Sirius is a binary star in the constellation Canis Major and brightest star in the night sky and is expected to remain so for the next 210,000 years. In relative terms it is a near neighbour of ours.
One wild theory speculates that Sirius and our Sun had once been binary partners(i).
Many people of my vintage were first made aware of Sirius when Robert Temple published his bestselling The Sirius Mystery . In which he supported the idea of extraterrestrial influence on human cultural development, citing as evidence, the ‘knowledge’ of the Dogon people regarding the Sirius star system before verification by modern astronomy. This idea has now come under serious attack with the claim that Sirius C does not even exist(a) . The controversy is still raging as the Bad Archaeology website demonstrates(b) as well as an article from the Armagh Planetarium website(c). Jason Colavito has also added a few critical comments regarding the knowledge of the Dogon(j). Colavito also reveals(k) that Arthur M. Young (1905-1995), the helicopter pioneer and Robert Temple’s mentor also “believed he had been in contact with extraterrestrials from Sirius who served as the creator gods of Egypt.”
For the ancient Egyptians Sirius, known to them as Sothis, had great importance, as the heliacal rising of Sirius coincided with the summer solstice which heralded the next flooding of the Nile. They also associated Sirius with the goddess Isis.
*A 2008 report from the University of Hamburg said “scientists led by Helmut Ziegert had found remains of a 10th-century-B.C. palace at Axum-Dungur (Ethiopia) under the palace of a later Christian king. There was evidence the early palace had been torn down and realigned to the path of the star Sirius.”(l)
Additionally, it is also suggested that the earlier structure was the palace of the legendary Queen Of Sheba. Today, Axum is claimed by the Ethiopian Church to be the current home of the Ark of the Covenant, a claim given widespread attention by Graham Hancock some decades ago in The Sign and the Seal.
In the 19th century, Theosophists claimed Sirius as having particular esoteric significance. “Blavatsky stated that the star Sirius exerts a mystic and direct influence over the entire living heaven and is linked with every great religion of antiquity.
Alice Bailey sees the Dog Star as the true ‘Great White Lodge’ and believes it to be the home of the ‘Spiritual Hierarchy’. For this reason, she considers Sirius as the ‘star of initiation’.”(m)
Even today, Sirius plays a part in the symbology of Freemasonry, where it is referred to as the ‘Blazing Star’.*
Giulio Magli (1964- ) is an Italian archaeaostronomer with a website in English(d) dedicated to the application of the discipline in Egypt. In 2013, Magli proposed that aspects of the Göbleki Tepe site are related to the recent appearance of Sirius in the night sky around 9300 BC(e). Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale argue against this interpretation(f) , which is perhaps understandable as they support a linkage with the Cygnus constellation.
A 2004 paper by Magli, on precessional effects in ancient astronomy(g) , has recently been applied by Lenie Reedijk to her contention that the Maltese temples were oriented to Sirius.
In 2012, E. A. James Swagger published The Newgrange Sirius Mystery  in which he endeavoured to link Ireland’s most important megalithic site with both an early understanding of precession and the symbology of the Dogon.
Going from the serious to the silly, I note that the late Flying Eagle (1920-2007) and his partner Whispering Wind specified the planet Xylanthia(f) in the Sirius star system as the original home of a visitor who fell in love with an earthling and later became known as Poseidon!
Stuart L. Harris is an American researcher, self-described as an linguist, historian and archaeologist. He has contributed over eighty papers to the Migration & Diffusion website(a) and dozens to the Academia.edu site(b). He has touched on a wide variety of subjects; from Comet Encke to Glozel and Newgrange to Noah’s Flood. Although I am not a linguist, I think that that Harris’ penchant for ‘finding’ evidence of the Finnish language in locations as far apart as Dacia, Gaul, Teotihuacan and Hawaii is highly questionable, but I shall leave it to others, more skilled than I, to comment further.
Inspired by Felice Vinci, Harris has promoted the idea of Troy in Finland, but until lately he had not directly addressed the question of Atlantis, but in recent private correspondence with me, he has claimed that Plato’s lost island had been situated in the vicinity of Rockall and destroyed around 9577 BC. He later published these ideas in a number of papers on the Academia.edu website(c-f) in which he proposed that a close encounter with Nibiru (Marduk) that resulted in a number of its satellites impacting the Earth, causing devastation which included the demise of Atlantis. He also equated Nibiru with Marduk. The article contains a lot of wild speculations including the suggestion that Nibiru on a return to Earth in 9417 BC, lost another of its satellites, which became our Moon!
