The Sahara Desert and in particular its northern regions have attracted its share of attention from Atlantis investigators. However unlikely it may appear as a possible location for Atlantis it must be kept in mind that the Sahara of prehistory was very different from what we see today. Not only was it wetter at various periods in the past, but also there is clear evidence for the existence of a large inland sea extending across the borders of modern Algeria and Tunisia. This evidence is in the form of the chotts or salt flats in both countries. This proposed sea is considered by some to have been the Lake Tritonis referred to by classical writers. It is suggested that some form of tectonic/seismic activity, common in the region, was responsible for isolating this body of seawater from the Mediterranean and eventually turning it into the salt flats we see today.
An even more extensive inland sea, further south, was proposed by Ali Bey el Abbassi and based on his theory a map was published in 1802 which can be viewed online(c).
More recently, Riaan Booysen has published an illustrated paper on the ancient inland Saharan seas as indicated on the 16th century maps of Mercator and Ortelius(i). King’s College London runs The Sahara Megalakes Project which studies the Megalakes and the Saharan Palaeoclimate record(m).
A 2013 report in New Scientist magazine(d) revealed that 100,000 years ago the Sahara had been home to three large rivers that flowed northward, which probably provided migration routes for our ancestors.
Other studies(h) have shown the previous existence of a huge river system in the Western Sahara, which flowed into the Atlantic on the Mauritanian coast.
An article in the Sept. 2008 edition of National Geographic pointed out that the Saharan climate has been similar for the past 70,000 years except for a period beginning 12,000 years ago when a number of factors combined to alter this fact. A northerly shift by seasonal monsoons brought additional rain to an area the size of the contiguous USA. This period of a greener Sahara lasted until around 4,500 years ago.
More recent studies claim that “there’s geologic evidence from ocean sediments that these orbitally-paced Green Sahara events occur as far back as the Miocene epoch (23 million to 5 million years ago), including during periods when atmospheric carbon dioxide was similar to, and possibly higher, than today’s levels. So, a future Green Sahara event is still highly likely in the distant future.”
More recent studies claim that “there’s geologic evidence from ocean sediments that these orbitally-paced Green Sahara events occur as far back as the Miocene epoch (23 million to 5 million years ago), including during periods when atmospheric carbon dioxide was similar to, and possibly higher, than today’s levels. So, a future Green Sahara event is still highly likely in the distant future.” (p)
Henri Lhote contributed an article to Reader’s Digest‘s, The World’s Last Mysteries , regarding the ‘green’ Sahara that existed prior to 2500 BC.>Two German climatologists Rudolph Kuper and Stefan Kröpelin have estimated that this last greening of the Sahara began around 8500 BC and ended sometime between 3500 BC and 1500 BC(r).
Some have suggested a connection between the latest aridification of the Sahara and the migration of settlers to the Nile Valley, where, coincidentally, the ancient Egypt we know about was founded around 3100 BC.
Others have endeavoured to link the last aridification of the Sahara with the destruction of Atlantis!<
More recently, human activity has been blamed as a major contributory factor for the desertification of the Sahara region less than 10,000 years ago.(n)
Related to the above is a recent study of sediments off the west coast of Africa, which resulted in the discovery of what was “primarily a new “beat,” in which the Sahara vacillated between wet and dry climates every 20,000 years, in sync with the region’s monsoon activity and the periodic tilting of the Earth.” (o)
In 1868, it was proposed by D.A. Godron, the French botanist, that the Sahara was the location of Atlantis. In 2003, the non-existent archaeologist Dr.Carla Sage announced that she was hoping to lead an international expedition to the Sahara in search of Atlantis. Her contention was that “Atlantis was the capital of a vast North African empire with ports on the Gulf of Sidra”. This report is now confirmed to have been a hoax! I am indebted to Stel Pavlou for uncovering the origin of this story(e).
The idea of an African Atlantis was highlighted in 2021 with the publication of Atletenu , in which the author, Diego Ratti, identified the Hyksos as Atlanteans with their capital at Avaris in the eastern Nile Delta. At the other end of North Africa, the chotts of Tunisia and Algeria were nominated by Holden Zhang as the location of Atlantis in a YouTube clip(q).
Gary Gilligan, the well-known catastrophist, wrote a thought-provoking article(k) on the origin of the Saharan sands, which he claims are extraterrestrial in origin and expands on the idea in his 2016 book Extraterrestrial Sands .
