Reinoud M. de Jonge is a Dutch chemist with a passionate interest in megalithic art. He is co-author with J.S. Wakefield of How the Sun God Reached America. In a 2009 article(a) he presents what I consider to be a highly speculative interpretation of markings on a pot discovered at Poverty Point, from which he divined an incredible amount of detail regarding the ancient American copper trade with the Old World.
In the same paper he boldly claims “that during the whole period of the copper trade, America was part of the Egyptian Empire” and that during the Old Kingdom “this huge empire was known as Atlantis”! Now there’s the lid off a can of worms.
De Jonge and Wakefield have now published their theory regarding American copper in the Mediterranean in the third millennium BC in a new book, Rocks & Rows, Sailing Routes across the Atlantic and the Copper Trade. The book has a supporting website where a sample chapter can be read(b), that relates to the identification of Michigan copper in the ancient Mediterranean.
De Jonge has also offered a decipherment of the enigmatic Phaistos Disc(d). Additionally in the field of catastrophism he has produced a useful list of catastrophes from 3201 BC until 550 AD(c).
>De Jonge has written a series of six papers on the ‘The Comet Catastrophe of c.2345 BC.’ (f)<
Many of his papers are available on the academia.edu website(e) , but be warned, he appears to have turned speculation into an art form!
(b) http://rocksandrows.com/wp/rocks-and-rows-sample-chapter-michigan-copper-in-the-mediterranean-page-1/ (Link broken Feb 21)
Poverty Point is an ancient site in north-eastern Louisiana with remarkable concentric ridges reminiscent of Plato’s description of Atlantis. Frank Joseph suggests a definite link with the Atlanteans. Poverty Point is claimed as the remains of the oldest city in North America having been dated to around 1600 BC. Estimates have put the population of the city at 5-15,000 people at its greatest with two major influxes around 1600 and 1000 BC. It appears to have been suddenly abandoned and eventually covered with debris until it was discovered in 1950, when it was spotted from the air.
>“The site is composed of some six C-shaped concentric ridges with each ring separated by a gulley. The ridges are all half circles. While the ridges range from 0.3 feet to 6 feet, they would have been much higher in the past as they have worn down over the many years. Much of the geometric design is hard to make out today on the ground, the scale and geometric design of the site only became apparent after aerial photographs were taken.“(e)<
The purpose of the site is unknown, although various theories are put forward on a regular basis, one of which is that it was used as the world’s largest solstice marker(b)!
The late Antonis Kontaratos presented three papers [750.237] to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens in which he expressed strong support for the American Hypothesis and that Poverty Point had been the capital of Plato’s Atlantis.
Gavin Menzies claimed[780.290] that Poverty Point was actually where the Minoans processed copper brought down the Mississippi from Michigan before transporting it back to the Mediterranean to feed the Bronze industries there! J.S. Wakefield expressed similar ideas, in great detail, in a 2015 article(d).
It has been suggested that the mounds of prehistoric Louisiana, including those at Poverty Point, were constructed as a protection against seasonal flooding! Poverty Point has now been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site of which there are less than 1,000 worldwide>and only 24 in the United States (2019)(f) .<
The results of a study of Mound A, published in the January 2013 edition of Geoarchaeology, has revealed that the structure was built in 90 days or less(a).
An extensive paper from 1996 by Jon L. Gibson is available online(c).
Prof. Antonis N. Kontaratos (? – 2011) was a Greek researcher who delivered a number of papers to the 2005 and 2008 Atlantis Conferences including one in which he highlighted the fact that either directly or indirectly Plato states twenty two times that the story of Atlantis is true. He concluded “that Plato’s story of Atlantis is based on a kernel of truth.” He believed that the narrative contains a variety of exaggerations and that the difficulties involved in separating fact from fiction have led to the spectrum of competing theories.
Kontaratos placed the capital of Atlantis at Poverty Point in Louisiana or at least it inspired some of Plato’s description since “there is also solid evidence that the Greeks were travelling to America in prehistoric times too and could have witnessed firsthand the impressive earthworks at Poverty Point, information which could have reached Plato independently as a fading legend. Kontaratos cited Plutarch to support his contention of Greek transatlantic travel in prehistory.
