A Ron Fletcher, according to Rodney Castleden[225.189], saw the Roman Orpheus Mosaic in Woodchester(a), Gloucestershire and concluded that it depicted a map of Atlantis. Not content with that, he also claimed it as a star map as well as King Arthur’s Round Table, ignoring the fact that King Arthur is reputed to have lived long after the Romans left Britain. It is silly statements such as Fletcher’s that discredits serious Atlantis researchers. I have no other information regarding Fletcher,*[ apart from the fact that he appears to have self-published his ideas in a short book.
Elephants are specifically mentioned by Plato as being indigenous to Atlantis. This must have significance for anyone trying to arrive at a credible location for Atlantis. For example, supporters of the Theran Atlantis School cannot show where such large animals could have lived on the small volcanic island. There are no physical remains, no frescos and no historical references. Rodney Castleden who supports the Minoan Hypothesis admits that “no raw elephant ivory has been found (on Thera) and very little in the way of worked ivory”[225.70]. He later speaks of the importation of ivory into Crete[p.172] having bravely denounced Plato’s description (Critias 115a) of herds of elephants on Atlantis as “false”[p.136].
Similarly, Spanuth’s Heligoland location would have been climatically unsuited to elephants. Spanuth himself admits that the elephant reference “is hard to explain“. Nevertheless, Felice Vinci who champions a Northern European origin for Greek mythology is of the opinion that Plato’s elephant reference may be a lingering memory of the woolly mammoths that inhabited Arctic regions as recently as 2500-2000 BC(t)(u). In the late 17th century Olof Rudbeck, recognising the problem that Plato’s reference to elephants presented for his Swedish Atlantis, argued that Plato had been speaking figuratively when describing the large voracious animals and had in fact been referring to wolves, the Swedish word for wolf being ‘ulf’, which sounds like the beginning of ‘elephant’!!
Elephants in Western Europe were undoubtedly represented by mammoths, remains of which have been recovered from the North Sea – Doggerland and dated to around 40,000 years ago. Coincidentally, a tool made of mammoth bone, used for making rope, has also been dated to 40,000 years ago(i)(n). This discovery(s) by Nicholas Conard from the University of Tubingen was made shortly before Ashley Cowie published his interesting book on the history of rope-making. Further information on string, ropes and knots was published in March 2017(o). This ingenuity of our very distant ancestors, so often underestimated, is slowly being revealed by modern archaeology. In 2000, in the Czech Republic, it was discovered that woven cloth was being produced on looms 27,000 years ago(v). A few years later a team from Harvard’s Peabody Museum reported the discovery of fibers that ‘were spun, twisted or knotted’ and dated to at least 34,000 years ago(x). 2020 saw evidence emerge which suggested that even as far back as 41,000 – 52,000 years ago the Neanderthals had mastered the making of cords(w).>Later the same year, further evidence was offered that string making may have begun even earlier(y).<
Allied to the demise of the Siberian mammoths is the often repeated fib that when the remains were first discovered, their flesh was still fresh enough to eat, has recently been debunked by Jason Colavito(j). He has also unearthed the truth behind that other canard relating to a Siberian mammoth, namely that fresh buttercups were found in its mouth(j). He has now(q) traced back the earliest reference to the frozen mammoths to George Cuvier in 1822 [1586.11].
Eckart Kahlhofer, in a forthcoming book advocates a North-West European location for Atlantis, suggests that where Plato referred to elephants he really meant deer! Kahlhofer offers, as a simple explanation for this seemingly daft contention, the fact that the Greek for elephant, elephas, is very similar to the Greek elaphos which means deer. A simple transcription error by a scribe could have caused the mix-up. The elk was the largest species of deer to be found in the northern hemisphere and are still to be found in Scandinavia. The Great Irish Deer which died out around 5500 BC had an antler span of 11ft and a maximum height of 10ft.
