Taprobane is the name of a legendary island in the Indian Ocean, first mentioned by the Greek historical writer Onesicritus (c.360-290 BC). Although it is generally accepted to be the island of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka(d), there are dissenting voices such as that of Dhani Irwanto, who insists(a) that Taprobane is to be identified with the Indonesian island of Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), where he also locates Atlantis(b) and the Garden of Eden(c). Irwanto argues against Sumatra being Taprobone, an idea supported by some, such as Arysio Santos who also identified Atlantis as Taprobane.
Dhani Irwanto (1962- ) is an Indonesian hydraulic engineer, who is the latest proponent of the Sundaland location for Atlantis, in his April 2015 book, Atlantis: The lost city is in the Java Sea. A review of his book online(a), shows quite clearly that the author has made a serious effort to match Plato’s narrative with his chosen location for Atlantis, namely off the southern coast of the island of Kalimantan in the Java Sea. Irwanto also uses his professional expertise to analyse Plato’s many references to the waterways of the Atlantean capital and its extensive plain. The review also includes a number of maps and video clips used to support Irwanto’s views.
Irwanto has also adopted(c) the 32-point checklist of dos Santos and expanded it to 60 points. He has now published a YouTube video supporting his theory(d). The first 30 pages of his book can be read online(f).
Irwanto also claims that the biblical Garden of Eden and the legendary island of Taprobane were situated on the island of Kalimantan*. In an extensive online(b) article in November 2015, he identified the Indonesian island of Sumatra as the land of Punt, which he thinks was also known as the Ophir referred to in the Old Testament (1 Kings 9.26 & 10.11).
In June 2017, Irwanto published an illustrated paper(e) on Aurea Chersonesus, referred to by Ptolemy in his 2nd century Geographia . Irwanto has matched the details in Ptolemy’s description with a place in western Sumatra called Tanjungemas renowned for its gold mines in ancient times.
On his website, since the publication of his book, Irwanto had continued to add a number of detailed articles that are of interest to students of Atlantology. One example came in late 2021, when he added an extensive paper entitled Decoding Plato’s Narrative to Find Atlantis, using a visual format, infographics(g) that is worth a look.
Indonesia in recent years has 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 Kalimantan* (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 was over speculative.
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 Kalimantan*.
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).
The ‘Atlantis in Indonesia’ bandwagon became more crowded in 2019 when an entire group climbed aboard. They are known as Turangga Seta, whose founder and spokesman Timmy Hardati claims that Atlantis was submerged in the Java Sea. They also claim that there is a 300-metre-high pyramid inside Bandung’s Mount Lalakon! However, the twist in the tale is that the group has no interest in conventional science preferring to depend on psychic ‘conversations with ancestors’.(o) While Irwanto’s theories may be hard to accept, at least he presents them in a rational coherent manner, the same cannot be said of the Turangga Seta(n).
(a) See: Archive 3629
(k) https://www.islamsejati.com/2016/03/ahli-arkeologi-fakta-dari-al-quran.html (offline Jan. 2017)