Kontaratos has also appeared in a 1997 TV Documentary, Atlantis: In Search of a Lost Continent, hosted by Richard Crenna as well as a 2007 episode of the Digging for the Truth TV Series.
Frank Joseph (1944- ) or more correctly Francis Joseph Collin, was born in Chicago. His father was Max Simon Cohen, who is said to have spent time in Dachau concentration camp. Incredibly, in the late seventies, Frank Joseph was the leader of the American Nazi Party. In 1981, Joseph was arrested and convicted of molesting young boys. He was released after serving three of a seven-year sentence (a)(b).
Since his release, he has established himself as an author, writing a number of books on Atlantis and Diffusionism[102–108]. In them, he has emphasised at length the enormous quantities of copper mined in ancient times in North America that he maintains were brought to Europe to feed the demand there, for bronze making. He maintains that this is clear evidence of trading contacts between the Old and New Worlds in prehistoric times. Among his more unusual claims are that Noah was an Atlantean and that the Trojan War was just part of the conflict with the Sea Peoples.
One of Joseph’s early books, Edgar Cayce’s Atlantis and Lemuria, was heavily criticised in some quarters(e) including an accusation of including in the book a ‘heavily retouched’ photo of the underwater Yonaguni site.
In Joseph’s The Destruction of Atlantis, he dates that event to 1198 BC(o) quoting such sources as the Ipuwer Papyrus and temple inscriptions at Medinet Habu.
He then claims that eight years later the Atlanteans re-emerged as the Meshwesh, one of the Sea Peoples, attacked Egypt and were defeated by Ramses III . The authoritative D’Amato & Salimbeti have identified the Meshwesh as possibly being a tribe related to the Libyans [1152.8].
The author concurs with others that the catastrophe was triggered by an impact from a comet/asteroid in the region of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Joseph supports an Atlantis located in the Atlantic of which the Canary Islands and Azores(g) are among its remnants. He draws attention to the fact that The Laws by Plato also refers to the ‘Great Deluge’. In the same book, Joseph returns to his hobbyhorse of the huge amounts of copper that were mined in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in prehistoric times. He is convinced that Atlanteans carried out this massive extraction and transported it to the east to feed the emerging Bronze Age. This book is useful for someone coming to the subject for the first time but it contains little that new and is really just a reworking of existing material.
His next offering was promoted as an encyclopaedia of Atlantis related references, yet it omits any mention of many of the leading theories and their promoters, which is not what you would expect from such a reference work on the subject. He followed this with Survivors of Atlantis, a sequel to The Destruction of Atlantis, which focuses on four global catastrophes linked to the cyclical return of a comet, that led to the destruction of Atlantis and the subsequent dispersal of its survivors and their influence on the cultures of their adopted homelands. As usual, he returns to the mystery of the Michigan copper mines but covers a wide range of global prehistory speculating on possible links with Atlantis. Unlike its prequel, ‘Survivors’ does not include an index.
For a number of years, Joseph was editor-in-chief of Ancient American magazine(c), owned by Wayne May, a Mormon, whose church has a vested interest in demonstrating the existence of early, advanced pre-Columbian peoples in America. A one-hour lecture given by Joseph in 1997 is available on YouTube(h), in which he outlines a number of very early pre-Columbian contacts between West Africa, particularly Mali and the Americas that led to the giant stone heads being carved by the Olmecs.
In 2008, Joseph published Unearthing Ancient America in which he revisits the pre-Columbian remains of North America. As usual, he denounces orthodox archaeologists as a means to bolster his own extreme ideas. For example “Louisiana’s Poverty Point, the ‘oldest city in North America’, is a dead-ringer for Plato’s description of Atlantis…[108.178]”
With his book The Opening of the Ark of the Covenant Joseph moved into slightly different territory, linking the Ark with Atlantis and the Templars. Joseph co-authored this book with Laura Beaudoin who claims to be a descendant of the founder of the Knights Templar in Jerusalem.
Not one to miss an opportunity, the prolific Mr Joseph then jumped on the 2012 bandwagon with the publication of Atlantis and 2012. As the world did not end, Joseph revised this book and republished it as Atlantis and the Coming Ice Age in 2015. An excerpt is available online(i).