The Mzora Stone Circle is a huge megalithic monument in Morocco and is in fact the largest stone ellipse in the world. Mzora and the Egyptian Nabta Playa site are claimed to have used the same construction methods that Alexander Thom has shown to have been used by the British megalith builders. A recent article by Sarah P. Young claims that “The circle is constructed using a Pythagorean right angled triangle with the ratios 12, 35, 37 and this is the same method used by 30 megalithic stone circles in Britain alone. Other similarities in construction and proportions exist such as the use of the so called ‘megalithic yard – a unit of measurement which seems to have been universally employed across Europe – and evidently even further afield” (g).
Although no formal claim has been made for any connection with Atlantis, the supporters of the idea that the megalith builders were Atlanteans see the complexity of the Mzora site as further justification for their opinion. A July 2018 paper(f) links the ancient Berbers with Mzora and as the Berbers occupied territory described by Plato as Atlantean (Timaeus 25a-b & Critias 114c), Mzora may also be legitimately described as Atlantean.
James Mavor, better known for his research at Santorini, surveyed the Mzora site in the 1970’s. Bob Quinn visited the site in 1982 and was struck by its similarity with Newgrange. Robert Temple discusses the site at length in his Egyptian Dawn.
John E. Palmer visited and surveyed the site in 1978 and subsequently wrote an article for Kadath magazine, unfortunately in French only. He reported that extensive damage was done to the site by ‘archaeologist’ César Luis de Montalban with excavations in 1935-6(d) and that many of the stones have been broken by ignorant Islamic extremists.
In 2011, Graham Salisbury gave coordinates for the site and offers a history of Mzora in a longer article(b).
Manuel Vega (1967- ) was born in Spain and studied Chemistry there and later worked as a research scientist in America and Japan. He travelled widely in the Far East before returning to the United States where he spent five years training a Buddhist monk before resuming a more secular life.
In 2012 he published Sailors of Stonehenge in which he reviews the principal megalithic sites of Western Europe, including some interesting speculation. For example he describes the English Avebury complex as a site of ‘monarchical renewal’ and proposes related ceremonies at Stonehenge. Another of what I consider his more fanciful ideas is his suggestion that Ireland’s Boyne Valley, which includes Newgrange, was used as a ‘royal funerary complex’ for dead English kings! He maintains that the location of many of these sites was determined by the position of astronomical features in the night sky.
Vega ends the book with a chapter on Atlantis, which he locates in the Atlantic and identifies the Atlanteans as the Megalith Builders. “By the end of the 4th millennium BC they designed a huge celestial mirror over the Atlantic territories, which served to regulate themselves politically and religiously (implementing Heavens on Earth). The largest and most unique constructions, such as those at Carnac, Avebury, Stonehenge and Newgrange, were royal monuments erected at key sites of this celestial mirror according to a megalithic technology designed to attain the rebirth of the sacrificed kings again as princes, keeping an unbroken royal lineage.”
* Vega returned to the subject of the megalith builders in 2015 with the publication of Voyage Zero. However, in 2017 he became even more contentious in Madrid is Atlantis, which as the title implies, claims that Atlantis was located in the vicinity of the author’s native city.*
I found it very hard to accept most of his claims.
Those interested in reading more of Vega’s ideas can read his blogs(a).
Robert M. Schoch is a Yale scholar, geologist and palaeontologist. At the invitation of John Anthony West he agreed to inspect the Sphinx and offer an opinion of the nature of the erosion to be seen on it. He found that the cause of this erosion was due to precipitation rather than windblown sand. As Egypt has had an arid climate for many thousands of years, Dr Schoch reached the conclusion that at least the front of the Sphinx had been carved between 7000 and 5000 BC, when the climate had been considerably wetter.
In the same book, Voices of the Rocks, he endorsed (p.123) the conclusions of Mary Settegast who claimed that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reference to the Magdalenian culture that inhabited the coastal regions of the Western Mediterranean during the 9th millennium BC. Schoch devotes a chapter to the subject of Atlantis and interestingly lists (p.87) a number of sites to which the Greeks applied the appellation ‘Pillars of Heracles’ apart from the Strait of Gibraltar.
In his Voyages of the Pyramid Builders he reiterates his conviction “that Plato’s story is, at least in part, a fictionalized account of a great Mediterranean war at a time of intense climatic change between the tenth
and eight millennia BC.” A highly critical review of Schoch’s Book can be read online(n).
