The idea of an Atlantis, a lost civilization forgotten to history is an exciting and alluring concept, but is an advanced civilization predating our own even plausible?
Is it nothing more than a form of intellectual temerity to posit these ideas, flying in the face of not only conventional understanding, but also decades of peer reviewed research.?
There is also the problem of the fantasy hued image of Atlantis that popular culture such as television and comic books has ingrained in our minds. It is admittedly difficult not to imagine some dome covered sub-sea Utopian metropolis with technology advanced far beyond our own, much less that of the ancients.
It is in someways understandable, if not wholly admirable why some might meet such concepts with derision.
Some of the ideas regarding mankind's distant past can become a challenge to accept for even the most open minds.
What if, however we step away from a ludicrous definition of advanced and instead posit the existence of not a single city, but an entire coastal civilization, that while not flying around in hover chairs are highly adept as builders, mathematicians and philosophers, and while not providing absolute material evidence , providing enough anecdotal and investigative evidence to suggest that a lost civilization older than our own is plausible, and possibly even likely.
Thanks to the efforts and decades of tenacious research by people like author and historical sleuth Graham Hancock we have a rich pool of resources and material describing how a fully formed civilization much older than our own could have formed, and where to go look for evidence if mainstream archeology ever had the will and the mandate to do so.
One such line of evidence which we will take a brief look at here is to take a look at how the ancients told their own story and see how some remarkable cultural congruences that while not proof unto themselves, pave a clear path towards the possibility of a lost civilization.
The possibility of Atlantis.
As we look to uncover and unlock the mysteries of the ancient past are we so resigned to view the ancient people's own stories of their beginnings as nothing more than myth and folklore so as to render their own stories, their own testament to their place in history as invalid?
What if we took these stories as neither pure myth nor literal account, but rather as a story that is and has become heavily mythologized, but is also at it's core, based on true factual events.
What are the stories ancient peoples and cultures tell about themselves, and how human beings began to use technology, and to follow and explore moral codes, a time when humankind first became civilized.
These are the stories in summary of four ancient people.
The first legend we will explore is also one of the better known, which is the tale of Prometheus who belongs to a race of giants called Titans who preceded the Olympian Gods.
In the legend Prometheus (who's name means forethought) is cast as a benefactor to mankind, running afoul of the Olympian gods and incurring the wrath of Zeus by stealing fire in a fennel stalk and giving it to human kind.
For his trouble Prometheus is chained to a mountain where a giant eagle eats his liver, only to have the liver regenerate and the process start over again, until he is eventually unbound by the demigod Heracles and redeemed.
Often appearing as a rabbit, this shape shifting trickster spirit is sent by Gitche Manitou (The Great Spirit) to teach men, as well as naming the plants and animals. Nanabozho is also credited with teaching humankind how to fish and to write as well as passing on the Midewiwin, the secret sacred knowledge of the medicine men of the Anishinabe people, as well as the use of hieroglyphs.
It is also Nanabozho who is said to have stolen fire from the weasels to give to mankind.
Portrayed as both feathered snake god as well as an epic hero, Kukulcan (who is also associated with Quetzalcoatl) is credited with rising from the ocean and teaching the Toltec people such things as fishing and healing and the laws by which they lived.
Osiris is well known as one of the chief Gods of ancient Egypt as lord of the underworld and of rebirth, as is signified by his being portrayed as having green skin.
He is also one of the first Pharaohs of Egypt in a legendary time considered ancient by the ancient Egyptians themselves that was called Zep Tepi.(First Time).
It is said that during this golden age Osiris taught the Egyptian people beer making, agriculture and the laws by which they were to live.
A common thread
In each of these myths and legends we are told of how human beings were taught or given the rules and skills and technology (as symbolized by fire) to become and to be civilized. In each of these stories it is not an internally driven evolution, but rather of one in which mankind is a recipient of knowledge and help from a higher power.
Some have gone so far as to suggest that this 'higher power' were actually extra terrestrial beings shaping and guiding human history.
While this can not be absolutely ruled out at this point, as it is a very big universe, it does make sense to explore more earthbound options, that are no less exciting.
The first and most obvious explanation is that this is simply a retelling and recycling of the events of the agrarian revolution the very nascent period of the rise of civilization as orthodox academia understands it.
This would seem to make sense, except for the fact that the agrarian revolution happened around 7000-10000 years ago. The ancestors of North America's human population has already passed through Beringia no less than two thousand years prior to that.
The Paleolithic North Americans had left before the party started, and yet here they are telling similar stories to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, although they are separated by thousands of kilometers and thousands of years.
This would suggest that if these legends and myths are being based on a commonly shared historical reality then we have to push the timeline back to before human beings crossed the land bridge from present day Siberia.
The only other option is that each of these cultures spontaneously generated remarkably similar stories completely and utterly independent of each other.
