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The Legend of Beaver Dam Atlantis (human built dams that failed, destroying it)


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Posted (edited)

This is in part just a discussion, in part an exercise in logic, and in part a suggestion of an alternate origin for the legend of atlantis / argument for its existence. 

disclaimer: I do not "believe" in the legend of atlantis. I also do not discount the possibility of an organized system of traditions that resulted in a generations long culture that for the time could be understood as a continuous society or "civilization". I am aware of the specific definition of civilization and how it is not culture that determines a civilization but is instead certain categories of permanent organized infrastructure. I would argue that dams could count as such permanent infrastructure. 

In order to facilitate for the centering of my fable, I have selected a very specific location on earth to be atlantis. This does not mean that this culture was limited to this region, or that very similar cultures did not exist elsewhere. 

Here is the idea: 

Before history, human-beaver cohabitation resulted in humans learning to build dams from the beavers to allow them all of the benefits of beaver dams, but without the limitations of where beavers naturally live. Humans living among beavers did build similar dams, but this practice then spread to parts of the world that did not have beavers. This is under the assumption that there were large regions in the world without beavers. This practice of dam-building resulted in massive networks of dams that were built over the course of many generations to result in a paradise of plenty as a result of the natural organic productivity of the resulting wetland/reservoir network. The origins of irrigation are these practices originally learned from beavers. 

The civilization of Atlantis was ruled by the great god-king Atlas, and was centered on the once lush Tamanrasset River south of the Atlas Mountains. The great capital of Atlantis, and seat of trade authority and power was the eye of the sahara, located south of the river. During this era of grand scale dam creation the interconnected network of dams, channels, and reservoirs enabled sea-farers to access all parts of the civilization by boat. To move up from one dam to the next, people standing on platforms built above the dams could pull the boats up channels using ropes and pulleys. Atlanteans were a very successful trade empire, and much like nations today pass laws to protect their workers jobs from immigrant/foreign wage competition, Atlantis only allowed trade with other nation-states to occur at the hands of their own merchants, who would sail to those nations. Travel by foreigners to Atlantis was forbidden, and armies would prevent people from finding atlantis by land by pretending to be not from atlantis, and by ensuring that no person who found Atlantis would ever leave again. All people who were not from atlantis were told by their merchants that the only way to find atlantis was by sea, and they were told to find it in a place they would find nothing but little islands. In this way, the only way that anyone could trade with atlantis was by waiting for their sailors to visit them, and accepting the prices offered by these Atlantean merchants. There was no way to "cut out the middle man". 

The civilization of Atlantis was built of earth, sticks, and rocks. The dams were usually small and the reservoirs shallow, but the amount of water contained in the combined landmass of the entire river system was immense. Also, large great lakes formed above the headwaters of the river, as so much water being held in the land resulted in increased rainfall across the region, such that as the dam network expanded, the rainfall increased allowing for more dams to be built at higher and higher elevations. It was a great deal of constant maintenance to keep up the dams, and as technology advanced (however gradually) , more and more people were interested in other fancy things from around the world, and fewer and fewer people were quite so dedicated to maintaining the epic and extremely demanding network of dams. The reputation of the Atlantean merchants was that they were criminally expensive, and as people began to have an edge up on the atlanteans with items that were in high demand in Atlantis, they raised the price as much as they could, as they felt so crushed by the prices they had to pay Atlantis for so many generations, until conflicts began to break out with the merchants, and Atlantis prepared for war. 

