I’m currently engrossed in Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods, which presents a very methodical argument for a lost civilization.
I’ll summarize what I think is Hancock’s strongest argument for Atlantis:
Around the globe; from the pyramids of Egypt and Göbekli Tepe in Turkey to the ruins in the high mountains of Peru we find extraordinary megalithic architecture that could only be created by an advanced civilization. Remarkably, what we DON’T find in the archaeological record of these places is evolution of the craft of megalithic building.
This is a major dog that does not bark. We don’t find smaller, shoddier, crappier pyramids that the Egyptian engineers cut their teeth building before they really figured out how to create the spectacular pyramids that have stood for thousands of years.
Let’s say you were an archaeologist several thousand years in the future studying our automobiles. In the archaeological record, you would clearly see the evolution of internal combustion vehicles from a Ford Model T to a Tesla. This is what evolutionary biologists find when they look at the fossil record, this what archaeologists of more recent history find. Yet across the world, the most advanced and spectacular architecture seems to appear out of nowhere in the archaeological record — in the very beginning of the archaeological record.
How does a complex civilization spring full — blown into being . Look at a 1905 automobile and compare it to a modern one . There is no mistaking the process of “ development . ” But in Egypt there are no parallels . Everything is right there at the start . (p. 10)
The logical conclusion is that this megalithic architecture is chimeric; built by someone else who was alien to the cultures of antiquity that grew up around it, whose descendants now happily accept our tourist dollars to show it off to us.
We are confronted , in other words , by vast , inexplicable antiquity , immense scale , and unknown purpose — and all of it seeming to unfold out of nowhere , with no obvious background or preparation , shrouded utterly in mystery . (p. 11)
Tin foil cryptoarcheology?
I have probably about 20 years of dalliance with the alternative research sphere; I’ve read books and watched hundreds of documentaries about UFOs, ESP, bigfoot, 911 truth, flat earth, the Mandela effect, Nazi conspiracy theories, ancient aliens, etc. And honestly, I now believe in these things less. These conspiracy theories are often…
- Critical thinking failures
- Dunning-Kruger traps; they are debated for by lay people with barely a passing understanding of a topic. People who spend a couple of weeks or months watching confirmatory Youtube videos about a topic and are convinced that they are an expert in half a dozen different scientific domains relevant to a given conspiracy theory.
- Based solely on anecdotes; people’s stories, memories, dreams, and feelings.
- Defy economic common sense
- Promoted by entertainers or “journalists” who clearly have an economic incentive to sensationalize or totally make things up.
Hopefully, that establishes my bona fides as a none-loon, critical thinker who believes in Atlantis.
Is a megalithic archaeological site uncovered in the south of Turkey which was built way back around 9600 BC the same era that Plato writes that Atlantis was destroyed.
Göbekli Tepe is a gamechanger for archaeology.
This is why Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey is so significant — because it breaks that paradigm wide open and cries out for serious consideration of a possibility, previously relegated to the lunatic fringe , that civilization might be much older and more mysterious than we thought . (pp. 37–38)
The Comet Hypothesis
According to Hancock Atlantis met it’s demise very cinematically thanks to a catastrophic celestial event.
It is believed that North America was the epicenter of the resulting cataclysm with several of the largest impacts on the North American ice cap causing floods and tidal waves and throwing a vast cloud of dust into the upper atmosphere that enshrouded the earth , preventing the sun’s rays from reaching the surface and thus initiating the sudden , mysterious global deep freeze that geologists call the Younger Dryas . (p. 81)
This happened a very long time ago historically speaking but not that long ago geologically speaking at the beginning of the mini-ice age that occurred about 12,000 years ago, in fact, Hancock’s hypothesis is that that comet impact caused the mini-ice age; otherwise referred to as the Young Dryas.
The impact likely occurred in what is now Western Canada, at the time it was covered by a massive ice sheet, which is why there isn’t a conspicuous impact crater.
There’s evidence for this in the US state of Washington, in the aptly named Channeled Scablands region.
The human costs of the disaster might not have been confined to the complete destruction of hunter — gatherer cultures , such as the “ Clovis ” people of North America . The possibility must be considered that an advanced civilization , now lost to history , might also have been obliterated . (pp. 124–125)
The idea is not that there was a single comet or asteroid impact like in a Hollywood blockbuster but that a comet passed very nearby the earth and we suffered impacts from multiple asteroids. He goes on to explain that the comet also likely ended the mini-ice age about a thousand years later with subsequent impacts disrupting the flows of water in our oceans.
