bauval & Gilbert identifying important sites throughout Egypt that he believes constituted a more extensive reference with other heavenly bodies in what he calls the Egyptian Stellar Template(e).<
He goes further and claims that he “stumbled across an Orion Correlation that the ancestral Hopi Indians constructed in Arizona from about 1050–1300 AD. In this case, every major star in the constellation corresponds to a specific masonry village site. The terrestrial replication of the celestial pattern is simply uncanny.” (b)
David has published an informative paper(c) on the Maltese Cross and its variants as found around the world. He pointed out its use in the Americas by the ancient Olmecs and has laid great emphasis on its place in the inherited culture of the Hopi people.
David has also highlighted the use of the swastika in a more benign way by the Hopi of northern Arizona along with its innocent use in other cultures including the Minoans, as well as in 20th century USA(d).
Minas Tsikritsis, a native of Crete, is a Professor of Computer Science and noted Researcher of Aegean Scripts. Included in his work is his claim to have deciphered Linear A and the Phaistos Disk, one side of which appears to be a form of sea shanty. Gavin Menzies quotes[780.319] Tsikritsis’ belief that the Minoans had mathematical knowledge equal, if not superior, to that of the Babylonians and Egyptians.
However, this claim has been seriously challenged by a recent study of a 3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet known as Plimpton 322. The tablet was discovered around a century ago in what is now southern Iraq. Australian scientists from the University of New South Wales, Sydney have now demonstrated that the tablet is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, predating the Greek astronomer Hipparchus by over a millennium(b). These claims have generated some considerable debate (c).
Additionally, based on an analysis of Plutarch’s “On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon,” Tsikritsis believes that the Greeks had contact with North America, at least as far back as 86 AD!(a) *Some time later he expanded on the idea in a paper published on the Researchgate website(d).*
Basil Booth & Frank Fitch are two earth scientists who co-authored Earthshock. They reviewed the catastrophic past of our planet and its lessons for the future. They briefly touched on the subject of Atlantis suggesting that “it is possible that the legends of Atlantis and Noah’s Flood may arise from folk memories of ancient tsunamis”[p.102] and that the tsunami associated with the eruption of Thera that devasted the Minoan civilisation may have given rise to the legend of Atlantis[p.150].
Frederick Dodson is the author of Atlantis and the Garden of Eden and has published a number of
He has devoted much space in his book and his website to the mystery of very large megaliths, such as at Baalbek and the unfinished obelisk at Aswan(d).
What I read seemed fairly standard fare, but then in a second book, he advanced into ‘ancient astronaut’ territory, at which point I parted company with him.
Dodson is also self-promoted as a ‘reality creation’ coach(b). Hmm.
(a) https://www.ancient-atlantis.com/ (offline October 2017)
Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC has been variously attributed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe climate change. It is extremely unlikely that all these occurred around the same time through coincidence. Unfortunately, it is not clear to what extent these events were interrelated. As I see it, political upheavals do not lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought and so can be safely viewed as an effect rather than a cause. Similarly, climate change is just as unlikely to have caused eruptions or seismic activity and so can also be classified as an effect. Consequently, we are left with earthquakes and volcanoes as the prime suspects for the catastrophic turmoil that took place in the Middle East between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Nevertheless, August 2013 saw further evidence published which blamed climate change for demise of civilisations in the region.
Robert Drews dismisses any suggestion that Greece suffered a critical drought around 1200 BC, citing the absence of any supporting reference by Homer or Hesiod as evidence. He proposes that “the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms’ downfall.”
This extended period of chaos began around 1450 BC when the eruptions on Thera took place. These caused the well-documented devastation in the region including the ending of the Minoan civilisation and probably the Exodus of the Bible and the Plagues of Egypt as well. According to the Parian Marble, the Flood of Deucalion probably took place around the same time.
Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos has written of the ‘seismic storm’ that beset the Eastern Mediterranean between 1225 and 1175 BC(a). Similar ideas have been expressed by Amos Nur & Eric H.Cline(b)(c). The invasion of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians, and parts of Plato’s Atlantis story all appear to have taken place around this period. Plato refers to a spring on the Athenian acropolis (Crit.112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Rainer Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was rediscovered by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer, who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC.