While, just as with the alien hypothesis this is not impossible, it is hard to imagine how this could be proven.
Unless one is unwilling to accept any deviation from the orthodox timeline a common root source is much more tenable than multiple spontaneous generations of these stories.
This points very clearly to the possibility of civilization being much older than we believe it to be.
The possibility of Atlantis.
Has this article proven the existence of Atlantis, or at least the concept that human civilization is much older than we had previously thought?
Far from it. As appealing and convincing as many of these arguments, and many more like them are, they are still largely circumstantial and anecdotal. They do not offer proof in the purest sense of the word.
What we do have here, however is a body of evidence that strongly points to the plausibility of these theories and mechanisms by how they might work.
In short, what we have here is a real legitimate mystery of the human story that is valid and worthwhile of the time and resources needed for proper exploration.
if you personally would like to research this topic further an excellent starting point is at through the exchange of theories, views and ideas that takes place at
Rev Len Christian-Son on May 24, 2019:
Civilisation is much older than we like to believe. So much has been uncovered in many parts of the world. In fact, just in the recent years the different artifacts been dug up have given rise that mankind of the past centuries were far more intelligent than was really accepted.
Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on August 06, 2012:
You might very well be on to something here. The Sphinx in Giza has been shown to be about 5,000 years older than previously thought. What else is out there?
Thanks for writing this very interesting article.
I must read your sequel now.
brianjanuary on November 12, 2011:
While I love exploring this stuff, I do so with a rational--and careful--mind! Atlantis was considered a myth in Plato's time (the story may even have been invented by Plato himself to illustrate his point) and, of course, no credible modern evidence has been found to support the existence of the fabled city (here's a good link to get anyone started on the search for the truth-- http://www.ramtops.co.uk/).
That being said, Atlantis figures prominently in my new thriller novel "Emerald". In the story, one of the lead characters speculates that "Atlantis" was an advanced (in terms of language and learning) Neolithic culture (a remnant of the Cro-Magnons) living on the shores of the Black Sea. When the Aegean broke through the plug of the Bosphorus around 7,500 years ago, the Black Sea was drowned in salt water and the inhabitants around the shore were wiped out and scattered. The Atlantis myth was born.
Possible? Why not? It's fun to speculate!
Pacifica on September 23, 2011:
There are many legends, stories and songs between Indigenous people in NA and Polynesians. I haven't heard many theories that take crossing the Pacific by boat as a possibility, yet those stories exist and WAY earlier that posited by the Bering Strait.
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on September 09, 2011:
@tillsontitan: Well indeed, but I think or myself personally I would need to see more before I supported the existence of dragons. I'd say flying and fire breathing a no go, but well beyond that I'd need something to lead me in that direction.
Mary Craig from New York on September 08, 2011:
Just like with dragons, do we need concrete evidence to prove that something existed? Your hub is very well written and put together. Voted up and interesting.
Marilyn Alexander from Vancouver, Canada on August 31, 2011:
Although I commented a few minutes ago I just wanted to say: How clever of you to join both articles and send us to the first article in order to find the second.
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on August 31, 2011:
Ok for anyone who is interested the sequel to this is now published. You can find the link for it at the end of the main body of this article.
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on August 28, 2011:
@Maralexa: Very happy you enjoyed it. I am actually working on a sequel to it as we speak! :-)
Marilyn Alexander from Vancouver, Canada on August 28, 2011:
Well done! Great read, excellent writing. I am definitely going over to the Graham Hancock website. thank you very much
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on August 22, 2011:
@ Clark Farley: Yo! (monosyllabic recognition)
I think the 'why' of the myth in terms of social function is indeed worthy of exploring. Not sure though if the exploration knowledge can be left solely to the 'experts'. It would be like only allowing politicians to discuss world events...
@Sueswan: thank you sueswan. I wonder if they would like your songs in Atlantis?
@lone77star: Thank you! As far as science goes, yes it has the limit of implying a certain kind of focus, but really I think the issues here are with the culture that has developed amongst the scientists and within academic culture. Interesting links, not sure if hubpages will allow them to stay up though..
Rod Martin Jr from Cebu, Philippines on August 22, 2011:
@DDS, a most interesting look at the subject. You touch on an important concept -- that behind myth lays a poorly translated reality. I have studied this for many years.
Nearly every skeptical website has an Atlantis page and they argue very poorly against the subject. That means little for the subject itself, but it does warn against believing any skeptical argument simply because it is skeptical and wordy. Most of their arguments are empty of value, but full of illogical thought (ad hominem, non sequitur, arguments to ignorance, etc).
Science isn't perfect. Too frequently skepticism turns to unsupported dismissiveness or self-indulgent ridicule, as it did in the "Clovis first" debacle in North American anthropology. Scientists were afraid to dig below the Clovis horizon for fear of jeopardizing their careers. Science by intimidation? How thoroughly dark ages.
