The Out of Africa theory is the dominant model of the geographic origin and early migration of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens)(a) . It arose from discoveries in East Africa less than a century ago. Previously, a more popular idea prevailed which claimed that modern humans arose from different populations of earlier hominids in various regions of the world. This regional development still has some advocates(c).
While details of the OoA theory are continually being modified in the light of new discoveries, genetic studies have only strengthened support for the theory. The most recent genetic studies suggest that “a vast inland oasis in present-day northern Botswana was once home to the founder population of all modern humans.” (b)
*New studies suggest that the early development of homo sapiens may have been more complex than previously thought(e). Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, London, is quoted by The Guardian as saying that “the immediate predecessors of modern humans probably arose in Africa about 500,000 years ago and evolved into separate populations”.*
It is still uncertain whether humans left Africa in two or more waves and when did they do so. Stephen Oppenheimer, who has written extensively on the subject, maintains that a single group of migrants were involved, around 80,000 years ago. He offers a number of papers on the Bradshaw Foundation website(d).
As I see it, dating the spread of humans remains unclear to a layman such as myself. Of particular interest is determining more accurately when man first crossed the Bering Strait from Asia into America.
The Bretons are a cultural grouping located in Brittany in northwest France, where the most outstanding megalithic monuments of Europe are situated. Today, the Bretons consider themselves a separate Celtic people, with a strong nationalist movement(c).
*It was in 1839 that the Rev. Algernon Herbert (1792-1855), Dean of Merton College, Oxford, was the first to use the term ‘megalithic’ in a paper describing the monuments of England and Brittany.*
Since the middle of the 19th century a number of commentators right up to the present have labelled the Bretons as Atlantean. These include R. Cedric Leonard(a), who In support of this idea cites both Stephen Oppenheimer and Herodotus, although he does so some reservations. Hank Harrison wrote Finding Atlantis in which, he supported the idea of a megalithic Atlantis with its centre of power probably located in the Morbihan area of Brittany.
In the 19th century, Ignatius Donnelly quoted Eugene Bodichon as expressing a similar view[021.389]. Bodichon’s opinion is simply based on the temperament and physical similarities between the Bretons and the Berbers of North Africa. Similarly, Gerry Forster refers to Bodichon’s opinion in his The Lost Continent Rediscovered(b). I do not think that the case is proven, even if the legendary kingdom of Ys, reputedly off the Brittany coast, is brought into the debate.
The Clovis People, named after the Clovis archaeological site in New Mexico were initially accepted as the earliest identifiable human population in the Americas. It was thought that they arrived on that continent around 9,000 BC. Now, however, at a site at Buttermilk Creek in Texas(a), archaeologists have found stone tools in thick sediments beneath what is accepted as typical Clovis material. It is believed that these artifacts may be as much as 15,500 years old, once again pushing back the date of the earliest Americans.
The Gault site, also in Texas, has produced tools and some human remains that have been dated to up to 16,700 years ago, which further argues against the Clovis People as the earliest Americans. This was reinforced by the discovery of a 22,000-year-old mastodon skull along with a flaked blade made of volcanic rock.(f)
October 2018 brought claims by researchers from the Texas A & M University that the oldest weapons ever found in North America had been discovered at another Texan location named the Debra L. Friedkin site(j). They have dated the artefacts as 15,500 years old.
The ‘received wisdom’ regarding the origins of the Clovis people was that they had crossed into the Americas from Asia via a landbridge that spanned the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago. This has been challenged in a book by two archaeologists, Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley, who claim “that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, the book dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago.”
Stephen Oppenheimer as added his support to this idea of prehistoric transatlantic travel during the last Ice Age, using studies that identified the genetic haplogroup 2Xa among indigenous people in northeast America and western Europe. This was outlined in a recent CBC documentary Ice Bridge, featuring Stanford, Bradley and Oppenheimer. However, for balance, a critique of the show should also be read(i).
A further sceptical view of their work should also be considered(g). However, in 2016, the Solutrean Hypothesis appears has been contradicted by genetic studies(h).
