The Bronze Age is the second of the generalised three part division of prehistory into Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. I say generalised because different parts of the world developed bronze technology at different times(g), while some moved straight from Stone to Iron, others had a Copper Age before their Bronze Age. There is now clear evidence that tin-bronze was used at a Vinca site in Serbia as early as 4650 BC(d).
>There is now evidence that Bronze itself was used as an early form of currency, according to a recent study(r). by Maikel H. G. Kuijpers and Catalin N. Popa of Leiden University, Netherlands, who concluded that “The euros of Prehistory came in the form of bronze rings, ribs and axes. These Early Bronze Age artefacts were standardized in shape and weight and used as an early form of money.”<
However, the Bronze Age was clearly the literary if not the historical backdrop to Plato’s Atlantis narrative. In Greece this is generally accepted as the 2nd millennium BC. Plato refers to Triremes (developed around 600 BC), Chariots (Mesopotamia around 3000 BC), Horse-racing (first domesticated in Asia around 4500 BC), writing, metallurgy etc., etc. Recently, the date of the end of the Greek Bronze Age has been pushed back by approximately a century to around 1125 BC(f).
The Bronze Age in the Mediterranean region saw two periods of great political turbulence, the first around 2200 BC and the second a millennium later(h) and generally known as the Bronze Age Collapse(q).
However, when Plato twice states that Atlantis was destroyed 9,000 years before Solon’s visit to Egypt, he presents us with a serious problem, as the Bronze Age is incompatible with a 9600 BC date. Which is right or are they both wrong and consequently is the entire story a complete fiction? Alternatively, it is possible that Plato’s story is a combination of more than one story or is Plato’s narrative a combination of fact and fiction.?
In general terms, although there was copper in North America and tin in South America, it seems that they were not brought together in any meaningful way to give America a Bronze Age comparable with Europe or Asia(n).
Frank Joseph, among others, has suggested that the enormous quantities of copper mined in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan were destined for the bronze manufacturers of Europe(I). He considers this extraction and exportation to have been the work of the Atlanteans. Gavin Menzies attributes the exploitation of the Michigan mines to the Minoans.
In 2018, it was claimed in a new paper(m) that Plutarch may have referred to Greek visits to Canada in the first century AD. The authors who included Greek archaeologist Ioannis Liritzis, do admit that the claim is speculative.
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(j), while an even more extensive critique can be found on the archyfantasies.com website(k).
It is interesting that this mining appears to have ceased around 1200 BC or approximately at the same time that the Bronze Age came to an end in Europe. This idea of the Michigan copper mining being the work of Old World traders is hotly disputed by local archaeologists such as Susan R. Martin(b).
Recent years have seen the discovery of numerous Bronze Age mines in the British Isles and across Europe, including the vast Great Orme Mines in Wales accepted by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest Bronze Age copper mine in the world that were rediscovered again in 1987(a), a view reinforced, more recently, with research, by scientists from the University of Liverpool(o)(p). When you consider the output of these copper mines and the huge amount of tin produced in Cornwall, it is clear that Britain made a major contribution to the development of the European Bronze Age. These Welsh mines are estimated to have been abandoned around 600 BC.
Such European mines together with those found in the Near East have naturally led to a questioning of Joseph’s thesis. If copper was so widely available to the Europeans at home, what was the incentive for Atlanteans to mine copper in Michigan and ship it to Europe with the relatively primitive vessels and navigation available at that time?
It is interesting to note that the geophysicist Marc-André Gutscher who had supported Collina-Girard’s contention that Spartel Island near the Strait of Gibraltar had been the possible location of Atlantis, withdrew his support(c) for the idea following the evidence presented at the 2005 Atlantis Conference, which convincingly demonstrated the Bronze Age setting of Plato’s story. Gutscher found this incompatible with the fact that Spartel Island had been submerged about 12,000 years ago.
In spite of Gutscher’s withdrawal of support Collina-Girard continues to promote his theory, having published a book, L’Atlantide retrouvée, in support of it, in 2009.
The other half of bronze production requirements is a supply of tin. In this connection, recent research has show that the eastern Mediterranean is virtually devoid of any sources of tin(e), contrasting sharply with the western basin which had Cassiterite in Sardinia, Spain and Morocco.
(b) See Archive 2547
(e) See: Archive 2100
(i) See Archive 3645
Also See: Factor Ten
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
The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most enduring mysteries that originated in the Old Testament. It was recorded there, in great detail (Exod.25:10-22; 37:1-9), how the Ark was constructed to house the tablets of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments given to Moses. King Solomon built the First Jerusalem Temple with the primary purpose of providing a suitable home for the Ark. Sometime before the 6th century BC the Ark disappeared and so for at least two and a half millennia, the search for it has been ongoing.
Alfred de Grazia has written at length about the electrical properties of the Ark in his book, God’s Fire . This suggestion of Mosaic electricity can be traced back to 1913 when Nikola Tesla wrote “…Moses was undoubtedly a practical and skilful electrician far in advance of his time. The Bible describes precisely, and minutely, arrangements constituting a machine in which electricity was generated by the friction of air against silk curtains, and stored in a box constructed like a condenser. It is very plausible to assume that the sons of Aaron were killed by a high-tension discharge and that the vestal fires of the Romans were electrical” (p).
>More recently, in response to a claim from Scott Wolter, a controversial TV host(z), that the Ark had been used to power the Great Pyramid, Jason Colavito offered a paper in which this suggestion of the Ark as an electrical device can be traced back as far as speculation in the 17th and 18th centuries(aa).<
In 2016, David Hatcher Childress, in Ark of God , repeated old speculation that the Ark was capable of flight and proposed it as an example of ancient technology! This flight capability or at least levitation(u) is also suggested by Laurence Gardner .