April 2012 saw Joseph as editor of Lost Worlds of Ancient America which is an anthology of articles describing various pre-Columbian visitors from both east and west. It also includes a suggestion that the Bahamas had the landmass to match Plato’s description of Atlantis. Jason Colavito, a well-known sceptic, has written an extensive and highly critical review(f) of this collection of articles culled from the Ancient American magazine. While the book has little to do with Atlantis, Colavito’s comments cast doubts on Joseph’s credibility as well as that of the other contributors.
Before Atlantis was published by Joseph in 2013, in it he focuses on the ‘aquatic ape theory’(k) and the existence of ‘pre-human cultures’ going back 20 million years. Atlantis plays a minor part in this offering and it is probable that it is only in the title to assist sales! In May 2017, we have a report(l) of pre-human remains dated to 7.2 million years ago being discovered in the Balkans. How Joseph can apply the term ‘culture’ to such primitive creatures is hard to understand.
In 2016, Joseph published Our Dolphin Ancestors  in which he reveals that we and dolphins are both descended from the aquatic ape! For good measure, he “explores the ‘connections’ between dolphins and Atlantis and Lemuria.”
Joseph frequently touches on the subject of Lemuria and in 2006 published The Lost Civilisation of Lemuria  which was devoted to it. Leaving aside that Joseph equates Lemuria with Mu and that both names are inventions from Philip Sclater and Brasseur de Bourbourg respectively, the advertising blurb for his book tells us that “Joseph painstakingly re-creates a picture of this civilization in which people lived in rare harmony and possessed a sophisticated technology that allowed them to harness the weather, defy gravity, and conduct genetic investigations far beyond what is possible today.” This is reminiscent of some of the b.s.produced by Blavatsky and Cayce, among others.
Joseph then followed ‘Lost Worlds’ with Lost Colonies of Ancient America in 2014, receiving rave reviews on Amazon, while Bradley T. Lepper(j) cites Larry Zimmermann(n), an archaeologist from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, who offered a different view in the July/Oct 2015 edition of American Antiquity.
In 2014, Joseph republished Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds as a paperback and a Kindle book. which is just a recycling of some of his earlier material and adds nothing of value. His reliance on speculation rather than evidence has not diminished. While his conjecture is bad enough, his misquoting of Plato is unforgivable. One example is his claim that Atlantis had 14,400 naval personnel, for 1,200 ships, which would mean that each ship had only a crew of 12! The only ships mentioned by Plato were triremes, which had a crew of 200(m). What Plato actually said (Critias 119a-b) was that in time of war each of the managers of the 60,000 allotments on the plain of Atlantis, had to supply four men for naval duty, which amounts to a total of 240,000 and matches the number of men required for 1200 triremes. This is just one of a number of similar errors in that passage. However, the same book also sets a record for the number of mistakes that Joseph managed to squeeze into a single sentence. At this point, I decided to look back at all my references to Joseph’s work and was shocked to find that he has been consistently guilty of at least sloppy research, if not dishonesty, and for me, must therefore be considered unreliable.
I was recently perusing the Kindle version of Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds and discovered a number of obvious inaccuracies. For example, Joseph refers to G.R.Corli as a French astronomer, whereas in fact his name was Carli and he was born in Capodistria, formerly Italian, but now part of Slovenia (loc.2511). Joseph claims that Carli believed that a fragment of a comet had hit the Earth, when, in fact, he had only postulated that a close encounter with a comet had occurred.
He added a ‘d’ to Edgerton Sykes name (loc. 2543, 3573) and removed the ‘e’ from that of Arthur C. Clarke (loc.2783).>In an article in Atlantis Rising magazine #35(p), he retained the ‘d’ in Sykes’ name and described Hanns Hörbiger as a physicist when he was a mining engineer by profession. He also recycled his errors relating to Giovanni Rinaldo Carli mentioned above. Still on the first page of the article, he claimed that meteorites were not recognised by the scientific establishment when Ignatius Donnelly wrote Ragnarok in 1884, when, according to Smithsonian magazine, meteorites were discussed much earlier, in 1803(q).<
His section on the Atlantean Army and population(loc.312) is full of numerical errors. He has the whole population of Atlantis at over one million, whereas Plato tells us that on their own, the Atlantean armed forces totalled around a million, including 480,000 foot -soldiers, 120,000 horsemen, 160,000 manning the 10,000 heavy chariots and 60,000 light chariots, and 240,000 sailors. From this, Otto Muck extrapolated a total population of between 20 and 40 million for Atlantis. Joseph proposes that the 1,200 Atlantean ships were serviced and manned by 14,400 men (just twelve each). However, the triremes referred to by Plato, each required a crew of 140 rowers!