Until 1999, the existence of pre-Clovis populations was denied by mainstream archaeology(b). Today, there is almost universal acceptance of these very early settlers in both North and South America(c).
Heather Pringle has written a revelatory article about the Canadian archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars who has fought the establishment view since 1979 and only now has his claim of pre-Clovis hunters in North America 24,000 years ago been vindicated(e).
Nevertheless, Professors Jennifer Raff and Deborah Bolnick co-authored a paper offering evidence(d) that the genetic data only supports a migration from Siberia to America.
It seems clear to me that the debates surrounding the earliest Americans have a long way to run yet.>It did not take long before the presence of pre-Clovis humans was pushed back further to as early as 33,000 years ago. This is contained in a July 2020 report, based on evidence found at Chiquihuite Cave, a high-altitude rock shelter in central Mexico.(k)<
See Also: Younger Dryas
Sundaland is the name of a large biogeographical region of South East Asia, a large portion of which had been above sea level during the last Ice Age and later inundated as the glaciers retreated. The term was apparently first used in 1949 by R.W. van Bemmelen (1868-1941) and later by other authorities.
It is worth noting that it is now generally accepted that South East Asia was probably the entry point of modern humans from Africa. Human traces have been found in Papua New Guinea that have been dated to around 40,000 BC.
Some authors have specifically claimed a clear link between Sundaland and Plato’s Atlantis. The Sunda Sub-Oceanic Plain is large enough to match Plato’s description of Atlantis. Its topography, climate, flora and fauna together with aspects of local mythologies, all permit a convincing case to be made to support this idea.
C.W. Leadbeater (1854-1934) who was a prominent theosophist was perhaps the first to suggest a link between Atlantis and Indonesia in his book, The Occult History of Java  , which is now available online(f).
Other investigators have written on the prehistory of the region of whom the best known is probably Stephen Oppenheimer who firmly locates the Garden of Eden in this region, although he makes little reference to Atlantis. More recently, Robert Schoch, in collaboration with Robert Aquinas McNally, wrote a book in which they suggest that pyramid building may have had its origins in a civilisation that flourished on parts of Sundaland that are now submerged.
The first book to specifically identify Sundaland with Atlantis was written by Zia Abbas. However, prior to its publication the Internet offered at least two sites that discussed in detail the case for Atlantis in South East Asia. William Lauritzen(a) and the late Professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos(b) developed extensive websites. Lauritzen has also written an e-book that is available from his site, while Santos developed his views on an Asian Atlantis in another recent book. Dr Sunil Prasannan has an interesting essay on Graham Hancock’s website(c). A more esoteric site(d) also offers support for the Sundaland theory.
An Indonesian researcher, Panji R. Hadinoto, has published on his website(e) a 32 point checklist purporting to ‘prove’ that Atlantis was located on Sundaland. Unfortunately, this checklist is not original but copied from the work of Professor dos Santos.
April 2015 saw further support for an Indonesian Atlantis with the publication of a book by hydraulic engineer, Dhani Irwanto, who endeavours to identify features of the lost city with details in Plato’s account with a site in the Java Sea off the coast of the island of Kilmantan. He has now published a YouTube video in support of his theory(h).
In 2019, Irwanto published two new books, the first, Sundaland: Tracing the Cradle of Civilisations , in which he offers a compelling case for considering emigrants from a submerging Sundaland as bringers of embryonic civilisation to other lands, where it flourished and developed local variants. It crossed my mind that Irwanto’s contention might explain the origins of the likes of the Sumerian civilisation, among others, which have never been satisfactorily settled!
The second book, Land of Punt , is another interesting offering in which the author suggests that Punt and the biblical Ophir can be equated with Atlantis, located in Sundaland. However, this idea conflicts with a growing consensus(k) that places Punt in the region Horn of Africa or across the Red Sea in Arabia.
A 2016 series of graphics shows the gradual inundation of Sundaland from 18,000 BC onwards(g).
