Briton Finds Atlantis In Bolivia
- source: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/19991003/sc/bolivia_atlantis_4.html
Sunday October 3 2:11 AM ET
Briton Finds Atlantis In Bolivia
By Carlos Quiroga
LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - The legendary lost continent of Atlantis, which
was thought to be buried in a torrent of water, may sit 12,000 feet above sea
level in Bolivia, a British explorer said Friday.
``It is time to officially declare to Bolivia and the world that Bolivia is
where the legendary city most probably existed out of any other possible site
in the world,'' Jim Allen told a press conference.
Allen, a former Royal Air Force photographic interpreter and author of
``Atlantis: the Andes Solution,'' has devoted the last 20 years of his life
to prove his theory.
Allen believes that Quillacas, a town of 1,000 people located 187 miles south
of capital city La Paz, was the center of the lost continent.
The town is in a volcanic area and its buildings are constructed with red and
black rock in line with the description of Atlantis penned by the Greek
philosopher Plato in the fourth century B.C., Allen said.
The Bolivian altiplano -- flooded by heavy rains tens of thousands of years
ago -- has at least 50 characteristics that coincide with Plato's tale, Allen
said. Perhaps the most important is the remains of an enormous channel 600
feet wide that matches Plato's description of Atlantis' irrigation canal.
The Greek sage also said the walls of the fabled city were plated in gold,
silver, bronze, tin and ``orichalcum,'' a natural alloy of gold and copper
found only in the Andes.'' Defenders of Allen's theory note all those metals
are found close to Lake Poopo near La Paz.
Plato, who wrote of the demise of the splendid civilization, depicted
Atlantis as a series of islands, with one dwarfing the others in size.
``The whole region rose sheer out of the sea to a great height, but the part
about the city was all smooth plain, enclosing it round about and being
itself encircled by mountains that stretched as far as the sea,'' the
Bolivian congressman Jose Luis Paredes and geologist Carlos Aliaga hailed
Allen's announcement as ``transcending international borders''.
The altiplano takes up 10 percent of Bolivia and is the largest plain in the
world. It is flanked by the Andes mountains, which to the west extends almost
to the Pacific Ocean.
The plateau was flooded periodically by heavy rains and covered by an inland
sea between 25,000 and 40,000 years ago. The receding waters left behind two
enormous lakes, Poopo and Titicaca.
``South Americans shouldn't call themselves South Americans, but rather
Atlantians,'' Allen said.
- *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********
On 03/10/1999 at 02:26 UtopiaMage@... wrote:
>Briton Finds Atlantis In Bolivia
>By Carlos Quiroga
>LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - The legendary lost continent of Atlantis,
>was thought to be buried in a torrent of water, may sit 12,000 feet above
>level in Bolivia, a British explorer said Friday.
Bad start, eh? Atlantis didn't supposedly get buried in a torrent of water,
Plato wrote that it sunk into the ocean. "Atlantis likewise was swallowed
up by the sea and vanished; the ocean at that spot to this day cannot be
navigated or explored, owing to the great depth of shoal mud which the
island created as it subsided."
Of all the books I've read on Atlantis, the most impressive (and the one
with the most archaeological evidence) is Rodney Castleden's Atlantis
Destroyed, published this year by Routledge. Castleden also wrote The
Making of Stonehenge, The Knossos Labyrinth, The Stonehenge People,
Neolithic Britain, and Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete. (And Classic
Landforms of the Sussex Coast for the Geographical Association, but
that's not relevant here!).
On page 7 he discusses the Pillars of Hercules:
"Before the sixth century BC several mountains on the edges of mainland
Greece were seen as supports for the sky. Amongst others, the two
southward-pointing headlands on each side of the Gulf of Laconia were
pillars of Heracles. Then, to the Greeks, a large island with one end
just outside the pillars of Heracles could only have meant Crete. [This
isn't the sum of Castleden's thesis, wait for it]...Support for a
Peloponnesian location for the pillars comes, unexpectedly, from Egypt.
The Medinet Habu texts, dating from 1200 BC, describe the Sea Peoples
invading from islands to the north (possibly the Aegean), 'from the
pillars of heaven', by which the Egyptians probably meant that the
invaders came from the end of the world as they knew it.'
