Herodotus, Heracles, Keltoi, Kynesians, Salt & Ships

This all started from a bit of history of the Celts. I was watching a YouTube video about the Hallstatt Culture and it mentioned a quote from Herodotus as the first reference to the Keltoi and that being the source of the name Celt (since we don’t know what they called themselves as they didn’t write it down… though personally I’d just ask a Gaelic speaker for the self naming noun…)

The particular quote was: “Celts are placed outside the Pillars of Heracles (Strait of Gibraltar) and neighbor with Kynesians”

Now folks who have an interest in anything Atlantis will be reminded that Plato also placed it “outside the Pillars of Heracles”. This link does a wonderful job of illustrating all the fire and noise surrounding folks trying to decide just where oh where those pillars might be:


Pillars of Heracles

The Pillars of Heracles is the name given by Plato to describe a maritime boundary marker of the ancient Greek world. According to his text, Atlantis lay just beyond or just before this boundary. However, strictly speaking, Plato does not call them ‘pillars’ but refers to them as stelai (pronounced “stee-lie”) and its singular Stele (pronounced “stee-lee”) which are the Greek words for stone slabs used as boundary or commemorative markers, not a reference to supportive columns. Rhys Carpenter favours the idea that the term when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world.”

According to Aristotle, the Pillars of Heracles were also known by the earlier name of ‘Pillars of Briareus’. Plutarch places Briareus near Ogygia, from which we can assume that the Pillars of Heracles are close to Ogygia. Since Malta has been identified as Ogygia, it was not unreasonable, to conclude, as some do, that the Pillars were probably in the region of the Maltese Islands.

However, Ogygia has also been identified with one of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic by Felice Vinci, who then proposed that the Pillars of Heracles had also been located in that archipelago.John Larsen has made similar suggestions.

Furthermore, Aristotle also wrote that “outside the pillars of Heracles the sea is shallow owing to the mud, but calm, for it lies in a hollow.” This is not a description of the Atlantic that we know, which is not shallow, calm or lying in a hollow and which he refers to as a sea not an ocean.

Classical writers frequently refer to the Pillars without being in anyway specific regarding their location. Rosario Vieni has suggested that the Symplegades, at the Bosporus, encountered by Homer’s Argonauts were precursors of the Pillars of Heracles, although he settled on the Strait of Sicily as their location before Sergio Frau adopted the same location.

However, there is little doubt that during the last centuries BC ‘the Pillars’ referred almost exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar. The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia notes that Pillars were, in earlier times, identified with the Strait of Sicily, but from the time of Erastosthenes (c. 250 BC) the term was used to refer to the Strait of Gibraltar, reflecting the expansion of Greek maritime knowledge.

Federico Bardanzellu locates them on the island of Motya off the west coast of Sicily. This view is hotly disputed.

Alessio Toscano has suggested that the Pillars were situated at the Strait of Otranto and that Plato’s ‘Atlantic’ was in fact the Adriatic Sea. A more distant location was proposed by Chechelnitsky who placed the ‘Pillars’ at the Bering Strait between the Chukchi and Seward peninsulas in Russia and the USA respectively.

It always seemed to me that when the Greeks began their expansion westward, they did so hugging the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Understandably, they would have taken the shortest route from the Greek mainland to the heel of Italy and later on to Sicily. As they progressed with their colonisation, new limits were set, and in time, exceeded. I suggest that these limits were each in turn designated the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ as they expanded. I speculate that Capo Colonna (Cape of the Column) in Calabria may have been one of those boundaries. Interestingly, 18th century maps shown up to five islands near the cape that are no longer visible, suggesting the possibility that in ancient times they could have been even more extensive, creating a strait that might have matched Plato’s description. On the other hand, the Strait of Messina was one of the locations recorded as the site of the ‘Pillars’ and considering that mariners at that time preferred to stay close to the coast, I would opt for the Strait of Messina rather than the more frequently proposed Strait of Sicily.

An extensive collection of classical references to the ‘Pillars’ is to be found on the Internet.

However, the poet Pindar in the Third Nemean Ode would appear to have treated the Pillars as a metaphor for the limit of established Greek geographical knowledge (Olympian 3.43-45), a boundary that was never static. In 1778, Jean-Silvain Bailly was certain that the Pillars of Hercules were just “a name that denotes limits or boundaries.”


Heracles is clearly the Greek counterpart of the Phoenician god Melqart, who was the principal god of the Phoenician city of Tyre. Melqart was brought to the most successful Tyrian colony, Carthage and subsequently further west, where at least three temples dedicated to Melqart have been identified in ancient Spain, Gades, Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Across the Strait in Morocco, the ancient Phoenician city of Lixus also has a temple to Melqart.

Gades (Cadiz) was originally named Gadir (walled city). It has been generally accepted that it was founded around 1100 BC, although hard evidence does not prove a date earlier than the 9th century BC. It is today regarded as the most ancient functioning city in Western Europe.

Pairs of free standing columns were apparently important in Phoenician temples and are also to be found in Egyptian temples as well as being part of Solomon’s temple (built by Phoenician craftsmen). Consequently the pillars of Melqart temple in Gades are considered by some to be the origin of the reference to the Pillars of Melqart and later of Heracles (by the Greeks) and Hercules (by the Romans) as applied to the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Pillars of Heracles usually play a critical part in the construction of any theory relating to the location of Atlantis. Even the authors of theories that have placed Plato’s island civilisation in such diverse locations as Antarctica, the North Sea or the South China Sea, have felt obliged to include an explanation for the ’Pillars’ within the framework of their particular hypothesis.

And it drags on and on and on from there…

But now we have another reference to the Pillars of Heracles and it includes two people markers. Keltoi and Kenesians. Searching on Kenesians gets you all sorts of Keynesian economic pages… as the search engines try to be “helpful” with spelling. Eventually I got it pegged down properly and that gave me all sorts of things using that same original quote from Herodotus. Eventually I got to a site with a fascinating bit on the genetics of the British and Celts that referenced that name and mapped it to Cynetes as a modern version that lead to:


The Cynetes or Conii were one of the pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, living in today’s Algarve and Lower Alentejo regions of southern Portugal before the 6th century BCE (in what was to become the southern part of the Roman province of Lusitania).

Origins and location

They are often mentioned in the ancient sources under various designations, mostly Greek or Latin derivatives of their two tribal names: ‘Cynetas’/’Cynetum’; ‘Kunetes’, ‘Kunetas’, and ‘Kunesioi’ or ‘Cuneus’, followed by ‘Konioi’, ‘Kouneon’ and ‘Kouneous’/‘Kouneoi’. The Conii occupied since the late Bronze Age most of the present-day Lower Alentejo, Algarve, and the southwestern Huelva province, giving the Algarve its pre-Roman name, the Cyneticum. Prior to the Celtic-Turduli migrations of the 5th-4th Centuries BC the original Conii territories also included upper Alentejo and the Portuguese coastal Estremadura region stretching up to the Munda (Mondego) river valley.


Their presence in these regions is attested archeologically by the elaborated cremation burial-mounds of their ruling elite, whose rich grave-goods and the inscripted slabs in ‘Tartessian alphabet’ – also referred to as ‘Southwest script’ – that mark the graves, evidence close contacts with North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean since the 9th Century BC.

Inscriptions in the Tartessian language have been found in the area, in a variety often referred to as Southwest Paleohispanic script. The name Conii, found in Strabo, seems to have been identical with the Cynesii, who were mentioned by Herodotus as the westernmost dwellers of Europe and distinguished by him from the Celts.

Map of the Gulf of Cádiz in Antiquity. Conistorgis is imprecisely located north of Ossonoba city (today’s Faro, Portugal).

The capital of the Conii was Conistorgis, according to Strabo, who considered the region Celtic. In the local language Conistorgis probably means “City of the Conii”. Its precise location has not been determinated. Some authors suggest that Pax Julia might have been founded over the ruins of Conistorgis. Other Conii towns (Oppida) included Ipses (Alvor), Cilpe (Cerro da Rocha Branca – Silves), Ossonoba (near Faro; Iberian-type mint: Osunba), Balsa (Quinta da Torre de Aires, Santa Luzia – Tavira), Baesuris (Castro Marim; Iberian-type mint: Baesuri) and Myrtilis (Mértola; Iberian-type mint: Mrtlis Saidie). According to Pomponius Mela the population of these parva oppida did not surpassed the 6,000 inhabitants. A powerful urban aristocracy of Phoenician and Turdetanian or Turduli colonists dominated all the trade, fishing, and shipbuilding in these same coastal settlements since the 4th Century BC, until the Carthaginians occupied the Cyneticum and founded the Punic colonies of Portus Hannibalis (near Portimão?) and Portus Magonis (Portimão) at the late 3rd Century BC.

The Genetics site, unfortunately, decided to go “4 paws to the moon” and put up a “Subscribe to see anything again” poster, so no linky link for them. Nor any quotes.

From memory, it was pointing out the distribution of the R1b gene marker and that it was found in the Celtic regions and in the northern / coastal regions of Spain AND was found in the population on the Canary Islands and the Berbers of North Africa. I note in passing that those regions are also places where the Phoenicians colonized and they were reputed to be red haired (to some degree).

So now put that all together and what to you get?

The people who were at the end of the water road, where the sun set on Europe and outside the Pillars of Heracles, and were snuggled up against a bit of folks around the area of Gibraltar AND found outside on the Atlantic coast. Outside the “Pillars of Heracles”. IMHO this pretty much places Atlantis as out in the Atlantic, somewhere.

Now, also of interest, is that the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands claimed that they had similar language and symbols as that found in the ruins of that other candidate for Atlantis, the Minoans on Crete. They were a grand seafaring people who were building palaces well beyond what anyone else was doing at the time.

So IMHO what we have are genetic and cultural markers running from Crete to the Canary Islands (and a story or two from South America about red headed guys coming to visit in pre-history…) along with some natural disasters that were in fact catastrophic (the rise of sea level post ice age glacial melt, then the explosion of Santorini much later).

To me, it looks like there was a greater Atlantis somewhere out in the Atlantic. When the oceans rose (about the right time frame from Plato’s dates) it was flooded out. Being a largely seafaring people, a rise of 400 feet in the ocean level would have destroyed all their major cities. The continental scale sea-trade failed, and the remnants were left to get by locally. Some succeeded fairly well and thrived as the Minoans inside the Mediterranean, until they got wiped out in the explosion of Santorini. Others likely were merged in with other peoples into the “Sea People” that the Egyptians finally stopped, but losing their culture in the process. The remainder, likely high in the R1b gene marker, populated North Africa, The Canary Islands (as an isolated remnant), and the Atlantic coastal areas. I suspect this is why the Island Gaelic languages are significantly different from the Continental ones. An admixture of Phoenicians and Atlanteans.

Plato places the date of the loss of Atlantis as about 10,000 years ago. That’s way too long to be found in the language, really. I would guess the language was not Gaelic related, but might be related to Minoan (that we can’t read…). It is worth noting that English (along with some of the other Germanic languages) has a “substrate language” that is also unknown. It is why we say “sea” instead of “mare” or king and knight. Whatever that substrate was, it was oriented to the sea and to nobility. So perhaps a few words could echo from back then. I suspect the core language evolved into Minoan over the 6000 or so years post destruction, and then was lost.