Thorwald C. Franke has drawn attention(j) to a recent controversy in Malaya where historian Zaharah Sulaiman has claimed that the Malay set of mtDNA is 63,000 years old, dating back to a time long before the submergence of Sundaland. It seems that Sulaiman had built her claim on some of Oppenheimer’s writings. This veiled suggestion of some sort of racial superiority, through antiquity, was disputed locally.(i)
(j) Atlantis-Newsletter 120
The Deluge is the term usually used when referring to the biblical flood of Noah. It might perhaps be more accurate to use the plural, as there is evidence of several large-scale catastrophic inundations within the memory of man. The Noachian deluge has been the subject of continuous debate: was it real or pure fantasy, was it a local, regional or global and is the Ark to be found on Mt. Ararat.
The most recent controversy concerns a Babylonian tablet which, unlike the biblical record, describes an ark 70 metres in width and round in shape(c)(e). This would have been recorded a thousand years before the Genesis story was written down. Understandably, this has caused the knickers of some fundamentalist Christians to be seriously twisted! The discovery has now been expanded on by Irving Finkel in The Ark before Noah. Another eye-catching theory is that of Thomas J. Krupa (1930- ), author of Biblical Flood: Noah’s Ark and the Star of David, in which he claims that the keel of the Ark was shaped like the Star of David! Equally radical is the result of a high-tech study of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls which suggest that Noah’s Ark was pyramidal in shape(j)! Commenting on this report, Jason Colavito, has pointed out that the concept of a pyramid shaped ark is not new(k).
A sceptical 2019 article has looked critically at many aspects of the story of the Ark, including the most commonly offered Turkish site as the resting place of the Ark – “One of the most famous supposedly-Noah’s-ark sites is the admittedly very boat-looking Durupinar site in the Mount Tendurek area in Turkey. According to Atlas Obscura, the site was exposed in the late 1940s after a series of earthquakes and storms.“(t)
A life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark was due to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Holland in the summer of 2016(i). It was built over a four year period by carpenter, Johan Huibers, completing it in 2012. It is 410 feet long, 95 feet wide and 75 feet tall. It weighs 2,500 tons and is said to hold more than 5,000 people at any one time. However, there is no provision for animals! As of today (July 2019) I can find no recent information on the project.
An interesting overview of traditional as well as modern thinking regarding the possible historical reality behind the Deluge of Genesis is presented(f) by Robert Squillace on the New York University website.
Even more radical is the claim by Hebrew scholar Richard Seary that the Ark never actually existed, but that conventionally accepted understanding of the Genesis text is the result of a number of incorrect translations(d). One example being that there is no such material as gopher-wood and that the word ‘gofer’ means lava!
The Flood of Noah is an echo of the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, which in turn has a resonance with the deluge story of Manu in Indian mythology. If all three relate to the same event it would be of interest to discover its origin.
Many Atlantologists have sought to link the Deluge with the inundation of Atlantis. Egerton Sykes was a keen supporter of the idea. Joseph S. Ellul has interpreted the biblical story to support the idea of a landbridge at Gibraltar that eventually collapsed when the waters of the Atlantic rose after the last Ice Age.
Ellul maintained that Genesis 7:11 ‘All the springs of the Great Deep broke through’ is a reference to the percolation of the Atlantic waters, through the Gibraltar dam, that eventually led to its collapse as the sea level rose or was shattered by seismic or tectonic movements. I find it hard to accept this, because the pressure that is exerted by the Atlantic, would have rapidly changed any such seepage into a major breach and the subsequent collapse of the dam. Gerhard F. Hasel, Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology offers a more conventional interpretation of “the fountains of the great deep” in a paper with the same name(h).
Alexander and Edith Tollman link the Noachian Deluge with the consequences of a cometary impact in 7552 BC. On the other hand, G. F. Dodwell the Australian astronomer, after studying ancient gnomons, concluded that it was a worldwide catastrophe in 2345 BC that altered the earth’s tilt, leading to the Deluge. This is comparable with the 1696 claim by William Whiston that the earth had an encounter with a comet in 2346 BC, which caused the Flood of Noah. Emilio Spedicato advocates 3161 BC as the date of the biblical deluge(l). which has also been endorsed by Stuart L. Harris(n).