Gene Matlock in an attempt to bolster his Mexican location for Atlantis has suggested that Plato’s elephants were in fact the long-snouted tapirs of Meso-America!(c), an idea ‘borrowed’ from Hyde Clarke
While the elephant issue should not be dealt with in isolation it does serve to illustrate the difficulties involved in analysing Plato’s text. Consider the possibility that the early date of 9600 BC for Atlantis is accepted, then the islands that are too small today to accommodate elephants may have been considerably larger and sometimes connected to each other or a mainland during the Ice Age, when sea levels were lower, and consequently capable of supporting pachyderms. In this regard, Sundaland would have been a most suitable candidate. Not only would to-day’s South China Sea’s archipelagos been a single landmass, but there would have been access to the area from the Asian mainland, home today to large numbers of elephants.
Strangely enough, even the Andes, considered by some as the home of Atlantis, reveal the fact that during the last Ice Age a species of elephant called Cuvieronius lived there but became extinct around 8000 BC. These animals are to be found carved on the great Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco suggesting that they were common in the region. Supporters of an Atlantis link with Tiahuanaco have highlighted this fact.
James Bailey who supports the idea of Atlantis in America believes that Plato’s mention of elephants could be a reference to the American mammoth, generally believed to have died out circa 10,000 BC, although Victor von Hagen, the American explorer, contentiously maintained that they survived as late 2000 BC. A similar idea was presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference by American researcher, Monique Petersen.
The Schoppes, in support of their theory of Atlantis in the Black Sea region, contend(l) that Indian elephants existed there until 800 BC and support this with a reference to the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III who killed 120 elephants ‘there’ around 1200 BC, which is a strange claim as Thutmosis did not venture beyond Syria and he died circa 1426 BC!
Elephas Antiquus (Palaeoloxodon), is a dwarf species whose remains have been found throughout the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus. All those found were dated 200,000 BC or earlier! In sharp contrast, Simon Davis, in an article in New Scientist (3 Jan.1985), dated Mediterranean dwarf elephants to as recent as 6000 BC(p). A number of writers, such as Roger Coghill, have tried to use the pygmy elephant as an explanation for Plato’s text (Crit. 114e & 115a) where we find that he describes the elephants as being ‘of its nature the largest and most voracious’. This is not a description of pygmy elephants.
However, Ghar Hasan or Hasan’s Cave in southeast Malta has paleolithic cave paintings that depict elephants, indicating more recent contact with the animals. Whether these represented full-sized or the pygmy variety is unclear. A small booklet by Dr. Anton Mifsud and Dr. Charles Savona-Ventura describes this cave system.
In Dossier Malta – Neanderthal  Mifsud has drawn attention to another cavern, not far away, formerly known as Ghar Dulam, now Ghar Dalam, where thousands of dwarf elephant bones were discovered. Dulam means ‘small elephant’ in Arabic. This is one of the mainstays of his ‘Atlantis in Malta’ theory. Whether these diminutive creatures justify Plato’s description that they were the “largest and most voracious” of animals (Crit.115a) is clearly debatable. For me this is not a description of pygmy elephants and so in all probability is an indication of a North African location or, as some claim, an Asian one!
The Atlanteans had control in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt, which would have included what is now modern Tunisia, the home of the last recorded wild elephants in that region!
Readers should be aware that there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(e)(h). In fact the New Scientist magazine of 7th February 1985(d) outlined the evidence that Tunisia had native elephants until at least the end of the Roman Empire.
In Elephant Destiny Martin Meredith records that one of the earliest references to the African elephant came from Hanno, the 5th century BC Carthaginian explorer, who related how he came across marshes at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, which “were haunted by elephants and multitudes of other grazing beasts.” Meredith also mentions that stables for as many as 300 elephants were to be found within the city of Carthage itself.
Nevertheless, the species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(f). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare(g). It would seem to me that the North African Elephant, rather than the Asian or African species, would have been more suited to the trek across the Alps. Needless to say, the Atlas Mountains were part of the Atlantean sphere of control (Timaeus 25a-b) and so may be the reason that Plato mentioned them. It is also reported that during the reign of the Ptolemies in Egypt (323 BC-30 BC), they imported war elephants from Eritrea in East Africa(r).
The latter half of 2010 saw a new piece of nonsense hit the blogosophere when a claim that the Atlanteans had flying machines made of elephant skins suddenly appeared and before you could say “cut and paste” it was ‘adopted’ by a variety of websites(a)(b). So Dumbo was not the first flying elephant! In fact this daft idea was just a recycling of one of Edgar Cayce’s ‘revelations’ (Reading 364-6)(m).