The genetic markers also have some issues. People move, and their genes to with them. Yet the genetic study of the UK shows most of their genetics pre-dates the German and Roman invasions. Similarly the Basque are a genetic individual group. The Basque have a physical appearance similar to that of the paintings on Minoans (dark hair) and the Iberian Peninsula has a history of bull fighting that is reflective of the Minoan. Proof of not much; but suggestive of a culture that once ranged out into the Atlantic, then got hobbled and splintered into local groups when the waters rose. But the R1b gene distribution suggests Atlantis was likely also R1b in large part.

So at that point, we have a largely sea faring people with continental trade, and perhaps even crossing the ocean to South America. There is evidence of copper mining in North America during the Bronze Age, and the hypothesis is that the Phoenicians brought it back to Europe, until they were wiped out. The idea being that a closely guarded secret for where they got all that copper died with them. Could that kind of traffic have started even earlier when the oceans where 400 feet lower and America easier to find? One wonders. Perhaps that would explain hints of Atlantis in the Americas. Colonial outposts that could not continue to stand once the core of the empire fell when the oceans rose.

To figure out if any of this speculation has merit, we would need to do a lot of digging in the mud 400 feet down under the present ocean level, at the mouth of where ancient rivers met the oceans.

So were the Atlanteans the precursors to the Phoenicians, the Minoans, the Celts, all of the above? We only recently got genetic markers for the Minoans, but not the male Y chromosome that I know of, but where the Celts and Phoenicians roamed, we find lots of R1b. For the Minoans, they used the matrilineal mitochondrial DNA markers.


A new study reported in the journal Nature Communications indicates that the Minoans, who 5,000 years ago established the first advanced Bronze Age civilization in present-day Crete, probably were descendents of the first Neolithic humans to reach the island around 7,000 BC and that they have the greatest genetic similarity with modern European populations.

They have two very nice maps with shading for origin. The one in blue is decribed as having a lot of presence in some Greeks, yet the map is darkest on top of the British Isles…

The Minoans shared the greatest percentage of their mtDNA variation with European populations, especially those in Northern and Western Europe.

When plotted geographically, shared Minoan mtDNA variation was lowest in North Africa and increased progressively across the Middle East, Caucasus, Mediterranean islands, Southern Europe, and mainland Europe. The highest percentage of shared Minoan mitochondrial DNA variation was found with Neolithic populations from Southern Europe.

The analysis also showed a high degree of sharing with the current population of the Lassithi plateau and Greece. In fact, the maternal genetic information passed down through many generations of mitochondria is still present in modern-day residents of the Lassithi plateau.

How they can say “especially Northern and Western Europe” and they say “Greece” is a bit opaque. One presumes that particular Plateau is special compared to the larger averages in the map.

Minoan DNA found in present populations, north and west Europe

Minoan DNA found in present populations

They have a red map for comparison to Bronze Age populations (one presumes a bunch of Bronze Age cemeteries were dug up for the data…) It shows strongest in the area of Sardinia but also strong across the Pyrenees and in the area of Denmark / coastal Germany. Right about where the old Phoenicians are thought to have reached their limit of ship born travels and inserted some interesting artifacts into the roots of English.

Bronze Age Genetic Match to Minoan DNA

Bronze Age Genetic Match to Minoan DNA

“About 9,000 years ago, there was an extensive migration of Neolithic humans from the regions of Anatolia that today comprise parts of Turkey and the Middle East. At the same time, the first Neolithic inhabitants reached Crete. Our mitochondrial DNA analysis shows that the Minoan’s strongest genetic relationships are with these Neolithic humans, as well as with ancient and modern Europeans,” Prof George Stamatoyannopoulos said.

“Our data suggest that the Neolithic population that gave rise to the Minoans also migrated into Europe and gave rise to modern European peoples.”

Gee… “ABOUT” 9,000 years ago. Not too far off from the fall of Atlantis. Just sayin’… And only a few thousand years after the date of Gobekle Tepe in Anatolia… Which causes me to wonder if the roots of Atlantis might reach back to that Anatolian source. Perhaps a precursor civilization there had to abandon that site as the first pulse of the collapse of the ice started. Then, after the Younger Dryas, the rebuilt society of Atlantis once again had a natural destruction from another ice melt pulse. Leaving behind a history of sea faring peoples and genetic markers in the islands of the region and the Berbers, Celts, and related folks from the coastal areas where they had been.

In any case, IMHO, Atlantis was found in all those places, thus it will not be possible to find the one Atlantis destruction location. IF as I speculate, it was a maritime trading people, spread from Anatolia to the Atlantic Islands, we will find it lost in many places. Perhaps only one “capital” will be found with the concentric harbor (a place like that was found in the Atlantic coastal area of Spain near Cadiz IIRC), but remnants all over suggest destruction of facilities all over.

Which Brings Up Salt

So were the Celts part of the Atlantean people or peoples? It may depend on which Celts. To me, it looks like the Island Celts and the Iberian Celts are a likely remnant or related people. Their language shows significant shift from the continental. Herodotus puts the Celts center as being at the head of the Danube. The Hallstatt Culture area.


The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western and Central European culture of Early Iron Age Europe from the 8th to 6th centuries BC, developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC (Late Bronze Age) and followed in much of its area by the La Tène culture. It is commonly associated with Proto-Celtic and Celtic populations in the Western Hallstatt zone and with (pre-)Illyrians in the eastern Hallstatt zone.

It is named for its type site, Hallstatt, a lakeside village in the Austrian Salzkammergut southeast of Salzburg, where there was a rich salt mine, and some 1,300 burials are known, many with fine artefacts. Material from Hallstatt has been classed into 4 periods, numbered “Hallstatt A” to “D”. Hallstatt A and B are regarded as Late Bronze Age and the terms used for wider areas, such as “Hallstatt culture”, or “period”, “style” and so on, relate to the Iron Age Hallstatt C and D.

“Hall” is celtic for salt, and they have been mining salt there for at least 7000 years. Another Youtube about Hallstatt and salt pointed out it was called “white gold” and was very pricey. The local grave yard was robbed, pardon, “researched”, and gold artifacts were found (as is common in Celt graves).

Now that first YouTube had gone out of their way to claim that the Celts did not have a money society. That goods were given away to incur “debt” from others. I think they just have a too limited understanding of what constitutes “money”. I think what they really meant was that there was no gold or silver coinage found. Well, we get the word “salary” and the phrase “not worth his salt” from the use of salt as money to pay wages. There will be no evidence of a bag of salt in the pocket of a person used as money as any water would dissolve and wash it away. There was huge trade in salt, and as “white gold” it would make a very effective money.

There were lots of grave goods showing trade with Greece, Anatolia, Italy (and Etruscans) along with coral from the Mediterranean and Amber from the Baltics. The Hallstatt Culture is straddling the headwaters of the navigable ends of the major rivers of Europe. (Where better for the remnants of a sea faring people to continue to be mariners, but living a bit away from the ocean edge…)

The lack of Keltoi in the Pyrenees where Minoan markers are highest raises some doubt about both connections, but as one is a culture and the other a genetic marker, there are still possibles to explore. There’s also a few thousand years offset and who knows how many wars between those marker sets.

The archaeologists do their usual thing of interpreting everything as either a status symbol / powerful chieftains or a religious site. One hill city in France was able to see another mountaintop with a mostly flat area on it. Their conclusion? A place for religious gatherings. No suggestion that it might have been a place to process or trade salt, or a place where the folks from all around gathered for the big blowout parties. Near as I can tell (and I’m a card carrying Druid – yeah, got too interested once… now I’m an official…) the Druids did NOT have giant Y’all Come! religious gatherings. The Druids tended to meet in old groves of trees and talk amongst themselves. The Celts did have a very long tradition of brewing beer, and one of the earliest finds is in what is now the Bavaria / Czech border area – a 5000 year old brewery. Now large cauldrons are common in the grave goods. Along with large dipping pitchers and cups. Things about the size of a soup bowl. So, of course, the French Researchers stated it was for wine… Um, I don’t think so, Tim… IMHO, they had a large “fun and games” area on top of that mountain and had big old beer bashes and “party at the stadium”, but well away from the houses and kids and such. Gee, kind of like today.

What I see is a very advanced trading people, making metalworks of high quality, trading to all edges of Europe, with tons of “white gold” to ship and big old Greek made bronze pots to make their wort and ferment their beer. No economy like that is going to run on “favors”. I’d think salt as money is most likely, but simple barter could also work. All that jewelry was made from raw metals, so a trade (like in the old West of the USA) of gold as nuggets, flakes, and powder would also make a fine money. Money need not have a Kings face on it to be money. Nor does a large open site with minimal housing and factories imply religion (and certainly not when a people is up to their chin in beer and BBQ!)

Oh Well. Maybe some day some archeologist will actually “get a life” and go to a football game or soccer tournament and catch a clue. Heck, you would think the Roman Games, Greek Olympics, and the European Jousting fairs would be enough to get the idea across. Do all that too close to home, you will ruin the hunting for months. Do it a few miles away, and you can bag the BBQ on the day trip over to Party Land and not care that post party the remaining game will be driven away. (Though some of it is driven toward your home turf…)

Now also think for just a moment about the date on that mine. 7000 years ago, that we know of. Just a few thousand after the proposed date of Atlantis falling. Plenty of time for a remnant population to spread up river, settle in, and find the salt sources. Resuming their trading culture, but from a more land centric location.

Odds ‘n Ends

The Palace of Knossos as referenced by Homer:


Knossos (pronounced Kuh-nuh-SOS) is the ancient Minoan palace and surrounding city on the island of Crete, sung of by Homer in his Odyssey: “Among their cities is the great city of Cnosus, where Minos reigned when nine years old, he that held converse with great Zeus.” King Minos, famous for his wisdom and, later, one of the three judges of the dead in the underworld, would give his name to the people of Knossos and, by extension, the ancient civilization of Crete: Minoan. The settlement was established well before 2000 BCE and was destroyed, most likely by fire (though some claim a tsunami) c. 1700 BCE. Knossos has been identified with Plato’s mythical Atlantis from his dialogues of the Timaeus and Critias and is also known in myth most famously through the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. It should be noted that King Minos’ character in the story, as the king who demands human sacrifice from Athens, is at odds with other accounts of him as a king of wisdom and justice who, further, built the first navy and rid the Aegean sea of pirates.

Unfortunately, that 200 B.C. date is about 6,000 years too late for Atlantis as dated by Plato. But well placed as a remnant of the culture or genetics of the people from that first calamity.

Canary Island Genetics:


Population genetics

The most frequent (maternal-descent) mtDNA haplogroup in Canary Islands is H (37.6%), followed by U6 (14.0%), T (12.7%), not-U6 U (10.3%) and J (7.0%). Two haplogroups, H and U6, alone account for more than 50% of the individuals. Significant frequencies of sub-Saharan L haplogroups (6.6%) is also consistent with the historical records on introduction of sub-Saharan slave labour in Canary Islands. However, some Sub-Saharan lineages are also found in North African populations, and as a result, some of these L lineages could have been introduced to the Islands from North Africa. A 2009 study of DNA extracted from the remains of aboriginal inhabitants found that 7% of lineages were haplogroup L, which leaves open the possibility that these L lineages were part of the founding population of the Canary Islands..