In 1982, Yehuda Getz, the rabbi in charge of Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall claimed to know the Ark’s location to within 2 or 3 metres, under the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Political considerations have prevented any excavation at the site(d). The late Ron Wyatt also claimed to have discovered the Ark in 1982, under the old city of Jerusalem(f). A 2017 claim is that the Ark is situated near Jerusalem at Kiryat Ye’arim, where excavations will begin soon(g).
One of the best-known books recounting a personal search for the Ark in modern times was by Graham Hancock in the shape of The Sign and the Seal , which ended with a frustrated author outside a church in Axum, Ethiopia. Oddly, Hancock touches on the subject of Atlantis in this book (p.319) where he dismisses the idea of an Atlantic home for Atlantis.
Hancock’s experiences in Ethiopia were repeated by Paul Raffaele and recounted in a 2007 article in the Smithsonian Magazine(b). However, there is a short report(c) that in 1869, Isaac de Karpet, Armenian Patriarch of the library of the monastery of St. James in Jerusalem, along with his brother Dimoteo Sapritchian, gained access to the church in Axum thanks to the intervention of the Abyssinian crown prince Kasa. They concluded that the ‘Ark’ in the church were wooden tablets (tabots) inscribed with the Ten Commandments dating from the 13th or 14th centuries AD.
The de Karpet report was recently echoed by an account(m) of the inside of the Aksum church having been seen by one Edward Ullendorff during WW2 and who much later gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times in 1992, in which he revealed that there was only a replica of the ‘Ark’, which is to be found in churches throughout Ethiopia. Shortly before that, Roderick Grierson & Stuart Munro-Hay published The Ark of the Covenant , which focuses on Aksum.
Professor Tudor Parfitt embarked on a quest for the Ark , which took him halfway around the world, ending up with the Lemba people of southern Africa, who claim to be Jewish. These people also claim to possess the Ark, although in the form of a modest drum-like object known as ngoma currently in a museum in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. Parfitt concluded that ngoma was dated to around 1350 AD and as such “it is almost certainly the oldest wooden artefact ever found in sub-Saharan Africa”. Parfitt suggests that this ngoma was intended to replace an earlier Ark and was preserved by the Lemba for 700 years.
A recent website article(a) offers newly discovered evidence for considering Yemen as the hiding place of the Ark. However, closer to home we have a book  by Graham Phillips suggesting that the Ark had been brought back to England, to Temple Herdewyke, near Stratford-upon-Avon. He partly bases this idea on the work of Jacob Cove-Jones, a British historian(e), who died before he could complete his quest for the Ark.
Other suggested locations include Mount Pisgah in Jordan(h), East Prussia(i) and Ireland’s Hill of Tara(j). The fruitless excavations at Tara around 1900 by British-Israelites is now recounted in a recent book by Mairéad Carew .
Expanding the possible locations further west is the suggestion by J. Chamberlain, following the theories of J.P. Noel(l) who proposed in a convoluted tale, that St. Croix in the Caribbean U.S. Virgin Islands as the final resting place of the Ark .
Equally entertaining is the hint from the late Philip Coppens that the Bugarach mountain, near the Rennes-le-Chateau, was also, through rumour, the location of the ‘Ark’. In a colourful article Coppens, links, President Mitterrand, Nazis, Mossad and Steven Spielberg(k). Coppens has also written an interesting article about a failed attempt to locate the Ark led by a Finnish scholar, Valter H. Juvelius (1865-1922) under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem(q).
Many other books and TV documentaries charting the search for the Ark continue to be produced. However, there is also another trend becoming more obvious, which is that there is an increasing number of instances, particularly on the Internet, of the Ark 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 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, authors hope to achieve credibility transference from one to the other!
The linking of the Ark with Atlantis is not uncommon but the level of b.s. sometimes used to describe this association can be breathtaking, as this excerpt demonstrates – “Yes, there were a number of The ARKS OF THE COVENANT IN THE MIDDLE EAST. THEY HAD COME FROM ATLANTEAN technology that was passed on to the Egpytian mystery schools. Some were built as light therapy healing machines, and other Arks were generators and communication devices between flying saucers and temples priest and technicians. And by tuning up the power of certain designed ARKS you also had some most powerful LASERS and power beaming instruments which can start earthquakes and destructive energy of modern HARP TYPE LASERS (LAZERS). The Ark of the Covenant was designed to do multiple functions? The is what made it extra valuable to the Egpytians as to the Hebrews. It is said by the time of Jesua, the Jewish priesthood had forgotten how to use the ARK for power. but Jesua intuitively knew how to use the ARK, AND activated it while on the cross to manifest a vortex vibration from it, and cause an earthquake with it, while on the Cross to make a demonstration.”(r).
Spencer Alexander McDaniel, an American researcher, has published a lengthy article about the Ark and concluded that while it is possible that it did exist, it is unlikely, for a number of reasons, that it survived(n). McDaniel is an Atlantis sceptic, who has suggested that it was the destruction of Helike that possibly inspired Plato to invent the story(o).
2022 began with a report that Uri Geller had announced that “he had discovered the location of the Ark of the Covenant while dowsing on the ground floor of his new museum of himself in Jaffa”.(v) Obviously, he declined to reveal the exact site, knowing that he can milk this claim for more free publicity. In 2021, he purchased the Scottish Lamb Island, because of its connection with the Giza pyramids(w). He ended the year with the claim that aliens are due to arrive soon after thousands of years of contact(x). So far the prankster(y) has avoided the subject of Atlantis.
(c) See: Archive 2479
(d) Brisbane Courier Mail, 29th January 1992
(k) Atlantis Rising, No. 88, July/August 2011