Not all in atlantis were supportive of the idea of such a war, and because of the prosperity that such a dam-network offered atlantis, no region could raise an army that could compare. Should atlantis truly war against their trade opponents in the mediterranean, they would have an army so great that no other civilization could ever stand against them. They would win so easily. Also, it was not known to these other states, but Atlantis actually was connected by land, and was capable of simply marching the single greatest army the earth had ever imagined across this land, and destroyed all that there was. Sympathizers from the bands of raiders that normally ensured that no one ever left atlantis or ever discovered its location (it being right there in africa) went out from atlantis and warned the "athenians" (according to plato) of their pending fate, and they hatched a plan. They could not have known just how destructive their plan would be, however, for they did not know that the Atlanteans had allowed their dams to fall into disrepair all across their nation, and their people enjoyed the fruits of their paradise and imported trinkets and ignored the laborous tasks of constantly rebuilding the dams. There was a great lake at the headwaters of the Tamanrasset, which was held back by a system of dikes and dams along its edge,, a shallow network of wetlands that if stressed would allow much of the lake to drain down the river. This band of athenians and atlantean sympathizers penetrated into atlantis and destroyed a dam that would allow the lake to begin flowing freely. This small channel soon widened and easily eroded the system of wetlands until a deep channel opened which allowed the entire lake to drain down the river. As it started to flow, dam after dam failed until all of the dams were failing and all of the water across the entire nation of Atlantis flowed out to sea, wiping out the civilization in a single cataclysmic event. The event was so energetic, that it generated a massive earthquake that shook even the lands of Athens. In a single day, The entire civilization washed down the region of the Tamanrasset and into the sea. So much sediment was carried with it, that ever after, the land never grew back. So much sediment was washed out in the flood, that the ground could no longer hold water. The rains dwindled, and the land dried up until it formed a desert. The desert worsened and worsened, as there was no soil for plants to grow, and nothing to keep what rain did fall from simply washing more of the land away as dust into the sea. This single cataclysmic created what is now the Sahara Desert, what was once the most fruitful paradise in the whole world had become a barren sheet of rock that would never again sustain the kind of life it once did. Those who sought to find atlantis would never know they had been there, for seek as they might, so much had washed into the sea to be buried beneath the delta of the Tamanrasset, that it would be impossible to recognize the land for what it once was. 

The few survivors of the cataclsym spread out into the world, sharing their tales of woe, so that never again would anyone build a civilization that depended on such dam infrastructure, so that despite the paradise it created, never again would so many lives, so much culture, so much infrastructure and technology and capability, be lost at once. 

bda2.jpg

Figure_1._Tamanrasset_River._Hydrological_context_of_Africa.jpg

Edited by tsmspace
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  • The title was changed to The Legend of Beaver Dam Atlantis (human built dams that failed, destroying it)

Atlas was neither a "myth" nor a "legend". It was a "fable" or morality tale and a nut shot at Athens for their invasion of Sicily. 

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See also: the fate of Old Valeryia in A Song of Ice And Fire (“something”* happened to the blood mages who maintained the stability of the volcanoes that encompassed and powered Old Valeryia and so they erupted). 
 

 

 

 

 

 

* something being “mass assassinations by the Faceless Men. 

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At least this is a different take than most.

It'd make an interesting piece of fiction.  However, Plato doesn't mention warnings to Atlantis and never mentions Atlantean merchants.  If there had been such people, we would see Atlantean wares all over the Mediterranean.

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5 minutes ago, Kenemet said:

At least this is a different take than most.

It'd make an interesting piece of fiction.  However, Plato doesn't mention warnings to Atlantis and never mentions Atlantean merchants.  If there had been such people, we would see Atlantean wares all over the Mediterranean.

I just want it to line up enough that you can take what plato wrote and suggest that it could be the same place. 

it IS meant to be a piece of fiction,, although fiction has a plot and what I'm doing is just world-building. 

I do have more to say on it. An interesting thing that the egyptians were doing was their inundation camp irrigation. There's no reason they couldn't come up with that all on their own over time ,, but one thing that I saw in a bright insight video was about how there is an egyptian origin story where some early egyptian came from a land afar and brought their knowledge of farming or something ,, I like the idea that in fact they brought with them their knowledge of dams and such and gave egypt the foundations upon which their inundation irrigation infrastructure was based on,, but that the egyptians followed the warnings of the legend such that their dam infrastructure never held the water ABOVE the civilization so that if dams failed it could wash everyone out. In my fable, the dams are everywhere but in egypt, the inundation flood zones are all below the line of normal annual flood-plain. So while it would be imaginable that egyptians could have also built an impressive network that resulted in reservoirs all over the place, they had the legends of a civilization lost to warn them not to. 

