Jean-Benjamin De LaBorde (1734-1794) was best known as a musician from the age of 14 but was also a historian and cartographer(a). In his Histoire abregeee de la Mer du Sud +, it appears he was the first to suggest a sunken continent in the South Pacific with New Zealand and other island groups being today’s remnants>of a lost land comparable with Plato’s Atlantis.
However, Atlantisforschung suggests that LaBorde was more inclined to associate America with Atlantis(b).<
Unfortunately, his musical and scientific interests were curtailed when his association with Louis XV led him to the guillotine.
Diffusion is the anthropological term used to describe how similar customs, beliefs and artefact designs are spread between cultures through migration, invasion or trade. Diffusion is not just a ‘one-way street’ as history has shown that ideas have travelled in all directions, while in fact most ancient civilisations can be demonstrated to have absorbed cultural elements from a multiplicity of foreign societies. Today, globalisation has increased exponentially the variety of influences that all societies now experience. Not only is the number of these influences greater but the rate of increase is apparently accelerating. The ubiquity of Coca-Cola, T-shirts, Irish pubs, Japanese cameras, German cars, English language, Guinness, Chinese toys, ABBA, AK-47s etc., etc., etc., are indicative of the global reach of commercial ‘empires’ today. In older civilisations trade was more concerned with commodities such as metals, olive oil, wine, amber, obsidian, or timber, so the technologies involved in their production or exploitation were also exchanged.
The development of agriculture also saw techniques spread, which had to be modified to suit different climates, although recent studies indicate that agriculture started around the same time in a number of centres(I).
In the Fertile Crescent as far north as the Zagros Mountains and further north, on the steppes of Russia, horses were domesticated and apparently there also the use of chariots originated. A book by David W. Anthony also attributes the region as being the source of what is known as the Proto-Indo-European family of languages.
Societal concepts, religious or legal were no different as their geographical spread can also be tracked over time. Consider the different strands of the Abrahamic faiths, beginning with Judaism, which spawned Christianity and later was joined by Islam through Muhammad, who claimed to be a descendant of Abraham. Similarly, democracy has slowly evolved and spread over time and still has a long way to go.
Since early man left Africa, he has had ample time to settle all over our planet and exploit its resources, moving from being a hunter-gatherer to becoming a settled farmer, developing urban centres (city-states), then empires and the inevitable wars. Wars, then like today, led to the development of new technologies, chariots, longbows, and armour, to be copied and if possible improved upon, by each side.
My view is that initially, technology and techniques were freely exchanged between peoples, until gradually the idea of monopoly entered the human psyche, eventually leading to the paranoia and greed associated with the ownership of ‘intellectual property’ today. I would speculate that a freer and possibly gentler diffusion of ideas lasted until, at the earliest, the first millennium BC.
In 2014, the University of Connecticut published the result of studies that demonstrated that human technological innovation occurred intermittently throughout the Old World, rather than spreading from a single point of origin, as previously thought(j).
Egerton Sykes, a leading 20th-century Atlantologist, was a committed diffusionist, describing it as “the lifeblood of civilisation”(h).>Atlantisforschung has published a 1967 paper by Sykes supporting diffusionism with particular reference to pyramid building on both sides of the Atlantic(ad).<
>Andrew Cutler published a paper on cultural diffusion in August 2023 that should be studied by anyone interested in the subject. He discusses themes such as the Pleiades, Snakes, Finger Removal and Linguistics among others. He expresses the opinion that while many assume that such common features can be traced back to before the 100,000 BC Out of Africa migration, Cutler suggests a much later time circa 40,000-30,000 BC(ae).<
A more extreme view is the concept of ‘hyperdiffusion’, which is the idea that there was a single ‘mother culture’ that led to the development of all major civilisations. Ignatius Donnelly was a hyperdiffusionist, advocating Atlantis as the mother culture. His ‘heretical’ views were highlighted by the range of similarities between structures around the world in apparently unrelated cultures, which seem to greatly exceed what could be expected by mere coincidence alone. This is explored further in a recent illustrated article on the Malagabay website(v).
Similarly, James Churchward proposed his invention, Mu, as an alternative hyperdiffusion centre. Perhaps better known is the work of W. J. Perry who was convinced  that an archaic civilisation had begun in Egypt and gradually spread eastward through Asia and Polynesia, eventually reaching the Americas. Ben Urish published a paper(d) in 1986 that offers a critical overview of hyperdiffusion.
