Strait of Kerch
Crimea is a large peninsula on the Black Sea coast of Ukraine. At the time of writing (April 2023) Crimea was still occupied by the Russian military. From an atlantological point of view, it is interesting that one of the principal icons of Ukraine is a stylised trident, the symbol of Poseidon.
Crimea itself has had a number of attempts made to associate it with the location of Atlantis. The most eye-catching promoters of this idea were the late Leon Flying Eagle and Mary Whispering Wind, who published their theory in The Atlantis Motherland  nearly twenty years ago. They claimed(a) that in the Crimean port city of Kerch the nearby Mithridat Hill was the original site of the capital city of Atlantis confirmed by the surrounding topography that matched closely Plato’s description. They have also suggested that the shallow Strait of Kerch between Crimea and Russia as the location of Plato’s ‘shoals‘(c).
An interesting detail is that the Strait of Kerch was one of several locations that the ancient Greeks referred to as the Pillars of Heracles listed by Robert Schoch in Voices of the Rocks [454.87], but, unfortunately, without citing his source.
They further claim(b) that there is evidence that the Kopet-Dagh fault line, which runs just above the strait, experienced a devastating (8.9) earthquake around 9600 BC destroying Atlantis in the Strait. At this time what we now call the Sea of Azov was the well-irrigated plain adjacent to the city of Atlantis described by Plato. They claim that the earthquake caused a massive influx of water from the Caspian Sea, which had been rising due to the melting ice caps in the north. This combination caused the creation of the Sea of Azov and the flooding of Atlantis.
All this would have been fine except that at the start of their homepage, they announced that “Thirty-nine thousand years ago a primitive tribe of wild robust Neanderthals celebrated the beginning of a new species. Visitors from a distant planet united with their tribe. Together they created the great Empire of Atlantis, the Motherland of all Modern Humans.” For me, this just undermines the credibility, if not the rationality of the authors.
Anatoliy Ivanovich Zolotukhin is a Ukrainian researcher from the city of Nykolaiv (also known as Mykolaiv) who authored Homer: The Immanent Biography , in which he claims that Homer was born in Alibant (Mykolaiv) on September 14, 657 BC)(f). He follows the views of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876) who believed that most of Odysseus’s travels took place in the Black Sea rather than the Mediterranean. Additionally, Zolotukhin locates Atlantis in the western Crimean area of Evpatoria(d) on his multilingual website with the inviting title of Homer and Atlantis(e).
Werner E. Friedrich is a German researcher who published a bilingual booklet in 2006  in which he firmly located Atlantis in the Black Sea region circa 10,000 BC on a plain west and east around today’s Crimean peninsula.
Christian & Siegfried Schoppe are a father and son team of German researchers, who firmly assert that Atlantis was located in the Black Sea. More specifically they suggest that Snake Island(h) situated 35km east of the Danube Delta, was the location of the Atlantean capital. Snake Island has also been referred to on a Russian website(i) that discusses a Black Sea Atlantis. It includes some video clips with Russian dialogue. Snake Island has also been adopted by George K. Weller as the location of Atlantis(j). Snake Island also featured in the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In his 2020 book, Apocalypse , Dr Sean Welsh agreed that Noah’s Ark finally rested on Mt. Ararat, but took everyone by surprise by claiming that it was not Ararat in Turkey but Ararat mountain/hill on Crimea’s Kerch Peninsula!
Very ancient pyramids have also been claimed for Crimea(g).
(i) http://survincity.com/2010/04/conspiracy-theory-black-sea-atlantis-the-case-of/ (link broken Dec.2020)
?The Bosporus or Bosphorus is described by Wikipedia as “a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey. It forms part of the continental boundary between Asia and Europe, and divides Turkey by separating Anatolia from Thrace. It is the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation. The Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and, by extension via the Dardanelles, the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, and by the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov.”