This 1990 declaration regarding the Sphinx generated an international reputation for Schoch. Such a controversial conclusion was obviously greeted warmly by the supporters of the 9,000 year old date for Atlantis allegedly given by the Egyptian priests to Solon. This accidental intervention by Schoch in the debate regarding the dating of Atlantis has unfortunately done nothing to resolve the issue. Fierce debate continues regarding the date of the Sphinx. However, there appears to be a gradual acceptance of Schoch’s views by other professional geologists such as David Coxhill. Another geologist, Colin Reader, while not accepting all of Schoch’s conclusions, believes that the Sphinx predates King Khufu, the father of Khafre, who has been traditionally accepted as the builder of the Sphinx, with the monument bearing his image.
It appears that Schoch’s experiences regarding the Sphinx has whetted Schoch’s appetite for prehistory as he has now written a further book, again with R.A. McNally about the origins of the pyramid builders. Unfortunately, he includes a reference to Ireland’s Newgrange as a form of ‘pyramid building’, an idea I reject since it shares neither form nor function with the Egyptian pyramids. Dr.Greg Little has written a very critical review of this book.
Schoch appears to be venturing further and further from his natural comfort zone of geology. In 2007 he wrote an article on Telepathy(d) and was later due to address the Electric Universe Conference in Las Vegas in 2012(c) and deliver a paper entitled The Catastrophic Termination of the Last Ice Age. In it, he will claim that that around 10,000 BC the Earth underwent ‘dramatic catastrophic changes’ as a result of ‘our unstable Sun erupting at the end of the last Ice Age, melting the extensive glaciers and triggering climate warming.*The full paper should be an interesting read. He continues to argue against the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis(r).*
His retreat from conventional science may be now complete as he delves into the strange world of lycanthropy (the study of werewolves)(o).
Schoch’s work is now promoted through his own website(b), which includes a wide range of articles. On it both he and his associate, Colette Dowell, have been very critical of the Bosnian pyramid claims of Semir Osmanagic following a visit there in 2006. However, in what appears to be an article(l) written in 2011 or 2012, Osmanagic responds with a scathing criticism of Schoch’s work.
Schoch has now turned his attention to the emergence and demise of very early civilisations, before that of dynastic Egypt or Sumeria. When he combined his early date for the Sphinx with other discoveries such as that of Nabta Playa and Göbekli Tepe and Gunung Padang(m), he concluded that the origins of civilisation go back much further than generally accepted. He then looked at the bigger and perhaps more important question of the cause of their collapse. In a 2009 special edition (N0.8) of New Dawn magazine he speculated on the possibility that the ending of such early civilisations was caused by the earth’s encounter with one or more asteroids or comets.
In his book(f), Forgotten Civilization, Schoch claims that coronal mass ejections from the sun around 9700 BC devastated our planet with electrical discharges, the triggering of seismic and volcanic activity as well as ending the Ice Age with its consequent floods. All this ‘eradicated the civilisation of the time and set humanity back thousands of years, only to re-emerge around 3500 BC with scattered memories and nascent abilities.’ In an article written(g) in March 2012, Schoch wrote about the ‘Carrington Event’ of 1859 which resulted from a massive solar event that year.
Schoch’s paper had the somewhat disturbing title of ‘Death Star’ and perhaps even more unsettling was the revelation in March 2019 that evidence of at least three major solar ‘proton attacks’ over the past 3,000 years. The suggestion being that these episodes are to be expected with some degree of regularity, which may create ever increasing disruption as our dependency on electricity expands. The recent report(q) indicates that the most powerful event identified so far, took place around 610 BC. Without power grids to damage at the time, we are unaware of what effect it had on the peoples of that time and I would hope that a review of the literature of that era might reveal some corroboration.
A video clip is from his recent Las Vegas lecture is now available on YouTube(h). His talk is based on an article(i) in the July-August edition of New Dawn magazine, which is now available online and will play a large part in his Forgotten Civilization. He highlights some fascinating similarities between the Rongorongo script of Easter Island, the Nasca petroglyphs and the plasma figures of Dr. Anthony L. Peratt together with their possible association with the ending of the last Ice Age.
For me, the most disturbing aspect of Schoch’s book is his apocalyptic vision of global catastrophes that he anticipates may turn the few survivors back into troglodytes!