On a more controversial level, Donald Patten and Samuel Windsor present evidence for a series of close encounters between Mars and the Earth during the 1st millennium BC. David Rohl, the Egyptologist, dates Noah’s Flood at 3114 BC and links it with the climatic consequences of a major catastrophe in the Aleutian Islands.
Ancient flood stories are to be found around the world with a remarkable similarity of detail. It is worth pointing out that none of these legends ever recount the ‘hero’ of their particular tale returning to his former home. One simple explanation for this might be that the original homelands no longer existed. This would not normally be the case if the floods in question were tidal, storm driven or even giant tsunamis. However, if the inundations were the result of rising sea levels, resulting from the melting of Ice Age glaciers, we could expect two principal effects. The first would have been the gradual submergence of all low-lying flood plains that are now identified as continental shelves. Two of the best known of these would be the Sunda Shelf (Sundaland) and the area stretching from the west coast of mainland Europe across the North Sea encompassing the British Isles and into the Atlantic beyond Ireland. The second effect would have been the dramatic inundation of valleys and basins protected by low land bridges or dams. Again, we have examples, some debatable, such as, the Baltic, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and perhaps the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Sea of Japan.
When Ryan & Pitman(r) published their 1997 theory that around 5600 BC, the Black Sea had been flooded by water from the Aegean breaching the Bosporus, it did not take long before it was speculated that the event was reflected in the story of Noah’s Deluge. It also did not take long before strong objections to the idea were raised by many(s). Perhaps relevant to the subject is the claim that the flow of water was instead from the Black Sea into the Aegean, a view expressed by Nick Thom in The Black Sea Flood .
It is very interesting that so many of the deluge stories include a scenario where the ’hero’ is warned beforehand of the impending doom. To me, this would make sense that where a land bridge was threatened by gradually rising waters on one side, simple observation would have provided adequate time to warn those at risk on the other side.
The flooding of all these worldwide locations would have occurred quite slowly over an extended period following the last Ice Age, possibly providing the basis for the widespread existence of these flood myths.
Nevertheless, there is one rather disturbing element to be found alongside some of the flood myths, namely that the deluge event was concurrent with the sun seemingly standing still and in some cases it is recorded that the Moon also appeared to stop(o)(p)! One explanation on offer is that it is a reference to an eclipse(q). This might be acceptable if it was compatible with other myths from different parts of the world, which does not appear to be the case. Furthermore, it does not explain the association of the stopping of the sun with the global deluge. A very close encounter between the Earth and another large celestial body might.
Nick Thom, an Engineering lecturer at Nottingham University, has written The Great Flood which gives an overview of Flood myths, but more importantly identifies the emptying of glacial Lake Agassiz around 6250 BC as the mechanism which caused a tilting of the Earth, which in turn generated a global deluge remembered by the survivors in myth and later recorded in scriptures.
A website with a huge collection of worldwide flood myths is available online(b). However, one omission from all such collections is a contribution from Egypt who inexplicably has no such tradition, apart from the predictable annual flooding of the Nile.
Greek mythlogy includes reference to three major floods affecting Geece, those of Ogyges, Deucalion and Dardanus(o). Plato’s story of Atlantis makes mention of a number of major floods during the ‘9,000’ years following the war with Atlantis, one of these being the flood of Deucalion. However, it may be worth mentioning that with so many ancient cultures having recorded flood myths, Egypt is notable by having none!
Stephen Oppenheimer mentions three sudden ice-melts, 14,000, 11,500 and 8,000 years ago that would have had a global effect. It should be noted that the earliest date is close to the date given by Plato for the destruction of Atlantis.
As I see it, we are left with two explanations for the global flood myths, either a close encounter with an extraterrestrial body that created a mega tsunami that was on such a scale that it swept around the globe, perhaps a number of times before dissipating or the melting of the Ice Age glaciers produced the cyclical bursting of ice-dams and landbridges and the inundation of vast areas of low-lying land. I’m inclined to believe that the balance of probabilities favours the latter explanation, although I find it difficult to accept that gradual deglaciation would have generated floods that ‘covered mountains’ (Gen. vii.19)!