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33 minutes ago, Piney said:

Atlas was neither a "myth" nor a "legend". It was a "fable" or morality tale and a nut shot at Athens for their invasion of Sicily. 

well idk I should look it up but I thought atlas was one of their gods that applied to lots of their moral-stories. 

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7 minutes ago, tsmspace said:

well idk I should look it up but I thought atlas was one of their gods that applied to lots of their moral-stories. 

Their philosophers applied many gods to their morality tales, but Atlantis only resided in Plato's brain until he put it to parchment. 

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1 hour ago, Piney said:

Their philosophers applied many gods to their morality tales, but Atlantis only resided in Plato's brain until he put it to parchment. 

that can't be proven. There are no other citations, but that doesn't mean that plato invented the story. Even if plato invented the name, it is perfectly plausible that he simply recanted a story that he had heard in his youth or something. Even if the specific story is plato's work, the theme may not be. Although it is true there are no other sources of this specific story in the historical record, the historical record is limited. And of course although it is imaginable that a person could be so imaginative all on their own, and with no inspiration from other stories and specifically childhood stories, I think it is fair to argue that this really doesn't happen, and that most stories are inspired by stories that someone heard in their youth, and drew from. 

So while I can agree that it does appear as though plato did at least in part tell an original story, I cannot agree that it is likely that his story is completely original. I will argue that just as with so many other fables, his particular fable is his own interpretation of many fables told to him before he made his own. Just as all of the fables about atlantis that have followed plato's own fable are likewise drawing on so many stories that these other creators were impacted by. 

I would certainly not look upon a drawing that is in the style of anime, and try to suggest that the artist had never before seen other anime art. 

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2 hours ago, tsmspace said:

I just want it to line up enough that you can take what plato wrote and suggest that it could be the same place. 

it IS meant to be a piece of fiction,, although fiction has a plot and what I'm doing is just world-building. 

I do have more to say on it. An interesting thing that the egyptians were doing was their inundation camp irrigation. There's no reason they couldn't come up with that all on their own over time ,, but one thing that I saw in a bright insight video was about how there is an egyptian origin story where some early egyptian came from a land afar and brought their knowledge of farming or something ,, I like the idea that in fact they brought with them their knowledge of dams and such and gave egypt the foundations upon which their inundation irrigation infrastructure was based on,, but that the egyptians followed the warnings of the legend such that their dam infrastructure never held the water ABOVE the civilization so that if dams failed it could wash everyone out. In my fable, the dams are everywhere but in egypt, the inundation flood zones are all below the line of normal annual flood-plain. So while it would be imaginable that egyptians could have also built an impressive network that resulted in reservoirs all over the place, they had the legends of a civilization lost to warn them not to. 

Uhm... 'no' on the Egyptian material.  Neither historical nor plausible.

We know they did try to make dams and failed rather spectacularly -- so much so that they quit trying to build dams (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadd_el-Kafara).  As the population lived on the flat edges of the Nile, and relied on annual floods, dams would be pretty useless.  One flood and -- goodbye dam.

Also,  there is no myth I know of that says they came "from afar." 

Dams above civilizations vs below civilizations also are contradicted by history -- take a look at Roman aqueducts as an example.

 

I think if you set it in a fantasy world it'd work.  But you'll have real problems trying to layer it on the real world.

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40 minutes ago, tsmspace said:

that can't be proven. There are no other citations, but that doesn't mean that plato invented the story. Even if plato invented the name, it is perfectly plausible that he simply recanted a story that he had heard in his youth or something. Even if the specific story is plato's work, the theme may not be. Although it is true there are no other sources of this specific story in the historical record, the historical record is limited. And of course although it is imaginable that a person could be so imaginative all on their own, and with no inspiration from other stories and specifically childhood stories, I think it is fair to argue that this really doesn't happen, and that most stories are inspired by stories that someone heard in their youth, and drew from. 