Konrad Kulczyk promotes a hyperdiffusionist theory that places his proto-civilisation, New Atlantis, just south of the Aral Sea(e).
Ivar Zapp proposes the existence of a global seafaring civilisation thousands of years before the Greeks, Egyptians or Sumerians(k) in an as-yet-unpublished book, Babel Deciphered.
Hyperdiffusion is clearly a seductive theory that has attracted the attention of researchers such as Richard Cassaro, who has produced an impressive collection of visual cultural similarities between ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian America(a). While the idea is not new, Cassaro’s images highlight the concept of diffusion very effectively, although he has, in my opinion, overinterpreted the evidence in order to support hyperdiffusion.
Cassaro published The Missing Link in 2016 in which he expands on the widespread distribution of what he refers to as the ‘godself icon’. Although he clearly demonstrates that the motif has an extensive geographical spread it is equally obvious that the appearance of the icon is spread over a vast period of time apparently coinciding with the emergence of civilisation in different places at very different times, which, in my view, is not fully compatible with the concept of hyperdiffusion, as I would have expected a ‘mother-culture’, if such existed, to have spread its global influence far more rapidly.
A comparable discovery has been made by Ozgür Baris Etli, who has drawn attention(o) to carved hands at Göbekli Tepe that have counterparts in many other parts of the world where hands meet at the navel are similarly depicted. I recently came across an image of(q) a megalithic statue in the Indonesian Bada Valley(u) showing its hands in a similar position. Also in Göbekli Tepe, we encounter what has become known as ‘the handbag of the gods’(y) which has been found depicted in many locations such as Turkey (Göbekli), Iraq (Assyria), Mesoamerica (Olmecs)(w), Egypt and New Zealand(x). These images are not only spread over thousands of miles but thousands of years.
However, Andrew Gough is the only researcher who seems to have come anywhere near to explaining the purpose of the ‘handbag’. In a lengthy article on his website, he explains how a British Museum guide confirmed that the bag was a pollen carrier(ac). This dovetailed with Gough’s view of his belief regarding the importance of the bee in ancient cultures.
Having mentioned Indonesia, I must draw your attention to a recent book by Dhani Irwanto, entitled Sundaland: Tracing the Cradle of Civilizations (1618), in which he makes a strong case for considering his native land as an ancient diffusionist centre, which experienced waves of emigration at the end of the Younger Dryas period that influenced the great civilisations of the Indus Valley, Egypt and Greece. Irwanto also claims that their cultural impact included the transference of the story of Atlantis from its original home in Sundaland.
Equally intriguing is the ‘Three Hares’ motif, found across Europe, the Middle East and as far as China(p) and now the subject of a book by Greeves, Andrew & Chapman. Another stylised symbol is that of the rosette found in the Mediterranean and spread as far as India(r)(s).
In a similar vein, Jim Allen has devoted chapter three of his latest book to outlining what he entitled Bolivia and the Sumerian Connection(b). Arguably even more impressive is the array of images presented by Allen(c) suggesting that the civilisations of America were greatly influenced by ancient cultures in both the East and the West. It is obvious that a number of artefacts can be developed independently, but at some point, the number of similar items produced by two separate cultures can exceed the number that can be reasonably put down to coincidence. The number of similarities presented by Allen alone clearly exceeds that threshold, demonstrating that the Americas were influenced by different sources, ruling out the Americas as the home of a mother culture.
>Similarly, Gary A. David proposed that Votan was a diffusionist deity with counterparts known by other names such as Kukulkan, Quetzalcoatl or Viracocha in the different American civilisations. However, he goes further placing Votan’s origins in the Old World suggesting that he may have been Phoenician or Hebrew, citing Adrian Gilbert and Andrew Collins in support of this(af).<
An extensive website managed by Erich Fred Legner offers a wide range of evidence to support the view that the Americas had been visited and settled by people from both Asia & Europe before Columbus(aa).
The whole subject of diffusion is wide-ranging and complex and well beyond my competence to do it justice in this short entry. However, for those interested in pursuing the subject further, I would like to recommend a 1997 paper(l) by David H. Kelley (1924-2011), available on Dale Drinnon’s website.