However, Jason Colavito has reviewed Schoch’s claims relating to both the Rongorongo script(j) and Göbekli Tepe(k) and has found his ideas wanting. Colavito found further ammunition in the forthcoming book, Origins of the Sphinx, which Schoch co-authored with Robert Bauval, describing it as ‘a virtual rewriting of’ Keeper of Genesis(p). *In 2019, Schoch expanded further on his opinions regarding the importance of Göbekli Tepe with a claim that its builders possessed some level of literacy(s) , provoking further criticism from Colavito(r).*
Bob Quinn (1935 – ) is an Irish filmmaker who was born in Dublin but now lives in Connemara in the west of Ireland. Although he does not concern himself with demonstrating the reality of Plato’s Atlantis, he published a book based on his four TV documentaries(a), which outline a wide range of ancient cultural connections between Ireland and North Africa, as well as other regions. The book and DVDs are a valuable source for those that see Atlantis as an echo of a prehistoric cultural ‘empire’ stretching along the North African coast and up the western seaboard of Europe. This would broadly coincide with those regions that are richest in megalithic remains.
The possibility of a North African link with Ireland would appear to be reinforced by a number of 19th century reports of the Irish language being understood by visitors from North Africa(d). Additionally, there have also been wild claims of black Africans coming to Ireland in very ancient times(e).
Quinn visited the enormous stone circle at Mzora in Morocco and was struck by its similarity to Newgrange in Ireland(b).
Edo Nyland credits Quinn’s book as having provided some of the inspiration for his own Odysseus and the Sea Peoples.
Commencing Sept 27th 2011, the Irish TV channel TG4 broadcast a series of his documentaries every Tuesday, each one introduced by Quinn himself.
Quinn’s Atlantean documentary is available on YouTube(c).
Dr. Ulf Erlingsson is a Swedish geographer, geomorphologist and an expert in underwater mapping. In order to explain several puzzles regarding the Ice Age he developed The Captured Ice Shelf Hypothesis. He was the chairman of the Geographic Society of Uppsala, Sweden and 1991 he received the Linnaeus Prize from the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala.
Erlingsson is currently the American representative of AB Hydro consult(a), a spin-off from Uppsala University, Department of Physical Geography.
During the 1990’s while studying the geography of the Baltic region, Erlingsson obtained a set of Soviet maps, which greatly assisted the building of the database he was engaged in. However, these maps, which had been bought openly in Riga, outlined plans for a Russian invasion of Sweden in the event of a war in Europe with NATO(b).
Since moving to Florida, Erlingsson has been very involved politically with the ‘Progressive’ wing of the Democratic Party.
Erlingsson recently identified the empire of Atlantis with the megalithic cultures of Western Europe and North Africa and suggested its capital may have been located in Ireland. His book is interesting and contains a number of original ideas. However, as an Irishman, I am not convinced that our remarkable monuments in the Boyne Valley are the remains of or related to Atlantis. I will discuss this further in my review of his book. Erlingsson sees Atlantis everywhere, for example, in a carving on a stone basin in the Knowth passage tomb close to Newgrange.
Erlingsson has also suggested that the Irish authorities have deliberately made Newgrange inaccessible. This is total nonsense. As a regular visitor to the site over the years, I have witnessed nothing but every effort being made to maximise the throughput of visitors into the very confined space within our most famous national monument. The carved basin (see image) discovered near Newgrange, is perceived by Erlingsson as a replica of Plato’s circular city of Atlantis while I can see an early version of a Babylonian winged disk. In 2005, probably as a promotional ploy, he issued a challenge for an open debate on his theory.
Frank Joseph has related speculative ideas claiming that “the early date for New Grange, its circular construction, sophisticated solar orientation and mythic tradition all point to Atlantean origins.”[0636.70]
Erlingsson has more recently suggested that the ‘sunken’ island referred to by Plato was probably located in the vicinity of the southern end of the North Sea. He proposes that around 6100 BC a tsunami generated by a massive storegga off Norway reduced the then low-lying Dogger Bank to the impassable muddy shoals recorded by Plato! He has suggested that the original Atlantis narrative, conveyed to Solon, was a mixture of an account of megalithic Ireland and a report of the inundation of Doggerland.
Dr. Patrick Wallace, the Director of the National Museum of Ireland, declared that he was unaware of any archaeological evidence to support Erlingsson’s claims.
Nevertheless, Erlingsson has produced some interesting material on the bursting of glacial lakes or what are known in Iceland as jökulhlaups and their possible effect on the ending of the last Ice Age(c).