David Mattingly, an archaeologist at Leicester University has found that an ancient people known as the Garamantes had an extensive civilisation in the Sahara(l). He has evidence of at least three cities and twenty other settlements. The Garamantes reached their peak around 100 BC and then gradually diminished in influence as fossil water supplies reduced until in the 7th century AD they were subjected to Islamic domination. Some researchers such as Frank Joseph have identified the Garamantes as being linked with the Sea Peoples. Bob Idjennaden has published short but informative Kindle books about both the Garamantes  and the Sea Peoples , without a suggestion of any connection between the two.
The discovery of megalithic structures discovered at Nabta Playa (Nabta Lake) in the Egyptian Sahara has provided evidence for the existence of a sophisticated society in that area around 5000 BC. In the same region, near the Dakhleh Oasis, archaeologists have produced data that supports the idea that pre-Pharaonic Egypt had Desert Origins rather than being an importation from Mesopotamia or elsewhere(a).
Nabta Playa is not unique, in fact, the largest megalithic ellipse in the world is to be found at Mzorah, 27 km from Lixus in Morocco(b). It appears that the construction methods employed at both Mezorah and Nabta Playa are both similar to that used in the British Isles. An even more impressive site is Adam’s Calendar in South Africa which has been claimed as 75,000-250,000 years old.
West of Cairo near the border with Libya is the Siwa Oasis, where it has now been demonstrated that “it is in fact home to one of Ancient Egypt’s astounding solar-calendar technologies– the solar equinox alignment between the Timasirayn Temple and the Temple of Amun Oracle in Aghurmi.”(j).
I think we can expect further exciting discoveries in the Sahara leading to a clearer picture of the prehistoric cultures of the region and what connections there are, if any, with Plato’s Atlantis. In the meanwhile in the Eastern Egyptian Desert, Douglas Brewer, a professor of archaeology at the University of Illinois, has discovered over 1,000 examples of rock art, including numerous depictions of boats although the sites, so far undisclosed, are remote from water.
Even more remarkable is the report(e) of March 2015 that a survey of the Messak Settafet escarpment in the central Sahara revealed that there were enough discarded stone tools in the region “to build more than one Great Pyramid for every square kilometre of land on the continent”! Coincidentally, around the same time, it was reported that over a thousand stone tools had been found in the Northern Utah Desert(g). What the Utah discovery lacked in quantity was made up for in quality with the finding of the largest known Haskett point spearhead, measuring around nine inches in length.
(a) Saudi Aramco World (2006, Vol. 57, No.5 p.2-11)
(d) NewScientist.com, 16 September 2013, https://tinyurl.com/mg9vcoz
(l) See: Archive 3268
Caphtor is a place referred to in the Bible (Jeremiah 47.4, Amos 9.7) and located by traditional Hebrew sources to have been near Pelusium in the eastern Nile Delta. Some think that Jeremiah’s reference to “the coasts of Caphtor” implied that Caphtor was an island. The late Walter Baucum also identified Caphtor with the Egyptian Kaft-ur in the Delta, once occupied by the Philistines [183.309]. A. H. Sayce, a respected 19th century Assyriologist, among others, also placed Caphtor in the Delta.
Keftiu was an Egyptian placename and since the 18th century has been frequently associated with Crete. Half a century ago James E. Jennings of Akron University wrote a paper in which he concluded that “it appears that there is sufficient evidence to support the contention that Caphtor was Crete”(f).
While many commentators today equate Caphtor with Crete, the evidence is far from clear. As Manuel Robbins points out [856.316], the identification of Caphtor with Crete “is based on not one but a string of assumptions. If any of these assumptions are wrong, the conclusion fails, and these assumptions are shaky.”
Baucum offers evidence that the Egyptians also used Keftiu when referring to north of the Orontes River (Syria), Cyprus, Cilicia (S.W. Turkey) as well as Crete. He also attributes the exclusive association of Caphtor with Crete to Champollion’s guessed at identification of the Philistines as the Sea Peoples! A chapter in a book  by Nissim Raphael Ganor that bluntly states that “The Philistines and the ‘Sea Peoples’, not the same entity” is worth reading for anyone studying this particular controversy(i).
Manuel Robbins has concluded [p336] that the most likely location for Keftiu was either Cyprus, Syria or Eastern Anatolia, but that it is essentially a mystery.