Egypt is frequently mentioned in this regard being seen as the influence behind Neolithic megalith building AND the pyramids of Central America, in spite of the fact that Newgrange was constructed before the Egyptian Pyramids and the New World pyramids were built thousands of years after those in Egypt. Atlantis is regularly suggested as another mother culture but without a single piece of evidence to support this speculative contention. For decades the idea that the pyramids of Egypt and those in the Americas were the consequence of diffusion from a common source, namely Atlantis situated in the Atlantic was heavily promoted. However, we can now more closely identify the pyramids of America with the step pyramids of China!
Consequently, for me, hyperdiffusion is not convincing. History has clearly shown that inventions have frequently been independently developed at the same time in different countries, while even in prehistoric times it has been demonstrated(f) that the evolution of stone tools took place as a result of the innovative abilities of local populations, addressing the same needs.
A word of warning; “recent research published in Nature by a team led by Tomos Proffitt at the University of Oxford shows that capuchin monkeys regularly produce sharp-edged flakes indistinguishable from those made by early hominins.”(t)
Even today technologies are developed independently throughout the world, but not in complete isolation, because of the instant worldwide communications available.
As a result of global marketing, in Ireland now we drive German, British and Japanese cars, use US computer technology and play with Chinese toys. However, being generous by nature, we gave the world the Irish pub, Riverdance and Guinness.
A two-part blog(m)(n) highlighting the many weaknesses in the concept of hyperdiffusion should be required reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Although Donnelly and his contemporaries, focused on the possibility of Old World influences in the New World, today, there is less of a Mediterranean-centred or Eurocentric approach to diffusionism. Instead, there is greater acceptance that the Americas have also had extensive cultural influences from Asia.
In March 2021, Hugh Newman published a paper drawing attention to the similarity of megalithic building techniques, using polygonal stones, in America, Asia, Europe and Africa. He goes further noting that “Peruvian relief carvings match those at Göbekli Tepe.” How much might be the result of coincidence is a matter of opinion.(ab) In January 2022, Marco M. Vigato published a new book, The Empires of Atlantis , in which he offers a hyperdiffusionist view of Atlantis. He “traces the course of Atlantean civilization through its three empires, as well as the colonies and outposts formed by its survivors in Egypt, Göbekli Tepe, India, Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, and North and South America” and “reveals how the first Atlantean civilization lasted from 432,000 to 33,335 BCE, the second one from 21,142 to 10,961 BCE, and the third Atlantis civilization–the one celebrated by Plato–collapsed in 9600 BCE, after the Younger Dryas cataclysm.”(z).
(l) See: Archive 3563
(u) Atlantis Rising No.110 March/April 2015 p.41
A Tsunami was probably first described in the 5th century BC by Thucydides when he wrote “in my opinion, the cause of the phenomenon was this: where the earthquake was most violent, the sea receded and was then pushed back with even greater violence, thus bringing about a flood. Such a thing would not have happened without an earthquake” (Peloponnesian War, Book III.89)(b). However, there are also conditions that can produce tsunamis inland, such as occurred around 500 AD inundating Geneva in the Alps(k)(m).
The word ‘tsunami’ first appeared in an English language publication in the September 1896 edition of National Geographic Magazine in which the devastation caused by an earthquake wave in Japan was graphically described.
Recent studies(g) indicate that a similar tsunami saved the Greek town of Nea Poteidaia from a Persian attack in 479 BC. Herodotus in reporting the event attributed the Persian defeat to divine intervention by Poseidon, god of the sea.
A similar event on an even greater scale has been one of the suggestions as the possible cause of the flooding of Atlantis. A 2002 paper(a), by Louisiana State University geologist, Gary Byerly and his team, identified an ancient asteroid impact that generated a tsunami that “swept around the earth several times, inundating everything except the mountains”. The study of ancient tsunamis is at a very early stage of development.
A 2019 report was published online in 2022 in which it was revealed that the Yucatan asteroid impact credited with wiping out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago generated mile-high tsunamis that travelled halfway around the world. One wave was estimated to have been 1.8 miles high(ae).
