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The ancient city and lost continent of Atlantis was devastated by floods and earthquakes in about 9600 BC according to the Greek philosopher Plato. He wrote of its magnificence and described its geographical location in great detail. Over the centuries countless theories have grown up regarding its precise location. This book describes fully the background to these theories and other lines of conjecture that this tremendous finding has opened up. The final chapter is perhaps the most intriguing of all when the author finally reaches Bolivia and finds on the ground the physical traces of the huge canal that encircled the legendary plain containing the city so memorably described by Plato almost 2,500 years ago.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312219239
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/15/1999
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 6.35(w) x 9.51(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Jim Allen has been a cartographer and aerial intelligence interpreter for the Royal Air Force. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Four Golden Keys to Atlantis

PERHAPS ONE OF the greatest unsolved mysteries of our time is the site of the lost island of Atlantis.

    The history of the island of Atlantis was written by the Greek philosopher Plato around 380 BC. Plato in his books Critias and Timaeus said that the island of Atlantis was a continent as large as Asia and Libya combined, but, in a single day and night of disastrous rain followed by earthquakes and floods, the island of Atlantis sank into the sea and disappeared.

    Apparently the island was situated in the Atlantic Ocean in front of the straits called by the Greeks 'the Pillars of Hercules' (the Strait of Gibraltar) and here we have the root of the problem, for in accordance with our modern geological science it is said to be not possible for a whole continent to sink and disappear in the space of a single day; no one has ever found any remains of a civilisation or continent sunk in the Atlantic and many people, especially archaeologists, don't believe in the truth of Plato's story.

    Another factor which has greatly influenced the archaeologists is that there is a huge amount of science fiction books and films on Atlantis which includes material on electric submarines and crystal death ray machines and the like, and this has brought a large element of fantasy and discredit to the subject.

    But if anyone takes the time and trouble to read Plato's texts for himself, it is obvious that there are no submarines or crystal machines or things of this type inPlato's work. There is nothing more than a very extensive and detailed geographic description of the continent which existed on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and, with the knowledge and resources we have today like satellite mapping technology, it is very obvious that the land called by Plato 'Atlantis' is the same which today we call 'South America'.

    To begin with, the word 'Atlantis' consists of two native South American words, 'Atl' which means 'water' in the native tongue and 'Antis' which means 'copper', origin of the name of the Andes mountains and the name of a tribe which still lives today in a part of Peru. For the Incas, their empire was called 'Tahuantinsuyo' — land of the four quarters — and one of these quarters was 'Antisuyo', homeland of the Antis Indians.

    The native Aztecs claimed to have come from an island originally called 'Aztlan': their own language was called Nahuatl, they had many words such as Tamatl (tomato), Chocolatl (chocolate) and Quetzalcoatl, their principal god. Also in Mexico there are many sites with names such as Cuicatlan, Miahuatlan and Mazatlan.

    But the key to the mystery is the description given by Plato of a plain which existed in the centre of the continent. This plain was in the centre of the continent but at the same time was next to the ocean, further it was in the centre of the longest side of the continent, the plain was very smooth and level, it was surrounded by mountains on all sides, it was in a region very high above the level of the ocean and the plain had the form of 'a quadrangle, rectilinear for the most part and elongated'.

    We can be certain that this is also a perfect description of the Bolivian Altiplano, the largest perfectly level plain in the world and which also contains the two inland seas of Lake Titicaca and Lake Poopo. But the part which interests us is the part surrounding Lake Poopo because this is the part which has the unique rectangular shape and the presence of the inland sea is the second key to the mystery.

    Plato said that on the plain there was a city which was also an island and had the name of 'Atlantis'. It was built on the remains of an extinct volcano and consisted of a central island surrounded by alternate rings of water and land. Now Plato always maintained that the story of Atlantis was not an invention of his own but came originally from the priests of the Egyptian temples.

    Now suppose that in the translation there should be an error so fundamental and simple as this; it was not the island continent of Atlantis which sank into the sea in a single day but only the island city of Atlantis which disappeared under the huge inland sea of Lake Poopo.

    Plato himself did not know anything of the Bolivian Altiplano or of the continents of the 'Americas' and thought that the sunken continent was exactly in front of the entrance to the Mediterranean because he said that the ocean in those parts was no longer navigable 'on account of the barrier of shallow mud which the island threw up as it settled down' and which 'prevents those who are sailing out from here to the ocean beyond from proceeding further'. But in truth it is not the Atlantic Ocean which is no longer navigable but only the shallow Lake Poopo which only reaches a depth of a few feet and in the dry season has been known to dry up altogether leaving behind brilliant white salt deposits.

    The third key to the mystery is that we should note the island disappeared in a single day and night of rain, which resulted in earthquakes and floods. This region is in the centre of the Avenue of Volcanoes, it is a region where there are always earthquakes and floods — the plain is like a closed basin and should there be a period of torrential rain there would be no possibility of exit for the water from the plain. In fact, thousands of years ago, the entire Altiplano was the bed of a gigantic inland sea, known as Lake Minchin for the period between 38,000 and 23,000 BC and renamed Lake Tauca for the period when it reappeared between 9,000 and 8,000 BC.

    With this new hypothesis, it is clear that all the other details given by Plato belong here.