Arysio dos Santos in his book Atlantis [320.186] noted that “The Bosphorus was considered to be the site of the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ even before the name of these famous features was transplanted to the region of Gibraltar, where it remains stuck down to the present time. In reality, bosporus or bosphorus (or bosporos or bosphoros, rather, the Greek words from which the Latin name derives) means ‘cattle passage, oxford’ precisely because Hercules was said to have crossed there with the cattle he rustled from Geryon, in Erytheia.”
Robert M. Schoch is a Yale scholar, geologist and paleontologist. At the invitation of John Anthony West, he agreed to inspect the Sphinx and offer an opinion on the nature of the erosion to be seen on it. He found that the cause of this erosion was precipitation rather than windblown sand. As Egypt has had an arid climate for many thousands of years, Dr Schoch reached the conclusion that at least the front of the Sphinx had been carved between 7000 and 5000 BC, when the climate had been considerably wetter.
In the same book, Voices of the Rocks , he endorsed (p.123) the conclusions of Mary Settegast  who claimed that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reference to the Magdalenian culture that inhabited the coastal regions of the Western Mediterranean during the 9th millennium BC. Schoch devotes a chapter to the subject of Atlantis and interestingly lists a number of sites to which the Greeks applied the appellation ‘Pillars of Heracles‘ apart from the Strait of Gibraltar.
“The Greeks, however, used the name Pillars of Herakles to mark other sites besides Gibraltar, some outside the Mediterranean – namely, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and the Strait of Kerch dividing the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov – and even more inside – specifically, the Strait of Bonifacio between Corsica and Sardinia, the Strait of Messina between mainland Italy and Sicily, the Greek Peloponnese, the mountainous coast of Tunisia, and the Nile Delta.” [p.87] A highly critical review of Schoch’s ‘Voices’ can be read online(n).
In his Voyages of the Pyramid Builders , he reiterates his conviction “that Plato’s story is, at least in part, a fictionalized account of a great Mediterranean war at a time of intense climatic change between the tenth and eighth millennia BC.” A critique by William P Eigles tackles ‘Voyages’ in Atlantis Rising magazine # 37, where Schoch endeavours to link the global presence of pyramids as a possible expression of hyperdiffusion. Eigles comments that Schoch “may simply be trying to prove too much here. Many of the motivations, reasons and interpretations he offers for the various activities and actions on the part of the ancients are clearly speculative in nature.(ad)”
This 1990 declaration regarding the Sphinx generated an international reputation for Schoch. Such a controversial conclusion was obviously greeted warmly by the supporters of the 9,000-year-old date for Atlantis allegedly given by the Egyptian priests to Solon. This accidental intervention by Schoch in the debate regarding the dating of Atlantis has unfortunately done nothing to resolve the issue. Fierce debate continues regarding the date of the Sphinx. However, there appears to be a gradual acceptance of Schoch’s views by other professional geologists such as David Coxhill. Another geologist, Colin Reader, while not accepting all of Schoch’s conclusions, believes that the Sphinx predates King Khufu, the father of Khafre, who has been traditionally accepted as the builder of the Sphinx, with the monument bearing his image(v)(w)(x).
Schoch subsequently pushed the date of the Sphinx as far back as circa 10,000 BCE and he now suggests that the monument was carved in the shape of a lioness.(ae)
It appears that Schoch’s experiences regarding the Sphinx have whetted his appetite for prehistory as he has now written a further book, again with R.A. McNally about the origins of the pyramid builders. Unfortunately, he includes a reference to Ireland’s Newgrange as a form of ‘pyramid building’, an idea I reject, since it shares neither form nor function with the Egyptian pyramids. The goodreads.com website offers a very critical review of this book(a) as has Professor Garrett Fagan(ag).
Schoch seems to be venturing further and further from his natural comfort zone of geology. In 2007, he wrote an article on Telepathy(d) and was later due to address the Electric Universe Conference in Las Vegas in 2012(c) and deliver a paper entitled The Catastrophic Termination of the Last Ice Age. In it, he will claim that around 10,000 BC the Earth underwent ‘dramatic catastrophic changes’ as a result of ‘our unstable Sun erupting at the end of the last Ice Age, melting the extensive glaciers and triggering climate warming. The full paper should be an interesting read. He continues to argue against the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis(r).