>In 2020, Keystone University(!) published two articles on the Ancient Origins website, which drew on the theories of Erlingsson and supported the idea of Atlantis in Ireland(d)(e).<
The Concentric Rings or other architectural features extracted by artists from Plato’s description of the capital of Atlantis have continually fascinated students of the story and many have attempted to link them with similar ancient features found elsewhere in the world as evidence of a widespread culture. Stonehenge, Old Owstrey, Carthage and Syracuse have all been suggested, but such comparisons have never been convincing. Diaz-Montexano has recently published(a) an image of a fragment of pottery found near Seville in Spain that shows concentric circles and insists that it is a symbol of Atlantis. Ulf Erlingsson has made a similar claim regarding some concentric circles carved on a stone basin found at Newgrange in Ireland.
In 1969 two commercial pilots, Robert Brush and Trigg Adams, photographed a series of large concentric circles in about three feet of water off the coast of Andros in the Bahamas. Estimates of the diameter of the circles range from 100 to 1,000 feet. Apparently, these rings are now covered by sand. It is hard to understand how such a feature in such very shallow water cannot be physically located and inspected. Richard Wingate in his book estimated the diameter at 1,000 yards. However, the rings described by Wingate were apparently on land, among Andros’ many swamps.
Two papers presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos describe how an asteroid impact could produce similar concentric rings, which, if located close to a coast, could be converted easily to a series of canals for seagoing vessels. The authors, Filippos Tsikalas, V.V. Shuvavlov and Stavros Papamarinopoulos gave examples of such multi-ringed concentric morphology resulting from asteroid impacts. Not only does their suggestion provide a rational explanation for the shape of the canals but would also explain the apparent over-engineering of those waterways.
At the same conference the late Ulf Richter presented his idea [629.451], which included the suggestion that the concentric rings around the centre of the Atlantis capital had a natural origin. Richter has proposed that the Atlantis rings were the result of the erosion of an elevated salt dome that had exposed alternating rings of hard and soft rock that could be adapted to provide the waterways described by Plato.
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has suggested that the ancient city under modern Jaen in Andalusia, Spain had a concentric layout similar to Plato’s description of Atlantis. In August 2016 archaeologists from the University of Tübingen revealed the discovery(i) of a Copper Age, Bell Beaker People site 50km east of Valencina near Seville, where the complex included a series of concentric earthwork circles.
A very impressive example of man-made concentric stone circles, know in Arabic as Rujm el-Hiri and in Hebrew as Gilgal Refaim(a), is to be found on the Golan Heights, now part of Israeli occupied Syria. It consists of four concentric walls with an outer diameter of 160metres. It has been dated to 3000-2700 BC and reputed to have been built by giants! Mercifully, nobody, has claimed any connection with Atlantis.That is until 2018, when Ryan Pitterson made just such a claim in his book, Judgement of the Nephilim.
Jim Allen in his latest book, Atlantis and the Persian Empire, devotes a well illustrated chapter to a discussion of a number of ‘circular cities’ that existed in ancient Persia and which some commentators claim were the inspiration for Plato’s description of the city of Atlantis. These include the old city of Firuzabad which was divided into 20 sectors by radial spokes as well as Ecbatana and Susa, both noted by Herodotus to have had concentric walls. Understandably, Allen, who promotes the idea of Atlantis in the Andes, has pointed out that many sites on the Altiplano have hilltops surrounded by concentric walls. However, as he seems to realise that to definitively link any of these locations with Plato’s Atlantis a large dollop of speculation was required.
Rodney Castleden compared the layout of Syracuse in Sicily with Plato’s Atlantis noting that the main city “had seen a revolution in its defensive works, with the building of unparalleled lengths of circuit walls punctuated by numerous bastions and towers, displaying the city-state’s power and wealth. The three major districts of the city, Ortygia, Achradina and Tycha, were surrounded by three separate circuit walls; Ortygia itself had three concentric walls, a double wall around the edge and an inner citadel”.[225.179]
Dale Drinnon has an interesting article(d) on the ‘rondels’ of the central Danubian region, which number about 200. Some of these Neolithic features have a lot in common with Plato’s description of the port city of Atlantis. The ubiquity of circular archaeological structures at that time is now quite clear, but they do not demonstrate any relationship with Atlantis.
The late Marcello Cosci based his Atlantis location on his interpretation aerial images of circular features on Sherbro Island, but as far as I can ascertain this idea has gained little traction.
