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  Columnist: Mel Nicholls

Image credit: Greg O'Beirne

Was Britain the large island of Atlantis ?


Posted on Wednesday, 15 May, 2013 | 10 comments
Columnist: Mel Nicholls


In this article the case will be made for Britain being the large island in Plato's story of Atlantis. Some time ago I became interested in seeing how well Plato's story of Atlantis could be made to fit with the megalithic culture of Western Europe. On the face of it Plato's assertion that Atlantis had been a large island in the Atlantic that was in front of the Straits of Gibraltar seemed so patently wrong that I was inclined at first to give up on the enterprise. But I had always been intrigued by the possibility that Britain in the megalithic period may have had something to do with the story. Silbury Hill in England, the largest man made mound in Europe that is located only a mile from Avebury henge, was built at approximately the same time as the arrival of the Bell Beaker people around 2400 BC. It was clearly of great spiritual significance to them. The Bell Beaker people seemed to have formed a powerful dynasty in southern England as attested by burials containing elite grave goods. It appears that they integrated within the existing late Neolithic community already living within southern Britain relatively peacefully. Now if you are familiar with Plato's story you will remember it relates how Poseidon the god of the sea fell in love with a mortal woman on a large island in the Atlantic Ocean. Her father and mother lived in a small mountain that according to some translations of Plato's dialogue Critias was situated at the center of the island. Poseidon encircled the small mountain with three concentric rings of water turning it into a small island. They had a large family, of ten sons, all of them twins. Poseidon bequeathed to them various parts of the island and hence began the powerful empire of Atlantis. So there are some striking similarities with Britain in the period that the Bell Beaker culture became prevalent in Western Europe: A large island in the Atlantic, a sacred hill or small mountain, the forming of a powerful dynasty.

Plato's story also discusses a magnificent city near the coast that had concentric rings of sea and land, and clearly we are meant to infer that this is the same place as the small sacred mountain. This is curious because the small mountain couldn't be both at the center of the large island and near the coast. Is this ambiguity a hint that they may not have been at the same location?

Now there just isn't any evidence that there ever was a large island in front of the Straits of Gibraltar. So this is a huge error in Plato's story. There is apparently another very significant error. The events in the story are claimed to have taken place nine thousand years before Plato's time. This would place the events that Plato describes shortly after the last ice age. To believe this you would not only have to postulate the existence of a very ancient Atlantean civilization with bronze age technology, but also the existence of far older Egyptian and Greek civilizations than are currently recognized by mainstream archaeology.

That Plato placed the large island in front of the Straits of Gibraltar does suggest, that there was at least an important power base nearby. Indeed, many have suggested that Atlantis was in southwest Spain. A city in this area would be ideally located to control trade between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as facilitate the transport of exotic goods from North Africa. Moreover, this area has been subjected to high energy events in the past, such as tsunamis, that could have resulted in the destruction of this city. The problem with simply locating Atlantis in southwest Spain is that there is no large island, and the existence of a large island in the Atlantic is a fundamental aspect of Plato's story. I propose a solution to this problem, but it does mean accepting that there must be yet another very significant error in Plato's story. That solution is that the magnificent city surrounded by concentric rings of sea and land was not actually located on the large island.

Let us just assume then that there are these three errors occurring in the story without for the moment considering why they might have arisen. Then we can postulate that the port city may have existed somewhere near the Straits of Gibraltar in the megalithic period, quite possibly in southwest Spain. Now we look for a big island in the Atlantic that doesn't have to be near the Straits of Gibraltar, but it would be nice if there was at least some possibility of a connection with Iberia. Britain is an obvious choice. In the time period when the Bell Beaker culture spread throughout Europe there was quite probably a link with Iberia since that is where the culture appears to have originated. Moreover, as discussed in the first paragraph of this article there was a sacred hill in Britain and evidence for the beginning of a powerful dynasty, which are both important elements of Plato's story.

Something else happens when we assume a separation between the magnificent seaport and the large island. The possibility emerges that the take over of Britain by the Bell Beaker people took place when someone from the nascent city of Atlantis, traveled to Britain. This somebody would obviously have been of high rank. Possibly he was the adventurous son of the king of the city and went on an expedition to open up trade relations with this mysterious island far to the north. Suppose that while there he fell in love and married a chieftain's daughter in southern England. He became a powerful king had many sons, and a surprising number of them were twins. He arranged marriages for his sons with chieftain's daughters throughout the island, thereby creating a powerful dynasty. He bequeathed the center of the island to his first son and sent his second born son back to the nascent city of Atlantis in southwest Spain to inherit the rulership in his stead. When this powerful king died he was deified and became known as the sea god since he came to the island from across the sea. So if we separate the seaport from the large island we plausibly come up with an explanation for the sea god in Plato's story. Moreover, we do not have to consider the thorny question of how a very large island was destroyed and sank beneath the sea, but only a small one, the seaport that was probably in southwest Spain.

The theory raises many questions: Why does Plato's story contain such large errors? Could Silbury Hill have actually had three concentric rings of water around it at some stage? Where does Stonehenge fit into this? It was built around the same time and it clearly had something to do with a sun deity. Why would the Atlanteans whose major deity was the sea god build their most impressive temple to the sun god? When did the war with the Athenians take place? When was the high energy event that destroyed the magnificent seaport? These questions are addressed in my recent kindle ebook ‘Children of the sea god'. It makes the case that Plato's account of Atlantis is a muddled one that is an amalgamation of two separate locations. The description of the large island of Atlantis is based mainly on Britain, whereas the description of the magnificent seaport is based mainly on a settlement in southwest Spain. But there is some mixing up between them. It also postulates that there may be a profound connection with the building of Stonehenge.

Article Copyright© Mel Nicholls - reproduced with permission.




Mel's Kindle eBook is available now at Amazon.

 
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