So while I can agree that it does appear as though plato did at least in part tell an original story, I cannot agree that it is likely that his story is completely original. I will argue that just as with so many other fables, his particular fable is his own interpretation of many fables told to him before he made his own. Just as all of the fables about atlantis that have followed plato's own fable are likewise drawing on so many stories that these other creators were impacted by. 

I would certainly not look upon a drawing that is in the style of anime, and try to suggest that the artist had never before seen other anime art. 

Sorry, I’ve a head cold and I’m a humble PE teacher. …. But is your argument that you cannot say Plato’s Atlantis is a made up story because it is structurally and thematically similar to other made up stories? 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Sorry, I’ve a head cold and I’m a humble PE teacher. …. But is your argument that you cannot say Plato’s Atlantis is a made up story because it is structurally and thematically similar to other made up stories? 

no. I'm saying you can't prove that Plato is the true origin of the story. 

 

Instead I would argue that plato heard some similar stories during his life, perhaps even that story, and then when he wrote the legend of atlantis, he was at least in part taking from these stories that he grew up with. 

 

Today, people don't tell stories the way they used to. children are read books by their parents, not told fables passed down for generations. But, back in the olden days, away aback in the a-olden days ,,, people had a lot of stories that were told as entertainment and retold and retold. Each teller of a given story would tell it differently, and people would have their favorite preachers. These stories might be purely entertainment, have morals, or even have instructions for how to do things like store food for the winter, or grow certain kinds of crops. Storytelling was practiced in schools, at parties, and programmed events where the story-telling was the main event. There were stories from lands far away, stories that people only recently made up, stories that people tried to remember from childhood. All of this was a mishmash to a person who would then go on to recount these stories, but with their own twists and interpretations. Plato made his own interpretation of a set of themes that would have been told by many others. Perhaps he used some names that only he used, or perhaps not. Perhaps he had a unique timeline, or perhaps not, But most certainly it would be quite a thing to suggest that he created the story just from nothing, purely from his imagination. I personally can't even imagine that to be possible. It's like arguing that millions of people today draw anime characters just purely out of nowhere, having never seen other peoples anime characters. It's like arguing that for no reason at all, I created a legend of atlantis that virtually parallels other legends of atlantis, but without ever hearing of it before. IMO ,, it is much more likely that the particular story is one that had already stood the test of time before plato ever recounted it, albiet in his own way. It doesn't have to be a true story, for plato to have heard it before he told it. 

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Posted (edited)

I’m not getting into yet another horse **** Atlantis discussion with yet another person who doesn’t know the first things about ancient history, ancient literature or basic geology.

Edited by Antigonos
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Just now, Antigonos said:

I’m not getting into yet another horse **** Atlantis discussion with yet another person who doesn’t know the first things about ancient history, ancient literature or basic geology.

oh well it's ok because as I said in the OP it's a fable I'm working on, not meant to be history. but ,,, with this kind of fable what's fun is making it into a story that you know could be real and fits within the bounds of existing fable. 

Anyway, there are some things that are real for sure, which I do want to discuss: 

- human beaver cohabitation during the stone age is a subject that has a community of enthusiasts that are professional students. There is reasonable evidence that the ecosystems created by beavers offered significant value to stone age humans who lived in the regions that supported beavers. wetlands today are ecologically rich environments filled with large birds, large rodents, fish, and large grasses (such as wild rice).  

 

-actually, although an above poster said Egyptians didn't build dams, that is not actually completely true. They DID build dams, dikes, channels, all related to their inundation irrigation infrastructure. They did not "block the Nile" with a dam, but they did build a verifiably massive network of dams and earthworks to control the passage of water across the floodplains during inundation, and intentionally operate them to control the flooding for the purpose of adequately flooding all of their fields. The made sure that as many fields as possible were flooded enough to collect the fertilizing sediments, they made sure the fields did not undesirably erode, idk things like that. Basically, when the river naturally flooded, they made sure the water went into the fields, and then they blocked it into those fields so that the water didn't flow out when the river subsided. 