A 2003 genetics research article by Nicole Maca-Meyer et al. published in the European Journal of Human Genetics compared aboriginal Guanche mtDNA (collected from Canarian archaeological sites) to that of today’s Canarians and concluded that “despite the continuous changes suffered by the population (Spanish colonization, slave trade), aboriginal mtDNA lineages constitute a considerable proportion [42–73%] of the Canarian gene pool”.

Although the Berbers are the most probable ancestors of the Guanches, it is deduced that important human movements (e.g., the Islamic-Arabic conquest of the Berbers) have reshaped Northwest Africa after the migratory wave to the Canary Islands and the “results support, from a maternal perspective, the supposition that since the end of the 16th century, at least, two-thirds of the Canarian population had an indigenous substrate, as was previously inferred from historical and anthropological data.” mtDNA haplogroup U subclade U6b1 is Canarian-specific and is the most common mtDNA haplogroup found in aboriginal Guanche archaeological burial sites.

Y-DNA, or Y-chromosomal, (direct paternal) lineages were not analysed in this study; however, an earlier study giving the aboriginal y-DNA contribution at 6% was cited by Maca-Meyer et al., but the results were criticized as possibly flawed due to the widespread phylogeography of y-DNA haplogroup E1b1b1b, which may skew determination of the aboriginality versus coloniality of contemporary y-DNA lineages in the Canaries. Regardless, Maca-Meyer et al. state that historical evidence does support the explanation of “strong sexual asymmetry…as a result of a strong bias favoring matings between European males and aboriginal females, and to the important aboriginal male mortality during the Conquest.” The genetics thus suggests that native men were sharply reduced in numbers due to the war, large numbers of Spanish men stayed in the islands and married the local women, the Canarians adopted Spanish names, language, and religion, and in this way, the Canarians were Hispanicized.

Indeed, according to a recent study by Fregel et al. 2009, in spite of the geographic nearness between the Canary Islands and Morocco the genetic ancestry of the Canary islands males is mainly of European origin. Nearly 67% of the haplogroups resulting from are Euro–Eurasian (R1a (2.76%), R1b (50.62%), J (14%), I (9.66%) and G (3.99%)). Unsurprisingly the Spanish conquest brought the genetic base of the current male population of the Canary Islands. Nevertheless, the second most important haplogroup origin is Northern Africa. E1b1b (14% including 8.30% of the typical berber haplogroup E-M81), E1b1a and E1a (1.50%), and T (3%) haplogroups are present at a rate of 33%. Even if a part of these “eastern” haplogroups were introduced by the Spanish (they are well represented in Spain), we can suppose that a good portion of this rate was already there at the time of the conquest. According to the same study, the presence of autochthonous North African E-M81 lineages, and also other relatively abundant markers (E-M78 and J-M267) from the same region in the indigenous Guanche population, “strongly points to that area [North Africa] as the most probable origin of the Guanche ancestors”. In this study, Fregel et al. estimated that, based on Y-chromosome and mtDNA haplogroup frequencies, the relative female and male indigenous Guanche contributions to the present-day Canary Islands populations were respectively of 41.8% and 16.1%.

An autosomal study in 2011 found an average Northwest African influence of about 17% in Canary Islanders with a wide interindividual variation ranging from 0% to 96%. According to the authors, the substantial Northwest African ancestry found for Canary Islanders supports that, despite the aggressive conquest by the Spanish in the 15th century and the subsequent immigration, genetic footprints of the first settlers of the Canary Islands persist in the current inhabitants. Paralleling mtDNA findings, the largest average Northwest African contribution was found for the samples from La Gomera.

So once again a mix of R1b / Celtic markers and Berber / Phoenician markers. These two groups got around the shores of both sides of the Straight Of Gibraltar, and, it is pretty clear, out into the Atlantic.

British Genetics:

Where did the British come from? There’s a lot of that Iberian Celtic / Phoenician area shows up in British pants, but also some Basque like base levels:


The Origins of the British
From ISOGG Wiki

The Origins of the British is a book by Stephen Oppenheimer, first published in 2006 and revised in 2007. Oppenheimer argued that neither Anglo-Saxons nor Celts had much impact on the genetics of the inhabitants of the British Isles, and that British ancestry mainly traces back to the Palaeolithic Iberian people, now represented best by the Basques, instead. He also argued that the Scandinavian input has been underestimated.

Oppenheimer uses genetic studies to give an insight into the genetic origins of people in the British Isles and speculates on how to match this evidence with documentary, linguistic and archaeological data to give insights into the origins of Britain, the Celts, the Vikings and the English. Oppenheimer uses DNA databases provided by Weale et al., Capelli et al. and Rosser et al. to provide new analyses of the haplotype distributions in both the male and female lines of the populations of Britain and Ireland (as well as Western Europe).

He breaks down the R1b haplogroup into a detailed set of “clans” that are undefined.

He makes the case that the geography and climate have had an influence on the genetics and culture of Britain, because of coastline changes. These genetic and cultural changes stem from two main zones of contact:

1 The Atlantic fringe, mainly from Spain and Portugal, to the western British Isles
2 Northern Europe, originally across Doggerland to eastern England and from Scandinavia to northern Scotland

Oppenheimer derives much archaeological information from Professor Barry Cunliffe’s ideas of the trading routes using the Atlantic from Spain, and from the writings of:

Simon James (The Atlantic Celts – Ancient People or Modern Invention?)
Francis Pryor (Britain B.C.: life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans
John Collis (The Celts: origins, myths & inventions )
Colin Renfrew, (Archaeology and Language – The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins)

The work of the geneticist Peter Forster has strongly influenced Oppenheimer’s linguistic theories. He uses the evidence that the Germanic genetic contribution to eastern England originated before the Anglo-Saxon conquest of much of England incursion to suggest that the possibility that some inhabitants of the isle of Britain spoke English well before the so-called “Dark Ages”.

Oppenheimer’s main ideas include:

1 The importance of Barry Cunliffe’s Atlantic routes to the settling of Britain.
2 Since much British genetic material dates to the re-settlement of Britain following the ice ages, all subsequent invasions/migrations/immigrations occurred on a relatively small scale and did not replace Britain’s population.
3 The origins of Celtic culture lie in southwestern Europe. The Central European (La Tène culture) theory for Celtic origins has no basis. Celtic culture arrived in the British Isles before the Iron Age and only involved limited movement of people, mainly into the east of England.
4 There are some differences between the male and female origins of the British population, but these are small.
5 Some genetic evidence is in support of Renfrew’s theory that Indo-European origins comes with farming.
6 Genetic evidence suggests that the division between the West and the East of England does not begin with the Anglo-Saxon invasion but originates with two main routes of genetic flow — one up the Atlantic coast, the other from neighbouring areas of Continental Europe. This happened just after the Last Glacial Maximum. There is a cline between east and west, rather than a sharp division.
7 Scandinavian influences, stronger than suspected, may outweigh West Germanic influence.
8 A genetic difference exists between the Saxon areas of England and the Anglian areas. (Oppenheimer suggests that the so-called Anglo-Saxon invasion actually mostly consisted of an Anglian incursion.)
9 English being native to east Britain might explain the lack of Celtic influence on early English and the genetic split between East and West.
10 Classical sources differentiate between Gallic/Celtic and Belgae. Sources state that some of the (northern) Belgae have a German origin. Various archaeological and linguistic evidence make for a weaker case for Celtic presence in Belgium and Eastern England than in Gallic/Celtic or western Britain.

In Origins of the British (2006), Stephen Oppenheimer states (pages 375 and 378):

“By far the majority of male gene types in the British Isles derive from Iberia (Spain and Portugal), ranging from a low of 59% in Fakenham, Norfolk to highs of 96% in Llangefni, north Wales and 93% Castlerea, Ireland. On average only 30% of gene types in England derive from north-west Europe. Even without dating the earlier waves of north-west European immigration, this invalidates the Anglo-Saxon wipeout theory…”

“…75-95% of British Isles (genetic) matches derive from Iberia… Ireland, coastal Wales, and central and west-coast Scotland are almost entirely made up from Iberian founders, while the rest of the non-English parts of the British Isles have similarly high rates.
England has rather lower rates of Iberian types with marked heterogeneity, but no English sample has less than 58% of Iberian samples…”

In page 367 Oppenheimer states in relation to Zoë H Rosser’s pan-European genetic distance map:

“In Rosser’s work, the closest population to the Basques is in Cornwall, followed closely by Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and then northern France.”

He reports work on linguistics by Forster and Toth which suggests that Indo-European languages began to fragment some 10,000 years ago (at the end of the Ice Age). Oppenheimer claims that Celtic lanuguages split from Indo-European languages earlier than previously suspected, some 6000 years ago, while English split from Germanic languages before the Roman period, see Forster, Polzin and Rohl.

So all in all, it looks like the basic Brit showed up mostly about the time of the great melt, the flood, and then some more via boats from Iberia later. Now, were there an Atlantis kicking around outside the Mediterranean and the ice is melting causing folks to split on boats, IMHO, they would mostly land on the British Isles, Iberian and French / Dutch / Danish coasts, and some areas of North Africa and islands in the Mediterranean. Forming the genetic base or mixing in with the local base, of those places. Then the language group breaks up and you get Celtic vs Germanic vs Latin vs… But the genetic markers remain. Though we are still left with the question of who is the base and who is the adjunct. There’s a mix of North African (Phoenician) markers with Celtic (R1b) with other bits like the Basque. The language groups are also a bit mixed, with Basque an isolate and Celtic having divergent island vs mainland forms, and North Africa a mess as it was overrun with Romans, and then Arabs, and culture shifted extremely both times.

Discussions on Celts:

An interesting discussion on where all those Celts came from. Seems some folks think Celts were limited to the Hallstatt area then spread out. Daft IMHO. They were everywhere in Europe and others wandered in…


This comment in particular:

Actually all this is really saying is the evidence that Celtic was brought by the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures to Ireland (or indeed that these cultures were the main vector of its spread anywhere) is looking very shaky. You could extend this lack of convincing evidence for a major migration phase spreading Celtic to most of Britain and IMO much of Gaul too. From what I know of Gaulish archaeology there is little convincing evidence for a major migration in the Hallstatt and La Tene periods in most of Gaul either. I think people the realisation is setting in that Hallstatt and La Tene were just regional style changes among an already Celtic Europe. The whole maps of La Tene and Hallstatt centres with arrows spreading out from them cannot be seen as a population spread in much of Europe. The problem seems to have come about that migratory phases into Italy and eastern Europe (perhaps triggered by the collapse of the Hallstatt D north-Alpine chiefdoms) was a unique phase and not the norm and certainly not the story of the spread of Celtic in western Europe (bar Italy). I think it is looking more and more likely that the Atlantic school are right and La Tene and Hallstatt D were late flourishes towards the eastern edge of a much older Celtic world.