He then goes on to say "The thesis of this book is that the story is not
one piece of identifiable proto-history but several, and that Plato drew
them together because he wanted to weave them into a parable that
commented on the state of the world in his own times ... he wanted to
entertain, improve and exalt his readers. A distant memory of the Minoan
civilization was available, preserved for his use, as he said, by the
seventh century priests in the Nile delta. The wealth, orderliness and
strangeness of the Minoans are sketched in for us." Castleden then points
out that Plato does not write about Atlantis as a utopia, but about
Athens -- "It is the Athenians who are described in utopian terms. It is
they who have relinquished private property... and have prolific fields
and boundless pastures. It is Athens that is the excellent land with
Castleden follows this with a very detailed discussion of the archaeology
and geography of Minoan Crete and Thera and how that compares with
Plato's tale. He goes into detail about how the story might have been
transmitted to Plato and Plato's possible motives in writing the two
essays. (He also mentions that there was a century older text by
Hellanicus, of which only a small fragment survives, called 'Atlantis'!).
In the last chapter, he writes "There are several reasons why there have
been so many misunderstandings about the nature of Atlantis and its
location in time and space:
"1. Plato left the various elements in the story's visible and
undigested. Although he altered it, he did not do so thoroughly and the
result is that Atlantis as described cannot have existed at all. That
has led some commentators to claim mistakenly that the story is fiction
from start to finish, and thus to overlook the proto-historical content.
"2. The Egyptians who acquired the story in 1520 BC or shortly
afterwards had a very different geographical sense from he Greeks of
Plato's or Solon's time. To the 16th-century Egyptians, the Aegean was a
long way to the west. When the story was passed to Solon, the known
world was expanding rapidly, and either Solon or the priest may have
assumed that Atlantis was out in the newly visited Atlantic Ocean.This
mistake may actually have led to the ocean being named after the lost
land, rather than the other way around as most people have assumed.
"3. The geographical mistake was compounded by a misreading of Linear A
or B numerals, or a misreading of hieratic or demotic copies of the story
made in Sais by Egyptian scribes, in the fifteenth century or later.
This led to a tenfold exaggeration of many of the distance measurements,
and a hundredfold exaggeration of area, so that the Plain of Mesara,
instead of being small enough to fit into central Crete, was inflated to
the size of the southern Aegean. The land areas involved became too big
to fit into the Mediterranean: another reason for removing Atlantis to
the outer ocean.
"4. A similar mistranslation of numerals led to an exaggeration of the
900 years elapsing between Thera's destruction and Solon's Egyptian visit
to 9000 years. The idea of an advanced bronze age culture ...in 9600 BC
has always been unacceptable to pre-historians, and that has helped to
push Atlantis to the outer fringes of academic study.
[Here I'd like to interject that I've always been puzzled by those who
believe in a 9600 BC Atlantis and ignore the archaeological evidence that
there was no 9600 BC bronze age Athens. They seem to want to say that
half the story is true, the other half false.]
"5. The hypothesis revived repeatedly in the 20th century - that Minoan
Crete was Atlantis - has proved inadequate ... The parallel hypothesis,
based on more recent archaeological evidence, that Cycladic Thera was
Atlantis is also in itself inadequate. Because these hypotheses can be
rejected separately, many have rejected the idea that Atlantis might have
existed in the southern Aegean, understandably overlooking the
possibility that if the two hypotheses are combined they do meet the
needs of Plato's description.
6. -- omitted, about the Pillars of Heracles and dealt with above.
"7. It is possible that contemporary allegorical readings of the tale
were intended to be implicitly ironic, and that in relation to Sparta and
Syracuse Plato intended Athens to be Atlantis. From the execution of
Socrates, Plato learned the value of cricumspection and may have chosen,
for safety's sake, not to say directly what he meant."
What I find so impressive in this book, as I've said, is the wealth of
One final point. Castleden is holding to the later date for the Thera
eruption, and includes an appendix justifying this.
Castleden goes into a lot of detail about where Plato got inspiration for
various aspects of his story.
A nuch older book, Atlantis: Fact or Fiction, ed. Edwin Ramage, is also
interesting, especially the section on the literary perspective.
Doug Weller Moderator, sci.archaeology.moderated
Doug's Archaeology Site: http://www.ramtops.demon.co.uk
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