    The walls of the city and temples were covered with metals which we today consider rare and precious such as gold, silver, copper, tin and another mysterious metal called 'orichalcum' which could be polished and 'sparkled like red fire'. Here we have the fourth key to the site of the city. All these metals are found not far from Lake Poopo. The city of Oruro has the mining industry as its base, in Corocoro there are mines of gold and copper, Potosi was the mountain of solid silver which became the fountain of wealth for the Spanish empire and today is the mountain famous for its deposits of tin. Orichalcum was most probably an alloy of gold and copper and occurs as a natural ahoy only in the Andes Mountains; Plato mentioned that it was a natural ahoy since it was mined in many places in the island.

    The tradition of covering the walls of cities and temples in gold and silver was continued by the Incas who also had a fabulous garden full of birds and animals all made of solid gold. Other similarities — the Incas constructed baths where they used the natural springs of hot and cold water, they kept statues in solid gold in the images of their ancestors and said that the first inhabitants of the land were born in pairs just as Plato claimed for Atlantis.

    One of the other interesting aspects of Plato's text is the description of a huge system of irrigation canals which the kings of Atlantis had constructed on the plain. One of today's problems is that for the most of the year there is no rainfall and because of this the ground has reverted to desert. At other times in January, February and March there are floods and when the water later evaporates it leaves behind deposits of salt which contaminate the land.

    According to Plato the kings of Atlantis had constructed a canal of such dimensions 'It seems incredible that it should be so large as the account states but we must report what we heard ... its width was one stade (600 ft)' and this canal went right round the perimeter of the entire plain, collecting the streams from the mountains and discharging them into the sea somewhere in the vicinity of the city. Additional canals of 100 ft in width were cut across the plain at intervals of 100 stades, discharging into the large canal on the seaward side of the plain and connected to each other by further transverse passages. It was in this manner, it was said, they transported the timbers from the mountains to the city, also the fruits of the earth of which they harvested two crops per year, making use of the rains from Heaven in the winter and the waters that issue from the earth in summer, redistributed by means of the extensive canal system.

    In the whole of the world it is very probably that there exists no other plain so level, with this particular rectangular configuration and with the resources of water in the surrounding mountains including the immense reserve of pure fresh water in Lake Titicaca to the north. Additionally, if one follows for example the 12,000 ft elevation contour on a map of the Altiplano, one can see that it would be possible to construct a canal which would run around the perimeter of the rectangular plain making a circuit which returns to itself in the manner described by Plato.

    It only remains then to discover on site evidence of a channel 600 ft wide to say without any more doubts that here indeed is the proof that the city and civilisation of Atlantis existed in these parts.

    With satellite and aerial photos, it is possible to say yes, there are signs of a massive canal in a region just north-west of Lake Poopo. In July of 1995 I travelled personally to the Altiplano where I hired a jeep and drove into the desert to investigate this particular site. I found the remains of a channel of enormous dimensions, the base of the canal was around 120 ft wide and the gently sloping sides were each of some 230 ft making just under 600 ft from crest to crest of the parallel embankments. The channel was built in this manner because the soft, sandy material of the construction dictated gentle slopes yet at the same time since the embankments were raised perhaps 25 ft above the level of the plain, the water would gravity feed onto the plain when the channel was full. The base of the channel was also about 25 ft below the level of the plain so at other times when the plain was flooded in the wet season it would act as a relief drainage channel dispersing the waters to other areas.

    Now how is it possible that the history of Atlantis existed only in the writings of Plato and at what period did it disappear?

    Plato said that the story came originally from Egypt at a time when the empire of Atlantis (which controlled all of North Africa and the Mediterranean up to Italy) was engaged in a war of conquest against Egypt and the Greeks. Here again Plato committed an error because he gave the same date for the foundation of the civilisation of Atlantis as he gave for its destruction, i.e. 9,000 years before his time and it is certain that a civilisation cannot be founded and destroyed in the same day!

    According to our archaeologists there were no civilisations anywhere in the world in the period 9,000 years before Plato, yet it is interesting that indeed the Altiplano was flooded and reverted to an inland sea at this time.

    However if the 9,000 'years' were in effect 9,000 lunar months in accordance with the lunar calendar then the period for the end of Atlantis would be the years more or less around 1200 BC and at this time, specifically in 1220 and 1186 BC there were huge invasions of Egypt by a people called 'the Sea Peoples' or 'the people who came from the isles in the midst of the sea'.

    The invaders consisted of a confederation of nations. It is also interesting that, as one can see from the bas-reliefs on the walls of the temple of Medinet Habu in Egypt, their ships were sailing ships without oars and in the narrow confines of the Nile Delta they were totally defeated by the powerful Rameses III. Thousands of the invaders were taken prisoner and later given their own lands to settle, such as the Philistines who were allowed to occupy the land which took their name and became Palestine.

    Others entered into the service of the Egyptian king and it seems very likely that the true history of Atlantis, with so many precise details of a geographic nature, originated with one of these.

Table of Contents

Foreword--John Blashford-Snell
Four Golden Keys to Atlantis
Condors over Atlantis
Plato's Account
Donnelly's Account
Atlantis, Crete and the Sea Peoples
Legacy of Aztlan
Land of the Four Quarters
Nature of Orichalcum
The Phoenician Navigators
Expedition Atlantis
Satellite Photographs
Last Thoughts
Plato's Statements and a Commentary
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