(this is a shorter version of (c) below)
Luis Aldamiz (aka Maju) is an independent Basque researcher who has concluded that the Atlantean Empire was at the centre of the VNSP (Vila Nova de São Pedro) culture in ancient Portugal(a)(b). Its capital Zambujal was situated near the modern city of Torres Vedras, just north of Lisbon. He bases his idea on a number of topographical and historical parallels between the VNSP region and Plato’s description of Atlantis(c).
In order to have Plato’s account of the Atlantean War conform to his location theory, he suggests that the Mycenaean Greeks fought alongside the El Argar people in southeast Spain against VNSP Atlanteans! The evidence for such a military alliance is at best tenuous or more likely, purely speculative.
However, the idea is not as farfetched as it might seem when combined with the views of W.Sheppard Baird who claims that Minoans had been the colonisers of Los Millares in Andalusia as early as 4000 BC. In due course, the culture of Los Millares was superseded by that of El Argar. This begs the question as whether the Mycenaeans who had succeeded the Minoans on Crete also replaced them in their Andalusian colonies!
Nevertheless, no matter how interesting the theories of Aldamiz and Baird may be, they have still to explain Plato’s claim that the Atlanteans ‘controlled’ Europe as far as Tyrhennia, along with part of North Africa, before their eastward invasion! Furthermore, the part that Egypt played in their alliance with Athens in the war with Atlantis is totally ignored by them.
Linear A (1800-1450 BC) is the designation given to one of two scripts used by the Minoans. Although Linear B, which has been deciphered, is similar to Linear A, there have been many failed attempts to decipher it, variously linking it to the Greek, Etruscan, Tyrhennian, Anatolian or Persian(d) languages. The most exotic suggestion that I have encountered is that Linear A is related to Japanese(l).
However, there is some evidence that a writing system was in use in Greece as far back as the sixth millennium BC, which was not adopted from the Phoenicians(h).
Patrick Archer moved further east for a solution, claiming that Linear A is possibly related to Chinese pictographs! Gretchen Leonhardt(m) also sought a solution in the East, offering a proto-Japanese origin for the script, a theory refuted by Yurii Mosenkis(j), who promotes Minoan Linear A as proto-Greek. Mosenkis has published a number of papers on the Academia.edu relating to Linear A(k).
Another of the many exotic solutions was offered by the American, Stuart Harris, who identified the language as being related to Finnish(a)(f)(g). Harris also quotes the controversial Oera Linda Book as evidence that the Cretans spoke Finnish (e). He follows Felice Vinci in identifying the Baltic as the source of much of Greek culture including Homer’s epics(b), in which connection they both locate Troy in Finland.
So far, no single translation theory has gained general acceptance.
Nevertheless, I have always been surprised that the British who managed to unravel the workings of the German Enigma Machine during World War II have failed to decipher Linear A, even though today’s supercomputers are so far ahead of what Alan Turing had to work with, Linear A remains undecoded!
In 2018, Brent Davis, one of the leading experts on Bronze Age Aegean scripts and languages published a paper in which “based on a close statistical analysis, shows that the while both the Phaistos Disc and Linear A are undeciphered writing systems, he can demonstrate that the both are, with a high degree of certainty, encode the same language!”(i)
>Material quantity was another advantage that Michael Ventris had in deciphering Linear B. There were 20,000 examples of Linear B signs occurring in inscriptions, compared to just 7,000 examples of Linear A signs, which Davis notes “is about three-to-four A4 pages worth. Mathematicians tell us that if we are to crack Linear A, we’ll need something like 10,000 to 12,000 examples of signs, which means we aren’t that far away, – but it all depends on archaeology. Discoveries are still being made, so I’m optimistic, but what we really need to find is a palace archive, which is where we are likely to find enough Linear A to finally decipher it.”(p)<
In an article by Ashley Cowie, he highlighted the work of Professor Silvia Ferrara of Rome’s Sapienza University and her recent decipherment of Linear A numerical fractions using new computational models along with traditional methods(n).