Ivan T. Sanderson in one of his books, Investigating the Unexplained , recounts an 1863 report of a 200-foot high tsunami that sped up the Ganges and Houghli Rivers in India killing tens of thousands of people without ‘snapping-off’ trees. He contrasts this with the tree stumps covering acres around East Creek, New Jersey that have all been broken off at the same height and where he suggested that only a tsunami could have caused such widespread and uniform destruction. In view of the fact that some of these cedar trees had six-foot diameter trunks, he speculates on the possible size of a tsunami that could bring about such extreme damage.
Perhaps even more relevant to the study of Atlantis is the evidence gathered by Jürgen Spanuth in his chapter on the ‘Natural Catastrophes of the 13th Century’ including an interesting section on tsunamis [015.167].
Marc-André Gutscher of the University of Western Brittany in Plouzané, France, has discovered evidence of an ancient tsunami on Spartel Island, an Atlantis candidate, in the Gulf of Cadiz. Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has pointed out that Josephus, the 1st-century Jewish historian, seems to describe the devastation caused by its assault on the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal at the time of the Lusitanians and Cantabrians in the 1st millennium BC.
Professor Stefano Tinti of Bologna University visited Sardinia and explained(r) “that until the 1980s no one was aware that tidal waves had occurred in the Mediterranean. But since 2004 scientists have identified 350 events of this type over a 2,500-year period,” and regarding the Sardinian tsunami “So what would have been required in our case?” he then asked. “We’re talking about a huge volume of water, some 500 metres high [the elevation up to which the nuraghi were affected]. Only a comet could do that if the impact occurred very close to the coast and in a very specific direction,” he asserted. An event of this sort may have occurred near Cagliari, with the resulting wave devastating the plain of Campidano.”
Tinti has also noted(w) that generally speaking, the majority of tsunamis are generated by seismic rather than volcanic activity. Globally, volcanic tsunamis account for only 2% of the total, however, the profusion of volcanoes in Southern Italy has considerably increased this percentage. Furthermore, according to a recent article on the BBC website “The scale of the tsunami hazard from volcanoes that collapse into the sea has been underestimated.”(x)
A 2022 report of a recent study(ac) revealed some new interesting information.
“Archaeologists have found evidence of the largest known earthquake in human history — a terrifying magnitude-9.5 megaquake that caused a 5,000-mile-long (8,000 kilometres) tsunami and prompted human populations to abandon nearby coastlines for 1,000 years.
The earthquake struck about 3,800 years ago in what is now northern Chile when a tectonic plate rupture lifted the region’s coastline. The subsequent tsunami was so powerful, it created waves as high as 66 feet (20 meters) and travelled all the way to New Zealand, where it hurled car-size boulders hundreds of miles inland, the researchers found.”
More recently, Dhani Irwanto has written about the probable effect of tsunamis on his Indonesian Atlantis(y). Studies of the sedimentary record in a sea cave in Sumatra have revealed the frequency and strength of tsunamis in the region over a five-thousand-year span from 5900 BC until 900 BC(u).
Tsunamis are also associated with the destruction on Crete following the eruption of Thera in the 2nd millennium BC. A TV documentary entitled Sinking Atlantis(i), provided graphic evidence of tsunami damage on Minoan Crete(h).
J.V.Luce cited[120.119] a number of local legends from around the Aegean that may have originated with the tsunami that followed the eruption on Thera.
However, the extent of this damage is strongly contested by W. Sheppard Baird(j) and he proposes instead that it was in fact more likely to have been a pyroclastic surge from the Theran eruption that caused the most damage.
A recent report(d) concludes that a large tsunami generated by the volcanic activity of Mt. Etna around 6000 BC produced waves up to 43 feet high that struck the coasts of Greece and Libya. This event would have caused devastation on nearby Malta, where evidence of past tsunamis was published in the journal Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie. The research was carried out over three years by scientists from the University of Portsmouth, led by Dr Malcolm Bray with assistance from colleagues at the Department of Geography at the University of Malta(n). A 1693 earthquake generated the earliest recorded tsunami on Malta and as recent as 1908 Malta was hit by a tsunami that resulted from a catastrophic earthquake in the vicinity of the Strait of Messina(p).