Some more of that:


In Conclusion

Once you get back to before written history, and especially when dealing with time in thousand year chunks, it is hard to know much. It’s mostly guessing. Genetics shift with wars and invasions. Languages too, but they also shift just from folks being sloppy and not consistent.

I was watching a TV series set in Colombia and another set in southern Spain. The Colombian show has some Mexican settings in it too. The three Spanish dialects are significantly different. Spain Spanish from Andalusia is fast, very fast, and very “clipped”. A rapid utterance of micro-syllables. I can only barely track it at all, and even the English subtitles fly by so fast I can only just read them. The one in South America is laid back slow. I can just listen to the Spanish then shift down to the English subtitle if I’ve missed something (and it doesn’t flash on to the next one immediately…) I find it fairly easy to understand. The Mexican Spanish has a more throaty guttural/nasal quality to my ear, but is mostly understandable (modulo a few non-standard words).

Cultures and “material culture” shift fast too. A new style or method can sweep the world in a generation. The Bronze Age turned to the Iron Age for everyone at about the same time. Cars took over the world in a generation. Music flows with wandering minstrels as well as with iPods.

So anything from prehistory is by definition speculative.

Still, I think it’s pretty certain that there was an Atlantis, it was attested by the Egyptians to the Greeks, and there were “many destructions of mankind” in the Egyptian history (now lost). I believe their date is correct, at the final melt water phase after the Younger Dryas. That catastrophic ocean rise would wipe out all coastal cultures, and the shift of rainfall patterns would highly stress or collapse the inland ones. Mammoth floods would wash out river side cities. Mostly what would survive would be the rural folks living on mountains. Farmers and shepherds.

The Proto Egyptian folks moved from the wet green lush Sahara into the one reliable river valley and “civilization started” along with the formal recording of history. Most archaeologists are content to date all civilization as starting from that remnant. IMHO it must be, at most, a remnant of a preexisting civilization. One does not instantly burst into being with megalithic construction and two forms of writing. Solon was told by the Egyptians that civilization stretched back at least 30,000 years prior, but there were many collapses. Then we “lost the plot” in one of those as the Egyptian libraries were burned.

One of those lost cultures was the Minoans, but we are starting to understand a little of them. For anything much older, we’ll have to dig 400 feet down in the oceans, or under the blowing sands of the Sahara.

Does it matter, really, to us, today? Not much. It would be nice to know. It might illuminate some of our present characteristics. Mostly it would show we need to spend much more time figuring out what knowledge is valuable and preserving it for the future as we, too, shall fall “someday”. I’ve thought of making computer printed ‘stencils’ that could be fired onto tiles. It would let a modern version of clay tablets be made rapidly and effectively. A nice copy of a good encyclopedia, and some technical manuals, along with math, physics, and chemistry texts would give a big leg up to a future society. Maybe even land a set on the Moon near something interesting with the more advanced stuff in it. Paper and Digital storage do not work for a 5000 year horizon. Not even all that well for a 1000 year one. Metals get melted down and reused, or just rust away.

Well, with that, I’m going back to the workshop and see what else I can work on.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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50 Responses to Herodotus, Heracles, Keltoi, Kynesians, Salt & Ships

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Ah, found another interesting genetics paper here:

    Click to access osr2017antonio.pdf

    International Journal of Modern Anthropology
    Int. J. Mod. Anthrop.(2017) 10: 50
    Original Synthesis Report
    HLA Genes in Atlantic Celtic populations:

    Are Celts Iberians?

    Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, Ana Carballo, Ignacio Juarez, Ester Muñiz, Cristina
    Campos, Beatriz Tejedor, Manuel Martín-Villa, Jose Palacio-Grube


    Atlantic Europe populations were analyzed with HLA genes in order to establish their relationship among themselves and with other populations. Standard genetic and statistical software analyses were used. Celtic populations (British Isles and French Bretons) have genetically been found close together: Irish, Welsh, Orkney Islanders (Scottish), French Bretons, Galicians, Spanish Basques, Portuguese, cluster together in DA genetic distances, correspondence analysis and Neighbour Joining dendrograms. Genetics have been shown by itself not suffice to determine populations migration/relatedness. Aristotle and Herodotus placed Celts in Iberia and R1b chromosome Y marker is high in Iberia and all Celtic European populations above mentioned (probably stemming from Iberian Ice refugee after Last Glaciation) and Ancient Celt language (Gaelic) is being translated from Iberian-Tartesian language:

    these suggest that Celts and Iberians, so named by Classic authors, constitute the same population.

    On the other hand,

    a) R1b gene analysis of Canary Islands ancient inhabitants (Guanches),

    b) abundant Iberian scripts are also found in Canary Islands,

    c) a established North Africa/Iberia ancient gene flow, and

    d) no evidence of demic diffusion from eastern to western Mediterranean according to human ancient skeleton studies is noticed in Mesolithic/Neolithic transition: these facts suggest that ancient Canary Islanders may be included within the Iberian/Celtic population.

    Our conclusions are that:

    1) Celts are concentrated in Atlantic Europe,

    2) Iberians and Celts mentioned by classic authors most probably refer to the same population living in Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal); in addition, North African Berbers and ancient Canary Islanders also belong to this group

    3) Postulated farmers demic diffusion in a East to West Mediterranean direction never existed.

    Basically confirming the notion that Celts are an Atlantic European people and were all over Iberia and nearby areas. They didn’t just wander in from south of Bavaria…

    This implies that if Atlantis was in fact “out there” then the folks in it were likely Celts, of one flavor or another…

  2. ptolemy2 says:

    Talking of ancient human migrations, here is a narrative poem, “Odyssey from Africa and the Adventures of Ipiki”, which follows the first modern human migrants out of Africa on their epic exodus 60 thousand years ago. It illustrates the critical role of climate change in our own evolution. Plus good luck – and good beer!

    “Sixty thousand years ago they chased a dream.
    The world would never be the same again.”

  3. Steven Fraser says:

    The narrative reads like an unfolding of a Michael Chrichton or Dan Brown novel, especially the idea of going undersea or under-sahara investigating during the investigation.

    Scene 1: 120 metres beneath somewhere in the Sahara, on an ancient riverbed, stone structures are uncovered and investigated…..

  4. John F. Hultquist says:

    I haven’t finished reading yet, but will add that because of German, Swedish, and Irish — and red hair — in my family, I’ve looked just a little at issues. Most recently came across this site:
    A Resource for Turkic and Jewish History in Russia and Ukraine
    . . . and looked at these two:

    OT: Don’t miss the 2nd wave of cold back east.

    That’s it for now.

  5. Great research EM. Couple of points
    The dramatic sea level change occurred 16000-12000 BC when Tasmanian aborgines became isolated from mainland Australia. The rising sea formed Bass straight. Australia was first populated by people similar to the Tasmanians about 60,000 BC. The present aborgines (full blood) were later invaders coming from PNG about 5000-3000BC
    There is evidence that the first metal smelted was lead around 7000BC used for weights, sinkers for fishing nets etc. The smelting may have been accidental during lime production as some limestone contains galena. (I saw veins of galena in a limestone quarry in the Hope valley UK) Lead objects were found in an excavation dating to around 7000BC at Catal Huyuk in Turkey where polished concrete floors were discovered.
    The lead smelting lead to silver smelting. Silver is normally associated with lead. The Broken Hill deposit silver-lead-zinc was discovered by outcrops of ore rich in silver. Native silver can be seen in some outcrops. One of the first chemical engineering innovations was cupellation which is the separation of silver and lead during smelting. Blowing air over the Ag-Pb melt will result in the lead at the surface oxidising which can then be removed.
    Native copper can also be found at outcrops of copper rich ore. I suggest that copper smelting also in Turkey came about from smelting of silver. The first known smelting dates to 4000BC but it would likely have been around 5000BC Around the same time I think tin smelting started also in Turkey where there were deposits of cassiterite on shores of the Black sea. Bronze was first made around 3600BC in eastern Turkey (Bronze has a base of Cu, with additions of Sn & Sb plus sometimes Pb and Zn). The knowledge of bronze making spread quickly with traders looking for raw materials particularly Cu,(Spain),Sn (Cornwall UK) and Sb (Eygpt, and Iraq)

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    I personally think the tale of Atlantis is most likely a record of a megatsunami event near the Canary Islands. Such as La Palma island and a massive collapse of the flank of Cumbre Vieja

    Click to access La_Palma_grl.pdf

    Figure 1.
    Location of La Palma Island, home to Cumbre Vieja volcano. As evidenced by the abundant landslide deposits strewn about their bases, the Canary Island volcanoes have experienced at least a dozen major collapses in the past several million years

    Such a collapse tsunami would wipe out huge portions of the settled world, particularly the seafaring cultures that would settle on the sea coasts.

    (note this link below talks about a megatsunami that occurred 73000 years ago about the time of the genetic bottleneck if the volcanic collapse was accompanied with major ejecta into the upper atmosphere it would have had far reaching effects beyond the local coastal devastation from the tsunami)


  7. Another Ian says:

    Re cementafriend says:
    13 January 2018 at 6:45 am

    Find yourself a copy of

    Gale, N.H. and Stos-Gale, Z. (1981) “Lead and silver in the ancient Aegean”. Scientific American 244 (6) 142-152

    For a discussion of smelting in a Mediterranian context.

    You will also see the best photo of a cleavage I’ve ever seen in a scientific article

  8. Graeme No.3 says:

    For what it is worth, there is a strong tradition of bagpipes in Scotland, Ireland, Northumbria (small pipes) and Galicia, although as we know from Bruegel they were used in the Low Countries too.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    Ya Caught Me! I’m a serious Michael Chrichton fan ;-)

    I’ve occasionally toyed with the idea of writing a novel, but not gotten enough nerve up yet…

    @John F.H.:

    The peculiar connections of Jews and British is a topic in its own right. I’ve seen it stated that Welsh has enough cognates with Hebrew that the Hebrew bible can be (to some degree) read by the Welsh. I’ve yet to find someone who speaks both to confirm or deny that… Then there’s the Irish tradition that states they were descended from “Nohy” or some such with a history of worship of Baal … the cow god.

    There’s also the connection of Edom and the Edomites. Reputedly the descendants of the red haired brother of Israel (who had his birth right “stolen”). The were located south of Israel, and supposedly a bunch of them ran off to other places (Ireland anyone?). Eventually Israel killed off a bunch of them, and somewhere along the line redheads were accepted back into the tribes of Israel.

    Yeah, lots of stuff to dig through there. The Red Hair marker starts in central north Asia (Russia) and spreads out from there mostly south and west (eventually reaching California in me and mine ;-)

    While the R1b gene is almost iconic of Celts, the R1a has some frequency. Similarly, the R1a is common in Germanic and northern tribes, but R1b shows up too. IIRC, they split about 10,000 years ago (might be as close as 6000) from the base R1 type. R1a mostly going north / east as German / Slavic while R1b mostly goes west as Celts. Yet closely related and somewhat mixed.