(a) https://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Speaking-of-Atlantis/1872335 (Offline October 2017)
Linear B is the name given to the script used in Mycenaean Greece from 1450 BC until around 1200 BC. It was deciphered in 1952 by the British architect, Michael Ventris, who found it to be based on archaic Greek. What is not generally known is that in America at the same time, classicist Alice Kober was engaged in a parallel quest but unfortunately died of cancer in 1950, before she could complete her work(b).
Edo Nyland in his Linguistic Archaeology controversially claimed that the same texts translated by Ventris using archaic Greek could also be translated using Basque! Examples are given on the University of California, Riverside website(c).
The script is similar to Linear A(a) used in Minoan Crete, which has still to be decoded. Writing disappeared from Greece in the 12th cent. BC and did not reappear until the 9th cent. BC, when an alphabetic script came into use. Those three centuries are known as the ‘Dark Ages’ of Greek history. Plato explained the lack of writing as a consequence of a catastrophic flood which left just a few illiterate ‘mountaineers’ as survivors, who orally transmitted their history until literacy returned.
The scale of Greek catastrophes during this period is indicated by the work of V.R.Desborough who gathered comparative data on the number of population centres on the Peloponnese in the 12th and 13th centuries that shows an average drop of 80%. Spanuth lists those figures in Atlantis of the North[015.161].
Plato is often denounced by Atlantic sceptics as just a philosopher and therefore unreliable as an historian. However, in Critias he outlines quite accurately a number of features of ancient Greece that were only verified in recent times, such as the layout and earthquake damage to the Acropolis as well as the ‘Dark Ages’ mentioned above. This like saying that an historian cannot have valid philosophical views or a philosopher should not discuss historical matters.
It has been suggested that the Atlantis story was brought to Egypt written in the Minoan scripts. Both employed numerals where the symbol for ‘hundred’ was very similar to that for ‘thousand’, leading to later transcription errors that eventually gave us Plato’s apparently exaggerated numbers! Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden have advocated this explanation.
Mycenaean is the name given to the culture of ancient Greece (excluding Crete) during the Late Bronze Age (1500–1100 BC). They were also called Achaeans. The controversial writer Felice Vinci maintains that a Northern European tribe was referred to as Achaeans by Homer and that they migrated south and founded the Mycenaean civilisation. However, it was Martin Persson Nilsson (1874-1967), a Swedish historian, who was an earlier proponent of a Nordic origin for the Mycenaeans.
However, recent genetic studies suggest that the mainland Mycenaeans and the Cretan Minoans share a common ancestry with Neolithic populations of what are today Turkey and Greece(c).
Austen Atkinson in his Impact Earth suggested the possibility that the unexplained ending of the Mycenaean civilisation could be explained as a consequence of Earth’s encounter with Phaëton referred to by Plato (Tim.22c-d).
However, there are current studies(a) being made into the possibility that earthquakes were responsible for the demise of the Mycenaeans and the start of the Greek ‘Dark Ages’.
However, the earthquake theory is also under attack(b), with the proposal that either an uprising or invasion was responsible for the demise of the Mycenaean Greece.
Hellanicus of Mytilene, the main town on Lesbos, was a historian of the late 5th century BC and is credited with writing the first history of Athens. His importance is probably reflected in the frequency with which his work is mentioned. Unfortunately, only about 200 fragments of his work have come down to us as described by Robert L. Fowler. Tantalisingly, one of these fragments was entitled Atlantias. It is quite probable that this was written up to a century before Plato’s account, which would suggest that his story might not be the original invention suggested by many. Timothy Ganz notes one line that is particularly noteworthy, “Poseidon mated with Celaeno, and their son Lycus was settled by his father in the Isles of the Blest and made immortal.”
The earliest suggestion of Hellanicus offering a possible pre-Platonic mention of Atlantis was voiced by J.V. Luce in his contribution to Ramage’s Atlantis :Fact or Fiction[522.72]. Andrew Collins dismisses this reference as irrelevant, whereas Rodney Castleden is inclined to identify some similarities with Plato’s tale and in addition suggests that an even earlier reference in a fragment from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri may have inspired Hellanicus. Oxyrhynchos was a mainly Greek-speaking city in ancient Egypt whose rubbish dump was the source of the papyri referred to. Peter Parsons has recently written a book about the city.
