Machu Picchu is generally accepted to have been an Incan retreat, built in the middle of the 15th century on a barely accessible mountaintop of Peru about fifty miles northwest of Cuzco. It was apparently abandoned a century later and only brought to the attention of the outside world in 1911, when it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham III (1875-1956).
In 2021 the use of a more advanced dating method (accelerator mass spectrometry) has pushed back the earliest date for the site by a couple of decades to 1420 AD(j).
Mark Adams, the American writer, wrote an account of his retracing of Bingham’s journey to Machu Picchu. Along with the narrative of his pilgrimage, Adams has also interwoven a valuable history of the region.
In 2013, a Polish-Peruvian team, while exploring a previously unexcavated building on the site, claimed to have discovered that the structure was astronomically aligned(a). The following year saw a newly discovered section of the Inca Road, which leads to Machu Picchu, announced by the Andina News Agency(c).
In July 2016, it was reported that what are considered pre-Inca petroglyphs were discovered in the Machu Picchu region(d)(e). Research is proceeding.
The siting of the sanctuary has been something of a mystery, Recent research suggests that the existence of geological faults that lie beneath it may offer some of the answers. Rualdo Menegat, a Brazilian geologist, presented a paper to the Geological Society of America’s Annual meeting in Phoenix, in which he claims that the Incas deliberately chose to build Machu Picchu and some of their cities where tectonic faults meet!(h)
It was revealed in 2019 that work had commenced on the building of a new interational airport to service Machu Picchu, a development that has been vigorously opposed as a threat to the already fragile site. It is worth noting that in 2017, 1.5 million visitors, nearly twice the limit recommended by UNESCO, came to Machu Picchu(g).
Also in 2019, it was announced that an even older Inca site was discovered 1,500 metres higher than Machu Picchu using LiDar(i).
Some pathetic attempts have been made to link Machu Picchu with Atlantis. One of them claims that “This was the (summer?) residence of the continental governor, who at the time of the destruction of Atlantis was a woman.”(b) Others, such as Rand Flem-Ath along with the late Colin Wilson, as well as Jim Alison, have included the Andean site in proposed global grids linking prehistoric sites.
A less-known Inca site is that of Choquequirao(f), sometimes referred to as the ‘sister’ of Machu Picchu. Only a third of the site has been excavated so far.
Kyle Bennett is a British journalist and the author of Polar Wandering and the Cycle of Ages, which reviews the Earth Crustal Displacement (ECD) theory of Charles Hapgood. Prior to the book, he had written a number of articles about the history of ECD theory before Hapgood. One concerned Frederik Klee(a) and another was about Sir John Evans(b) the British archaeologist. He also reviews the history of ECD on Graham Hancock’s website(d). His maintains his own supporting website(e).
In case readers may feel that the subject of ECD is unrelated to Atlantis, they should keep in mind that the theory of Atlantis in the Antarctica(c), promoted by Rand Flem-Ath, is totally dependent on ECD and its occurrence within the memory of man.
Robert Rengifo was a little known Chilean professor who flourished in the early decades of the 20th century. He had an intense interest in the prehistory of America and presented his views in the Proceedings of the prestigious Societe Scientifique du Chili(The Scientific Society of Chile) from 1904 until 1935. He focused on the aboriginal peoples of Chile and in particular Patagonia in the extreme south. His attention was drawn even further south to Antarctica where he controversially concluded that man had originated (rather than Africa). Then following a catastrophic axial pole shift that destroyed Atlantis, which was located in Antarctica, people were forced to migrate, populating the rest of the Americas and then the world.
Rafael Videla Eissmann, who has championed Rengifo’s work has drawn attention to an excerpt from the epic poem, La Araucana, by Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga (1533-1594) which translates from the original Castilian as
“Chile, fertile and known land
in the famous Antarctic region
from ancient nations respected
because of being strong, important and powerful”.
Eissmann believes that this suggests knowledge of an ancient Antarctic polar civilisation!
While many of his conclusions may now appear purely speculative, in fact, Rengifo thought his views would eventually be vindicated by archaeology. The Monte Verde site in southern Chile has since been dated to around 11,000 BC. In addition, the enormous dressed stone blocks of El Enladrillado, also in Chile, raise questions about the technological capabilities of the region’s early inhabitants.