Matters become confused when we find that there is also a popular theory that Caphtor and Keftiu referred to the same place. Robbins disputed such an identification. He offers pictorial evidence from tombs on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes that might equally suggest Syria as the home of Caphtor [p334], but this is also far from conclusive.
Frankly, I find all the competing opinions(h) extremely confusing and unsatisfactory and believe that a solution to these conflicting ideas is far from a resolution.
Some others have been in favour of identifying Keftiu with Cyprus, among whom, Immanuel Velikovsky argued(g) that if Cyprus was not Caphtor, then it is the only island of any importance in the Eastern Mediterranean not mentioned in the Bible [039.210]. Caphtor/Keftiu: A New Investigation  by John Strange also supports this identification with Cyprus. Walter Baucum claims that “Keftiu was the coastline from Tyre northwards to Anatolia, and included the islands of Crete and Cyprus” [p107].
Yair Davidy in his Introduction to Baucum’s book[183.x] and his own Lost Israelite Identity [1375.208] claims that there was another Keftiu in Northern Europe. Jürgen Spanuth claimed that Caphtor and the Norse ‘holmr Asgard’ mean the same [015.94], namely, “the island of the heaven-pillar”. More recent support for a Northern Europe Caphtor is offered by Eckart Kahlhofer who, like Spanuth, also claims it as the location of Atlantis and adds that it was also the home of the Philistines!
Making matters worse was the introduction of Atlantis into the discussion, bringing with it its own range of conflicting ideas. There is also a number of commentators, including Bruce Wayne(d) and Alex Hawk(e), who take Keftiu to be another name for Minoan Crete and equate it with Atlantis. Robert Ishoy considers Nuragic Sardinia as Keftiu/Atlantis(b).
Although Plato was the first to use the term ‘Atlantis’, there are antecedents to his account of a drowned civilisation. There is an Egyptian legend, which Solon probably heard while travelling in Egypt, and was passed down to Plato years later. It concerns the island nation of Keftiu, home to one of the four pillars that held up the sky. It was said to be a glorious advanced civilization, which was destroyed and sank beneath the ocean. It has been suggested that Plato embellished Solon’s story from “the land of the four pillars that held up the sky” into “the land of the Titan, Atlas, who held up the sky.” The Egyptian legend refers to an island west of Egypt, but not necessarily west of the Mediterranean. It may be relevant to point here that Crete is more northerly of Egypt whereas some of the suggested Atlantis locations such as the Maltese Islands or Sardinia are in fact located westward.
It seems that the debate(a) regarding the identification of Keftiu is set to continue for some time. Muddying the waters further is a serious claim of a Minoan connection with Japan(c) with a particular reference to the Linear A script!
Avaris (Tell el Dab’a) located in the Nile Delta, was the capital of the Hyksos rulers of northern Egypt during the second millennium BC. Recent excavations have unearthed Minoan-style frescoes, including bull leaping. At least one writer has remarked on the similarity of this ‘island’ city to Plato’s Atlantis (The Jerusalem Post, July 12th 2006).
Manfred Bietak (1940- ) the celebrated Austrian archaeologist spent many years excavating at two sites in the Nile Delta and identified Tell El-Dab’a as the location of Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos period; and Piramesse, which was the capital of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt(b). In 1996 he delivered an illustrated lecture on his work to the British Museum(c).
In 2021, Diego Ratti published Atletenu(a), in which he identified the Hyksos as Atlanteans and situated their capital as Avaris! He claims to have matched Plato’s description of the city of Atlantis with the Egyptian location. I identified a number of discrepancies and was not convinced.
Also See: Meizon
Asty is another name that Athenians had for their city. According to Diodorus Siculus (Book 1) it is claimed that the Athenians were colonists from Sais in Egypt and that they brought the name Asty from the city of the same name there, which is thought to be Alexandria. Sais was the centre of the cult of the Egyptian goddess Neith and accepted by Plato (Tim. 21E) as identical to Athena after whom the Greek city was named. Tim. 21E uses the term Asty in the Latin translation of Chalcidius only, a fact highlighted by R. McQuillen who also claims(a) that Atlantis was in fact located in the Nile Delta and uses Asty as a starting point for his thesis.
Egypt occupies the northeastern corner of Africa. However, the ancient Egyptians considered themselves Asian (Tim. 24b). Over its long history, Egypt itself was overrun by a variety of invaders – Hyksos, Kushites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.