>In 2021 Dr Ester Salgarella published her latest investigations into the genetic relationship between Linear A and Linear B, which should assist with the eventual decipherment of the former.(o) <
(j) Gretchen Leonhardt is up against some stiff competition from Urii Mosenkis concerning her so-called proto-Japanese origins of Minoan Linear A | Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae (archive.org)
W. Sheppard Baird is an American researcher and the author of a wide range of articles on the Minoan civilisation, which can be read on his website(a) and the academia.edu website(f). He writes on the maritime expertise of the Minoans and their colonisation of Spain. Baird has also incorporated his knowledge of the Minoans into a historical novel, The Minoan Psychopath.
Baird added an interesting paper(b) on the possible use by the Minoans of a signalling system using bronze mirrors reflecting sunlight between the many mountain peaks of Crete>and speculated that it may even have permitted heliographic communication between mountain tops in Crete and the heights of Thera (Santorini)! He went further and suggested the possibility of a Minoan communication network throughout the Aegean.!<
Perhaps even more important is his essay(c) debunking the theory that a tsunami resulting from the 2nd millennium BC eruption of Thera destroyed the Minoan civilisation on Crete and proposes instead that it was more likely to have been a pyroclastic surge from the same source. The latest studies have concluded(d) that it was the violent entry of pyroclastic flows into the sea which triggered the tsunamis.
Baird has also offered his identification of the Sea Peoples, whom he considers to originally have been colonists from the Aegean who settled in the southeast of Spain and are known as the El Argar culture. Their society suffered some form of collapse around 1350 BC and according to Baird is in some way connected with the emergence of the Sea Peoples.
Unfortunately, despite of the name of his website, Baird makes few direct references to Atlantis>explainong(g) that; “As the creator of this Minoan Atlantis website you should know that I actually could care less about Atlantis. The name of the website is a reflection of the thought – if there ever was an Atlantis it was most probably the highly advanced Minoan civilization and their “Ringed Islands of Thera” whose marine volcano colossally erupted somewhere around 1600 BC. This titanic eruption changed the economic and political fundamentals of the entire Mediterranean basin.”<
Michigan entered the Atlantis gazetteer when Frank Joseph claimed that copper was at the heart of Atlantean wealth. He further maintained that a major source of this copper was the Michigan North Peninsula from where millions of pounds of the metal were extracted. Conventional wisdom has never explained the source of the vast quantities of copper required to feed the needs of the European Bronze Age. Researchers, such as Joseph, are convinced that the abandoned Michigan mines were exploited by pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic mariners, possibly Atlanteans, in order to satisfy the demands of the Mediterranean Bronze industry.
A 2014 paper by David Hoffman offers an interesting history of the Michigan copper story from 1536 until 1879(e). Adding to that is the early claim in 1867, by Bishop Patrick Nieson Lynch of Charleston, South Carolina that the ancient exploitation of the Michigan copper had to be carried out by the Phoenicians.
A short paper in the Migration & Diffusion website(d) by Gerard Leduc in 2017, suggests a possible route that may have been used for the exportation of the Michigan copper to the Atlantic Ocean, before heading for the Mediterranean and/or Northern Europe.
Professor Ilias Mariolakos in a 2010 paper(c) supported the idea of Old World miners in Michigan, identifying prehistoric Greeks as participants.
In 1982, an ancient shipwreck was discovered near Uluburun in Turkey. On board were 10 tons of copper ingots whose purity led some to conclude that it could only have come from the Michigan mines. J.S. Wakefield has written a paper supporting this view(a), although he does not directly attribute this copper trade to Atlanteans.
However, Gavin Menzies in The Lost Empire of Atlantis claims that Minoan Crete was in fact Atlantis and that the Minoans not only discovered America but were also responsible for the extensive exploitation of the Michigan copper mines.
>Nevertheless, this remarkable claim was endorsed by science writer, Jeff Danner (f), who cites Plato’s reference to an ‘opposite continent’ as an allusion to America. More recent support has come from marine Captain, Richard deGrasse in his 2021 book, The Influence of Stonehenge on Minoan Navigation and Trade in Europe (g).<
It must be stated that this idea of the Michigan copper mining being the work of Old World traders is hotly disputed by local Michigan archaeologists(b).
(b) See: Archive 2102
(c) https://www.geology.upatras.gr/files/diavgeia/geology_congress/XLIII,%20Vol%201.pdf (link Broken Oct 2010) See: http://greeceandworld.blogspot.com/2013_08_01_archive.html