A number of structures have been discovered off the coast of Bimini Island and at other locations in the Bahamas. Professional archaeologists will not investigate because of the association with the "A" word. "Atlantis" is the new blasphemy. Scientists need proof before they will investigate, but proof cannot be found until they investigate -- a classic Catch-22 situation.
But I have found *proof* of an Atlantis-like event right when Plato says the fabled island subsided. I cover this in one of my Atlantis hubs.
More in-depth research information may be found at three of my favorite websites:
Sueswan on August 21, 2011:
A fascinating read. Well done.
Voted up, up and away!
clark farley on August 20, 2011:
Dude! (single word compliment)
Good thought provoking Hub, which I would offer is the true (entertainment) value of blogs (in general) and Posts and Hubs (in particular).
(And since a part of the fun of these things is the..."yeah, but suppose..."), I would like to suggest a view of the myths and tales cited in your Hub that might lend itself to further discussion.
Since there is clearly a commonality (of themes) present in myths between all cultures and civilizations, maybe the question is not, "where did the idea (i.e. Atlantis, the Garden of Eden, etc) come from', perhaps a more productive question would be, "what is the lesson that these myths are intended to impart'?
This question is best answered by the anthropologists or sociologists out there, but since the 'tales' are meant for the average person (in the given culture), I might venture a guess:
a) don't rock the boat, don't get too far ahead of the herd or else! (almost all of the 'heros' of these myths end up paying a price) or
b) are we (as a people) lucky to have superior beings come and give us gifts that none of us asked for?
Anyway, compliments on a great hub. Sort of like a Health Club for the head.
Daniel Mc Farlane on August 20, 2011:
All we do is "stick our heads in the sand" and state unequivically that the progression of mankind HAS to be linear.
Since, I feel, greater civilations preceeded us----but were wiped out by massive floods ( what is now land used to be under the sea and vice versa) we do not and will not entertain prior cultures that are more advanced than we are today.
If this is true ( I seriously doubt it) how in the world was the Great Pyramid constructed with so much accuracy by what ( at that point in history) we spent 80% of our time gathering our daily food;something here does not compute.
Also, in Mexico--the Pyramid of the Sun,the Pyramid of the Moon,etc. It has been stated that when the walkways were filled with water the sire was used as a mini picture of our Galaxy!!!! Yet, according to Anthropoligst this area was constructed by individuals that : did not leave their calling card
: were uneducated
Sparkster on August 20, 2011:
Very interesting, thanks.
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on August 20, 2011:
@rationalist: At the end of the day we are all just trying to understand the world around us.
A big thumbs up from me for objective evidence. Except maybe when a premise is dismissed out of hand before being investigated in an appropriate manner.
Rationalist on August 20, 2011:
Atheists and rationalists have no dogma. All we require is objective evidence, repeatable experiments and the like. No need to fear us.
kutothepoint on August 20, 2011:
great article, definetily a believer that humans are alot older than is taught in main stream education
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on August 19, 2011:
@MBS: I am hoping to do more on the same sort of thing soon, so stay tuned! Im glad you liked it!
@sexpressions: Thank you, but dont sell yourself short! As far as knowledge, it's just a little bit of research.
sexpressions from Wherever my imagination sees fit on August 19, 2011:
This is the kind of hub I will never be able to write. Not just because I am not quite as developed a writer, but also because I lack the understanding and knowledge that you seem to be passing out like candy. This hub was very enlightening, and a great way to pry open our minds just a little bit.
There was one reason I read this hub when I ran into it, and that's because I am currently reading a book called 'Atlantis' and although it is entirely fictional, it is an amazing read. Part of me wants to believe in Atlantis - and I think a part of me always will. Even if not just for the idea of adventure. :)
MBS on August 19, 2011:
Amazing and very interesting hub. I found it very informative and looking forward to reading more on this topic.
Joseph De Cross from New York on August 19, 2011:
Now you have inspired me to write about Machu Picchu...How was actually built. Nice hub!
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on August 19, 2011:
@Nspeel: Thank you! I am thrilled you like it! (I am planning more in the future.)
David Sproull (author) from Toronto on August 19, 2011:
@Wesman Todd Shaw: Thank you! I think it is a fascinating topic and very well worth exploring. As far as Dawkings, I have not read his work yet, but am wary of absolute and dogmatic skepticism.
Nspeel from Myrtle Beach on August 19, 2011:
This is one of the best hubs i have ever read. Amazing work here words cannot describe the amount of work put forth here. Amazing work
Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on August 19, 2011:
What an awesome hub you've produced here!
I love anything that stirs the imagination, and this certainly does the trick.
More than that though - I TOTALLY LOVE anything that flies in the face of these idiotic "new atheist" or "rationalist" - such fools, how they stand themselves is beyond me.
If Dawkins didn't talk about it - I probably like it, and am more inclined to believe it. But hey, that's just me. . .