This apparent movement of peoples from south to north was endorsed by Arthur Posnansky in his 1919 book La Hora Futura  The ensuing half century saw more of his conclusions echoed by researchers such as Charles Hapgood, the Flem-Aths, Hugh Auchincloss Brown and Robert Argod.
(a) https://obrasrafaelvidelaeissmann.blogspot.com/ (Spanish) [use search facility]
The Atlantis Blueprint by Rand Flem-Ath and Colin Wilson, is a follow-up to the highly controversial, When the Sky Fell by Rand Flem-Ath and his wife Rose. The focus of this book is on the claimed existence of a worldwide network that incorporates such famous sites as Giza, Machu Picchu, Easter Island etc., etc. The authors claim that these monuments were arranged in a global geometric pattern by an advanced ancient civilisation that included Plato’s Atlantis. This breathtaking idea is not one that I can subscribe to, as it seeks to tie up too many of the mysterious loose ends of ancient history at one fell swoop.
Gnomons are the vertical markers of sundials that casts the sun’s shadow. The oldest known sundial is possibly the one found in a burial mound in 2011 near Donetsk in Ukraine(c). Herodotus tells us that the Greeks learned the use of dials from the Chaldeans. The first use of gnomons by the ancient Egyptians is thought to be as early as 3500 BC(d).
Gnomons are also used to cast the shadows, by which means latitude can be calculated. Furthermore, the earth’s tilt (obliquity-of-the-ecliptic) may also be calculated using gnomon data and it was this feature that created problems for the Australian astronomer G.F. Dodwell who carried out a study of gnomons around the world over the past 4,000 years. It is generally accepted that the tilt of the earth’s axis varies cyclically between 22 and 24.5° over a period of some 40,000 years due to a number of factors. Dodwell’s difficulty was that his investigations revealed a distinct deviation from the expected, around 2345 BC. The only conclusion that Dodwell could arrive at was that either ancient observations were systematically in error all over the world or the earth’s tilt angle had been altered during historical times.
Dodwell was convinced that this date of 2345 BC was the date of Noah’s Flood, when the obliquity-of-the-ecliptic was altered from 5° to its present 23.5°. Although Dodwell was a scientist, he was also fundamentalist in his Christian beliefs. It would appear therefore that his conclusions regarding the date of the Flood may have been an amalgam of his religious views and his scientific investigations.
Amy Smith of Flippin, Arkansas has a website(b) relating to Atlantis in which she highlights two references that indicate a prehistoric change in the earth’s axial tilt, one from the Book of Noah (65.1) and the other from Plato.
Colin Wilson refers to the view of Rand Flem-Ath who maintains that many Mexican temples, which one would expect to be aligned with true north, and in the case of at least 50 of them, are consistently 15.5º adrift of this orientation, providing evidence for the crustal slippage suggested by Charles Hapgood. Although Hapgood proposed a date of 9500 BC for such slippage, long before the present temples were constructed, Wilson points out that religious edifices were frequently erected on the foundations of earlier sacred structures. Many Christian churches have been built astride pagan sites. Whether, Rand’s ideas and Dodwell’s discoveries are in any way related, will require further investigation.
The idea of a global catastrophe around 2300 BC has gained support in a number of quarters including advocates such as Moe M. Mandelkehr an ardent catastrophist and Barry Setterfield a dedicated creationist(a). Further support for an axial shift came from Malcolm Bowden of the Creation Science Movement.
For those interested in constructing their own gnomon, there are a number of sites giving clear useful instructions(e).
From Atlantis to the Sphinx: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of the Ancient World  by Colin Wilson, presents the idea that the inhabitants of Atlantis were the precursors of the ancient Egyptians as well as the Maya and Aztecs. He perceives Atlantis as a seafaring nation with worldwide reach. He contends that Atlantis was originally located in Antarctica and was destroyed in a worldwide catastrophe. This theme is developed further in a second book that Wilson co-authored with Rand Flem-Ath. More recently Wilson has altered his views and supported Robert Sarmast’s claim for Atlantis being located off Cyprus.