In practical terms, its territory consisted of a few miles on either side of the Nile together with its large Delta. In an expansionist period in the 2nd millennium BC, Egypt controlled parts of what are now Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Libya.
The exact extent of Egyptian-controlled territory in Libya at the time of Atlantis is unclear. We do know that “In the mid-13th century, Marmarica was dominated by an Egyptian fortress chain stretching along the coast as far west as the area around Marsa Matruh; by the early 12th century, Egypt claimed overlordship of Cyrenaican tribes as well. At one point a ruler chosen by Egypt was set up (briefly!) over the combined tribes of Meshwesh, Libu, and Soped.”(r)
A Wikipedia map(q) suggests that Egyptian New Kingdom control stretched at least halfway towards Syrtis Major, which has been proposed by some as the location of Atlantis.
As most are aware the history of Egypt is inextricably linked with that of the Old Testament, leading to the suggestion by some, such as Ahmed Osman(k), that individuals in the Egyptian 18th Dynasty can be identified with some of the Hebrew Patriarchs, most notably Moses and the heretic king Akhenaten. Interestingly, this linkage had been put forward previously by Sigmund Freud!
Osman goes further and contends that the main tenets of Christianity developed on the banks of the Nile  and additionally “provides a convincing argument that Jesus himself came out of Egypt.” This is in sharp contrast to those that claim that both Moses and Jesus are completely fictitious characters(l).
Egypt was viewed by the Greeks of Plato’s time as guardians of ancient history and wisdom and consequently was a place of pilgrimage for many of its greatest philosophers, who travelled there to be initiated into the cults of Isis and Osiris. Gustav Parthey (1798-1872), the German antiquarian, researched the education of 40 leading philosophers, writers and politicians of ancient Greece and found that all had studied under Egyptian priests. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) suggested that Plato travelled to Heliopolis and was a disciple of the Egyptian priest Sechnuphis. Other classical writers such as Strabo and Plutarch have confirmed this(i).
>Zsofia Frei has published a paper defending the idea that Greek philosophy came from Egypt(s).<
Despite this, the Greeks arrogantly referred to all non-Greeks, including the Atlanteans (Crit. 113a) as ‘barbarians’. It is of interest that Athene after whom the Greek capital is named originated in Egypt where she was worshipped as Neith.
The late Philip Coppens went as far as to suggest(a) that Greece was an Egyptian colony!
Plato’s text seems to infer that the destruction of Atlantis in 9600 BC was contemporary with Egyptian civilisation, raising archaeological questions regarding the earliest date for the establishment of an organised society in Egypt. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to support this contention. The oldest known art in Egypt was discovered in 2007 when petroglyphs were estimated to be 15,000 years old. The earliest culture along the Nile, identified by archaeologists is that of what is known as the Badarian dating to around 4500 BC. They produced basic pottery, and jewellery and used stone tools although they had some knowledge of metals. The Badarians were followed by the Naqada who led on to what we identify as the spectacular ancient Egyptian civilisation. However, in 2007, rock carvings, similar in style to the Lascaux paintings were discovered near the village of Qurta, 650km south of Cairo. The 160 carvings, spread over 1.5km of the rock face, discovered so far, mainly depict wild bulls and have been dated to 13000 BC(h)
September 2013 saw the publication(c)(d) of a more definitive date for the start of the state of Egypt, beginning with the reign of king Aha circa 3100 BC. The evidence indicated that the process of moving from the pre-Dynastic groupings to a form of statehood was more rapid than previously thought. This undermines even more firmly the claims of the Egyptians that their country was founded around 8,600 BC as reported by Plato.
It is not surprising that ancient Egypt has presented us with very many unanswered questions, some of which have been compiled, posted on Wikipedia but subsequently removed(g).
Many writers have remarked how all aspects of ancient Egyptian culture seem to have arrived fully developed, while later dynasties did not surpass some of the achievements of the earlier ones! The conclusion of some is that the fully matured civilisation of the early Egyptians was a legacy from elsewhere.
Sanchuniathon refers to the original kings of Egypt calling them ‘Aleteans’. Albert Slosman claims that survivors from Atlantis had migrated to Egypt. The archaeologist, Marcelle Weissen-Szumianska, in a 1965 book, Origines Atlantiques des Anciens Egyptiens , maintained that the pre-pharaonic Egyptians originated in Atlantis, which had been situated in Morocco! Others suggest that Egypt was an Atlantean colony. The idea was brought to a ridiculous level by Augustus Le Plongeon who claimed that Egypt was a Mayan colony!