Joseph ends the book with a Bibliography, but heads it Biography!
This book was clearly not proofread and its research was slipshod. Unfortunately, this does not appear to have been an isolated example. I therefore decided to review all Atlantipedia entries that referred to Frank Joseph.
Amber is not exclusive to the Baltic and can be found in the Americas, Lebanon, Siberia, Australia and Japan. A highly prized blue amber is to be found in the Dominican Republic. Frank Joseph in an effort to support his speculations regarding mythical Electra claims[0636.109] that the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries are one of the two major sources of amber. This is blatantly untrue, as revealed in a comprehensive website(a) by Susie Ward Aber, a mineralogist at Emporia State University, Kansas. Amber sources worldwide are listed, but nothing in the Atlantic. Mr Joseph has, once again, some explaining to do.
However, there is also another trend becoming more obvious, which is that there are an increasing number of instances, particularly on the internet, of the Ark of the Covenant being linked to Atlantis. There is, of course, no evidence ever offered to support such speculation. One of the most recent of these is Opening the Ark of the Covenant, co-authored by the inventive Frank Joseph, where he traces the Ark back to Atlantis. There are probably few people that don’t accept that the Ark had been a real artefact, while many doubt the reality of Atlantis. It is possible that by linking the two, the authors hope to achieve credibility transference from one to the other!
In his Atlantis Encyclopedia, Frank Joseph has suggested[104.33] that Atalya or Atalia was, through time, transformed into Italy, adding that Atalia means ‘Land of Atlas’. This entry has been copied on a number of websites. However, the etymology of ‘Italy’ is not clear, but the most common proposal is that “Latin Italia may derive from Oscan víteliú, meaning “[land] of young cattle” (from Latin vitulus “calf”, Umbrian vitlu), via Greek transmission (evidenced in the loss of initial digamma). The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes”. In passing, I should mention that Plato tells us that the Atlanteans who controlled southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia also had a bull cult.
The following excerpt from a paper entitled Atlantis and the Great Pyramid from the July/August 2006 edition of Atlantis Rising magazine. “They (the Egyptians) somehow foresaw some inevitable celestial catastrophe with a potential for extraordinary destructiveness. As the object’s orbit began to noticeably decay, ground-observers concluded that an impact with our planet was unavoidable, and began to prepare for the event by constructing a device that would bolster earth’s ionosphere, thereby deflecting the course of the falling object. The pyramid builders erected their geo-transducer because they understood that the earth was periodically endangered by recurring cycles of celestial bombardments. The Great Pyramid was built to guard against future collisions from outer space.”
The Balearic Islands of the Western Mediterranean were not occupied until around 2200 BC. Although the two larger islands of Majorca and Minorca have many megalithic monuments, principally taulas and talayots, they have not, so far, been part of any Atlantis location theory. The only mention that I can find is the unsubstantiated claim by Frank Joseph[0104.66] that the early settlers were invaders from Atlantis.
Frank Joseph erroneously claims[0108.117] that the only known ‘Cerne’ was Cerne Abbas in England, the site of the famous naked giant carved into the chalk. There is certainly no suggestion of any Amazon invasion there and the physique of the giant was certainly never matched by even the most butch Amazon. There is also the island of Cerne off the west coast of Africa and mentioned in the voyage of Hanno. Furthermore, Cerne is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus (iii.54) and considered by some to be the Tunisian island of Kerkennah. Clearly, there was more than one Cerne known in our ancient past and so, not for the first time, Joseph is blatantly wrong.
Joseph also proposed that copper was the foundation for the wealth of Atlantis. He is convinced that there is evidence of extensive copper mining activities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula around 1000 BC. He refers to these miners as Atlanteans and maintains that the extracted copper was brought to the Mediterranean, as he claims that there is no trace of it in North America. Joseph offers no real evidence.