 

-There are many cultures that by present day have developed to cultivate crops in wetland type environments. Rice is a great example, but in Hawaii for example they cultivated Taro. This suggests that the world around people did construct some kind of earthworks or dam structures in order to result in these various types of "greater than natural" crops as it would have taken generations of selective planting, and controlled planting environments. As humans have existed for 3 million years, yet beavers have existed for 30 million years, it is plausible to suggest that before humans evolved, animals were already building dams. (there is no evidence to support this, however, as although the oldest known beaver is 30 million years old, the oldest known beaver dam is only 125,000 years old). However just as it is likely that humans learned basket-weaving from bird-nests, it does seem to me that it is likely that humans learned to create and control wetlands from beavers. 

 

Further, I would like to suggest that for each thing that turns out to work, there is an example of people taking it to an extreme. I will make the example of automobile infrastructure. Nowhere but the US will ever build the automobile infrastructure in quite the way that the US did, because nowhere else on earth was so sparsely populated when automobiles were invented. Everyone builds the capability, but only the US ignored all other forms of transit for as long as it did, only the US built a suburbia with so many large lawns and 2 car garages, only the US built an entire tourist ecosystem centered on RV's that lasted decades. Similarly, I would argue that IF people found that building "beaver dam analogs" worked well to encourage beaver expansion, or simply replace beavers outright, to result in wetlands that were fruitful, there WOULD be a place where people found that it was worth taking it to an extreme, where nearly the entire region would be filled with wetlands. Consider how much rice some parts of the world produce. If humans did live in a world where beavers were already building dams to make reservoirs, and digging channels around these reservoirs to bring water to other places, it does seem to me that it makes sense that humans learned irrigation by observing this behavior, and then copying it, rather than having the idea on their own. It is not that I do not think people COULD have the idea on their own, but I would argue that if the beaver was already there doing it, it seems more likely that they observed and replicated it, rather than just deciding without inspiration to do so. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Kenemet said:

At least this is a different take than most.

It'd make an interesting piece of fiction.  However, Plato doesn't mention warnings to Atlantis and never mentions Atlantean merchants.  If there had been such people, we would see Atlantean wares all over the Mediterranean.

This is the smartest comment on the subject I have read in a great while Kenemet.  

So for the sake of argument, what would Atlantis have been exporting?  How would we know an Atlantean export if we saw one?  Obviously we can test various isotopes of minerals to determine their point of origin these days.  I wonder if there is any pattern of anomalies that has gone undetected?  This is a question I don't think anyone has properly set about asking, to date.  To be fair, however, most trade in the period of the Bronze Age was by monarchs, so I wouldn't expect to see overwhelming quantities of goods, as I doubt that Atlantis had the overwhelming technical superiority many science fiction writers have hypothesized.

Edited by Alchopwn
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10 hours ago, tsmspace said:

Before history, human-beaver cohabitation resulted in humans learning to build dams from the beavers to allow them all of the benefits of beaver dams, but without the limitations of where beavers naturally live. Humans living among beavers did build similar dams, but this practice then spread to parts of the world that did not have beavers. This is under the assumption that there were large regions in the world without beavers. This practice of dam-building resulted in massive networks of dams that were built over the course of many generations to result in a paradise of plenty as a result of the natural organic productivity of the resulting wetland/reservoir network. The origins of irrigation are these practices originally learned from beavers. 

My main problem with this is that there are no beavers in Africa, btw.  As far as I know, there is no fossil record of beavers in Africa at all, let alone in the Sahara.  Beavers are from North America and Eurasia.

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26 minutes ago, Alchopwn said:

My main problem with this is that there are no beavers in Africa, btw.  As far as I know, there is no fossil record of beavers in Africa at all, let alone in the Sahara.  Beavers are from North America and Eurasia.

right so the idea is that people learned about the benefits of dams, and started building them where they were not already. People living WITH beavers incidentally also lived in environments that naturally limit population growth, for example winter. They were fine mostly with that which beavers created naturally,, and in general were less civilized than more equatorial regions. However trade existed and knowledge would spread and therefore the knowledge spread to places where no beavers lived, and people built a network of dams based overall on the ideas learned from the beavers long ago, but in reality they were built by humans like technology, had advancements and engineering for human specific purposes, for example channels with roads next to them so that people could pull boats up from one dam to the next (which would be hard to do using paddles, but not so hard if the boat is pulled with ropes) . So ,, in the area in question, while there may have been beavers that were imported, more like pets or otherwise cared for by the humans, the dams were built by people and beavers were not animals that lived in the area naturally. Well,,  I mean I don't know if they did or not but I do have the impression that they are generally found in colder climates, including the fossils. 