Kirk Kirchev in a recent (April 2018) two-part article(m) “offers a unifying scientific hypothesis that connects diverse ancient flood myths with mainstream scientific fact.”
T. R. Holme has an interesting article(g) on the flooding of the Black Sea and the migration from the region that resulted. He also links that event with the work of the late Marija Gimbutas.
(d) Fortean Times, April 2014, p.55
Indonesia in recent years have seen an increasing number of supporters for the idea of Atlantis being located in the vicinity of today’s archipelago, prior to the ending of the last Ice Age, on the submerged continental shelf now frequently referred to as Sundaland. The redating of cave paintings on the island of Sulawesi suggests that they are as old as any in Europe(h), possibly stretching back as far as 40,000 years. A 2016 report(j) has now pushed back the earliest human occupation on Sulawesi to 100,000 years ago.
As far as I can ascertain the earliest suggested linkage between Atlantis and Indonesia came from the leading Theosophist, C. W.Leadbeater (1854-1934). In a booklet, The Occult History of Java, published in 1951 he proposed that Java had been an Atlantean colony.
However, it is reported(g) that Sukarno (1901-1970), the first president of Indonesia, spoke of Atlantis nearly half a century ago when he located it in the Atlantic
William Lauritzen was probably the first to advocate this idea of a Sundaland connection on his website, but it seems that the concept was given a huge boost by the publication of the late professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos’ book Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found.
The idea was given a boost in February 2012 when it was reported(a) by a somewhat incredulous Jakarta Post that the Indonesian president had given his support to a search for an ancient sunken civilisation in Indonesian waters following meetings with researchers including British author Stephen Oppenheimer.
May 2013 saw The Jakarta Post report(b) the publication of a book by local geologist, Danny Hilman Natawidjaja in which he claims that Atlantis was part of prehistoric Indonesia. In the book, entitled Penemuan Atlantis Nusantara (The Discovery of Atlantis in the Archipelago) he claims to base his theory on Plato’s text. However, commenting on the book the Indonesian archaeologist Daud Aris Tanudirjo said that Natawidjaja’s claim was ‘premature’, pointing out that the author had only an English translation of Plato’s text to work with and suggesting that Natawidjaja had no knowledge of ancient Greek. Further background information was subsequently made available(c).
Natawidjaja also claims that a site at Gunung Padang, 120 km southwest of Jakarta may be more than 9,000 years old! Graham Hancock has expanded on this idea(e). Nevertheless, a recent assault on Natawidjaja’s theories in an open letter(m) from Rebecca Bradley, has laid bare the weaknesses in his contentions.
In 2015 Dahni Irwanto published Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea, in which he located the biblical Garden of Eden and the legendary island of Taprobane on the Indonesian island of Kilimantan (Borneo) and placed Atlantis off its coast. Irwanto has built on the work of Santos, expanding Santos’ 32-checklist to 60 headings. In his well illustrated book Irwanto goes further with the suggestion that Atlantean Indonesia was a cultural centre from which post-diluvian refugees spread throughout the world influencing the great civilisations of Asia, the Mediterranean and the Americas.(p.143) He subsequently published Sundaland: Tracing the Cradle of Civilization (1618) in which he develops his idea that ancient Indonesia was a hyperdiffusionist hub. Although I found this book interesting, I thought it over speculative.
While Irwanto’s theories may be hard to accept, at least he presents then in a rational coherent manner, the same cannot be said of Turangga Seta, an Indonesian Atlantis-obsessed group, who place Atlantis in the Java Sea. Their leader, Timmy Hartadi, explains that their beliefs are based on psychic conversations with their ancestors!(n)
Coincidentally, Delisle de Sales, writing in the 18th century cited an anonymous source who placed Atlantis in Taprobane, considered at the time to be a reference to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), not Irwanto’s Indonesian Kilmantan.
A short April 2016 blog(k) suggests that Quranic Archaeology may be used to support the idea of an Indonesian Atlantis, a sentiment expressed again a month later(l).