To support an extended antiquity for Egypt, he outlines evidence for a 10500 BC construction date for the legendary Sphinx. Unfortunately, most of the material is a re-working of information to be found elsewhere.
Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings  by Charles H. Hapgood, is frequently quoted as evidence of an Antarctic location for Atlantis. Hapgood’s study of ancient maps and in particular the Piri Reis Map convinced him that it showed an ice-free Antarctic. It took the Flem-Aths to combine this map with their idea of crustal displacement to develop their theory of an Antarctic Atlantis.
Although Hapgood gives no personal opinion regarding the existence of Atlantis and in fact he only mentions it fleetingly in a single short paragraph, he was convinced that his extensive investigation offered evidence of advanced civilisation during the Ice Age.
Hapgood was also actively interested in parapsychology and spirit communication(a) and wrote three books on the subject.
Also See: The Rocks of St. Peter & St. Paul
An Allegory is the most common description of Plato’s Atlantis story offered by sceptics, eager to deny any historical value in the narrative. Parallels have been drawn with the Persian wars; Plato’s experiences in Syracuse and even more opaquely by Alan Alford, who proposed that “Atlantis – was an allegory for the myth of the creation of the Universe.”
Rand Flem-Ath quite reasonably argues that the idea of Atlantis as an allegory makes sense only if there is no realistic geographic explanation for Plato’s description of the site of the lost land. Consequently if an interpretation of the story can indicate a credible location and time for the destruction of Atlantis then the allegory theory is considerably weakened.
If the Atlantis mystery is ever finally resolved, I am inclined to think that it will be found that Plato used the prehistoric destruction of a powerful civilisation as a core to his story and wrapped it in the details of events closer to his own time presenting the entire account as a morality tale.
Nevertheless, it is interesting that Plato’s ‘ideal state’ of Atlantis is claimed as the inspiration for both Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ and St. Augustine’s ‘City of God’ among many others.
Agriculture is generally accepted as the critical foundation for the development of any civilisation. Without it man would have remained a hunter-gatherer and have lacked the potential for generating surpluses, the division of labour and the establishment of urban communities. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that if an ancient urban centre is found, it is evidence of the existence of agricultural skills in the locality at the time of its foundation. Evidence has now been gathered to demonstrate that alongside agriculture, carpentry also advanced, as shown by the improvement of woodworking tools at the same time(c). Studies published in 2013(b) indicate that farming first developed more or less simultaneously over a widespread area of the Middle East from Turkey to Iran.
A recent report has indicated that the small-seeded cereal, millet, had provided a link between hunter-gathering and agriculture(m).
At present the world’s oldest known town is Jericho, which grew out of settlements established around 9600 BC(r) and was destroyed between 1500 and 1400 BC(q)
Similarly, the remarkable discoveries at Göbekli Tepe, also dated to the same period, suggest a considerable settled community that would have been dependent on agriculture. There is now evidence that the first farmers grew rye and wheat in Syria around 11,000 BC.
A huge cache of wild oats and barley, dated to 9000 BC, were discovered near Jericho in 2006(j).>Also near Jericho, cultivated figs were discovered in an 11,400-year-old house(u).<
In Egypt, prehistoric granaries that date back to the Neolithic era, which began around 9000 BC, have been discovered in Fayoum, south-west of Cairo. A recent report demonstrates how millet, domesticated in China around 10,000 years ago and used today as birdseed, was brought westward from China to Europe where “Nomadic tribes were able to combine growing crops of millet with hunting and foraging as they travelled across the continent between 2500 and 1600 BC. Millet was eventually mixed with other crops in emerging populations to create ‘multi-crop’ diversity, which extended growing seasons and provided our ancient ancestors with food security.”(o)
It was reported in the journal Nature of April 2020 that there is now evidence that crops were cultivated in the Llanos de Moxos region of southwestern Amazonia 10,000 years ago. “The researchers were able to identify evidence of manioc (cassava, yuca) that were grown 10,350 years ago. Squash appears 10,250 years ago(v), and maize more recently – just 6,850 years ago.”(p)>This should be compared with an earlier report that corn (maize) had been cultivated in Mexico, even earlier at about 10,000 years ago(s). Philip Coppens has left us an interesting paper(t) on the history of maize in Mexico and its exploitation by the Maya.<
R. Cedric Leonard had outlined on his website(a) a range of evidence that would seem to prove that agriculture existed in Egypt before the 9600 BC date that is recorded by Plato for the war with Atlantis.