His retreat from conventional science may be now complete as he delves into the strange world of lycanthropy (the study of werewolves)(o).
Schoch’s work is now promoted through his own website(b), which includes a wide range of articles. On it, both he and his associate, Colette Dowell, have been very critical of the Bosnian pyramid claims of Semir Osmanagic following a visit there in 2006. However, in what appears to be an article(l) written in 2011 or 2012, Osmanagic responds with scathing criticism of Schoch’s work. His attack on Schoch was later added to by an assault from Jock Doubleday in a very lengthy article(y) in which, among other matters, he accuses Schoch of a series of thirteen lies! I should perhaps mention that Doubleday has been featured for some years now in the burgeoning Encyclopedia of American Loons(z). As well as that, elsewhere, a very personal attack has also been made on Collette Dowell(aa). Support for Schoch’s claim of a Bosnian pyramid hoax is also available(ab).
Schoch has now turned his attention to the emergence and demise of very early civilisations, before that of dynastic Egypt or Sumeria. When he combined his early date for the Sphinx with other discoveries such as that of Nabta Playa and Göbekli Tepe and Gunung Padang(m), he concluded that the origins of civilisation go back much further than generally accepted. He then looked at the bigger and perhaps more important question of the cause of their collapse. In a 2009 special edition (N0.8) of New Dawn magazine, he speculated on the possibility that the ending of such early civilisations was caused by the earth’s encounter with one or more asteroids or comets.
In his book(f), Forgotten Civilization, Schoch claims that coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun around 9700 BC devastated our planet with electrical discharges, triggering seismic and volcanic activity as well as ending the Ice Age with its consequent floods. All this ‘eradicated the civilisation of the time and set humanity back thousands of years, only to re-emerge around 3500 BC with scattered memories and nascent abilities.’ In an article written(g) in March 2012, Schoch wrote about the ‘Carrington Event’ of 1859 which resulted from a massive solar event that year.
Schoch’s paper had the somewhat disturbing title of ‘Death Star’ and perhaps even more unsettling was the revelation in March 2019 that evidence of at least three major solar ‘proton attacks’ over the past 3,000 years. The suggestion is that these episodes are to be expected with some degree of regularity, which may create ever-increasing disruption as our dependency on electricity expands. The recent report(q) indicates that the most powerful event identified so far took place around 610 BC. Without a power grid to damage at the time, we are unaware of what effect it had on the people of that time and I would hope that a review of the literature of that era might reveal some corroboration.
A video clip from his recent Las Vegas lecture is now available on YouTube(h). His talk is based on an article(i) in the July-August 2010 edition of New Dawn magazine, which is now available online and will play a large part in his Forgotten Civilization. He highlights some fascinating similarities between the Rongorongo script of Easter Island, the Nasca petroglyphs and the plasma figures of Dr Anthony L. Peratt together with their possible association with the ending of the last Ice Age.
For me, the most disturbing aspect of Schoch’s book is his apocalyptic vision of global catastrophes that he anticipates may again turn the few survivors back into troglodytes!
“The revised and expanded edition of Forgotten Civilization, which bears a new subtitle, was released in March of 2021. It includes everything in the first edition plus a new final chapter and various updates to other chapters throughout the book. Thus, the new edition is approximately 150 pages longer, including over 40 new/additional photographs. As I detail in this revision, a number of new discoveries made since the first edition was published reinforce my contention that true civilization existed prior to the end of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago, and that civilization was decimated by the solar outburst(s) that occurred then, throwing humanity into a Solar-Induced Dark Age for some 6,000 years before the reemergence of civilization around 4000–3000 BCE.”(ai)
However, Jason Colavito has reviewed Schoch’s claims relating to both the Rongorongo script(j) and Göbekli Tepe(k) and has found his ideas wanting. Colavito found further ammunition in the forthcoming book, Origins of the Sphinx, which Schoch co-authored with Robert Bauval, describing it as ‘a virtual rewriting of’ Keeper of Genesis(p). In 2019, Schoch expanded further on his opinions regarding the importance of Göbekli Tepe with a claim that its builders possessed some level of literacy(s), provoking further criticism from Colavito(r). Schoch expanded on this claim in a subsequent post(ac), but for me, I find this proposed literacy at Göbekli Tepe a push too far.