On the Atlantic west coast of Ireland, we have a 250 km2 region, in County Clare, known as the Burren, which consists of limestone denuded of soil cover. Recently, strong evidence was discovered suggesting a 4000 BC tsunami in the region(o). For me, the karst landscape of the Burren is reminiscent of parts of Malta.
Plato’s description does not support the idea of a tsunami as the primary cause of Atlantis’ inundation since tsunamis will eventually subside and return to the ocean, whereas Atlantis was still underwater centuries after the event, causing a permanent navigation hazard. John Michael Greer makes a similar point [345.126] in relation to the megatsunami which struck Madagascar in 2800 BC. Evidence of other ancient megatsunamis in Hawaii was presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Geophysical Union(l). The power of megatsunamis is highlighted in an article on the UK’s MailOnline website(t). Atlantisforschung also offers a lengthy article about megatsunamis(af).
Recent excavations at Olympia on the Peloponnese peninsula, the location of the original Olympic Games, have pointed to the site having been repeatedly hit by devastating tsunamis during the past 7,000 years(c).
The Bunurong tribe in Australia has a ‘myth’ that explains the creation of Melbourne’s Port Philip Bay. A recent article(e) has linked this to a tsunami that resulted from the impact of Comet Manhuika southwest of New Zealand in the 15th century. A more cautious view of this event is expressed elsewhere(f).
The excellent livescience.com website has an interesting list of ten history-making tsunamis(q), while Wikipedia offers an extensive list of European tsunamis from prehistoric times until the present(s).
A 100-metre-high tsunami, caused by a landslide, one of the highest ever recorded was experienced in a remote area of Greenland in June 2017. Four lives were lost and eleven houses were destroyed in the fishing village of Nuugaatsiaq, located on an island about 20 kilometres away(v).
The Greenland event would have been greatly overshadowed, literally, by the tsunami generated by the asteroid that struck Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula around 66 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs. According to a 2021 report(z) it has been estimated that the impact produced a tsunami nearly a mile high!
In 2020, David Keys, author of Catastrophe  wrote an article for the UK’s Independent newspaper outlining the most recent research into the 6200 BC tsunami that destroyed Doggerland. “It is estimated that multiple giant waves inundated some 2,700 square miles of land – from Scotland in the north to Norfolk in the south.
New underwater research carried out by the universities of Bradford, Warwick, St Andrews and Wales has for the first time discovered that the tsunami devastated parts of East Anglia and adjacent land which is now submerged beneath the southern part of the North Sea.” (ab)
Stuart L. Harris published a paper in 2020 entitled 5760 BC: tsunami at Rhine Valley caused by Planet X(ad). This was based on a translation of a long inscription written on a cliff face in Germany. Harris explains that in 5760 BC “satellites from a mysterious Planet X struck the continental shelf of Texas “that pushed a piece of the shelf the size of Massachusets into the Gulf. Above the displaced shelf, the sea towered 1.9 km high. The resulting tsunami dispersed in all directions and obliterated coastal communities around the North Atlantic.
In Germany, it surged over the Ruur Mountains west of the Rhine Valley, flooded the middle Rhine between Mainz and Karlsruhe, and continued over the eastern escarpment toward Heilbronn. It left extensive ripple marks in the Rhine Valley and the eastern plateau.” Harris offers some interesting data to support this claim.”
On August 12, 2021, within minutes of each other, two earthquakes struck the South Sandwich Islands of the South Atlantic. National Geographic reported “These rumblings, which occurred on August 12, 2021, were not unusual on their own, since the islands sit atop a combative meeting of tectonic plates. The odd part is that they were followed by a tsunami powerful enough to show up on distant shores along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Although the swell wasn’t destructive, it was the first since the catastrophic tsunami of 2004 to be recorded in three different oceans(aa).“
>The Live Science website reported(ag) “On Jan. 15, 2022, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano — a large, cone-shaped mountain located near the islands of the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific — erupted with a violent explosion. The eruption generated the highest-ever recorded volcanic plume, which reached 35 miles (57 kilometers) tall. The outburst triggered tsunamis as far away as the Caribbean, as well as atmospheric waves that traveled around the globe several times.” and “The Tonga underwater volcanic eruption rivaled the strength of the largest U.S. nuclear bomb and produced a “mega-tsunami” nearly the height of a 30-story skyscraper.”<
(a) See: Archive 2931