The final haul from that site amounted to 500,000 papyri fragments which filled 700 boxes. This treasure trove is now being studied and gradually published by the Ancient Lives Project(a) at Oxford University. Since 1898, when the first volume was produced, over seventy five volumes have been produced and are now arriving at a rate of more than one a year(b).
(a) https://www.ancientlives.org/ (offline April 2020 until later in year)
Factor Ten is a term I have employed to describe the fact that so many of the numbers in Plato’s Atlantis story, referring to time, physical dimensions and population all appear to be exaggerations, but would be more credible if reduced by a factor of ten. The date of 9600 BC for a war between Atlantis and Athens is not compatible with the Bronze Age description given by Plato, the dimensions of the canals in the city of Atlantis suggest a profligate degree of over-engineering and the size of the Atlantean army, as recorded, is comparable to the numerical strength of today’s USA’s military. On top of that, there is no archaeological evidence to support the idea of Athens having anything more than a Stone Age culture in the 10th millennium BC.
Dr A. G. Galanopoulos, who spent years excavating on Santorini, alsosuggested that all numbers in the thousands in Plato’s text were exaggerated, during translation, by a factor of ten. One can be forgiven for thinking that he was prompted to do this in order to match Atlantis to the timeframe of the Theran eruption, which occurred about 900 years before Solon’s Egyptian trip. However, J. V. Luce and Dorothy Vitaliano have refuted this idea.
A more frequently suggested explanation for the conflict between the 9,000 years given by Plato and the Bronze Age backdrop is that a lunar rather than a solar calendar was utilised by the Egyptian priests which would bring the two elements more into phase. So perhaps ‘Factor Twelve’ might be a more appropriate appellation.
Eudoxus of Cnidos (c.408-355 BC) who also studied astronomy with the priests of Heliopolis in Greece was one of the first to suggest that the Ancient Egyptians used lunar cycles to measure time. The idea was later endorsed by the Egyptian priest Manetho, Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus. Centuries later, Francisco Cervantes de Salazar (1514-1575) in his Crónica de la Nueva España he was a firm supporter of the idea of interpreting Plato’s 9,000 ‘years’ as lunar cycles, echoing the earlier statement of Eudoxus.*A year later Olof Rudbeck proposed the same explanation.*
However, while the substitution of solar years with lunar cycles would give a date for the Atlantean war that is more compatible with conventional archaeology, it still leaves the apparently inflated dimensions and military numbers recorded by Plato, unexplained. Since all of Plato’s numbers, in the Atlantis narrative appear to be overstated by a similar amount it would seem appropriate to invoke the application of Occam’s Razor(c), which leads to an exaggeration by a factor of ten as the most likely explanation!
The use of lunar rather than solar units might explain the unrealistic ages ascribed to biblical characters such as Adam, Methuselah, or Noah although close study does not address all the difficulties. Similar problems exist with the length of the reign of individual Sumerian kings. My belief is that a common explanation will eventually be found to rationalise both sets of anomalies. The answer will probably include the application of the Sumerian use of a numeric base of 60, coupled with lunar, solar and the Egyptian use of three seasonal ‘years’ per solar year. Zoltán Simon has claimed that the ages of the patriarchs were calculated using 90-day ‘years’[0549.7].
A number of suggestions have been put forward to explain how Plato’s exaggerated numbers came to be. Georgeos Diaz-Montexanocontends that it was not any confusion over hieroglyphics that led to the a tenfold exaggeration of numbers but the fact that in the spoken language of the Egyptians 100 and 1000 can be easily confused.
What may be of relevance is the fact that the Cretan scripts known as Linear A and Linear B use similar numbering signs. The number 100 is designated by a circle whereas 1000 is a circle with four nipples known as excrescences at the cardinal points. Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden have advocated the idea that it was a misreading of these Minoan numerals that led to Plato recording hundreds as ‘thousands’.