Frank Joseph incorrectly claimed in the July/August 2011 issue of Atlantis Rising magazine that DeCamp “formerly a staunch disbeliever in Atlantis, was later convinced it did indeed exist in south-coastal Iberia.” No evidence was offered for this wild claim.
Frank Joseph echoed others with the idea that “the Etruscans were themselves nothing more than the late Atlanteans who colonised western Italy, so their surviving material culture offers us a glimpse of Atlantis at is cultural height.”[0636.21] This is an odd claim as Plato twice, unambiguously, placed Tuscany (Tyrhennia) beyond Atlantean control (Tim.25b & Crit.114c).
Evaemon (Euaemon) is the name of one of the fourth pair (with Ampheres) of twins who became the first kings of Atlantis. Frank Joseph identifies Euaemon with the ‘pre-Celtic’ king of Ireland, Eremon! This is somewhat incorrect as the Milesians are generally accepted as having been Celtic, with Eremon being one of eight Milesian brothers who invaded Ireland from Spain and defeated the Tuatha dé Danaan.
I found more of Joseph’s entries relating to Ireland that were, for me, particularly annoying. The first was his entry in his Encyclopedia for ‘crannóg’ where he attempts to link it with a sunken city. Crannógs are small artificial islands built in lakes for defensive purposes. When abandoned they usually became covered in small trees. The word is derived from the Irish word crann which means a tree, while óg means young or small. There are many such crannógs to be found among the numerous lakes of County Leitrim where I live. My second gripe is the entry ‘Tir-nan-Og’, which should in fact be ‘Tir na nÓg’ which means Land of Youth, implying land of perpetual youth. There is no connection with Og or Ogygia. I respectfully suggest that Frank Joseph and anyone else should tread more warily when trying to link similar sounding words from different languages.
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] A nonsensical conclusion based on nothing but his fertile imagination
Frank Joseph erroneously claims that Plato could not have been influenced by the Helike disaster, because according to Joseph the Atlantis dialogues were written 25 years before the obliteration of Helike[1074.14], when in fact Plato wrote his last dialogues about 25 years after the demise of Helike.
Lemmings are small rodents that primarily live in northern regions. Early zoologists and the more gullible readers assumed that the creatures have been seen committing mass suicide in an attempt to find their ancient homeland, Atlantis. Unfortunately, Frank Joseph[0102.51], among others, has chosen to perpetuate this canard. It should be obvious that if Atlantis had been destroyed 12,000 years ago, as Joseph claims, the lemmings should have all died out millennia ago due to their alleged destructive homing instinct.
Frank Joseph contends[0636.42] that the Phaistos Disk was ‘a sophisticated astrological chart’ and ‘is an example of Atlantean Bronze Age technology’.
Christopher Volpe records that in 1906, Alexander Strath-Gordon founded the Atlantean Research Society, in East Orange, New Jersey. This date conflicts with the foundation date of 1928 proposed by Frank Joseph. A book published by Strath-Gordon in 1934 confirms the 1906 date on its cover and records him as the founder and life president of the Atlantean Research Society.
In view of all of the above, it is more than reasonable to classify Frank Joseph as unreliable.
(i) See: Archive 2627
(p) Atlantis Rising magazine #35 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At *
Copper was obviously a vital commodity for the Bronze Age Atlantis described by Plato. The source of this copper has led to frequent speculation among Atlantologists. Frank Joseph proposed that copper was the foundation for the wealth of Atlantis. He is convinced that there is evidence of enormous copper mining activities in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula around 1000 BC. He refers to these miners as Atlanteans and maintains that the extracted copper was brought to the Mediterranean, claiming that there is no trace of it in North America!