    Per 10,000 vs 16,000 vs whatever ago:

    There were some dramatic pulses at different times, in a context of a long rise. Exact dates are dodgy, so I just stuck a mark at an easy number near the middle… See:

    Where pulse 1A is early (14,000+ years) there is a plateau of 1,000 years about 11,000 then a long rise to modernity. That plateau is about when Atlantis was supposed to exist.

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    Regarding Atlantis, I favor the eruption of Thera and the dispersal of the Minoans not at home on the day. Any crew well away from the island would have carried knowledge and aspects of Minoan culture. But that was about 1627 BC (?) and seems not to fit the time line. 11,000 years is long enough for a new community to develop — it is a great location given transport technology. So, was there an early Atlantis, and the one now called Akrotiri ?
    . . . not that I know much about any of this.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @John H.F.:

    Remember that the Atlantis story as related by Solon included the admonition:

    “many have been the destructions of mankind.” and ~”you Greeks are like children, having no history that is truly old and hoary with age”.

    (Actual quote much longer. See: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/timaeus.html)

    “Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said: O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you. Solon in return asked him what he meant. I mean to say, he replied, that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you why. There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore.”

    So all that history was lost, but the events still happened.

    Interesting about that particular quote (the long one) is that it puts emphasis on fire in the sky from heavenly bodies. We’ve now shown via actual contemporaneous records that the fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah was a meteor like object that made a decent explosion. The flash of light when it exploded making Lot’s wife look like a ‘pillar of salt’ and killing folks not inside the cave. There was an astronomer observing that night and recording what he saw on a disk of clay. By some miracle, it was found and matches the biblical time / place. There was some other corroboration too but I’ve forgotten who it was (vague memory that maybe a Chinese record has something the same date). Then they found a mountain top with damage along the flight path and some ground damage where it had landed.

    So the point:

    Atlantis is but ONE of the “many destructions of mankind” and there could well have been a couple of melt water pulses accounting for different events. Supposedly the lost writings spanned some 30,000 odd years, so would have had many other events in them.

    Some more details:

    Also note that many of those measurement stars have a wide range. There could easily have been things like rapid short pulses not showing on the fat fitted line. Further, it could be that yet another meteor or comet hit in the ocean and that caused a tidal wave of immense proportions (thus ‘sank in a day”). The Taurid Meteor Storm has a 3000 year cycle to it as we move into and out of the most dense section, so a periodic wallop in the ocean every few thousand years is likely. (As noted in the Egyptian quote that “a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals” statement).

    It is my opinion we must simply accept what the ancient writers wrote as meaning what they said. So when they say 10k years ago, that’s about when it was. Not 3,000. ( I ought to fact check the actual Plato quote for actual date, I’ve lost the plot on 10k vs 12k and BC vs BP… but ‘what he said’).

    Looking again in Timaeus from that link:

    Note the reference to multiple “deluges” (bold mine) and repeated destruction from the sky

    Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves. As for those genealogies of yours which you just now recounted to us, Solon, they are no better than the tales of children. In the first place you remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones

    Now Solon was 600 BC… So Atlantis just can’t fit the eruption and loss of Crete. Not old enough as the Atlantis history was from a prior deluge.

    Ah, looks like it’s in this long bit. I’m going to break it up and insert some comments and bold::

    Solon marvelled at his words, and earnestly requested the priests to inform him exactly and in order about these former citizens. You are welcome to hear about them, Solon, said the priest, both for your own sake and for that of your city, and above all, for the sake of the goddess who is the common patron and parent and educator of both our cities. She founded your city a thousand years before ours,

    Now already we’ve got a 1000 year set back from 600 BC, but even then you must add all the entire length of the Greek civilization to that point (600 BC). Clearly way prior to the loss of Crete.

    receiving from the Earth and Hephaestus the seed of your race, and afterwards she founded ours, of which the constitution is recorded in our sacred registers to be eight thousand years old. As touching your citizens of nine thousand years ago, I will briefly inform you of their laws and of their most famous action;

    So now from at least 600 BC we’ve got to step back another 9,000 years to the setting of the story / history lesson. I make that 11,600 BP and right on that last plateau in the water rise.

    This next long paragraph is stage setting then in the one after that we get back to the story.

    the exact particulars of the whole we will hereafter go through at our leisure in the sacred registers themselves. If you compare these very laws with ours you will find that many of ours are the counterpart of yours as they were in the olden time. In the first place, there is the caste of priests, which is separated from all the others; next, there are the artificers, who ply their several crafts by themselves and do not intermix; and also there is the class of shepherds and of hunters, as well as that of husbandmen; and you will observe, too, that the warriors in Egypt are distinct from all the other classes, and are commanded by the law to devote themselves solely to military pursuits; moreover, the weapons which they carry are shields and spears, a style of equipment which the goddess taught of Asiatics first to us, as in your part of the world first to you. Then as to wisdom, do you observe how our law from the very first made a study of the whole order of things, extending even to prophecy and medicine which gives health, out of these divine elements deriving what was needful for human life, and adding every sort of knowledge which was akin to them. All this order and arrangement the goddess first imparted to you when establishing your city; and she chose the spot of earth in which you were born, because she saw that the happy temperament of the seasons in that land would produce the wisest of men. Wherefore the goddess, who was a lover both of war and of wisdom, selected and first of all settled that spot which was the most likely to produce men likest herself. And there you dwelt, having such laws as these and still better ones, and excelled all mankind in all virtue, as became the children and disciples of the gods.

    Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in our histories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end. This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean,

    Clearly stating NOT the Mediterranean but the Atlantic Ocean. Saying they invaded Europe and “Asia” that mostly, then, meant the Middle East to about India.

    for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent.

    Now I don’t see how you can read that as being anything other than these folks new about the Americas. A “boundless continent” that surrounds the “true ocean” and compares the Mediterranean as a “sea” inside the Straits of Heracles. The Atlantis “Island” is described as bigger than Libya (north Africa) and Asia put together. To me, that says the Americas as most likely, or else something very large around Cuba / Bahama’s etc. With an outpost on the Azores and Canaries most likely. Either that or they didn’t get the placement of Britain quite right… and the Brits are the Atlanteans (but Britain never sank… so hard to fit).

    Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia.

    Now this includes Sardinia (where the most Minoan like gene concentration exists) and North Africa up to Egypt, where the Celtic genes are found, and Europe up to central Italy (again where the Celts are found today). Clearly making a distinction between the “continent” where these guys held sway and Europe and North Africa where they invaded. That also clearly is NOT including Crete and the places over in the middle east end of the Med. Sea.

    This vast power, gathered into one, endeavoured to subdue at a blow our country and yours and the whole of the region within the straits;

    So taking on the Greeks AND Egypt. Not seeing how Crete could do that…

    and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars. But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.

    Now if this story was retelling an old history (as the teller calls it) it is quite possible that there had been a shoal at that point shortly after the event, but folks just had not gone back and noticed it had an added 100 or 200 foot of water now.

    Note too that the Younger Dryas was about 12,900 to 11,700 years ago (BP) so essentially lands on top of this event. I’m fairly certain there was a major comet or meteor impact into the Canadian Ice then, and that would have sent ejecta and potentially tidal waves (as the rocks seem to have hit in a grouping spread over several parts of N. America and some would have hit the ocean with that spread) to wipe out pretty much all the extant society around and especially folks at harbors on the ocean, as these folks seemed to do.

    So me, it just looks like the way to get all these facts to coexist is to have an Atlantic dominating seafaring people, coming into the Mediterranean and warring like crazy trying to take over the place. They get sent packing back to their Atlantic (and Americas) ports and cities, then get a sudden deluge from a major strike in N. America that gives them a Very Bad Day, and causes a long period of grief and cold, as the ocean continues to rise hiding all the evidence when the Younger Dryas ends. Egyptians had moved from the drying Sahara into the Nile area and take their records with them, and the Greeks took a cultural reset as they were “like children” and devoid of letters. (The Minoans were not yet writing Linear A and Linear B was after that as the first Greek writing).

    Oh, and one other thing to keep in mind: In those days a town of 10,000 people was gigantic. Even 1000 was large. So all the population of Atlantis could have been fairly small, really. Places were mostly empty. Not at all like recent history. You didn’t need a million man army to “subdue Libya”.

    My one major reservation about all this is that it DOES sound an awful lot like the Sea People. Both where the armies reached and who stopped them. Is it possible someone slipped some decimal points when translating the bizarre number system of Egyptian Hieroglyphs into Greek? If so, that would just leave us back at the mystery of where the Sea People came from, though. While I don’t think that’s the case, it does bear scrutiny on that point. Or maybe it’s just one of those things that keeps happening in the region. Like Germany invading France and the British not being so easy to invade…

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    Now this is quite odd, in an “I’ve seen that before from an entirely different direction” kind of way.

    This particular portion is describing an adventure by some young men who, it claims, were searching for the head of the Nile and managed to cross the Sahara where they ran into some small black men (pygmies?) who carted them off though a swampy area to a city. Eventually they returned home.

    In the following, all bold done by me.

    Remember that the river Ister is the Danube:

    Old European river name derived from a Proto-Indo-European *dānu. Other river names from the same root include the Dunajec, Dzvina/Daugava, Don, Donets, Dnieper, Dniestr, Dysna, Tana and Tuoni. In Rigvedic Sanskrit, dānu means “fluid, drop”, in Avestan, the same word means “river”. In the Rigveda, Dānu once appears as the mother of Vrtra, “a dragon blocking the course of the rivers.” The Finnish word for Danube is Tonava, which is most likely derived from the word for the river in swedish and german, Donau. Up North there is also a river called Tana. Its Sámi name Deatnu means “Great River”. It is possible that dānu in Scythian as in Avestan was a generic word for “river”: Dnieper and Dniestr, from Danapris and Danastius, are presumed to continue Scythian *dānu apara “far river” and *dānu nazdya- “near river”, respectively.

    Known to the ancient Greeks as the Istros (Ἴστρος) a borrowing from a Daco-Thracian name meaning “strong, swift” (akin to Sanskrit iṣiras “swift”). In Latin, the Danube was variously known as Danubius, Danuvius or as Ister. The Dacian/Thracian name was Donaris for the upper Danube and Istros for the lower Danube. The Thraco-Phrygian name was Matoas, “the bringer of luck”.

    So when talking about the Ister, he ought to be talking about the Danube running from central Germany over to the Black Sea area.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hh/hh2030.htm Herodotus says:

    Herodotus Book 2: Euterpe [30]
    33. Of the account given by Etearchos the Ammonian let so much suffice as is here said, except that, as the men of Kyrene told me, he alleged that the Nasamonians returned safe home, and that the people to whom they had come were all wizards. Now this river which ran by the city, Etearchos conjectured to be the Nile, and moreover reason compels us to think so; for the Nile flows from Libya and cuts Libya through in the midst, and as I conjecture, judging of what is not known by that which is evident to the view, it starts at a distance from its mouth equal to that of the Ister: for the river Ister begins from the Keltoi and the city of Pyrene and so runs that it divides Europe in the midst (now the Keltoi are outside the Pillars of Heracles and border upon the Kynesians, who dwell furthest towards the sunset of all those who have their dwelling in Europe); and the Ister ends, having its course through the whole of Europe, by flowing into the Euxine Sea at the place where the Milesians have their settlement of Istria.