One of the great mysteries of Göbekli Tepe is that it was deliberately reburied but fortunately for us, this left it in perfect condition for us to study. Schoch has suggested that this was done to protect it from damage by CME’s such as occurred around 9700 BC (see above). This sounds like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. He then takes this idea further and proposes in a lengthy article that the Egyptians did something similar(ah), but uncovered them later for the pharaohs to develop. I’m not convinced.
ORACUL – The Organization for the Research of Ancient Cultures is a not-for-profit body, co-founded by Schoch “dedicated to the scientific study of civilization’s origins. It is our hope that through research advocacy, publishing, and educational outreach, further evidence for mankind’s remote and forgotten past will be uncovered.”(af)
(l) HOW MANY TIMES HAS DR. ROBERT SCHOCH BEEN WRONG? – Welcome to the official web page of the ‘Archaeological Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun’ Foundation / Dobrodošli na službenu web stranicu Fondacije ‘Arheološki park: Bosanska piramida Sunca’al Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation (archive.org) *
(t) New Dawn Magazine -July August 2010
(u) New Dawn Magazine- Special Issue No.8 2009)
(aa) Aliens to Science – Welcome to the official web page of the ‘Archaeological Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun’ Foundation / Dobrodošli na službenu web stranicu Fondacije ‘Arheološki park: Bosanska piramida Sunca’al Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation (archive.org)
(ad) Atlantis Rising magazine #37 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
The Black Sea was known to the Greeks as the Euxine Sea and according to Strabo (1.2.10), in antiquity was often simply referred to as “the sea” (pontos). It has also been known as the Scythian Sea after the people who lived on its northern shore. Pindar referred to it as the ‘Inhospitable Sea’.
It received little attention in connection with the Atlantis mystery until the 19th century when two French writers, André de Paniagua and Moreau de Jonnès, independently located Atlantis in the Sea of Azov. Some years later in 1923, R.A. Fessenden, a Canadian professor of Mathematics and Electrical Engineering wrote about the prehistoric flooding of a civilisation in the Caucasus region, which he linked with Plato’s Atlantis. The text of this extensive work is now available on the Internet(a).
Trevor Palmer has written a useful paper (2009) on the Black Sea and the gradual development of theories relating to its dramatic connection with the Mediterranean and how it may have influenced the mythologies of the Middle East and possibly further afield.
Palmer concluded that “The various groups currently investigating the area are agreed that cataclysmic flooding took place during the Late Pleistocene, but remain divided about whether similar floods also occurred during the Holocene. Eye-witness accounts of catastrophic floods in the Black Sea basin at either time could have been passed on to future generations, eventually giving rise to the later Mesopotamian legend of Uta-napishtim and, subsequently, the Biblical story of Noah. However, in the absence of any direct evidence of cultural transmission, that can presently only be regarded as plausible speculation.”(p)
Little was heard of the region again until 1998 when Ryan & Pitman identified the flooding of the Black Sea with Noah’s Flood. This was followed in 2001 by Ian Wilson‘s Before the Flood , which reflected a similar line of thought.
In 2004, the Bulgarian father and son oceanographers, Petko and Dimitar Dimitrov published their book, The Black Sea, the Flood and the Ancient Myths, in English, which supported much of Ryan and Pitman’s work. Unlike them, who based much of their conclusions on a study of molluscs, the Dimitrovs focused on sedimentation evidence. Their book is now available, in English, as a free pdf file(d). They also suggest that this Holocene influx into the Black Sea also triggered the Vedic Aryan migration to India(g).