Joseph’s wild claim runs counter to the evidence offered by one of the leading mining engineers of his day, T.A. Rickard (1864-1953)(m). In 1934, Rickard published an extensive paper in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland entitled The Use of Native Copper by the Indigenes of North America (n). Rickard notes how early European colonists observed the native Americans using copper for tools and ornaments. A more recent entry(o) in Wikipedia offers further details reinforcing Rickard’s contention.>Similarly, a March 2021 article in Archaeology offers evidence that native Americans were producing artefacts from copper as early as the 7th millennium BC and were probably the world’s first coppersmiths(r).<
In another article in Atlantis Rising magazine Joseph proposed that the exploitation of the Michigan copper began in the sixth millennium BC with the arrival of the Red Paint People from Europe!(i)
J.S. Wakefield has written an extensive article(j) linking the Michigan mines with Poverty Point in Louisiana, where, he contends that, the copper was cast into oxhide ingots. In the same article he identified the Sea Peoples as the Atlanteans and their allies. In another paper(q) he presents a case for identifying the copper oxhide ingots discovered in the Late Bronze Age Uluburun shipwreck found of Turkey as originating in Michigan. He bases his claim on the unusual 99.5% purity of these copper ingots, which he claims is only to be found in the Great Lakes mines. Wakefield is co-author with Reinoud de Jonge of Rocks & Rows: Sailing Routes Across the Atlantic and the Copper Trade .
Roger Jewell has written an important book on this same historical mystery but dates the early mining to 2500 BC and estimates the quantity of copper mined at 20 million pounds. Jewell offers a range of evidence that point to Minoan traders, an idea taken up recently by Gavin Menzies, who quotes estimates of between three and five hundred million pounds, while others have suggested as much as 1.5 billion pounds have been extracted. These wild speculations have been derided by commentators such as Jason Colavito(b).
Dale Drinnon has an extensive entry on the Michigan copper mines on his wide-ranging website(c). Philip Coppens also wrote a speculative article on the possible part that Michigan’s copper plated in global trade around 3000 BC(g).
The America Unearthed TV series, presented by Scott Wolter, also examined the idea of Minoans mining in Michigan (S1 E3). Jason Colavito wrote a highly critical review of the episode(k), while an even more extensive critique can be found on the Archyfantasies.com website(l).
It is claimed that the local Indians have folk-memories of the mines being worked by ‘light-skinned’ men, suggesting a possible European or Mediterranean connection. Frank Joseph implies that these natives had little interest in copper although one of the cultures in the Great Lakes region were known as the Old Copper Indian because of their extensive use of copper for weapons, tools and ornaments(h). Furthermore as early as 1585 British settlers on Roanoke Island noted that the indigenous people there put a high value on copper.
A more conventional analysis of the Michigan copper mining mystery is presented by local archaeologists. They point out that the views of commentators such as Frank Joseph are very generous with speculation but somewhat mean with evidence. Dr. Susan R. Martin of Michigan Technological University has published a point by point refutation(a) of the many wild claims that have been made about the Michigan mines in The Michigan Archaeologist [41 (2-3) p119-138. June-September 1995].
Even more extreme was the suggestion made by Reinoud M. de Jonge in a 2009 paper(e) 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”! De Jonge expanded on this in a 2012 paper, justifying his claims with an incredibly detailed interpretation of the Phaistos Disk, which appears to be highly speculative(p).
In the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, taking its name from copper, provided much of that metal, which enabled the development of the Bronze Age there. In the central and Western Mediterranean ancient copper mines have been identified in Iberia, Morocco and Sardinia as well as sources of tin. However, an 1982 paper(f) claimed that Laurion in Attica, Greece was equally as important as Cyprus as a source of Bronze Age copper.
The earliest known metal mine in the British Isles was on Ross Island , near Killarney in Ireland. Copper was mined there from 2400 BC until 1900 BC(d) and the site is thought to have been the principal source of the metal for the two islands at that time.
Supporters of an earlier date for Atlantis can point to evidence of worked metal around 9000 BC discovered in Anatolia, Turkey. More recently there were metal beads discovered in Bulgaria tentatively dated to 6000 BC.
(a) See Archive 2547
(c) See: Archive 3597
(g) See Archive 2724
(i) See Archive 3389
Gavin Menzies (1937-2020) is a former submarine officer with the British Navy. He retired in 1970, a year after an incident in the Philipines in which the boat under his command collided with the USS Endurance. He followed this with a brief dalliance with British politics.
However, Menzies is best known as a controversial author beginning with 1421: The Year China Discovered the Worldand six years later 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance. His theories have been shown to be heavily flawed(a) and Menzies himself was accused of being either “a charlatan or a cretin” (b).