    Note that last line talking about the Milesians and Istria. We’ll come back to it below.

    This is in the area that was the center of Hallstatt culture and is discussed above, but it looks like the exact city referenced by “Pyrene” is a bit unclear:


    In the mid-5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus (Book 2.33) made a brief passing reference to a Celtic city called by the Greek “Pyrene”: “For the Ister flows from the land of the Celts and the city of Pyrene through the very middle of Europe…” Since the Heuneburg is roughly in the right location and was a major regional centre just before that time, it is possible that it is the settlement referred to by that name

    In any case, he’s saying this river starts in the middle of Celtic lands and that the Celts reach all the way to the outside of the Pillars of Heracles and “furthest toward the sunset” of all Europe. Then ending in the Euxine Sea which is the Greek name for the Black Sea. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea so it’s a pretty good description of the Danube. (Which lends credence to the location of the Keltoi in all this).

    In the following bit, Kilikia is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilicia which is about the middle of modern Turkey and Sinope is a Turkish city on the Black Sea https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinop,_Turkey and is on the other side from where the Danube enters, more or less.

    34. Now the Ister, since it flows through land which is inhabited, is known by the reports of many; but of the sources of the Nile no one can give an account, for the part of Libya through which it flows is uninhabited and desert. About its course however so much as it was possible to learn by the most diligent inquiry has been told; and it runs out into Egypt. Now Egypt lies nearly opposite to the mountain districts of Kilikia; and from thence to Sinope, which lies upon the Euxine Sea, is a journey in the same straight line of five days for a man without encumbrance; and Sinope lies opposite to the place where the Ister runs out into the sea: thus I think that the Nile passes through the whole of Libya and is of equal measure with the Ister.

    Of the Nile then let so much suffice as has been said.

    So who were those Milesians and where is Istria?

    Now modern usage Istria is a bit further south: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istria but there’s uncertainty about some of the ancient usages.

    Istria (/ˈɪstriə/; Croatian, Slovene: Istra; Istriot: Eîstria; Italian: Istria; German: Istrien), formerly Histria (Latin), is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Kvarner Gulf. It is shared by three countries: Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy.
    The ancient region of Histria extended over a much wider area, including the whole Kras plateau until the southern edges of the Vipava Valley, the southwestern portions of modern Inner Carniola with Postojna and Ilirska Bistrica, and the Italian Province of Trieste, but not the Liburnian coast which was already part of Illyricum.
    Some scholars speculate that the names Histri and Istria are related to the Latin name Hister, or Danube (especially its lower course). Ancient folktales reported—inaccurately—that the Danube split in two or “bifurcated” and came to the sea near Trieste as well as at the Black Sea. The story of the “bifurcation of the Danube” is part of the Argonaut legend. There is also a suspected link (but no historical documentation in support of it) to the commune of Istria in Constanţa, Romania, which is named after the ancient city Histria, named after River Hister.

    Now I’d suggest that Herodotus was basically just saying near the place where the Ister hits the black sea and there’s a city / state named after that river full of “Milesians”. But who were the Milesians? Well, that set off a memory of Irish Mythology for me. Irish legend has the island populated by “Milesians”… And other folks clam a lineage back to the biblical Dan and with origin near Scythia (i.e. up near the Black Sea…). One bit saying that the founding folks trudged across southern Europe from there, and founded Ireland, with the head guy being from Scythia and his lady the daughter of a Pharaoh. So we have Milesians at about the reputed place of origin and Egypt nearby. We also know Celtic mercenaries were used by Ramesses (a redhead himself) so “they’ve met”.


    In the Lebor Gabála Érenn, a medieval Irish Christian pseudo-history, the Milesians (Irish: gairthear Mílidh Easpáinne) are the final race to settle in Ireland. They represent the Irish people. The Milesians are Gaels who sail to Ireland from Hispania after spending hundreds of years travelling the earth. When they land in Ireland they contend with the Tuatha Dé Danann, who represent the pagan gods. The two groups agree to divide Ireland between them: the Milesians take the world above, while the Tuath Dé take the world below (i.e. the Otherworld). They are named after the character Míl Espáine, which is the Irish form of the Latin Miles Hispaniae (“Soldier of Hispania”). Scholars believe that the tale is mostly an invention of medieval Christian writers.

    The Lebor Gabála, which was probably first written in the 11th century AD by Christian monks, purports to be a history of Ireland and the Irish (the Gaels). It tells us that all mankind is descended from Adam through the sons of Noah, and that a Scythian king named Fénius Farsaid (descendant of Noah’s son Japheth) is the forebear of the Gaels. Fénius, a prince of Scythia, is described as one of 72 chieftains who built the Tower of Babel. His son Nel weds Scota, daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, and they have a son named Goídel Glas. Goídel crafts the Goidelic (Gaelic) language from the original 72 languages that arose after the confusion of tongues. Goídel’s offspring, the Goidels (Gaels), leave Egypt at the same time as the Israelites (the Exodus) and settle in Scythia. After some time they leave Scythia and spend 440 years wandering the Earth, undergoing a series of trials and tribulations akin to those of the Israelites, who spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Eventually, they reach Hispania by sea and conquer it. There, Goídel’s descendant Breogán founds a city called Brigantia, and builds a tower from the top of which his son Íth glimpses Ireland. Brigantia refers to Corunna in modern-day Galicia, in Spain, (which was then known as Brigantium) and Breogán’s tower is likely based on the Tower of Hercules, which was built at Corunna by the Romans.

    Íth sails to the island with a group of men. He is welcomed by its three kings: Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Gréine. These three are members of the Tuatha Dé Danann, who ruled Ireland at the time. Evidence suggests that Tuath Dé were the main pagan gods of Ireland. Íth is then killed by unnamed attackers and his men return to Iberia. The eight sons of Íth’s brother Míl Espáine (whose given name was Golam), lead an invasion force to avenge his death and take Ireland. After they land, they fight against the Tuath Dé and make for Tara, the royal capital. On the way, they are met on three mountains by Banba, Fódla and Ériu – the wives of Ireland’s three kings. They are believed to have been a trio of land goddesses. Each woman says that the Gaels will have good fortune if they name the land after her. One of the Gaels, Amergin, promises that it shall be so. At Tara, they meet the three kings, who defend their claim to the joint kingship of the land. They ask that there be a three-day truce, during which the Gaels must stay a distance of nine waves from land. The Gaels agree, but once their ships are nine waves from Ireland, the Tuath Dé conjure up a great wind that prevents them sailing back to land. However, Amergin calms the wind by reciting a verse. The surviving ships return to land and the two groups agree to divide Ireland between them. The Gaels take the world above, while the Tuath Dé take the world below (i.e. the Otherworld) and enter the sídhe, the ancient burial mounds that dot the Irish landscape. Amergin divides the kingship between Éremon, who rules the northern half of Ireland, and Éber Finn, who rules the southern half. This division of the land was probably invented by the writers to explain and justify the 7th/8th century division between the royal capitals of Tara and Cashel. The Lebor Gabála then traces Ireland’s dynasties back to Milesian Gaels such as Éremon and Éber. Modern scholars, however, believe that these were fictional characters and that the writers were attempting to give the medieval dynasties more legitimacy.

    The Historia Brittonum—which was written before the Lebor Gabála—gives another account of the Milesians. It says that “three sons of a Spanish soldier” sailed from Iberia to Ireland with thirty ships, each carrying thirty wives. They see a glass tower in the middle of the sea with men on top of it, but the men do not answer their calls. The Milesians set out to take the tower, but when they reach it, all but one of their ships are sunk by a great wave. Only one ship makes it to land, and its passengers are the ancestors of all the Irish. In the Lebor Gabála, it is the earlier Nemedians who are drowned while trying to take a tower.

    The wiki goes to great pains to disparage this as the ravings of “Christian Monks” and unconnected to reality. But is it really that much of a stretch to think that some Keltoi ran down the river (we know they had trade goods from the area along with Greek and Etruscan wares) and had a trading city full of “Milesians”? That some of them, then, packed up and headed out of the area in their ships, trading along the way, eventually reaching Hispania and then heading out to see that island just at the edge of visibility? Perhaps picking up some wives along the way. Herodotus has a few young adventurous men wandering to the middle of Africa. Our own history has folks getting on ships and wandering off to find North and South America. It’s what people do.

    Are Irish stories full of embellishments and fanciful tales? Certainly. But they also often are rooted in a reality.

    The more direct definition of Milesians is:

    1 : of or belonging to the ancient city of Miletus, Asia Minor, or to its residents
    2 : belonging or relating to a Milesian school of nature philosophers of the 6th century b.c. who were mainly concerned with the basal stuff of which the world is made — compare anaximandrian , thalesian

    From the wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miletus


    Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Its ruins are located near the modern village of Balat in Aydın Province, Turkey. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus was considered the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities

    But that city is on the south west corner of Turkey and not near where the Danube enters the Black Sea at all.

    I would speculate that Herodotus was talking about another set of “Milesians” living where the Ister hits the black sea… and perhaps these folks really were the source of the Irish mythology. Folks used to conducting sea trade all over from there to Spain, and shipping the goods up river to the Hallstatt Culture center. It would not be much of a leap at all for a group of such sailors to adventure out from the Atlantic Spanish coast and find Ireland.

    Oh, and we also know that at one time the northern parts of Turkey were populated by Celts.


    Ancient Galatia (/ɡəˈleɪʃə/; Greek: Γαλατία) was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia (Ankara, Çorum, Yozgat Province) in modern Turkey. Galatia was named for the immigrant Gauls from Thrace (cf. Tylis), who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. It has been called the “Gallia” of the East, Roman writers calling its inhabitants Galli (Gauls or Celts).
    Seeing something of a Hellenized savage in the Galatians, Francis Bacon and other Renaissance writers called the inhabitants “Gallo-Graeci” or “Gauls settled among the Greeks”, and the country “Gallo-Graecia”, as had the 3rd-century AD Latin historian Justin. The more usual term in Antiquity is Ἑλληνογαλάται (Hellēnogalátai) of Diodorus Siculus’ Bibliotheca historica v.32.5, in a passage that is translated “…and were called Gallo-Graeci because of their connection with the Greeks”, identifying Galatia in the Greek East as opposed to Gallia in the West.

    The Galatians originated as a part of the great Celtic migration, which invaded Macedon, led by Brennus. The original Celts who settled in Galatia came through Thrace under the leadership of Leotarios and Leonnorios c. 278/277 BC. These Celts consisted of three tribes, the Tectosages, the Trocmii, and the Tolistobogii.

    And on it goes…

    So is it Really all that far fetched to think that when those invading Celts eventually ran into some trouble with the locals some of them packed up and set sail west? The wandering time being about the same length as the legend before they populated Ireland.