One of the most remarkable natural examples of concentric features is to be found in modern Mauritania and known as the Richat Structure or Guelb er Richat. It is such a striking example that it is not surprising that some researchers have tried to link it with Atlantis. Robert deMelo and Jose D.C. Hernandez(o) are two advocates along with George S. Alexander & Natalis Rosen who were struck by the similarity of the Richat feature with Plato’s description and decided to investigate on the ground. Instability in the region prevented this until late 2008 when they visited the site, gathering material for a movie. The film was then finalised and published on their then newly established website in 2010(l), where the one hour video in support of their thesis can be freely downloaded(m).
In 2008, George Sarantitis put forward the idea that the Richat Structure was the location of Atlantis, supporting his contention with an intensive reappraisal of the translation of Plato’s text(n). He developed this further in his Greek language 2010 book, The Apocalypse of a Myth with an English translation currently in preparation.
However, Ulf Richter has pointed out that Richat is too wide (35 km), too elevated (400metres) and too far from the sea (500 km) to be seriously considered as the location of Atlantis.
A dissertation by Oliver D.Smith has suggested(e) the ancient site of Sesklo in Greece as the location of Atlantis, citing its circularity as an important reason for the identification. However, there are no concentric walls, the site is too small and most importantly, it’s not submerged. Smith later decided that the Atlantis story was a fabrication!(p)
In March 2015, the UK’s MailOnline published a generously illustrated article(g) concerning a number of sites with unexplained concentric circles in China’s Gobi Desert. The article also notes some superficial similarities with Stonehenge. I will not be surprised if a member of lunatic fringe concocts an Atlantis theory based on these images. (see right)
This obsession with concentricity has now extended to the interpretation of ancient Scandinavian armoury in particular items such as the Herzsprung Shield(c).
In 2011 Shoji Yoshinori offered the suggestion that Stonehenge was a 1/24th scale model of Atlantis(f). He includes a fascinating image in the pdf.
For my part, I wish to question Plato’s description of the layout of Atlantis’ capital city with its vast and perfectly engineered concentric alternating bands of land and sea. This is highly improbable as the layout of cities is invariably determined by the natural topography of the land available to it(h). Plato is describing a city designed by and for a god and his wife and as such his audience would expect it to be perfect and Plato did not let them down. I am therefore suggesting that those passages have been concocted within the parameters of ‘artistic licence’ and should be treated as part of the mythological strand in the narrative, in the same way that we view the ‘reality’ of Clieto’s five sets of male twins or even the physical existence of Poseidon himself.
Furthermore, Plato was a follower of Pythagoras, who taught that nothing exists without a centre, around which it revolves(k). A concept which may have inspired him to include it in his description of Poseidon’s Atlantis.
(d) See: Archive 3595
(e) https://academia.edu/3507001/Atlantis_as_Sesklo (now offline)
(n) https://platoproject.gr/system-wheels/ https://platoproject.gr/page13.html (offline Nov.2015)
Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective  by Dr. Ulf Erlingsson, a Swedish geographer and geomorphologist, endeavours to identify Ireland as the original Atlantis described by Plato. As an Irishman, I would be delighted to support this view, if the evidence was strong enough. Unfortunately, I cannot see Erlingsson’s book advancing the case for an Irish Atlantis. I am willing to accept that the megalithic cultures of Western Europe and North Africa were probably part of a loose confederation of societies that led to a later tale of a mighty empire, as its existence was relayed through the myths of succeeding civilisations. However, to claim that Ireland was the centre of this civilisation is rather fanciful and unsubstantiated by anything other than the fertile imagination of Dr. Erlingsson.
Erlingsson refers to Henry O’Brien’s book, The Round Towers of Ireland as a sort of precursor of his own. In fact, O’Brien’s book was an attempt to link the Round Towers of Ireland with a pre-Christian period. O’Brien never referred to Plato or Atlantis at all. Now after more than a hundred and fifty years, no evidence to support O’Brien’s claim has been forthcoming. There is a consensus that the round towers date from the early part of the first millennium AD, but it must be admitted that with regard to their purpose, some mystery still exists.
The most glaring flaw in Erlingsson’s theory is his arbitrary use of the diagonal dimensions of Ireland in order to shoehorn it into Plato’s dimensions. Using the island’s latitudinal and longtitudinal dimensions, a much smaller figure would have resulted. However, his application of Plato’s 3,000 x 2,000 stadia (550 x 370 km) to the entire island, is dishonest as Plato’s figures only refer to the plain of Atlantis, whereas the Central Plain of Ireland would only occupy a fraction of that area.