>Hristo Smolenov is another Bulgarian and a recognised expert in counter-terrorism and mathematics and is another advocate of a Black Sea Atlantis, which he identifies with what he calls the Aurolithic Varna Civilisation that existed 3,000 years before the pyramids. Varna today is situated in the Bulgarian province of Stara Zagora on the Black Sea coast. He has publicised his views through a website(r), video(s) and a book , Zagora – Varna: The Hidden Superculture.<
Ryan and Pitman’s book unintentionally triggered the imaginations of a number of people into considering the possibility of a possible link between this inundation and the sinking of Atlantis. While Ryan and Pitman have made no such suggestion, others such as Ian Wilson have seen a distorted memory of the event as a possible inspiration for Plato’s story. In 2009, Liviu Giosan, a geologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute published a paper(e) which suggested that prior to the intrusion of the Mediterranean, the level of the Black Sea had been just 30 metres below its present level rather than the 80 metres proposed by Ryan and Pitman. This would imply a less extensive degree of flooding than previously thought. Giosan has offered a sceptical Ryan an opportunity to replicate his tests.
Although the scenario pictured by Ryan & Pitman and others is of very rapid flooding of the original smaller Black Sea, more recent studies appear to indicate a more gradual rising of the water levels. “With more data to be analysed, it supports the idea that the waters rose unnoticeably, by metres over centuries, even millennia.”(o)
Nick Thom, a British engineer, wrote The Great Flood  which includes a section on the Black Sea in which he suggests that the flow of water was from the Black Sea into the Sea of Marmara rather than the other way around.
Nearly two hundred years ago Josiah Priest in his 1835 book American Antiquities  also offered evidence from Euclid of Megara that the flow of water had been from the Black Sea to the Aegean. Apparently, Euclid heard this from Anacharsis a philosopher from the northern coast of the Black Sea related how the inflow from the rivers of Europe and Asia raised the level of the ‘Sea’ until it breached the landbridge and spilled over into the Sea of Marmara.
Paul Dunbavin has entered the Black Sea flood(s) debate with a 2020 paper entitled Diodorus Siculus and the Black Sea Flood(q). This lengthy essay covers a lot of ground, in particular the comments of Diodorus Siculus who described a Samothracian flood story that appears to contradict the flood described by Ryan & Pitman as it describes a flow of water in the opposite direction. Consequently, the evidence offered by Diodorus is often discounted as ‘unreliable’. Dunbavin, however, offers a possible solution with the suggestion that “The Samothracian flood, as described by Diodorus, could only have occurred after the Black Sea Flood.”
More recently, Christian & Siegfried Schoppe, two German researchers have also asserted that the Black Sea was the original ‘Atlantis Ocean and that Atlantis was located in that region . They have suggested that Snake Island located east of the mouth of the Danube was the probable site of Plato’s city. Their contention is that around 5500 BC a landbridge at the Bosporus was breached causing extensive flooding that created what we now know as the Black Sea. Until that time there had only been a small freshwater lake in the region. Although their book was published in German, the Schoppes have a website(b) with a useful amount of English content.
The somewhat eccentric duo of the late Flying Eagle (1920-2007) and Whispering Wind, who also advocated a Black Sea location for Atlantis(a)(f), claimed a specific site on the Strait of Kerch between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Their theory was first expounded in their book  in 2004. They also followed the Ryan and Pitman date of 5500 BC for the inundation of the Black Sea.
The evidence to date suggests that the flooding of the Black Sea coincided with a storegga event, which would require a catastrophe on a scale not previously considered. In a 2017 paper(i), John M. Jensen offers a range of evidence to support this contention.
A rather different approach is taken by the German researcher Werner E. Friedrich, who pushes back the expansion and the raising of the level of the Black Sea to around 10000 BC, at the end of the last Ice Age. He believes that this led to the flooding of Atlantis, which he claims to have been situated on a plain that had lain between ancient extensions of the rivers Donau and Don. Friedrich located the Pillars of Heracles in the Sea of Marmara[p.39].