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8 hours ago, tsmspace said:

oh well it's ok because as I said in the OP it's a fable I'm working on, not meant to be history. but ,,, with this kind of fable what's fun is making it into a story that you know could be real and fits within the bounds of existing fable. 

Maybe you can get you in touch with Rojack? He's an expert in the fable business when it comes to Atlantis. 

Florida man, that's where the real money is at!

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7 hours ago, Trelane said:

Maybe you can get you in touch with Rojack? He's an expert in the fable business when it comes to Atlantis. 

Florida man, that's where the real money is at!

I saw he had some posts. I haven't gone down them entirely. As with all "focused fable" types, I tend to spend a long time just worried about my one given example before I really go looking at the rest. I try to find mine in theirs, and when it's basically ruled out I usually look for another one that could be etc. Presently I haven't found another one like my one now. 

 

surely if they had concentric rings of water and land, it is conceivable that they build dams, dikes, and canals though. 

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12 hours ago, Alchopwn said:

This is the smartest comment on the subject I have read in a great while Kenemet.  

So for the sake of argument, what would Atlantis have been exporting?  How would we know an Atlantean export if we saw one?  Obviously we can test various isotopes of minerals to determine their point of origin these days.  I wonder if there is any pattern of anomalies that has gone undetected?  This is a question I don't think anyone has properly set about asking, to date.  To be fair, however, most trade in the period of the Bronze Age was by monarchs, so I wouldn't expect to see overwhelming quantities of goods, as I doubt that Atlantis had the overwhelming technical superiority many science fiction writers have hypothesized.

They had a lot of resources according to Plato.  So they might have been exporting orichalum and other metals -- but grain was also important, as was cloth.

So how would we know?  Orichalum (which they supposedly had in natural form) would have been of a different composition than that produced in other areas.  They would have shipped it in bar form, and it's common to stamp those bars... so we'd see workshops all over the Mediterranean with this type of metal bar (when cities get attacked or a building collapses, all sorts of things get buried in workshops.)

If they were exporting weapons, their designs would have been slightly different than those of other civilizations and cultures.  Same with cloth or pottery.  They'd have developed their own style and design.

For example, we know where the Cretans and Minoans traded because of the differences in the artifacts that their civilizations produced versus the civilizations of the time.

There'd also be administrative centers in their client kingdoms... so we'd see a building or three that was clearly different from the others or that clearly had been furnished with items that were not the same as the people of that culture were using.  Since the Atlanteans were literate, we'd see inscriptions in their language and it'd be different (even slightly) than other languages.

There would be letters to client kings all over the Mediterranean (since they conquered the known world, according to Plato.)  So we'd see a lot of things like the Amarna letters as well as letters or inscriptions talking about gifts sent or received to the Atlanteans.  Some might have sent mercenaries or had kings join with the Atlanteans on their expeditions, so there would be inscriptions from kings or generals about their great deeds done while on campaign with the Atlanteans.

 

...and that's just off the top of my head.

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12 hours ago, tsmspace said:

right so the idea is that people learned about the benefits of dams, and started building them where they were not already. People living WITH beavers incidentally also lived in environments that naturally limit population growth, for example winter. They were fine mostly with that which beavers created naturally,, and in general were less civilized than more equatorial regions. However trade existed and knowledge would spread and therefore the knowledge spread to places where no beavers lived, and people built a network of dams based overall on the ideas learned from the beavers long ago, but in reality they were built by humans like technology, had advancements and engineering for human specific purposes, for example channels with roads next to them so that people could pull boats up from one dam to the next (which would be hard to do using paddles, but not so hard if the boat is pulled with ropes) . So ,, in the area in question, while there may have been beavers that were imported, more like pets or otherwise cared for by the humans, the dams were built by people and beavers were not animals that lived in the area naturally. Well,,  I mean I don't know if they did or not but I do have the impression that they are generally found in colder climates, including the fossils. 

