Gateway to Atlantis: The Search for the Source of a Lost Civilization
Gateway to Atlantis
by Andrew Collins
(Carroll & Graf)
Was there truly an ancient continent somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean that succumbed to cataclysmic floods sometime around the end of the last Ice Age (circa 10,000 to 8,000 BC) and then all but disappeared to history? If so, is there any genuine hard evidence to show that the legend of Atlantis is founded in truth?
Andrew Collins, author of Gateway to Atlantis, says yes. And over the course of this book, he weaves together various clues across multiple scholarly disciplines to demonstrate that indeed there is ample reason to conclude that the legend of Atlantis is actually a significant part of human history, one that may even tie together the ancient histories of Mesoamerican, European and Near East cultures.
Gateway to Atlantis does not promote a New Age image of Atlantean pyramids and crystal mindlight generators — regardless of whether such ideas are true or not. Rather, Mr. Collins is an astute historical detective who bases his arguments on ancient source material and a broad base of knowledge regarding ancient cultures, peoples and geographies. He may very well have pieced together just about all of the necessary clues to pinpoint exactly where the ancient seat of Atlantis existed. Only time — and archaeological dedication — will tell if Mr. Collins is right.
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“Very possibly, these are the same islands that Plato informs us were used by ancient voyagers to reach ‘the opposite continent’, i.e. the American mainland. What is more, the suggestion that Atlantis also gained control of lands within the Pillars of Hercules clearly implies that the empire established itself in both Europe and Libya. All this would indicate some kind of connection between the supposed Atlanteans of the Western Ocean and the ‘voyagers’ from within the Mediterranean, whom Plato tells us were able to reach ‘the opposite continent’ via a series of ‘other islands’, before the final destruction of Atlantis.” (p. 57)
Plato is the main and primary source of the Atlantean legend, and his fictional accounts of this mythic land, as told in the Timaeus and the Critias, are where Mr. Collins begins. And one of the most intriguing clues Plato gives us is the idea that ancient voyagers, prior to the destruction of Atlantis, used the Atlantean islands as stopovers to reach an “opposite continent” that Mr. Collins identifies as the American mainland.
Plato is the starting place for Mr. Collins’ Atlantean detective story and he distills some important clues from Plato’s fictional account. Plato makes it clear that mariners from some past age were able to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach the Atlantean mainland — as well as the “opposite” continent beyond the Atlantean islands. A natural cataclysm involving earthquakes and floods destroyed the Atlantean islands and left, in the wake of the destruction, “an ‘impassable sea’ of mud and shoals (which Mr. Collins identifies as either the Sargasso Sea or the shallow waters of the Bahamas, or both) [that] occupies the former position of the sunken island preventing any further navigation to ‘the opposite continent’.” (p. 72)
If this is indeed true, how did the memory of this prehistoric age survive some 8,000 years and make its way across the Atlantic to reach Plato?
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” …I now feel we can safely conclude that the Hesperides were indeed the West Indies, and that a sketchy knowledge of this island group’s existence persisted into Roman times. It was information such as this that writers including Pliny, Sebosus and Solinus would seem to have picked up on and used as geographical anecdotes in their respective works. In turn, much later writers such as Isidore of Seville, Dicuil and Honorius of Autun included this information in their own works, which were much later consulted by medieval cartographers prior to the age of discovery. In this way ancient maritime lore, perhaps thousands of years old, came into the possession of European explorers and chroniclers in the wake of Columbus’ first voyage to the New World.” (p. 98)
In order to determine whether or not ancient mariners had crossed the Atlantic, Mr. Collins scours the ancient works. But the old texts abound with islands whose ancient names often don’t have clearly identified modern counterparts. Islands such as the Gorgades, the Blessed Isles, the Fortunate Isles and the Hesperides are often referenced — however, the modern islands to which those names refer are, apparently, still debated.
After some heavy detective work, Mr. Collins seems to make sense of all the various ancient island names and concludes that the Hesperides refers to the islands of the West Indies, in the Caribbean. This is an extremely important deduction because it means that all ancient references to voyages to the Hesperides refer to Atlantic crossings to the Caribbean — in other words, transatlantic voyages.
“…if I am correct in my identification of the geographical locations to which he alludes, then we have a very rare discovery indeed. I say this because the words of Sebosus, as Oviedo obviously realised in the sixteenth century, appear to confirm that transatlantic journeys had taken place between Cape Verde on the African coast and the West Indies in ancient times. Evidence that this is indeed the case comes from the 40 days’ sailing time Sebosus gives for the voyage between the Gorgades and the Hesperides.” (p. 95)
Apparently, 40 days sailing time is an accurate duration between the Cape Verde Isles (which Mr. Collins identifies with the ancient Gorgades islands, off the west coast of Africa) and the islands of the West Indies (which Mr. Collins identifies with the Hesperides). If Mr. Collins is correct — and he pores through a vast amount of research to support the identification of these islands — then we have some substantial evidence to support the idea of ancient transatlantic voyages. This alone is enough to upset the modern notion of our ancient history.
But if the islands of the Caribbean, also known today as the Antilles (note the consonants “A-T-L” inherent in both Antilles and Atlantis) are the source of the Atlantean legend which was then brought east to Europe via ancient transatlantic voyagers, then who were these ancient mariners? Is there any evidentiary support of a seagoing people with transatlantic capabilities?