The case for multiple impacts from a large , fragmented comet initiating the Younger Dryas is , I believe , a very strong one . In the light of the mythological evidence , the possibility must also be considered that it was further encounters with the orbiting debris stream of the same giant comet that brought the Younger Dryas to an end. (p. 181)
The War with the Mainstream
Hancock’s career has been an uphill battle with the mainstream establishment of historians.
Archaeology is a deeply conservative discipline and I have found that archaeologists , no matter where they are working , have a horror of questioning anything their predecessors and peers have already announced to be true. (p. 369)
He writes about opposition to the Younger Dryas comet hypothesis
what is clearly happening is that an extraordinary hypothesis has again and again met the demand for extraordinary evidence to support it and has begun to force its way through the staunchly — defended doors of the mainstream . (p. 106)
This is another impressive site of megalithic architecture located in modern day Lebanon which hints at ancient construction with 800-ton blocks of stone.
Obviously , since it was used for an architectural drawing of part of the Temple of Jupiter , as Kalayan admits , and particularly so since it was afterward partially covered by Roman construction , the only logical deduction is that it must be older than the temple . (p. 263)
There’s a lot of parallels between the account of Noah’s ark and other ancient cultures myths. Apparently, in Turkey, there are these underground cities at the site of Derinkuyu where perhaps some proto-survivalists rode out the Younger Dryas extinction event
in summary , both the Biblical and Mesopotamian accounts agree that Armenia was the place of refuge for the survivors of the Flood . (p. 165)
the gigantic megalithic and rock — hewn constructions of the Andes , which are by no means confined to Sacsayhuaman but are found all over the region , were not the work of the Incas but of a much earlier , predecessor civilization long lost to history : (p. 368)
Numerous myths around the world describe “gods”, magicians or powerful, technologically superior human beings that brought wisdom and technology to different cultures. The idea posed is that these were survivors of the more advanced civilization that was wiped out.
Giza was one of several sites around the world — Göbekli Tepe was another — where survivors of a great prehistoric civilization that had been all but destroyed in the global cataclysm at the onset of the Younger Dryas chose to settle , and where their sages set in motion a long — term plan to bring about “ the resurrection of the former world of the gods … (p. 200)
Interestingly these mysterious men are often portrayed with distinctly European or Caucasian features like white skin and beards. This makes me wonder if the phenomena of affluent white people from western countries making pilgrimages to the third world to enlighten, share resources, bring medicine, build schools or drill wells is yet another example of history rhyming.
All my life as I’ve watched documentaries about the pyramids or other megalithic sites I always wondered why…
Why would ancient people’s go to all the trouble to build these giant structures? Why would a nation or civilization like the Egyptians devote a vast amount of resources to building a giant tomb? I realize that kings of antiquity had gigantic egos but does that really explain devoting a significant proportion of your economy into a vanity project? Megalithic architecture had ostensible religious purposes, I’ve known a lot of religious people and none of them were so none-pragmatic in their faith as to spend their lives building something totally symbolic that served no practical purpose. I don’t buy the tinfoil hat explanations for the pyramids that they were energy generation factories or whatever. Building pyramids sounds like awful, back-breaking work, I just can’t imagine that many people would be all that interested in doing it.
And why didn’t they continue doing it? Why do all the supposed descendants of the megalith builders live in squalor now? There’s a stark contrast between megalithic architecture and the decrepit modern-day cities of Cairo, Lima or Athens.
The explanation, which Magician’s hints at, is that Megalithic architecture was a kind of a self-esteem program for humanity. The Magicians with their more advanced technology built many of the megalithic sites we see today because they wanted to inspire the greatness. Anytime I read history I’m struck by the brutish nature of man; at any other time of history, life was so very cruel. At nearly any moment you were in danger of being killed, raped or robed. The Magicians ventured out into a post-antediluvian world and saw their fellow humans living like animals. So they taught them about agriculture and basic medicine while trying to instill basic religious and moral systems. As a reminder, they left them really spectacular megalithic architecture.