Beavers only lived in a fairly limited area, and those who lived with the beavers didn't seem to do a lot of earthworks building.

Also, the channels and retaining walls in Egypt weren't that big or permanent. Their irrigation canals and flood gates have remained pretty much unchanged throughout time.. and they looked like this:
Irrigation canals with closures in ancient Egypt, drawn after TC2 Source Docs [5]

 

Also, beavers are wild animals with specific diets.  You can't just haul them off to Egypt (for example) and set them in a river and think that they'll survive.  (list of beaver food: https://westernbeavers.org/beaver-grocery-stores/)  While the temperature might not be a real problem (we have them here in Texas), the lack of recognizable food trees would hamper them and I'm not sure they'd recognize what has edible roots in the Nile (https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/publications/plant-lists/plant-lists-by-region/nile-river-nile/)

Now, if you had aliens dropping genetically engineered beavers around the world, that might work.  Of course, with aliens doing things we'd see a sudden arrival of a species that had no forerunners there... and it'd look mighty suspicious, too.  And there's no guarantee the humans would say "oh look.  Beaver dam.  We can do that!"

...and then there's the problem that, in Egypt, at least, the annual Nile floods would wash away every single beaver dam around.

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13 hours ago, Alchopwn said:

This is the smartest comment on the subject I have read in a great while Kenemet.  

So for the sake of argument, what would Atlantis have been exporting?  How would we know an Atlantean export if we saw one?  Obviously we can test various isotopes of minerals to determine their point of origin these days.  I wonder if there is any pattern of anomalies that has gone undetected?  This is a question I don't think anyone has properly set about asking, to date.  To be fair, however, most trade in the period of the Bronze Age was by monarchs, so I wouldn't expect to see overwhelming quantities of goods, as I doubt that Atlantis had the overwhelming technical superiority many science fiction writers have hypothesized.

Well we are talking about an era that certainly did have a few items that appear to have been traded. One of them is flint. Another one is furs. It is not necessarily unbelievable that people traded drugs of some sort, like spices or mushrooms. Any finished products, however, are likely to have been traded. It is imaginable that fabrics were traded, be they assembled from furs or produced from fibers. It is also imaginable that specific stoneworks might have been traded, like finely crafted pestle-mortar combinations, or gemstones (which have high hardness and can also be useful for crushing things). ... One thing that we know was common was jewelry made from high hardness gemstones of large size, for example the size of a large marble. If you are crushing nuts or bones, the higher the hardness your tool is, the easier it is to crush things that are also very hard. Metals were traded in the earliest years of written history, wire coils of copper were used as currency. It seems likely that metals such as gold were able to be worked at very low technology levels, and gold would have been rare, so possibly quite valuable. 

 

I would never suggest Atlantis had "technological superiority" in the sense that we have computers and automobiles. This to me is simply outrageous. However civility and infrastructure can result in "advancements" that can be lost. A good example of this might be codes of ethics that might be lost. For example, perhaps in Atlantis, people did not steal. If people did not steal, then it might be a "more advanced" civilization because people could have all sorts of possessions and rely on them. Things like works of art, tools, clothes that are not being worn at the moment, ... all of these kinds of things might strike an outsider as very advanced as a civilization. Trade itself would rely on the reliability of items being present when needed, and theft can ruin all of that. 

Food storage is another example of a "technology" that can be lost. In a civil and organized society, food stores can last a long time, and everyone can have healthy and diverse diets. But, if people don't work together, then the kinds of structures and practices that are required to store food (such as rice or grains) for long periods of time might be forgotton. In this case, these items that otherwise could be available all year might only be available for a short time after harvest, causing people to be generally less healthy, less wealthy, and less free to pursue other things like knowledge, craftsmanship, and communication with other cultures. 

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24 minutes ago, Kenemet said:

Beavers only lived in a fairly limited area, and those who lived with the beavers didn't seem to do a lot of earthworks building.

