Mythos Monday: Atlantis in America

From http://funny-pictures-blog.com/2012/05/23/coffee-2/

Happy Monday, everyone!

Grab a cuppa Joe, take a seat, and let’s talk history, mystery, and mayhem!

Last Friday I mentioned my new addiction: America Unearthed. Maybe you’ve seen it? Or maybe you’re wondering what the heck I slipped into my coffee this morning.

Basically this show is in the vein of Ancient Aliens and similar H2 shows which postulate different ways of thinking from the “mainstream.” In the case of America Unearthed, it’s pulling away from mainstream archaeology as host and forensic geologist Scott Wolter presents archaeological evidence found across America in a new light.

Scott Wolter – America Unearthed (History.com)

For instance, in the first episode, Wolter uncovers clues that point to the ancient Mayan people having settled in what is now rural Georgia in the USA when conventional wisdom states that they never made it past Mexico. In episode two, he uncovers what may be a grave in Arizona. The grave of an Englishman who died there in medieval times. And in episode three, he uncovers clues that point toward the harvest of copper ore in the Great Lakes region 5000 years ago. But not by the locals. By the civilization known as the Minoans.

Of course, this is all greatly contested by mainstream historians and archaeologists. Minoans harvest copper in the Americas to fuel the Bronze Age? Preposterous. Medieval Englishmen seeking their fortune in the New World centuries before Columbus? Insane. Mayans in North America? Crazy talk.

But here’s the thing: everyone thought the Hittites were something the writers of the Christian Bible made up since no other historical document mentioned them. And then, BAM! In the second half of the 19th century they finally uncovered evidence that the Hittites not only existed, but were once a powerful nation. Ditto the city of Troy which mainstream historians thought was a fairy tale until some enterprising archaeologist went and dug it up.

Hittite sanctuary at Hattusa, Turkey – photo by Klaus-Peter Simon

Yeah, I know. Very rude. 😉

So, my thought is this: we don’t really know what happened in the past. We can only interpret what we see to the best of our ability and maybe, just maybe, we’ve interpreted wrong.

The episode that particularly caught my attention was the one on the Minoans. Why? Because some historians believe that the ancient Minoan culture (founded on the Greek isle of Crete) might have been the basis for the legend of Atlantis.

Akrotiri Minoan Town
Akrotiri Minoan Town

You can learn more about that theory here on the PBS site. I found it fascinating.

But back to America Unearthed. According to Scott Wolter, the Minoans came to America for copper to fuel the bronze age. The evidence, such as it was, was extremely interesting and thought provoking. There certainly is an awful lot of copper missing from the Great Lakes area and there isn’t enough evidence of it being used in North America to explain that missing amount away. There are carvings on rocks in the area of what appear to be Minoan ships. And there are tablets carved with the Minoan language found years before archaeologist discovered the civilization.

Five thousand years ago did Minoans really hop in their boats and travel thousands of miles over open waters to dig up copper in America in order to fuel the Bronze Age? It’s possible, but I will leave that to you to decide for yourself. Instead, let’s take an adventure of the imagination…

Let’s imagine for a moment that, yes, the Minoans did travel to this continent. And imagine that the Minoan civilization and the Lost City of Atlantis really are one and the same. Then that means that there was once an Atlantean colony right here in North America.

Now that, my friends, is something to ponder. Really fires up the old imagination, doesn’t it?

Could it be that some of them survived the volcano that destroyed their city and returned to Europe with tales of adventure that? That from all this the myth of Atlantis was born?

What do you think?

This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
Athanasius Kircher’s Map of Atlantis (c.1669). Note that north is at bottom.

 

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7 thoughts on “Mythos Monday: Atlantis in America

  1. I love it when a bunch of history stuff is unearthed; it’s irritating for those who’ve already studied it, but it’s also fascinating to have your perspective changed. I’m reading a brilliant book about life in Medieval England at the moment, and it’s changing a lot of misconceptions I had in the past that I’d got from fiction 😀 But it’s also given me plenty of material to butcher and turn into fiction myself!

    I’m fairly sure that all myths come from SOMEWHERE, especially the particularly odd ones. It’s something I’ve looked into in quite a lot of detail just for fun–similarities crop up between Norse and Celtic mythology, for example, which point to something having been the root of both. Even mythic archetypes are evidence for real people having been the inspiration for characters, because I find it hard to believe that without any outside stimulus, people all over the world would tell stories that had these recurring figures… it’s interesting to think about and I hope one day to get some proof, one way or the other 🙂

    1. I totally agree. For instance, the fact that pyramids exist on nearly every continent. Or that both Europeans and Chinese had stories of dragons long before the two cultures met. So much to ponder! 🙂

      1. My favourite one is the existence of a ‘Trickster’ figure. It exists in pretty much every mythology I’ve ever read, even though it’s a trait more prominent in some than others (more in Loki than, say, Prometheus or Aengus Og). They often have a similar social background in the stories, too. I’d like to know where they come from.

  2. Sorry, this is all a bit too “Chariots of the Gods” for me. The US already has a major problem with science denial and re-sciencing facts to fit an agenda. The reason mainstream science IS mainstream is that facts can be documented and their meanings debated. If the debate eventually debunks one particular theory, that should tell you something.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Deby!

      I don’t disagree with you, though I think it’s more than just the US with this problem, I’m afraid. But Science is constantly changing, making new discoveries. It’s exciting! So, I think it’s important to question things.

      That’s sort of the fun of these shows. They’re not hard science, they’re just postulating a theory. Sometimes that theory seems plausible (Although rarely is it something anyone can prove – except in the case of the Hittites and Troy!). Sometimes it’s waaaaay out there in left field! But either way, as a writer, it inspires all kinds of interesting ideas.

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