Megaliths are a Map of the Night Sky
Fascinatingly it appears that some of the iconic megaliths are representative of the stars in the night sky, more specifically they represent the procession of the equinox
it is not an accident that the early Christians used the fish as their symbol , since the constellation of Pisces housed the sun on the spring equinox from the very beginning of the Christian era until today . Nor is the famous song wrong to state that “ we live in the dawning of the Age of Aquarius , ” for the early twenty — first century does indeed stand in the astrological no — man’s — land near the end of the “ Age of Pisces ” and on the threshold of the “ New Age ” of Aquarius (p. 191)
The really odd thing about the megaliths at Göbekli Tepe is that they seem to be pointing at our time, specifically 1960–2040. We live in an astronomically notable time where from our perspective the milky way galaxy has two gates on either side and our summer solstice points at the nuclear bulge in the center of the galaxy.
If you were really determined to be understood by some distant future generation , you might therefore do better to devise your message using gigantic architectural monuments that “ time itself would fear ” — monuments like the pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza — and to associate those monuments with a universal language such as the slow precessional changes in the sky that any astronomically literate culture would be able to read. (pp. 232–233)
It is therefore strange , and indeed somewhat eerie , to find the solar and astronomical coordinates of the exact same 80 — year window between 1960 and 2040 prophesied by the Maya to mark a turning point in human history , carved in high relief on a 12,000 — year — old pillar in Göbekli Tepe in far — off Turkey. (p. 327)
The Next Lost Civilization… US!
Spoiler alert: the conclusion he reaches in the book is that our civilization is in grave danger of being destroyed by the same comet or asteroids that destroyed the high civilization that Plato called Atlantis.
some suspect that “ the return of the Phoenix ” will take place in our own time — indeed by or before the year 2040 — and there is a danger that one of the objects in its debris stream may be as much as 30 kilometers ( 18.6 miles ) in diameter . A collision with such a large cometary fragment would , at the very least , mean the end of civilization as we know it , and perhaps even the end of all human life on this planet . (p. 234)
Yet unlike the Atlanteans, we are in the unique position of being capable of preventing just such a catastrophe. If a small proportion of the resources and funding that our governments waste on utterly useless foreign aid and interventionist foreign policy was directed towards monitoring the very real threats in our solar system that regularly cross our planet’s orbit and to developing technology or weapons delivery systems capable of altering the trajectory of a doomsday rock Armageddon would be totally preventable.
But anyone with a modicum of political realism knows that the world’s governments as they stand, especially of western “democracies” are incapable of long term thinking or preventative planning especially in regard to existential threats to our civilization.
Consider these two epic failures of government
- Paris Accord — In 2015 Barack Obama and other world leaders held a fabulously expensive and glamorous conference in the French capital to come up with solutions for climate change. Despite the governments of the developed world and many of their citizenry being intensely interested in climate change, the conference accomplished nothing. They came away with a non-binding treaty which by many measures has already totally failed.
- Trump’s border wall — Donald Trump won the Presidency of the United States in 2016 on the promise of building a great southern border wall. Which is not that bad of an idea, the US has a serious problem with its porous southern border and border walls are effective for a lot of countries in the world. More importantly it’s what the voters wanted, yet despite a significant mandate and a Republican majority in government halfway through 2018 Trump has still failed to make any real progress on his wall.
I pick these two examples because they are motivated from opposite ends of the political spectrum, yet despite the significant public desire for real solutions, politicians preaching about action along with ample resources and funding to get things done, the government has amazingly failed in long term thinking. A quick perusal of libertarian websites will return hundreds of more examples of government consistently failing to think more than about 2 years into the future.
It is sheer wishful thinking to hope that the government will organize a defense of our planet from the existential risks our civilization faces. A free market option for space defense must be considered. What would this look like? Maybe something like Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Perhaps thanks to Hollywood the public is highly aware of the threat to our planet by scary space rocks. There’s maybe a way to convince insurance companies that funding planetary defense is in their best interests. While in the past only the US government could fund such things in the hands of the free market it may be doable at whole lot less arduous price tag. This seems like yet another case of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.
A recommended read?
Magicians is not exactly light reading. He goes into some quite technical analysis of geological and archaeological phenomena that went over my head. Obviously, he needs to make cogent, data-driven arguments that will appeal to professional historians and geologists which will be hard for laypeople to wrap their heads around. If you’re moderately curious about this theory of Atlantis, I’d just suggest checking out the recent Joe Rogan interview where he discusses his findings and theories for several hours…
Understand that I’m not nearly doing justice here to the weight of evidence and arguments made in the book for Hancock’s view if you’re still a staunch Atlantis skeptic read the book. The most compelling argument is in my mind the made at the top of this article. I’ll pose the question…
If not an advanced, yet tragically forgotten progenitor civilization how did all those spectacular megalithic sites come into being? Aliens?