Also, the channels and retaining walls in Egypt weren't that big or permanent. Their irrigation canals and flood gates have remained pretty much unchanged throughout time.. and they looked like this:
Irrigation canals with closures in ancient Egypt, drawn after TC2 Source Docs [5]

 

Also, beavers are wild animals with specific diets.  You can't just haul them off to Egypt (for example) and set them in a river and think that they'll survive.  (list of beaver food: https://westernbeavers.org/beaver-grocery-stores/)  While the temperature might not be a real problem (we have them here in Texas), the lack of recognizable food trees would hamper them and I'm not sure they'd recognize what has edible roots in the Nile (https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/publications/plant-lists/plant-lists-by-region/nile-river-nile/)

Now, if you had aliens dropping genetically engineered beavers around the world, that might work.  Of course, with aliens doing things we'd see a sudden arrival of a species that had no forerunners there... and it'd look mighty suspicious, too.  And there's no guarantee the humans would say "oh look.  Beaver dam.  We can do that!"

...and then there's the problem that, in Egypt, at least, the annual Nile floods would wash away every single beaver dam around.

right. 

but idk i said humans built the dams, fashioned roughly based on how beavers do. I did say that. 

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39 minutes ago, Kenemet said:

They had a lot of resources according to Plato.  So they might have been exporting orichalum and other metals -- but grain was also important, as was cloth.

So how would we know?  Orichalum (which they supposedly had in natural form) would have been of a different composition than that produced in other areas.  They would have shipped it in bar form, and it's common to stamp those bars... so we'd see workshops all over the Mediterranean with this type of metal bar (when cities get attacked or a building collapses, all sorts of things get buried in workshops.)

If they were exporting weapons, their designs would have been slightly different than those of other civilizations and cultures.  Same with cloth or pottery.  They'd have developed their own style and design.

For example, we know where the Cretans and Minoans traded because of the differences in the artifacts that their civilizations produced versus the civilizations of the time.

There'd also be administrative centers in their client kingdoms... so we'd see a building or three that was clearly different from the others or that clearly had been furnished with items that were not the same as the people of that culture were using.  Since the Atlanteans were literate, we'd see inscriptions in their language and it'd be different (even slightly) than other languages.

There would be letters to client kings all over the Mediterranean (since they conquered the known world, according to Plato.)  So we'd see a lot of things like the Amarna letters as well as letters or inscriptions talking about gifts sent or received to the Atlanteans.  Some might have sent mercenaries or had kings join with the Atlanteans on their expeditions, so there would be inscriptions from kings or generals about their great deeds done while on campaign with the Atlanteans.

 

...and that's just off the top of my head.

we wouldn't have any evidence of literacy.

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22 hours ago, tsmspace said:

right so the idea is that people learned about the benefits of dams, and started building them where they were not already. People living WITH beavers incidentally also lived in environments that naturally limit population growth, for example winter. They were fine mostly with that which beavers created naturally,, and in general were less civilized than more equatorial regions. However trade existed and knowledge would spread and therefore the knowledge spread to places where no beavers lived, and people built a network of dams based overall on the ideas learned from the beavers long ago, but in reality they were built by humans like technology, had advancements and engineering for human specific purposes, for example channels with roads next to them so that people could pull boats up from one dam to the next (which would be hard to do using paddles, but not so hard if the boat is pulled with ropes) . So ,, in the area in question, while there may have been beavers that were imported, more like pets or otherwise cared for by the humans, the dams were built by people and beavers were not animals that lived in the area naturally. Well,,  I mean I don't know if they did or not but I do have the impression that they are generally found in colder climates, including the fossils. 

Okay, so we have a European migration to North Africa, taking knowledge of beaver dams to Pre-Sahara Africa in some unknown past.  Why bother, when there is ample geological evidence that Lake Chad was once part of a huge inland sea that would potentially have encompassed the Richat Structure?  There are the remains of desiccated whales within a mile of the Richat Structure that still have the remains of tissue on them.  The only issue is the time frame.

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