    I note in passing that we have paintings of Thracians with red hair…

    All in all, there seems to be a lot of circumstantial evidence and corroborating history for the Celtic Myths of an origin of the Irish in “Scythia” and a long wandering to Ireland via Spain. We have evidence for the Celtic peoples being in all those places, for them being traders and shipping things widely, and having knowledge and contact through the whole Mediterranean and into the Black Sea and Turkey. We know they had contacts and employment in Egypt and I could easily see a Celtic Mercenary General picking up a “Princess” (as the Pharaoh tended to have lots of kids) as part of the contract.

    Is it really so hard to think folks might actually have been keeping track of their history?

    FWIW, there are some bits of Island Gaelic and British English that seem to point to a substrate language influence by a Hamitic or Semitic language. While this is often attributed to the Phoenicians being in the area, it could just as easily be the influence of an Egyptian Princess on her Celtic Soldier’s family…

    While any one of those ‘threads’ can be dismissed as fanciful or too ill supported, the way they hang together starts to make a cloth… but is it made of “whole cloth” or something more sturdy?…

  13. jim2 says:

    @cementafriend – Calcium and lead are chemically similar. Unless refined (and it usually isn’t) blackboard chalk and calcium carbonate antacids have a smidgen of lead in them.

  14. Graeme No.3 says:

    E.M.S. O/T but I thought I should warn you as you are still in California, although I have my doubts about Denver as a suitable site for a sea port.

    Future Map of North America

  15. Another Ian says:


    Somewhat o/t but celtic

    A friend has haemochromatisis. He has learned that your chances of this are increased if you have ancestors that survived the Irish potato famine. If they didn’t have the genes they didn’t survive.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    That map is funny!

    Seaport at 7000 ft in Denver, yet Florida middlr is dry at 200 ish feet elevation…

    Clearly a political propaganda, not geography, driven construct…

    @Another Ian:

    Like most things genetic, I suspect it’s a tendency rather than an absolute. None of my family has a history of haemochromatosis, yet we are potato famine survivors.

    Most likely it helps to have the gene under extreme famine, so was enhanced and concentrated during the famine; but some folks would survive even without it due to other reasons.

    Still, interesting to know about the enhanced rates.

    Oh, and I suppose my “metric” might be biased in that my ancestors left during the famine, so may not have suffered full selective pressure (or might have been selected for tendency to ‘move on’ instead ;-)

  17. Graeme No.3 says:

    I am sure you know that the effects of the Great Famine were not felt evenly, with the (poorer) South West badly affected. The East around Dublin was exporting grain at that time, not to mention that it was the seat of government where the money flowed inwards. Should a like disaster befall the USA the second best place to be would be Washington.

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    My ancestors came from County Mayo… The Gaeltacht… so most likely spoke Gaelic. Thus the leaving…

    For a similar thing in the USA, the better place to be is likely farm country as that’s where the food is… but the USA has such a diversity of crops no one thing can hobble them all.

    I’d not want to be in Washington D.C. when the tax money stops flowing due to insurrection or when farmers stop selling their produce due to money becoming worthless…

    But yes, one of the horrors of inhumanity was the English Lords exporting food for profit while the common Irish died of starvation on their own land. Thus the eventual revolt and the free nation of the Irish Republic…

    Oh, and I find that I’m happy to just eat potatoes for days on end. Baked, fried, mashed, whatever. I have to remind myself to diversify as the potatoes taste so yummy… so I suspect there might have been other sections happening as well ;-)

  19. EM interesting connections but it seems that dates are mixed up. The bronze age was something like 3500 to 1500 BC (or later in some parts before knowledge about iron making spread) The Minoans civilisation started in the bronze age. Iron making started in Turkey around 1500-1300BC. Iron was the base for successful Persian and Greek civilisation and of course Roman armaments. There is lots of evidence about the spread of bronze technology to western and northern Europe. It makes sense that people from Turkey possibly on the shores of the Black sea took the technology to Spain, France, England and Ireland. The Romans went to Spain for the Copper which was being mined there. They went to England (Cornwall) for the tin. The Romans smelted iron in England. The Romans called the people around the mouth of the Rhine swamp people.

  20. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting item that claims Atlantis was just off shore outside Gibraltar (Atlantic side) and was destroyed by a tsunami about 4000 years ago. It is now under a swamp / mud flat area.


  21. pouncer says:

    Good sir, you are channeling the ghost of Heinrich Schliemann. Following the stories, drawing the map, then, as you so often say, “dig here”.



  22. E.M.Smith says:


    First is the “throw it at the wall” then comes the move bits around to fix anomalies…

    The issue with trying to make Atlantis match bronze vs iron ages is that they all come after it per Plato. There might well have been an earlier bronze age, then a collapse into chaos, then a new arising… or they might have just been running without bronze and doing fine. Would we even know about a copper mine if the mouth of it was under 300 ft of water?

    For the Celts: There were many many tribes of them, running all over Europe from Anatolia to Ireland for at least 6000 years. Trying to get it aligned for how one particular group (the proto-irish) moved around is going to be a fairy tale no matter what you do. Best possible is just to match the known legends / history to known facts on the ground and see if there are no glaring faults.

    Per metallurgy: One interesting bit is that there’s fair evidence the Phoenicians were mining copper in the Americas (including some period copper ingots with minority element signatures a close enough match…) and that perhaps the end of the Bronze Age came about when the Phoenicians got thumped and could no longer bring the copper over the Atlantic.

    So that’s part of the “issues” in the time line. To some extent that pseudo-history of the Phoenicians outside the gates starts to sound like Atlanteans… but the time line of the Bronze Age is way off. So either someone has dodgy dates, they were two different events and peoples, or something is myth.

    But that won’t stop me from tossing things at the wall to see what sticks and what falls off ;-)


    I always admired him… We come from the same basic POV: Assume until proven otherwise that people only wrote down things that really mattered to them, back when writing was a scarce and expensive skill. Don’t make shit up to explain why they are lying or telling tall tails; just go test it.

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting that the G&M page regularly crashes FireFox on Arbian / XU4. There was another link a few days ago did the same thing. I’d guess some new “feature” some pages are using that’s not compatible with all old ways…

    The other time I just read it on the Android Tablet. Probably do the same now. FireFox on the Mac also worked when this one didn’t.

    It reliably crashes the browser. Open, crash. Open, crash. Open, crash. Open other pages, fine.

    Wonder what new invasion of my machine is the latest hot thing that’s broken…

  24. gallopingcamel says:

    The idea that there could have been even a bronze age civilization when the sea level was 120 meters lower than today strikes me as highly unlikely. Maybe we have not found any mine entrances 100 meters below sea level because there are none.
    https://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/10/22/163397584/how-human-beings-almost- is evidence vanished-from-earth-in-70-000-b-c

    Maybe you will tell me the above speculation is nonsense but there is genetic evidence that humanity experienced a major population bottleneck around 70,000 years ago. The Mount Toba event may have extinguished several hominids closely related to us such as Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal and a dozen others.

    I have my doubts about how much a bedraggled bunch of hairless apes could achieve before the seas started rising 55,000 years given that the climate would have been much colder than today.

  25. Graeme No.3 says:

    I have Irish ancestors too, on both sides although not from Connaught (one from Waterford which was less hit by the famine) but I get into trouble every time I suggest that the evil English Lords versus saintly Irish peasants is a very simplified view. I don’t wish to excuse the British Government nor the aristocracy from blame at all, but western Ireland was pretty remote from London at that time (no railroads, no telegraph and poor roads), so reports of the severity of the famine probably took time to reach London.
    There had been many famines in Ireland before and it is likely that the English regarded Ireland as overpopulated and impossible to change (see the Bengal famine in India during WW2 when Dehli knew nothing about it despite millions dying) and laissez faire was the advice by economists. That, and keeping at least a third of the army stationed in Ireland at all times.
    I do note that Dublin and Belfast had population increases during the famine, so food had to be coming in via the sea. On the other hand our capitol Canberra has no sea access and is pretty remote (in attitude) to the rest of the country. Hmmm.

  26. John F. Hultquist says:

    My grandmother came from Ballinamore, Cty. Leitrim. Sailed from Derry (Londonderry).

    About the future map of NA:
    Interestingly, this map was “leaked” as a USA Navy map showing a plan to divide America up with an artificial quake at the New Madrid Fault line, using a massive HAARP frequency impulse.

    The “future map” is by Gordon-Michael Scallion, with this link giving some background:

  27. John F. Hultquist says:

    I’ve Windows 10, using EDGE and the G&M page about Atlantis in a Spanish swamp loaded with no issues.

    That was published in 2011 and updated last year.
    I guess I’ll look to see what’s been done over the last 7 years.

  28. jim2 says:

    @John F. Hultquist says: “The “future map” is by Gordon-Michael Scallion”

    In severe cases such as this, the psychiatric profession should be employ to deploy every psychoactive drug in their arsenal. There is no downside in this case.

  29. Zeke says:

    Does it matter, really, to us, today? Not much. It would be nice to know. It might illuminate some of our present characteristics. Mostly it would show we need to spend much more time figuring out what knowledge is valuable and preserving it for the future as we, too, shall fall “someday”.

    It so happened that the day Chief posted this, I was reading lengthy 1910 column on a subject in ancient history. It took all day, and I asked the same question. Does it matter?

    When there is no written record there is a great deal of imagination involved; and when all you have are Greek and Roman sources, you are dealing mainly more with propaganda or art than with history. After a while, the frustration with scholars writing tomes on ancient people, with absolutely no real evidence except extrapolated visual clues, makes you walk away from the whole thing. The academics are writing more about themselves than any thing else. I am very familiar with their ideology which they impose on every subject. (I am thinking of a really good name for their historical paradigm). (It’s going to be good!)

    And there is the other moral of the story! Where Greece and Rome were, all other writing was systematically wiped out. And all scholars since then cover for this violence by these two empires. The only book that they were unable to destroy of these little nation states was the Old Testament, by a miracle.

  30. Zeke says:

    Chief says, “I’ve thought of making computer printed ‘stencils’ that could be fired onto tiles. It would let a modern version of clay tablets be made rapidly and effectively. A nice copy of a good encyclopedia, and some technical manuals, along with math, physics, and chemistry texts would give a big leg up to a future society. Maybe even land a set on the Moon near something interesting with the more advanced stuff in it.”

    Americans need to start using burials in sarcophogi, with portrait sculptures of us on our laptops with our coffee cups. That way, they will know who we were. (:

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    I think laser etched ceramic microfiche readable with simple optics would be another solution. Could be directly read by someone with a simple magnifier, and with projection equipment if on transparent media like sapphire glass. That would work for the basics but modern data densities are impossible with systems that could be read by simple technology.

    You would have to include a Rosetta stone reference too in case our common languages are not in common use in the future.

    Long term preservation of modern data is a very significant hurdle as few systems are truly archival in the sense of being recoverable over 100 or so year time spans.

  32. Zeke says:

    Can’t we just deposit the encyclopedias directly in a cave on the airless moon?

  33. jim2 says:

    If we want to keep the aliens away, just use a powerful transmitter to project MSNBC all over the galaxy.

  34. jim2 says:


  35. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well that explains why SETI is a failure we are on their block list.

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    I doubt that the Spanish find is it. Wrong depth. If it is a marsh now, that would put the thing as a recent harbor. At most, ocean a few feet higher; or lower and sedimented in recently. To be Atlantis, something like it needs to be at least 200 feet below current sea level.