Some of my other reasons for dismissing Dr. Erlingsson’s theory are:
- Ireland is too far north to have produced two crops annually and was mainly covered in ice during the last Ice Age. Furthermore;
- Ireland did not disappear beneath the sea
- Ireland has always been somewhat short of elephants
- Ireland does not have hot springs
- There is no evidence of any harbour in the immediate vicinity of Tara or Newgrange.
- Conventional archaeology indicates that Ireland did not have dressed stone structures until around 5th Century AD.
*Erlingsson, in order to explain the fact that Ireland was not submerged, has proposed that when the story of megalithic Ireland reached Egypt, it became confused with the tale of the inundation of Doggerland, which resulted from the Norwegian storegga event of around 6200 BC.*
My final gripe with the book, or should I say booklet, as it contains just a hundred pages, is that it lacks an index, an irritating omission that a number of authors reviewed here have also been guilty of.
On 19th August 2004, the respected The Irish Times newspaper, reported(c) that Erlingsson had appeared to backtrack on some of his initial claims when he said that “The existence of Atlantis has never been proven” and that “the purpose of his book was to test Plato’s claim that he based the utopia on a real, historic place.”
UPDATE – JULY 2016
It’s over ten years since I read Erlingsson’s book and have only recently re-read it because the author wrote to me complaining that I had included inaccuracies in my original comments on his book. Having perused the first chapter again, I quickly realised that any shortcomings on my part were greatly exceeded by those of Erlingsson’s.
Firstly, he claims that Atlantis was Ireland, but the island which sank, referred to by Plato, was in the North Sea, part of Doggerland. He claims that the story of a sunken island was a tale from Atlantis, not about Atlantis! He attempts to explain this away by simply claiming that Solon/Plato made a mistake! It is far more likely that Erlingsson is making a mistake.
He then uses Doggerland to explain away the elephants that Plato said inhabited Atlantis, claiming that the remains of mammoths were reclaimed from the North Sea. However, he fails to record that the mammoths in question were dated at 40,000 BC(b), tens of thousands of years before Atlantis.*Nevertheless, there is now evidence that mammoths may have existed on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean as recently as 2500-2000 BC(d)(e).*
My second complaint is that he initially matches the dimensions of the entire island of Ireland with those of the plain of Atlantis given by Plato, namely 3000 x 2000 stadia. I have already pointed out that if you remove the mountains from the Ireland, the remaining plains of our island, if combined, might amount to a third of that of the plain of Atlantis(a). In order to shoehorn Ireland into his hypothesis he abitrarily chose to use a value of 166m to the stade, instead of the more generally accepted 185m. On top of that, as already noted, he measured Ireland diagonally rather than north-south and east-west.
Furthermore, speaking of mountains, the highest Irish peak is only 1,038m high. On the other hand, Plato describes the mountains of Atlantis being renowned for their number, size and beauty, which apart from beauty cannot be applied to the modest Irish mountain ranges. I would expect better from a geographer.
The first chapter contains other errors, including the idea that the ancient Greeks knew of America. In fact they only knew of three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya (Africa). Herodotus, who flourished after Solon and before Plato, was quite clear that there were only three known to the Greeks. [Histories 4.42].
There are more speculative claims in this first chapter, but, at this point I could take no more and gave up, unwilling to waste any more time on this nonsense. Erlingsson claims that his hypothesis matches Plato’s Atlantis story with a probability of 99.98%. Hilarious.
Ireland according to James Bramwell [0195.181], was first identified with Atlantis as early as circa 1250 AD in the Speculum Regale (The King’s Mirror)(g) which was written in Norway. Apart from that, Ireland was less controversially was first suggested in the 18th century as a possible location of Atlantis by the English geologist John Whitehurst. The idea lay dormant for over a century until the early part of the 20th century when George H. Cooper  suggested that Cork harbour fits Plato’s description of the harbour of Atlantis. Fifty years later an official guidebook claimed that one of the outposts of Atlantis was to be found on the west coast of Galway. As a nation famed for its storytelling we have never let truth stand in the way of a good tale.
The mythical Hy-Brasil was shown west of Ireland on maps as early as 1325 and incredibly, was not removed from naval charts until 1865. The UK’s Daily Star (21/5/16) with typical tabloid accuracy told its readers(f) that Hy-Brasil was off the coast of ‘Britain’!
In 1976, Steiner Books, New York, republished a book under the misleading title of Atlantis in Ireland. One may be excused for viewing this as a blatant case of exploitative opportunistic publishing. The original text was written by Henry O’Brien and published in London (1834) as The Round Towers of Ireland. Apart from being written in the rather turgid English of the period, there is not a single reference to Plato or Atlantis to be found in that volume.