A more grounded study by Alapan Roy Chowdhury investigates the claim put forward by some researchers that there are remarkable similarities between the cultures of ancient India and Egypt. “Was there a real connection or are these similarities only coincidences?”(j) The tributetohinduism.com website(n) develops this idea further.
Robert Schoch has controversially dated the construction of the Sphinx to between 7000-5000 BC, while the megalithic structures at Nabta Playa suggest a sophisticated culture in that region around 5000 BC. Even if both these early dates are correct they are still over four and a half millennia short of Plato’s date. This most likely explanation is that Plato’s number of 9,000 years before Solon is incorrect as 9000 is too neat and may have been a siglum used to express a large but uncertain number or is an exaggeration just as today we speak of having ‘a million and one things to do’.
In 1897, a Russian scientist, A.N. Karnozhitsky was probably the earliest commentator to propose a close link between Egypt and Atlantis, placing the Pillars of Heracles near Sais and locating Atlantis itself not far from the western mouth of the Nile.
Some years ago, Egypt was again been proposed as the original Atlantis, in a still (June 2021) unpublished book, The Joshua Crossing, by N. R. James. However, 2006 saw a paper presented by Professor Hossam Aboulfotouh of Minia University, Egypt, placed Atlantis in the Nile Delta. The following year R. McQuillen also offered an Egyptian location for Atlantis, placing it at Pharos near Alexandria.
More recently (March 2021), Diego Ratti, published Atletenu , in which he placed Atlantis in Egypt, with its capital located at Avaris, better known before now as the capital of the Hyksos. He questions a number of the English translations of the Greek text, offering his own where ‘appropriate’. The book is carefully constructed and well-illustrated, but, although he appears to match some of Plato’s Atlantis details with the Nile Delta, there was not enough to convince me.
A novel idea has been put forward by Mary Whispering Wind(b), who bravely offers the idea that the Atlantean province of Egypt was, Colchis, situated on the east coast of the Black Sea! She bases her claim on an interpretation of Herodotus (Book II.104/5) who was commenting on circumcision being only practised by Egyptians, Ethiopians and Colchians, in my mind, stretching what Herodotus said beyond the acceptable.
An even more radical suggestion was made by Reinoud M. de Jong in a 2009 paper(f) where he boldly claimed “that during the whole period of the (Michigan) copper trade, America was part of the Egyptian Empire” and during the Old Kingdom “this huge empire was known as Atlantis”!
One blogger, from California, has gone so far as to suggest that the ‘Egypt’ that Solon visited was on the shores of the Sea of Marmara!(e)
Margaret Bunson’s Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt + is now available online.
(a) See Archive 2136
(o) (99+) (PDF) Atlantis: ‘Lost in Translations’ – In Search of the Egyptian Version | Jean-Pierre PÄTZNICK – Academia.edu (French with English translation available)
Dr. Hossam Aboulfotouh (1960 – ) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture in the Egyptian University of Minia. He has daringly suggested that Atlantis was sited in the Nile Delta and destroyed in 3070 BC(f).
Unfortunately, he has supported this contention with very little evidence. In his website(a) he wanders somewhat, discussing ancient metrology and hieroglyphics. He also offers a decoding of the Dendera Zodiac(e).
R. McQuillen offers a much stronger case for an Egyptian location. However, both Aboulfotouh and McQuillen have opted for the west of the Nile delta near Canopus as having been the location of the Pillars of Heracles referred to by Plato. It is interesting to note that the late Ulf Richter studied the topographical details provided by Plato and concludes that the capital city of Atlantis was constructed on a river delta.
In three rather technical papers(d) Aboulfotouh calculates the date of the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza as 3055 BC, which he claims was also the time of the Deluge or what he refers to as the “tsunami of the Mediterranean”. He also outlines his views on the methods used to design the Giza complex using ‘The Horizon Theory’.(b)(d)
He also has written a paper on the tilt of the Giza pyramids’ entrance passages proving “that the pyramids’ designer was able to include the geographic, astronomical and time parameters in one relativistic equation, encoding the date of the design of the Giza pyramids in the tilt of the entrance passage of the Great Pyramid.”(c)