Straits of Gibraltar
Eberhard Zangger was born in Switzerland in 1958. He is a geoarchaeologist who has written a number of books and articles on ancient civilisation. He is the leading proponent of the controversial idea that Troy and Atlantis are the same. In 1989, he initially advanced the idea while working at Cambridge University.
The late Steven Sora also proposed that Atlantis and Troy were one and the same and that the reports of their wars were confused accounts of the same event. However, Sora located his Atlantis/Troy around 4,000 km from Zangger’s in Iberia.
His views were published in English as The Flood From Heaven, however, It seems rather odd to me that Zangger ended this book with eight counter-arguments and shortcomings relating to his thesis. He repeats some of this in a separate paper(l) where he notes that “this theory has some obvious weaknesses: Troy is not an island, it does not lie in the Atlantic Ocean, is nowhere near the size of a subcontinent, did not flower 11,000 years ago and was not washed into the sea by a natural catastrophe. All those things are characteristics of Atlantis.” Whether all this is an expression of open-mindedness or doubt, I shall leave others to decide.
He followed that a decade later with a second book that in part returns to the subject. In The Future of the Past Zangger matches a range of features in the Atlantis narrative with the available description of Troy. He then describes how he applied an objective statistical analysis system known as a ‘Monte-Carlo Method’, to these matching details, as well as those of other popular theories, and found that his theory, which situates Atlantis at Troy, scored the highest probability rating as its location. While I do not doubt the neutrality of the system’s results, I would have some misgivings regarding the objectivity of the data entered, a view supported by Zangger himself. For example, if Zangger has entered the location of the Pillars of Heracles as the Dardanelles and ignores the Straits of Messina and Gibraltar, then the results must be considered biased. Consequently, I would suggest that the exercise be repeated by some disinterested mathematicians and then collate their results.
Erich Von Däniken had seldom touched on the Atlantis story until his Odyssey of the Gods published in English in 2000 . He concentrated his discussion on the work of fellow Swiss writer, Eberhard Zangger, who identifies Atlantis with Troy. Von Däniken appears ambiguous about the actual existence of Atlantis although he seems most reluctant to accept Zangger’s Trojan Atlantis theory. He notes that “Almost anything is possible where Atlantis is concerned. Only Eberhard’s assumption that Atlantis was nothing other than Troy is hard to sustain.”
Zangger claims that Plato’s Atlantis narrative is a distorted recollection of the Trojan War, including the earthquake and sudden flooding of Mycenaean Tiryns around 1200 BC morphing into the demise of Atlantis(k). However, the Tiryns inundation is just one of several other flooded Greek cities, such as Helike or Atalanta that are also claimed as the inspiration for Plato’s flooding of Atlantis.
Zangger points out that the library of books and articles relating to Atlantis all stem from two excerpts from Plato’s Dialogues that amount to no more than 6,000 words, many of which he claims to be mistranslated.
There is a scholarly critique of Zangger’s work by Edmund F. Bloedow to be found on the Internet(a).
Zangger has also entered the debates surrounding the Sea Peoples. He contends that their movements were unrelated to climate change as suggested by some. His views on the subject have been contested(d).
Zangger together with archaeologist Serdal Mutlu investigated the little-known ancient Luwian civilisation of Anatolia. They believe “that Trojans and many of the people who sided with the Trojans in the Trojan War were Luwians.” They also claim that the remains of Troy has even lower levels still unexcavated(b). A website devoted to the subject is available(c).
Zangger has now expanded further on the subject with the publication The Luwian Civilisation, which bears the subtitle of The Missing Link in the Aegean Bronze Age. In the book [p.20] he makes the interesting point that “Sea Peoples with feather crowns bear the name Tekker, which is reminiscent of ‘Teucer’, a term commonly used for the Trojans after 1200 BCE.”>This book is now available online(m).<
In May 2016, Zangger, President of Luwian Studies, introduced the results of a recent investigation of the Luwian-speaking peoples, who now appear to have been an alliance of small independent states in Turkey, west of the Hittite Empire.
Zangger also adds a video clip(e) in which he compares a history of the Trojan War by the 13th-century Italian writer, Guido de Columnis, with Homer’s account. Some aspects of Guido’s description of the city of Troy are evocative of Plato’s description of Atlantis (f).
Zangger’s proposed ancient conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean was reported in New Scientist (i) and dubbed ‘World War Zero’, a soundbite that attracted wider media attention(j).
(d) See: Archive 2681
Spartel Island also known as the Majuan Bank, was situated just west of the Strait of Gibraltar and according to Jacques Collina-Girard was the site of Atlantis. There is little doubt that before the last deglaciation, Spartel was dry land.
Marc-Andre Gutscher from the University of Brest subsequently added some support to Collina-Girard’s theory based on his interpretation of new bathymetric data and was prepared to debate the viability of human habitation on Spartel around 9600 BC. According to Gutscher, a large earthquake hit the island 12,000 years ago. Furthermore, there is also evidence of at least eight subsequent earthquakes, each of which could have resulted in a drop of the seafloor by several metres.
Accordingly, Gustcher speculated that Spartel circa 9600 BC could have been 40 metres higher than expected. However, at this early date, he would not expect the Bronze Age civilisation described by Plato to have existed on the island but his sonar investigation did not reveal any suggestion of an extinct civilisation.
“He calculated that between 20,000 and 12,000 years ago Spartel shrank from 6.5 x 4 km to less than a km across. A high-resolution map he made with sonar indicated that the island was even smaller than Collina-Girard had speculated, meaning it would have been uninhabitable as long as 14,000 years ago. But the sediment gathered by Gutscher tells a different story. A magnitude 9 earthquake appears to have rocked the region around the believed time of Atlantis’ doom, Gutscher reports in the August 2005 issue of Geology. At that time, the island would have been big enough to be inhabited. He also found evidence of subsequent earthquakes and tsunamis–apparently every 2000 years–that may have whittled the rest of the island away.” (c)
Gutscher found no evidence to support an ancient culture. “I will admit I was hoping to find concentric structures or walls of some kind,” he says, “but we didn’t”
Gustcher later withdrew his support for a Spartel Atlantis(a). However, Collina-Girard continues to advocate the idea, expanding on his views in a 2009 book, L’Atlantide retrouvée? Enquête scientifique autour d’un mythe.
Further criticism of Collina-Girard’s theory has been voiced by Alain Moreau(b).
(b) https://www.mondenouveau.fr/continents-disparus-les-fausses-atlantides-antarctique-ile-du-cap-spartel-partie-4/ (link broken Oct. 2017)
(c) https://www.science.org/content/article/atlantis-rises-again (pay wall)*