The badarchaeology website has, understandably, also given a thumbs-down to Menzies’s work(l).
In his book, 1421, Menzies speculated that the Chinese fleet suffered damage during a storm and landed at Bimini where they used their large square ballast stones to build an emergency dry dock, the remains of which are now the Bimini Road!
>In the 19th century, a number of commentators proposed that the Chinese had made contact with the Americas in ancient times. One proponent of this idea was Charles G. Leland wrote Fusang in 1875(o), in which he proposed that Chinese Buddhist priests reached America in the 5th century.
Later in 1913, a newspaper report of discoveries(k), including the image of a Chinaman just 19 miles from Mexico City, speculatively dated to around 3000 BC, revived interest in the idea. Similar claims have been made throughout the ensuing century, with John A. Ruskamp Jnr., one of the most recent(l). So, in fact, Menzies was just recycling a rather old idea!<
Another, well-illustrated site(d), accuses Menzies of altering maps to suit his theory.
April 16th 2010 saw the inventive Mr Menzies present his latest offering, The Lost Treasures of Atlantis, at the Royal Geographical Society in London before its formal publication in August. The title was later changed to The Lost Empire of Atlantis .
He argued that the Minoans discovered America 4,000 years ago and that an ancient trading empire had stretched from the North American Great Lakes to Kerala in India.
I should point out that Roger Jewell had previously identified a Minoan connection with the Michigan copper mines in a 2000 book.
Menzies bases his thesis on metallurgy, ancient shipbuilding and navigation techniques as well as DNA evidence. He focuses on the cargo found on the Uluburun shipwreck(c) found off the coast of Turkey and which is dated to the 14th century BC.
In 2008, Bill Poser, found weaknesses as well as downright errors in the linguistic evidence offered by Menzies to support his thesis, commenting – “The linguistic ‘evidence’ in 1421 is a joke. It’s sad that a major publisher obviously didn’t do even the most elementary fact-checking or have the manuscript read by people competent to evaluate it, but it is worse than such nonsense has become a best-seller and is soon to be made into a documentary. What I want to know is, are the purveyors of this tripe incompetent? Or do they simply not care about the truth of their ‘non-fiction’?”(n)
My principal reaction to his book was that he seemed to studiously avoid Plato’s text as a source of information. Perhaps, because much of what Plato said does not conform to Menzies’ imaginative theories. He identifies Thera as the location of the capital of Atlantis but he does not attempt to explain why Plato did not simply say so, since Thera was less than 150 miles from Athens and well known to the Athenians. Furthermore, Menzies places the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ at Gibraltar but then fails to explain how the Atlanteans could have attacked them from BEYOND the ‘Pillars’ if Atlantis was virtually on their doorstep on Crete.
He contends that the Minoans (Atlanteans) discovered America, exported vast quantities of copper from Michigan(g) via the Mississippi and after processing it at Poverty Point sent it to the Mediterranean to feed the needs of the Bronze industries there. He attributes the building of astronomical stone circles in the Mediterranean as well as Spain, Brittany and the British Isles to the Minoan influence. However, none are found on Crete! It is understandable therefore that his book has received some very bad reviews(e)(f).
This is a speculative book about the Minoan civilisation and has little to do with Atlantis apart from the cynical use of its name on the cover. However, Menzies does have many followers(g), but Jason Colavito’s seven-part critique(h) of his book that should be compulsory reading for those fans.
In October 2013 Menzies returned to the subject of ancient sea voyages and in particular the very early visitors to the Americas in Who Discovered America?  Judging by the first customer reviews(i) this offering promises to be as controversial as his previous books. Two of his specific claims are that transoceanic travel began 100,000 years ago and that the Chinese regularly began visiting America from 2200 BC!
Recently, in 2015, new evidence of early Chinese in America was found by John A. Ruskamp Jnr. in Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument(j). Ruskamp has already identified 82 archaic Chinese petroglyphs, many dated to the Shang dynasty circa 1042 BC.
Despite his death in 2020, Menzies’ studies have been continued by the 1421 Foundation(m).
(h) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/1/post/2012/08/reviewing-gavin-menzies-atlantis-pt-1.html (just change part number)