Another reason for considering a factor ten error in Plato’s numbers may be drawn from the Chicago Demotic Dictionary, which has been developed over the past three decades at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. It is edited by Professor Janet H. Johnson and is concerned with the ancient Egyptian cursive script in use from circa 650 BC, which is around the time of Solon, until the 5th century AD. Their website reveals that the cursive numerals for hundreds only differ from thousands by having longer tails(b) . I note that Johnson also records “that thousands sometimes had longer tails than expected”(p.23). This offers another credible explanation for how a transcription error could increase numbers by a factor of ten, which would bring Plato’s dates into conformity with other details in his Atlantis story, namely the Bronze Age milieu so clearly described there.
I also note that the Greeks had no zero or decimal point in their number system, making this kind of tenfold mistake quite a credible one(a).
Crete was until recently thought to have been first settled around 7000 BC. However, excavations at nine sites in 2008 and 2009 have revealed double-edged hand axes dated to “at least” 130,000 years ago. This discovery has suggested(a) that Stone Age man had developed seafaring abilities.
There is a general consensus Crete was known as Keftiu by the ancient Egyptians.
Sir Arthur Evans, knighted for his archaeological finds on Crete, excavated at Knossos from 1900-1905 leading to the discovery of the famous ‘palace’ there. Evans saw Knossos as an administrative centre although it had no defensive features, which might be expected. In the 1970’s Hans Georg Wunderlich (1928-1974) following the views of Oswald Spengler, proposed in The Secret of Crete , that the ‘palace’ was in fact a mortuary temple. This idea has more recently been considered by the late Philip Coppens(c).
As early as 1910 the Rev. James Baikie suggested Crete as the location of Atlantis. A year earlier K.T. Frost outlined parallels between Atlantis and the Minoan empire. In the 1920’s Joseph McCabe a former Catholic priest was also convinced that Crete was the location of Atlantis. More decades were to pass before Dr Angelos Galanopoulos developed the idea further. There has been doubt that the decline of the Minoan civilisation in the 2nd millennium BC was linked with Theran explosion. Nevertheless, Bacon and Galanopoulos admit that a Minoan explanation for the Atlantis story ‘is correct in all points’ except date, dimensions and location of ‘Pillars’! Many commentators have added reasons to support the Minoan Hypothesis.
*Atlantis was the way to other islands. This is an accurate description of Crete as the gateway to the Cyclades and Greece.
*The palace of the Atlanteans is on a low hill 50 stadia inland and near to a fertile plain is a good description of Knossos.
*The description of the land fits perfectly with the southern coast of Crete.
*There were bulls hunted without weapons, which is characteristic of Minoan Crete.
*The construction of the buildings matches Knossos.
Marjorie Braymer highlights the fact that the Cretan Mesara Plain is oblong in shape and one tenth of the dimensions of the plain mentioned by Plato. A fact that gains in importance if a tenfold exaggeration of the dimensions by Plato is accepted.
J. G. Bennett has gone further and argued strongly for a linkage of the destruction of Minoan civilisation, with the Flood of Deucalion, the Biblical Exodus and the obliteration of Plato’s Atlantis. Bennett quotes Plato’s Laws (705.15), which speaks of a significant migration from Crete, as evidence for a major catastrophe on the island.
In April 2004, a BBC Timewatch programme looked at a possible link between Crete and Atlantis focussing on evidence of ancient tsunami damage on the island that they linked to the eruption of Thera. This idea has been refuted by W. Shepard Baird who offers a pyroclastic surge as a more credible explanation(b). In 2010, the BBC broadcast another documentary supporting the Minoan Hypothesis, although not very convincingly in the opinion of this compiler.
On the other hand, Peter James points out that there is no connection in Greek mythology between Crete and Atlas. Further objections include the fact that no ancient canals have been found on Crete, the island did not sink and the failure of Plato to simply name Crete as the location of his Atlantis,*even though it was well-known to the mainland Greeks.*
Recently Gavin Menzies has, unsuccessfully, in my view, attempted to breathe new life into the Minoan Hypothesis in The Lost Empire of Atlantis.
An even less impressive effort to support a Minoan Atlantis is a slender work by Lee R. Kerr entitled Griffin Quest – Investigating Atlantis , who also published an equally useless sequel, Atlantis of the Minoans and Celts.