(a) See: Archive 3629
(k) https://www.islamsejati.com/2016/03/ahli-arkeologi-fakta-dari-al-quran.html (offline Jan. 2017)
Stephen Oppenheimer (1947- ) qualified in Medicine from Oxford University in 1971. He moved to the orient where he specialised in tropical paediatrics. He was Professor of Paediatrics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1990 to 1994. Much of his research focused on malaria and the unique genetic mutations that protect against it. Since these mutations act as markers Oppenheimer found that they held strong evidence for the migrations caused by the extensive flooding following the last Ice Age. This led him to investigate the cultural origins of the peoples of South East Asia.
Oppenheimer wrote a book, which identified the South China Sea as the original location of the Garden of Eden. Although he makes little reference to Atlantis, the book is of great interest to those that favour an oriental rather than a western location as the inspiration for Plato’s legendary land.
R. Cedric Leonard has drawn attention to an article by Oppenheimer in a 2006 edition of Prospect magazine(d) with a follow up contribution in the June 2007 edition(e). In them, he proposes that the early immigrants into the British Isles were more likely to have been Basques rather than Celts. Leonard speculates(f) that the Bretons (Britons) were Basques, who in turn were Atlantean refugees!
A critical review of Oppenheimer’s volume by Koenraad Elst(c), the Belgian orientalist, as well as the more recent supportive views of Dale Drinnon can be found on the Internet(a).
Oppenheimer has also written a further book that looks at the origins of modern mankind in Africa and its spread throughout the rest of the world.
In February 2012 it was reported(b) that the president of Indonesia was encouraging a search for an ancient civilisation in Indonesian waters. This apparently followed meetings with local researchers and Stephen Oppenheimer. President Yudhoyono has also given his support to the extensive research being carried out at Gunung Padang(g).
Oppenheimer in conjunction with the Bradshaw Foundation(h) has produced a valuable interactive genetic map showing how the world was peopled(i).
In 2014, Oppenheimer endorsed(j) the conclusions of Stanford and Bradley who propose that the Clovis people were related to the Solutrean people of western Europe who had crossed the Atlantic during the last Ice Age.
See also Sundaland.
(a) See Archive 3581
(b) See Archive 2976
Zia Abbas, according to his own website(a), is a computer scientist and works as a freelance software engineer and consultant for many companies. He is the author of Atlantis: The Final Solution in which he claims to prove that Plato’s Atlantis is to be found in the South China Sea. The core proposal of this book is that Atlantis was located on the continental shelf in the South China Sea, known as Sundaland, which was exposed before the end of the last Ice Age, when it was inundated as the glaciers retreated. According to Abbas, this large landmass contained the original Atlantis and was known as Idress. It is quite probable that early urban settlements did exist along the coast and at the river mouths of Sundaland, and were subsequently flooded. However, it is quite improbable that the flooding of these towns and villages were the inspiration for the Atlantis of Plato. Remember that at the same time, similar inundations were taking place much closer to home in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and these events are more likely to have been remembered in the legends and myths familiar to Plato. The prehistoric flooding of the Sundaland region is covered extensively in Stephen Oppenheimer’s Eden in the East.
Abas is no trailblazer, as the idea of Atlantis in this region has been advocated since 1997 by investigators such as the late Professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos(b) and William Lauritzen(c). Abbas’ theory is just a poor rehash of their ideas and his particular book has done little to advance their acceptance.
On the first page, Abbas claims that Atlantis was a republic, which seems rather strange for a confederation ruled by ten kings. He states that Athena was a ‘god’ of Atlantis, a claim that would have surprised Plato. Abbas also asserts that Atlantis is to be found in the Old Testament under the name of Enoch!
Further incongruity is encountered when we find that Abbas’ website includes a technical paper on Gravitation and Special Relativity.
This book is high on speculation and low on science. For many, the author’s credibility will completely vanish as soon as they encounter references to reptilian aliens a la David Icke, artificial structures on Mars or a hollow Earth. This is all a far cry from the Dialogues of Plato and probably explains the poor reviews that the book has received. Abbas also provides a website(c) that does very little to add to his cause.