Peripheral to this, is a recent report that when hunter-gatherers encountered early farmers, they made love not war(k)!
If Plato’s Atlantis existed, it is clear that agriculture was an important part of its economy. We are informed (Crit.118E) that two crops were harvested annually, thanks to rain in winter and irrigation canals in summer. Plato also mentions horses and cattle (Crit.117b). These references are written in the context of a need to feed a large city, not to mention its enormous army (and navy). Plato offers no suggestion than that this advanced agricultural system was anything other than part of an advanced Bronze Age society.
North African Algeria, Egypt and particularly Tunisia, were the ‘breadbasket’ of Rome and may also have been so for the Atlanteans who had control from North Africa to Tyrrhenia! It is worth noting that Mago, the Carthaginian author of a 28-volume work on the agricultural practices of North Africa, had his books brought to Rome after the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC, where they were translated from Punic into Latin and Greek and were widely quoted. It is clear that Mago’s work was a reflection of a highly developed agricultural society in that region, a description that could also be applied to Plato’s Atlantis! Although, conditions have deteriorated over the past few millennia, Tunisia can still produce two crops a year in low-lying irrigated coastal regions.
The commencement of what we would recognise as agriculture began around the 10th millennium BC. So is theoretically possible that agriculture had developed somewhat by the early date of 9600 BC given by Plato for the war with Atlantis. However, the existence of anything over and above the level of subsistence farming, at this early date, is highly improbable. It would seem clear that Plato has described the agriculture of a Bronze Age civilisation because he would have had no clear idea regarding its state of development in preceding millennia.
A 2013 paper(h) from Tübingen University has demonstrated that studies “show that the origins of agriculture in the Near East can be attributed to multiple centers rather than a single core area and that the eastern Fertile Crescent played a key role in the process of domestication.”
In 2008, archaeologist Melinda Zeder offered evidence that the domestication of animals began around the same time as the management of crops in the 9th and 10th millennia BC in the Near East. These new skills gradually spread throughout the length of the Mediterranean. In the same year Dr. Robin Allaby of Warwick presented a paper in which he pushed back the date for the gathering of wild cereals to before the last glacial maximum (18,000-15,000 years ago).
Even more dramatic is a more recent claim(i) that the dawn of agriculture can be extended even further, to 23,000 years ago.
It is interesting that Plato also lists (Crit.115b) produce that possibly grew wild or may have been cultivated:
- Fruits having a hard rind providing drinks, meats and ointments
- Chestnuts (no evidence of cultivation before 2000 BC)
- Fruits that spoil with keeping
- The ‘pleasant’ kind of dessert
It would be worthwhile to investigate whether all the products mentioned by Plato are consistent with the same geographical latitude. Diodorus Siculus recorded that the Atlanteans did not know the fruits of Ceres – cereals. In fact, according to Wikipedia, cereals were unknown to American Indians. Rand and Rose Flem-Ath have an interesting chapter[062.12] on the subject of agriculture and its development in the context of their own theories. In 2013, Rand Flem-Ath republished(d) his paper on the origins of agriculture that first appeared in The Anthropological Journal of Canada in 1981.
Dale Drinnon’s website had a series of extensive articles(l) on the development of agriculture globally.
Similarly, the Golden Age Project website, now run by Edmund Marriage has a lengthy paper(n) by Steve Gagné on the spread of agriculture.
A more recent article considers the possibility that the introduction of agriculture may have inadvertently led to the endangerment of some early civilisations. The author, Annalee Newitz, editor-in-chief of io9.com cites the abandonment of Catal Höyuk as an example(g).
(c) See Archive 2250
(d) See Archive 2247)
(l) See: Archive 3344