(c) https://www.philipcoppens.com/crete_dead.html (offline Mar. 2018 see Archive 2133)
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)
Rodney Castleden (1945- ) has been researching prehistory for the past twenty-five years and has written over forty books on such diverse subjects(a) as Stonehenge, Knossos and the Mycenaeans as well as criminology. He is the author of a well-received volume, Atlantis Destroyed in which he advocates the idea that the destruction of Minoan Crete provided the inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis.
His book is also available on the academia.edu website(b).
The Azores (Açores) is a group of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic, situated 740 miles from the mainland. The first recorded instance of their discovery is in 1427 by the Portuguese, although there is some evidence to suggest a much earlier date. In 2012, the president of the Portuguese Association of Archeological Research (APIA), Nuno Ribeiro, revealed(c) that rock art had been found on the island of Terceira, supporting his belief that human occupation of the Azores predates the arrival of the Portuguese by many thousands of years. A further article(a) in October 2016 expanded on this matter. Ribeiro’s research was trotted out in a more recent documentary from Amazon Prime with the tabloid title of New Atlantis Documentary – Proof that Left Historians Speechless(u), which explores the claim that the Azores are the mountain tops of sunken Atlantis!
However, the Portuguese authorities set up a commission to look into Ribeiro’s contentions and concluded(q) that any perceived remnants of an ancient civilization were either natural rock formations or structures of more modern origin. Nevertheless, as the Epoch Times reports(r) that “Antonieta Costa, a post-doctoral student at the University of Porto in Portugal, remained unconvinced and continued research into the hypothesis that the Azores were inhabited in antiquity and even in prehistory.”
It is thought that the Phoenicians and Etruscans competed for control of the Azores in later years. In 2011, APIA archaeologists reported that they had discovered on Terceira island, a significant number of fourth century BC Carthaginian temples. They believe the temples were dedicated to the ancient Phoenician/Carthaginian goddess Tanit(c). The Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher, in his 1665 book Mundus Subterraneus, was first to propose that these islands were the mountain peaks of sunken Atlantis. This view was adopted by Ignatius Donnelly and developed by successive writers and still supported by many today. The latest recruit is Carl Martin, who is current working on a book locating Atlantis in the Azores and destroyed around 9620 BC. The late Christian O’Brien was a long-time proponent of the Atlantis in Azores theory. A bathymetric study of the area suggested to O’Brien that the archipelago had been a mid-Atlantic island 480 x 720 km before the end of the last Ice Age. Apart from the inundation caused by the melting of the glaciers he found evidence that seismic activity caused the southern part of this island to sink to a greater degree than the north. O’Brien pointed out that six areas of hot spring fields (associated with volcanic disturbances) are known in the mid-Atlantic ridge area, and four of them lie in the Kane-Atlantis area close to the Azores. In 1982 Peter Warlow suggestedthat a sea level drop of 200 metres would have created an island as large as England and Wales with the present islands of the Azores as its mountains. However, Rodney Castleden contradicts that idea[225.187] saying that if the sea level was lowered by 200m “the Azores would remain separate islands.” Bathymetric mapsof the archipelago, above and on the Internet(g), verify Castleden’s contention. This together with an 1982 paper from P.J.C. Ryall et.al, which demonstrates more clearly that the Azores are just the summits of volcanic seamounts that rise from an underwater plateau that is 1000 metres below sea level. Professor Ryall and his associates were dealing objectively with the geology of the area and were not promoting any view regarding Atlantis. The geological evidence supporting an Azorean Atlantis is therefore very weak, verging on the non-existent.
Andrew Collins, the leading proponent of a Cuban Atlantis, has written a short review of the Azorean Hypothesis(h).
Frank Joseph has offered his views on Atlantis in the Azores in a YouTube video(l).
Nikolai Zhirov recounts in his book[458.363] how Réne Malaise wrote to him regarding a Danish engineer named Frandsen who identified a plateau, 2/3rds the size of Finland, south of the Azores, whose summits were 4,000-5,000m metres higher than it. Adding canals gave Frandsen a configuration that closely matched Plato’s description of Atlantis. Zhirov also noted[p403] that in 1957 a journal entitled Atlantida was published in the Azores.