*There has been little heard from Abbas in recent years, when the Atlantis in Sundaland theory has been advocated more strongly by dos Santos and Irwanto.*
(c) https://www.geocities.com/zia abbas/index.htm
The Garden of Eden, like Atlantis, has excited the imagination of many over the centuries. Its location has been the subject of what was sometimes wild speculation that offered a range of locations comparable with the variety of sites proposed for Atlantis.
The traditional belief was that the ‘Garden’ had been situated in Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris as noted in the Bible. Athanasius Kircher, who is better known to many for his speculative map of Atlantis located in the Atlantic Ocean also produced a plan of the Garden of Eden in what is now southern Iraq. David J. Gibson (1904-1966) arrived at a similar conclusion placing ‘Eden’ just south of Baghdad in his book, The Land of Eden Located, now available online(t).
More recently, Robert McRoberts in an article about the rivers of Eden included map by Arianna Ravenswood, who placed Eden northwest of Babylon in what is now the Iraqi Province of Diyala(u).
Within the same region is a submerged location at the head of the Persian Gulf promoted by Juris Zarins (1945- )(w) . In his theory, the Bible’s Gihon River would correspond with the Karun River in Iran, and the Pishon River would match the Wadi Batin river system that had drained the now dry, but once quite fertile central part of the Arabian Peninsula. His suggestion about the Pishon River is supported by James A. Sauer (1945–1999) formerly of the American Center of Oriental Research although strongly criticized by the archaeological community(x) .
The conventional idea has been enhanced in the opinion of some by the discoveries of the German archaeologist, Klaus Schmidt, who believed that his excavations at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey have unearthed artefacts dating to 8000 BC, when the people there changed from hunting and gathering to agriculture. This region also contains Ur and Harran, mentioned in the Old Testament and as Göblekli Tepe is located between the Tigris and Euphrates and is within view of the Taurus Mountains, it conforms remarkably to the topographical description of Eden in the Bible.>Tom Knox speculated on this in an article on the UK’s Daily Mail Online(aa).<
Christopher Columbus believed that the source of the Orinoco River, in what is now known as Venezuela had been the location of Eden. Antonio de León Pinelo (1590-1660) was a Spanish chronicler who spent some years in South America and was also convinced that the Garden of Eden had been situated between the great rivers of South America(k)!
The imaginative Augustus Le Plongeon claimed the Yucatan as the location of the ‘Garden’(s).
General Gordon of Khartoum fame was so impressed by the island of Preslin in the Seychelles that he declared it to be the Garden of Eden and its famed Coco de Mer and breadfruit plants to be the Tree of Life and the Tree of Good and Evil. Science writer, Karl Shuker, has written an extensive article, Forbidden Fruit, for the January 2016 edition of Fortean Times, in which he gives the background to Gordon’s obsession and his inabilty to garner any serious support for it.
At the beginning of the 20th century it was reported(r) that G. F. Becker (1847-1919) a geologist with the USGS nominated Luzon in the Philippines as the site of the biblical ‘Garden’, while Sven Hedin (1865-1952) a much decorated Swedish geographer chose Janaidar a mythical city in Central Asia.
George H. Cooper, the American writer, identified Salisbury Plain[0236.111] as the Garden of Eden along with its Wiltshire river system matching the Euphrates and Tigris in the Genesis story. W. Comyns Beaumont chose Britain’s Glastonbury as site of the original Garden.
In the middle of the last century, a Baptist preacher, Elvy E. Callaway, announced that the Garden had been located in the vicinity of Bristol, Florida(j).