A.I. Zolotukhin places Atlantis in western Crimea on his multilingual website with the inviting title of Homer and Atlantis(j).
The legendary destroyed city of Ancomah is frequently compared to Plato’s description of the destruction of Atlantis. It was reputed to have existed in the vicinity of the ancient port city of Trabzon, which is located on the southeast coast of the Black Sea.
The concept of a Black Sea Atlantis has the support of the rather eccentric Church of Vrilology(h)!
In October 2018, an attempt was made to breathe new life into the idea of Crimea as a remnant of an Atlantis submerged under the Black Sea. Unfortunately, it offers no evidence or references in the badly translated article(k). In the same month, it was reported that the oldest intact shipwreck was discovered in the Black Sea by an Anglo-Bulgarian team. It was identified as a Greek trading vessel dated to 400 BC(l). The oxygen-free waters at the bottom of the Black Sea had preserved it and dozens of others located by the team.
In early 2019, George K. Weller, building on the theories of the Schoppes, also proposed the Black Sea as Atlantis’ home, again nominating Snake Island as the home of Mr. and Mrs. Poseidon, which, before the Black Sea was flooded, would have been the central peak of their island home, as referred to by Plato(n).
One of the most comprehensive internet papers on all aspects of the history of the Black Sea can be found on the Encyclopaedia Iranica website(m).
(k) https://ktelegram.com/scientists-crimea-may-be-a-fragment-of-the-lost-city-of-atlantis/43728/ (link broken Jan. 2019)
Russia went through a phase, during the Stalinist years when they claimed that every major invention had been the result of Russian ingenuity and a clear demonstration of the superiority of the Soviet system. Included on the list was the radio (did you not know that Marconi was Russian?), the telephone, television and the lightbulb!(c) However, their outlandish claims went beyond science and technology when they also claimed to have possessed Atlantis, which is now covered by the Caspian Sea!
Today, Russia has just a short coastline on the Black Sea another proposed location for Atlantis. Flying Eagle and Whispering Wind, who are proponents of this theory(a), claim a specific site on the Strait of Kerch between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. They claim(b) that there is evidence that the Kopet-Dagh fault line, which runs just above the strait, experienced a devastating (8.9) earthquake around 9600 BC destroying Atlantis in the Strait. At this time what we now call the Sea of Azov was the well-irrigated plain adjacent to the city of Atlantis described by Plato. They claim that the earthquake caused a massive influx of water from the Caspian Sea, which had been rising due to the melting ice caps in the north. This combination caused the creation of the Sea of Azov and the flooding of Atlantis.
The more conventionally named Christian & Siegfried Schoppe have also opted for the Black Sea as the home of Atlantis, but have identified a different mechanism for its destruction, namely the breaching of the Bosporus around 5500 BC.
Marco Bulloni has also opted for a Russian Atlantis but has identified it further north, just a hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle on the Solovetsky archipelago in the White Sea.
A Shoal of mud is stated by Plato (Tim.25d) to mark the location of where Atlantis ‘settled’. Plato describes these shallows in the present tense, clearly implying that they were still a maritime hindrance in Plato’s day.
Three of the most popular translations clearly indicate this:
….the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.
…..the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal of mud which the island created as it settled down.”
…..the sea in that area is to this day impassible to navigation, which is hindered by mud just below the surface, the remains of the sunken island.
Since it is probable that Atlantis was destroyed around a thousand years or more before Solon’s Egyptian sojourn, to have continued as a hazard for such a period suggests a location that was little affected by currents or tides. The latter would seem to offer support for a Mediterranean Atlantis as that sea enjoys negligible tidal changes, as can be seen from the chart below. The darkest shade of blue indicates the areas of minimal tidal effect.
If Plato was correct in stating that Atlantis was submerged in a single day and that it was still close to the water’s surface in his own day, its destruction must have taken place a relatively short time before since the slowly rising sea levels would eventually have deepened the waters covering the remains of Atlantis to the point where they would not pose any danger to shipping. The triremes of Plato’s time had an estimated draught of about a metre so the shallows must have had a depth that was less than that.