In 1976, Jürgen Spanuth pointed out[015.249] that the Azores are not the mountain peaks of a sunken continent but instead are volcanic rock created through eruption. He quotes similar sentiments expressed by Hans Pettersson. A 2003 paper(b) by four French scientists demonstrated that the Azores had been greatly enlarged during the last Ice Age. However, showing that the Azores were more extensive is not disputed, but it in no way demonstrates that it was the location of Atlantis. In fact Plato’s description of the magnificent mountains to the north and the mud shoals that were still a hazard in Plato’s day do not match the Azores. The geologist, Darby South, strongly denied that the Azores could have been the location of Atlantis according to a couple of articles posted on the internet some years ago(a). However, natives of the archipelago are quite happy to assert a link with Atlantis, as travel writer David Yeadon found on a visit there(d). Nevertheless, advocates of Atlantis in the Azores must accept that there is very little evidence of human occupation in prehistoric times, apart from the rock art mentioned above. When the Portuguese arrived on the island in the 15thcentury they were found to be uninhabited and without any evidence of an earlier civilisation there. Initially, the only hint of earlier visitors was some 3rd century BC coins from Carthage discovered on the island of Corvo. However, in recent years Bronze Age rock art(f) and what is described as a Carthaginian temple(e) have both been discovered on the island of Terceira.
Otto Muck among others, was certain that the enlarged Azores had deflected the Gulf Stream during the Ice Age, contributing to the extent of the western European glaciation. However, a 2016 report(m) from Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment (CAGE) offered evidence that the Gulf Stream was not interrupted during the last Ice Age, which would seem to undermine one of Muck’s principal claims.
Nevertheless, it is still far from clear what caused the ending of the last Ice Age. A number of writers including Muck speculated that an asteroidal impact in the Atlantic was responsible. When the Azores were discovered in the 15th century they were uninhabited and without any evidence of an earlier civilisation. It can be reasonably argued that since the Azores today are just the mountain peaks of a larger mainly submerged island, any remains would be more likely to be found on the plains and estuaries that are now under water. One undeveloped theory is that the name ‘Azores’ might be linked to the ninth king of Atlantis, Azaes, listed by Plato. This idea is supported by the linguist Dr. Vamos-Toth Bator. However, a Portuguese correspondent has pointed out that the Azores is named after a goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) commonly found on the islands and portrayed on the regional flag. The renowned writer, Dennis Wheatley, used the possibility of Atlantis being located in the Azores as a backdrop to his 1936 thriller, They Found Atlantis.
In August 2013 Portuguese American Journal reported that the many pyramidal structures on Pico are clear evidence of extensive human activity in the archipelago long before the arrival of the Portuguese(o). A YouTube video(p) offers some interesting views of the pyramids.
The following month the same journal announced the discovery of a pyramidal structure 60 metres high at a depth of 40 metres off the coast of the Azorean island of Terceira(i). Shortly afterwards the Portuguese Navy denied the existence of any such structure(j). Not exactly a surprise! Nevertheless, an Italian website has attempted to breathe new life into the story by linking this underwater pyramid report with pyramidal structures found on the island of Pico(k).
The Wikiversity website has an extensive article(s) on the location of Atlantis, which is focused on the Azores and the bathymetric evidence for that archipelago having being a large single landmass at the end of the last Ice Age, when sea levels were much lower. However, it is based on the literal acceptance of Plato’s 9,000 years before Solon for the date of the Atlantean War.
April 2018, saw British tabloid interest in Atlantis revived with further speculation on the Azores as the location of Plato’s submerged island(t). However, the details of the claim were rejected by Dr. Richard Waller a lecturer at Keele University. Not content with recycling the old Azores theory, The Star also throws in the even more nonsensical idea of an Antarctican Atlantis.
A paper by Gerard Janssen of Leiden University places Homer’s Ogygia in the Azores(v).
The most recent (2021) advocate of Atlantis in the region of Azores is Victor Staner(w).>In the same year (2021) I was made aware of the work of Matthew Chinn who has also pinpointed a location (38° 32′ 06″ N, 29° 24′ 09″ W) in the Azores region as the site of Atlantis, using satellite imagery and bathymetric data.<
(q) https://www.scribd.com/document/327357287/Relatorio-Comissao (Portuguese)