David Rohl has studied the matter in great detail and located the ‘Garden’ in northern Iranian province of East Azerbaijan near the city of Tabriz. Rohl’s reasoning is worthy of study and perhaps comparison with the views of Emilio Spedicato, who offers his reasoning for placing Eden in Pakistan’s Hunza Valley in two papers on the Internet(b)(y). Rohl was partly inspired by the work of Reginald A. Walker[1388/9]
Andrew Collins claims that the original Mesopotamian name for Eden was Kharsag, a view echoed by the late Christian O’Brien(q). O’Brien’s nephew, Edmund Marriage, identifies the Bekka Valley in Lebanon as the location of Eden of Genesis. A new Lebanese location site is the subject of a website and forum(h)(i). An excerpt from O’Brien’s book, relating to Eden, can be read online(v).
The Sabbah brothers, Roger and Messod, controversially place Eden in Egypt and offer a range of evidence to support this contention. Ralph Ellis has also opted for Egypt in his book, Eden in Egypt and claims that Adam and Eve were in reality Akhenaton and Nefertiti! Ellis also supports his theory with two online papers providing excerpts from his books(o)(p).
Further to the west is the Tunisian town of Oudna, which has been nominated as Eden by one Patrick Archer on his somewhat sparse website(d).
Another African location was put forward by Georg Hinzpeter over half a century ago, when he suggested that the Ethiopian plateau had been the home of Adam & Eve before their eviction(z).
What may appear just as implausible to many is the claim by Felice Vinci, that the Eden story was imported from northern Europe, specifically from Finnish Lappland. Even more incredible is the assertion by the likes of William C. Chappell that the Garden of Eden was in fact situated in the United States. His Mormon inspired views are available as a free eBook(c) on the Internet.
A more ‘commercial’ suggestion has been that Tarpon Springs, Florida, was originally the location of the Garden of Eden and furthermore that Tampa Bay contained the port of Atlantis.
The Urantia Book promotes the idea of two Edens, one near Cyprus and a second further east! In 2003, Robert Sarmast compiled a list of similarities between Plato’s account of Atlantis and the description of the Garden of Eden in the Urantia Book(l).
Stephen Oppenheimer has pointed out that Genesis 2:8 reads that “the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden”. He argues (p.409) that this supports the idea of a ‘paradise’ in the Sundaland region. However, Oppenheimer does not equate Eden with Atlantis.
According to his well illustrated website(f) Paulo Riven has located the Garden of Eden just north of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
The Garden of Eden has been suggested by some as another name for Atlantis, representing as it does a mythical time of peace and abundance. However, Eden is never spoken of in the terms of military might and commercial success attributed to Atlantis. One of the better known proponents of this idea of an Atlantean Eden was the late Professor Arysio dos Santos(a) who was convinced that it was located in the South China Sea before the ending of the last Ice Age submerged large areas of Sundaland. Shortly before his death in 2005 he published his theories, expanding on material that he had made available on the Internet for some years. Frank Joseph also claims that the Garden of Eden was located on the lost island of ‘Lemuria’ located in the Pacific.
Bill Hanson, who has authored a number of books on ancient ‘mysteries’, has recently written a work that links the Garden of Eden with Atlantis. He identifies five similarities between the two accounts:
- Both prehistoric locations are regarded as ‘lost paradises’
- The four rivers of Eden are reflected in the four waterways of Poseidon the island capital of Atlantis.
- Atlantis started with ten kings and the Bible speaks of ten patriarchs.
- Zeus destroyed Atlantis because mortals and gods mated, whereas the Bible records the mating of the ‘sons of God’ and human females.
- Atlantis was flooded just as the Age of the Patriarchs ended with the flood of Noah.
The late Joseph Robert Jochmans also identified(g) Atlantis with Eden in a comprehensive article on his website. John Nichols wrote a long article(e) identifying Atlantis with the Garden of Eden and placing it on the Celtic Shelf about a hundred miles off the coast of France due west of Brest. Frederick Dodson also claims an Atlantis-Garden of Eden connection(n). In 2018, the Catalan researcher, José Luis Espejo also equated Atlantis with the Garden of Eden.
Currently. the sadly benighted Iraq is trying to lure tourists to holidays in ‘the Garden of Eden’(m)!
(g) See: Archive 3602
(h) See: Archive 3182
(k) See: Archive 2999
(l) See: Archive 3603
(z) Atlantis, Vol.17, No. 2/3, April 1964, p.27