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“…if the Phoenicians and Carthaginians really were responsible for introducing Caribbean catastrophe myths to the Mediterranean world prior to the age of Plato, could these nations be linked directly to the Atlantis legend? Incredibly the answer is yes.” (p. 161-162)
In addition to ancient tales alluding to transatlantic voyages, it seems that Egyptian mummies hold some tantalizing clues that suggest transatlantic voyages must have occurred during Pharaonic times. Numerous mummies have been found to contain residue of tobacco and coca leaves. While it’s possible that tobacco leaves could have reached Egypt from more fertile parts of Africa during ancient times, Mr. Collins notes that the only source of the coca leaves could have been from the Americas.
“As fantastic as this proposal might seem, the only realistic solution to explain the discovery of cocaine in Egyptian mummies is to suggest trading contact between the two continents. Furthermore, if the coca leaf was really being exported in this manner, there has to be a possibility that tobacco from Central America was also being shipped to the ancient world. The presence of tobacco and cocaine in the same Egyptian individuals would tend to support this supposition. Moreover, the strange relationship between the names used for tobacco smoking on both sides of the Atlantic implies a cross-fertilisation of terminology, techniques, and quite possibly even plants and produce centuries before the age of Columbus. Only by establishing this ancient trade route can we go on to propose a means by which knowledge of the Caribbean islands, and the cataclysms they would seem to have suffered in some past age, can have reached the Mediterranean world prior to the age of Plato.” (p. 124)
The Phoenicians were, apparently, accomplished mariners, setting up trade routes from islands off the west coast of Africa all the way up to the British Isles. And while Mr. Collins cites circumstantial evidence from ancient texts to support the idea that the ancient Phoenicians made it to the American shores, multiple discoveries in New England of ancient Carthaginian coins (ancient Carthage having originated as a Phoenician colony) gives hard credence to the idea that Phoenician mariners must have reached America in ancient times.
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“What all this suggests is that memories were preserved among the tribes of Mesoamerica regarding a single island landmass from which came a displaced peoples who formed the ruling dynasties of the earliest races to inhabit the region.” (p. 223)
Conquest & Cataclysm
Via the conquest of the New World, Mr. Collins takes the reader on a journey into indigenous Mesoamerican myth — myth that over and over again, across multiple cultures throughout the Americas, talks about an ancient Caribbean cataclysm that tore apart a single landmass via earthquakes and floods, leaving behind the scattered islands that we know today.
Mr. Collins provides clues to ancient civilizations that existed in the Caribbean prior to the indigenous populations that were found when the Portuguese and Spanish arrived in the New World. From Olmec, Toltec, Aztec, Maya, Taino, Carib and other indigenous sources, Mr. Collins presents a convincing case that the native Mesoamerican tradition is consistent: They all speak of the origins of their civilization having emerged from the ruins from some great ancient cataclysm.
But what was this cataclysm?
Amazingly, Mr. Collins presents astounding geological evidence across the southeastern part of North America — a scarred, lunar-type landscape of impact craters known as the Carolina Bays. Mr. Collins suggests that the Carolina Bays is the geological scarring that resulted from a comet, breaking up in mid-flight, as it headed just beyond what is now the Caribbean, and what was once known as the continent of Atlantis. Mr. Collins cites two deep sea impact sites just to the east of the Caribbean as the comet’s ground zero.
The tsunamis that resulted devastated the Atlantean islands and affected the Earth’s climate such that the last Ice Age ended, the ice melted, the water levels rose — and the waters that covered that Atlantean landmass never receded.
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“All the evidence presented by the mythological traditions of the early cultures of Mesoamerica points toward the islands of the Greater Antilles being the original homeland of their earliest ancestors and wisdom-bringers, described repeatedly as ‘serpents’ or ‘feathered serpents’.” (p. 237)
Mr. Collins wraps up Gateway to Atlantis with some fascinating deductions, comparing the Mesoamerican legends of the serpent people with the Hebrew tradition of the Nephilim, the race of titans (perhaps serpent-like) who helped humanity re-establish civilization following the aftermath of the global cataclysm that ended the last Ice Age.
As this burgeoning paradigm unfolds before us in this age of information and awakening, it seems perfectly logical that if there truly was a race of advanced beings on planet Earth who helped jump start human civilization during pre-historic times, then the myths of these beings should be consistent across the planet. Mr. Collins demonstrates that there is good evidence to support this consistency.
At the outset of this review, I noted that Mr. Collins had identified the ancient seat of the Atlantean empire — and I have purposefully left out that important tidbit of information. I don’t want to give away everything.
Gateway to Atlantis may very well be the definitive scholarly work on raising Atlantis from its watery tomb. At the very least, Mr. Collins has demonstrated with an abundant amount of direct evidence that there is a fascinating narrative to explain how the story of Atlantis passed from history to legend to myth — from destruction to indigenous lore; from the tales of ancient transatlantic mariners to Egypt; and from Egypt to Plato.
It is entirely within the realm of possibility that with Gateway to Atlantis Mr. Collins has hit ground zero. And perhaps with further investigation into the area identified by Mr. Collins, we may eventually be able to flesh out the part of this narrative that precedes the destruction of Atlantean continent.