    I suppose encyclopedias in a moon cave would work.. then again, I don’t know what effects of cosmic rays and solar particles are on paper… and ink… I would think it would tend to bleach over time. And the carbohydrate polymers be broken…


    Don’t forget the Muslims systematically burning anything other than the Koran for a few hundred years…

  37. Zeke says:

    Just my luck, a cave on the moon would not shield the books from space weather and conditions. Temps may be consistent in a cave, but possibly too low. But at least it would be dry!

    Yes, it has been a practice of that cult to destroy any insults to I8lam, and in particular, any evidence of the ancient Jewish presence in that land — in other words, the entire validity of the Bible as a historical record. A goal shared by UNESCO.

    ref: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37697108

  38. Zeke says:

    The downside of these wonderful excursions and explorations into pre-classical history by ESmith is that it serves as a reminder of just how much there is to do!

    I remembered an excellent article about the actual reliability and terminology used by genetic banks that raises some questions about how much DNA samples can actually tell us. That is, if the genetic researchers were actually providing a service as a company, would it really be a product you would pay for?


    “The supposed information on ancestry provided by 23andMe is, in general, not very informative, and sometimes it’s positively misleading. It is hard to see how much real harm could arise from my believing that a group of essentially unrelated individuals are my relatives. But personal genomics customers are paying for information that they expect to be true. That this information might be far from accurate is troubling, particularly since it is wrapped in the mantle of science, and so the average consumer, lacking the scientific training necessary to put it in its proper context, is all the more likely to simply trust it even as he or she actually misunderstands it.”

    Now remember that a lot of modern talk tends to condemn “cultural appropriation”; and recall that in the language surrounding “human rights” you will find the “right” to “culturally appropriate” entertainment and religion, etc.. This also may begin to apply to academic smart-a.. studies tracing crops and products to a single country and forbidding any one else to grow it.

    There are also plenty of disputes about who original inhabitants are, so we can see that the study of DNA is not free from powerful interest. And we also recall that genetics will always be the handmaiden of eugenics, as well as the mythology of the genetically superior race known as Aryans or Germans. The Nzis famously and shamelessly constructed an archaeology, anthropology, philology and comparative mythology in order to buttress up their claims of being the aryan rulers of every age.

    And how many people have been told their baby was a Downs child because of a DNA test, and had a perfectly healthy child?

    The Geneticist hath known sin.

  39. E.M.Smith says:


    Not to mention that 23&Me are getting you to pay for THEM to make a massive gene library and own it… They also get the ability to map you to your relatives against your will. (Did your parents or great grand parents have an unknown affair?)

    IMHO, it is just a very very bad idea to hand your genetics profile over to any company. It is YOUR property and you need to have complete control of who gets a copy.

    Per the Gene Smuggers: I like to point out to them the known advantages of Hybrid Vigor…

    Then the Law Of Mutual Superiority: Anything I program, you can improve and anything you program, I can improve.

    usually by that time they are looking for the exit…

    A good basketball team needs very different genetics than a good water polo team or hockey team and both are very different from the best genes for American Football that takes 300 lbs as “light” vs ROW Football (soccer) where you want light and fast… and ALL of those are different from the genetics for synchronized swimming and diving…

    No set of genes is “best” until you have specified “for what”…

  40. Zeke says:

    In truth, Chief.

    I had to get my good eye examined and there was a guy there that seemed very, very out of place to me. I could not help but suspect that he was interested in all of that unprotected biometric information on people’s irises, connected with their names and numbers.

    Speaking of the iris, I have serious doubts about whether DNA will even tell you what color of eyes a person has. In a real blind test situation.

    “My own results, when they arrived, were neither as interesting as I might have hoped nor as alarming as I might have feared. In addition to alleged potential health risks, 23andMe offers information on ancestry and a variety of genetically influenced traits. I did not learn about any major genetic risk factors from the test that I wasn’t already aware of from family history. Some of the reports on non-health-related traits did not inspire a great deal of confidence. I was told that my eyes are “likely brown”; my wife swears they are hazel. I was told that I have a high probability of having straight hair, but pictures of me from the Seventies tell a different story. To be fair, the test did correctly peg my ability to detect the “asparagus metabolite” — the sulfurous smell associated with the urine of some people after they’ve eaten asparagus.”
    ~Austin Hughes

  41. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, chasing some of the genetics links from Larry {somewhere… tips or WOOD} it does look like the arrival of R1b genetics and Indo-European language in Central Europe is about in line with the move from Neolithic to Early Bronze age. As Celts were early metal workers and early brewers and involved in lots of trading (from the Black Sea to Ireland at a minium and the Baltic to Sicily the other way) it looks like they were the folks who brought all that to Europe (at least central, northern, and western).

    THE big issue with that statement is just that Celts AS Celtic is a category that has a soft early start age. There’s arguing over just when Celtic Language broke off from proto-into-european as one example. So were they Celts speaking a Celtic Language? Or proto-Celts speaking a proto-Celtic-Indo-Eurpean? Depends on the particular person putting a date on an event for most of the events.

    Personally, I don’t really care about the “angels and pins” fine detail of “was it Gaulish, Celtic, Italo-Celtic, proto-Celtic, or proto-indo-european?” . A group of folks showed up. They displaced the native hunter gatherers with non-indo-european languages and non-R1a non-R1b genetics, they were the earliest users of metals and chariots, and they had basic farming and ranching skills. At just what point do you divide the R into R1a Slavic, R1b Celtic and mixed R1a R1b Germanic? At just what point do you divide proto-indo-european into those languages as well? Just how does that line up with the formal edge of the neolithic into the bronze age and the first ox carts / chariots? Fuzzy, but not that important really. Then, they all tend to converge around 3000 to 5000 years ago with +/- 1000 year error bands too… “Good luck with that”… I’ll leave that for the academic squabbling…

    What’s clear (and why I like using the redhead marker gene) is that it originated in central northern Asia as mammoth hunters and spread south and west as (eventually) cattle herders even into North Africa and across central Europe. Highest concentrations of other gene types are on mountain tops, so it looks like the farmers moved into the valleys with their herds and, being “wealthy” in food products and hides, had many wives with some from the locals (thus the divergence of Y vs mDNA histories). Basically the “new guys” had a nice SUV (ox carts, chariots) and lots of “flash” (regular meals and mead / beer) and the ladies liked that. Mix in some bronze tools and gold jewelry and you have Celts, after a little while.

    Now layered on top of that are literally hundreds of wars, invasions, massacres, etc. etc. and many 10s of centuries of language, pottery, and culture drift. Plenty of stuff to keep paper generators in grants for centuries to come.

    Oh, and of course “honorable mention” to the massive invasion of those same R1a R1b farming metal working ranching Germanic / Celtic / Slavic types to the Americas where they continued their displacement of the same hunter gatherer cultures, languages, and genetics… Sure, we’ve got some admixture of other types here. A small percentage of the original inhabitants. Some Asians and folks from the Middle East (about 6% of each) and some sub-saharan Africans (about 10%); but the biggest chunk is that same group that started chasing herds west and south out of Central Asia… Here called Germans or Polish, or Hispanics or Irish or English or French or… but still the same roots. (Ditto Australia and New Zealand…)

  42. Zeke says:

    As a tangential aside, Aryan Invasion Theories are not appreciated by every one, and India in particular is going to put that one to bed.

    Thank you for the discussion, it is thoroughly enlightening. The last time Chief had a Minoan & Mycenean thread, I found and bought an amazing 6 pound book on Ashkelon. See what you guys made me do.


    (Holds up Thracian drinking cup)

  43. pouncer says:

    I suppose it’s not so much scribing one message into a chunk of durable media as it is mass production of the same message.

    I imagine something rather like early phonograph. You have grooves in a master media. You use the master to create a negative stamp (ridges in place of the grooves), then use the stamp to press copies of the original master. After a few dozen or thousand copies, you may need to pull the master from the vault and create another stamp…

    The grooves need not be waveforms. One could, conceivably, create a clay tablet carving cuniform style letters into a clay blank tile, then fire the tile to make a porcelain master. Gently melt a foil of pewter or lead into the master to create the stamp, peel it back, nail the foil to a wood block, and then press a bunch of cuniform copies in clay. Fire the clay.

    Clay tiles don’t burn, don’t rot, and even when broken can be pieced back together a bit more readily than paper can be.

    It’s not clear at all to me that we know anything “advanced” enough to be useful to an Earthly successor civilization that could, later, go to the Moon to retrieve it. On the other hand giving a successor culture on par with the Athenians or Maya a tile copy of trig tables, or logarithmic slide rule bars, or the periodic table, or just a good map of the current continents would be, if nothing else, generous of us.

  44. Larry Ledwick says:

    No set of genes is “best” until you have specified “for what”…

    People forget that for survival of the tribe you want enough variability in genes that someone in the tribe has the necessary genes to fill all essential niches. That was one of the biological factors that drove gene swapping strategies like marrying off daughters to other tribes, stealing women from conquered tribes and bringing them back to contribute to your gene pool etc.

    Just like modern zoos strive for best gene mixture from available animals (sometimes loaning a breeding animal to another zoo to cross breed with selected animals.

    Successful human tribes must have had some small measure of mixing with neighboring tribes for breeding purposes, and behaviors and cultural norms which promoted that necessary cross breeding would have been selected for.

  45. Another Ian says:

    Around this area. For other reasons I came across this

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian and this bit

    “Ian or Iain (/ˈiː.ən/; Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈɪʲən]) is a name of Scottish Gaelic origin, ultimately derived from Hebrew Yohanan and corresponding to English John.”.

    Which raises the question for here – Jewish or Phoenician?

  46. E.M.Smith says:

    Interesting question.

    There’s both a Hebrew / Irish chain of potential connections AND a Phoenician / English influence axis. It is fairly clear that the Greater Britain and Ireland area had interactions and both population and language flows from Indo-European speakers (Anglo / Saxon / Norman / Vikings / Danes / Dutch / French and some Romans) and a Semitic substrate influence.

    We know the Phoenicians were “outside the gates” and as far up the coast as Germany. We also have an oral history from the Irish (who late populated chunks of Scotland) of an origin story sounding a lot like the Noah and ark story with worship of a God sounding a lot like Baal.

    So “they’ve met”. But teasing out just which and whom is not easy and may not be possible.

    Would be interesting to follow the bread crumbs though…

  47. cdquarles says:

    From our host: “No set of genes is “best” until you have specified “for what”…”, to which I add for which chooser, for what place at what time.

  48. cdquarles says:

    @ Another Ian, since the Hebrew and the Phoenicians interacted, likely both.

  49. Another Ian says:


    Some more Celtic genetic and origin stuff in Robin Dunbar, “How many friends does one person need”? Which you may have from other sources.

    So far in the chapter “The ancestors that still haunt us” and the sections “My dad was a Phoenecian” and “Slaves to the past”

  50. E.M.Smith says:

    Yes, there is clearly a Phoenician component to insular and hispania Celts. Old Phoenician cities in the heart of Celt origins.

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