Diodorus Siculus, in a well-known passage (Bk 1.158), that is claimed by some as a reference to Ireland(h), describes it as ”an island in the ocean over against Gaul, to the north, and not inferior in size to Sicily, the soil of which is so fruitful that they mow there twice in the year.” Some consider this to be reminiscent of the Platonic reference to the two crops a year gathered in Atlantis. However, I am more inclined to think that Diodorus was referring to Britain. Diodorus also mentions the Irish singular temples of ’round form’, however, this seems too early to be a reference to the round towers and more likely to be an allusion to the astronomically aligned mounds such as Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth in Ireland or Stonehenge in Britain!
Bob Quinn has written and lectured on possible ancient cultural links between North Africa and Ireland. This idea may have been reinforced by a number of 19th century reports that visitors from North Africa were able to understand the Irish language!(i)
In 1923, Conor MacDari, who’s eccentricity was comparable with that of Comyns Beaumont, published Irish Wisdom Preserved in the Bible and Pyramids , which among a litany of bizarre claims, proposed that Atlantis had been located in Ireland.
When Ignatius Donnelly came to the subject of Ireland, he attributed an Atlantean origin to so the various waves of settlers that came to the post-glacial island. He substitutes evidence with assertion and speculation. Donnelly further claimed that the famous round towers of Ireland are proof that the people of Atlantis settled in Ireland.
More recently Ulf Erlingsson, a Swedish geographer, insisted that with a claimed probability
factor of 99.98%, that his interpretation of Plato’s text demonstrates that Ireland was home to Atlantis . The subtitle of the book, Mapping the Fairy Land, is probably a good guide on how seriously to take this book, particularly as it is by an author who hails from the land of the original Trolls.
In March 2008, it was reported that a Dr. Jac Hummer had mounted an expedition to South America with the intention of discovering the remains of St. Patrick under a pyramid there. But it gets better – he then explains that such a discovery will prove his theory that Ireland is Plato’s lost island of Atlantis!I can only conclude that this is a hoax story.
Irish legend speaks of the Domnu, people of the deep sea from a land that disappeared beneath the waves. However, Ireland is still above the waves and in contrast to Plato’s statement that even in his time the location of Atlantis was marked by impassable shallows. Since sea levels have generally risen only slightly since Plato lived, he cannot have been referring to Ireland.
John Douglas Singer in his slender book, Ireland’s Mysterious Lands and Sunken Cities , has carried out an investigation into the ancient legends of Ireland and their possible connection with Plato’s Atlantis. He points out that Ireland has the greatest number of legends relating to sunken cities and islands! He draws on the works of Egerton Sykes and Lewis Spence among others.
Ireland was also nominated by Thomas Dietrich as an early colony of Atlantis in The Origin of Culture.
Somewhat incongruously, the website of extremist, Dejan Lucic, has an extensive and fully referenced article entitled The Irish Origins of Civilisation(a), including not a few controversial sources such as, Comyns Beaumont, Ralph Ellis and John Gordon.
Around 2010, a father and son team Francis J.Ward & Francis P.Ward seeminglly published their first book The Truth Against the World-Red Phoenix Rising & the Return of the Thunder Gods , in which they express the view that “Atlantis was a global, maritime empire based in Ireland”.(c)
In 2013, Skender Hushi informed the world that Albanian had been the original language of Ireland and Atlantis! Another equally odd claim came from Zoltán Simon who proposed that the ancient Hun Calendar came from Ireland [0549.147]!
Evidence for the earliest humans in Ireland is now dated as 10,500 BC.(d)(e)
In July 2020, Erlingsson’s Atlantis in Ireland theory was recycled by a website(j) with the title of ‘Keystone University’. It promises to build a world-class enterprise centre in Ireland in 2025. The site implies that Keystone has the support of Brian Tracy, an American self-development speaker. While Keystone seems to focus on business success and personal development, it incongruously includes a study of Atlantis a la Erlingsson as part of its course! It has published two papers on the Ancient Origins website(k)(l).
>The Atlantis claims of Keystone were found earlier in January on YouTube and while it ostensibly appeared to add the gravitas of an educational institution to the subject of Atlantis, it was only a smokescreen for an attempt to intice people to sign up for overpriced seminars. Jason Colavito drew attention(m) to this at the time and to the more recent articles on Ancient Origins(n).<