The reference to mud shoals resulting from an earthquake brings to mind the possibility of liquefaction. This is perhaps what happened to the two submerged ancient cities close to modern Alexandria. Their remains lie nine metres under the surface of the Mediterranean.
Our knowledge of sea-level changes over the past two and a half millennia should enable us to roughly estimate all possible locations in the Mediterranean where the depth of water of any submerged remains would have been a metre or less in the time of Plato.
>Some supporters of a Black Sea Atlantis have suggested the shallow Strait of Kerch between Crimea and Russia as the location of Plato’s ‘shoals’(e) .<
The tidal map above offers two areas west of Athens and Egypt that do appear to be credible location regions, namely, (1) from the Balearic Islands, south to North Africa and (2), a more credible straddling the Strait of Sicily. This region offers additional features, making it much more compatible with Plato’s account.
By contrast, just over a hundred miles south of that Strait, lies the Gulf of Gabés, which boasts the greatest tidal range (max 8 ft) within the Mediterranean.
The Gulf of Gabes formerly known as Syrtis Minor and the larger Gulf of Sidra to the east, previously known as Syrtis Major, was greatly feared by ancient mariners and continue to be very dangerous today because of the shifting sandbanks created by tides in the area.
There are two principal ancient texts that possibly support the gulfs of Syrtis as the location of Plato’s ‘shoal’. The first is from Apollonius of Rhodes who was a 3rd-century BC librarian at Alexandria. In his Argonautica (Bk IV ii 1228-1250)(a) he unequivocally speaks of the dangerous shoals in the Gulf of Syrtis. The second source is the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 27 13-18) written three centuries later, which describes how St. Paul on his way to Rome was blown off course and feared that they would run aground on “Syrtis sands.” However, good fortune was with them and after fourteen days they landed on Malta. The Maltese claim regarding St. Paul is rivalled by that of the Croatian island of Mljet as well Argostoli on the Greek island of Cephalonia. Even more radical is the convincing evidence offered by Kenneth Humphreys to demonstrate that the Pauline story is an invention(b).
Both the Strait of Sicily and the Gulf of Gabes have been included in a number of Atlantis theories. The Strait and the Gulf were seen as part of a larger landmass that included Sicily according to Butavand, Arecchi and Sarantitis who named the Gulf of Gabes as the location of the Pillars of Heracles. Many commentators such as Frau, Rapisarda and Lilliu have designated the Strait of Sicily as the ‘Pillars’, while in the centre of the Strait we have Malta with its own Atlantis claims.
Zhirov[458.25] tried to explain away the ‘shoals’ as just pumice stone, frequently found in large quantities after volcanic eruptions. However, Plato records an earthquake, not an eruption and Zhirov did not explain how the pumice stone was still a hazard many hundreds of years after the event. Although pumice can float for years, it will eventually sink(c). It was reported that pumice rafts associated with the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa were found floating up to 20 years after that event. Zhirov’s theory does not hold water (no pun intended) apart from which, Atlantis was destroyed as a result of an earthquake. not a volcanic eruption and I think that the shoals described by Plato were more likely to have been created by liquefaction and could not have endured for centuries.
Nevertheless, a lengthy 2020 paper(d) by Ulrich Johann offers additional information about pumice and in a surprising conclusion proposes that it was pumice rafts that inspired Plato’s reference to shoals!
Andrew Collins in an effort to justify his Cuban location for Atlantis needed to find Plato’s ‘shoals of mud’ in the Atlantic and for me, in what seems to have been an act of desperation he decided that the Sargasso Sea fitted the bill [072.42]. However, he does not explain how anyone can mistake seaweed for mud!
(d) (99+) (PDF) Resurrection of Atlantis Minoica: A new localization of the Akrotiri (Santorini, Greece) West House room 5 frescos in view of current geological findings. Part 2 | Ulrich Johann – Academia.edu