The Great Atlantis Debate

The Morien Institute - Atlantis Research

an image of a meteor flashing through the sky

Image of a revolving globe showing current sea levels since the last 

ice age, before which many ancient societies like Atlantis flourished all over planet Earth on what are now sunken lands.

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 Today is

Thursday, February 23, 2023 

Atlantis! Is it

myth? Was it reality? Or is the word ‘myth’

being used far too often as just a convenient term of denigration by some

in the scientific community who perpetuate erroneous views of prehistory,

and who shun debate? The myths and legends of so many peoples contain

a multitude of stories about great floods and inundations, earthquakes

and volcanic eruptions, cataclysms and catastrophes which destroyed the

paradise islands, continents and cities of their ancestors, that they

have long been suspected of having a common origin.

Since the

publication of

“Atlantis: The Antediluvian World” by Ignatius

Donnelly in 1882, there have been hundreds of books and articles written

about the subject, and to this day the legends of Atlantis and Lemuria

continue to facinate young and old alike throughout the world. The legend

of Atlantis which Plato preserved in writing, originated from Egyptian

sources – priests who claimed to have had access to the written records

of the lost island, city, continent, of Atlantis.

Dating the

destruction of Atlantis to around 9,600 BC, (11,600

years ago) Plato wrote of their elaborate system of canals

used for the irrigation of their lands, and of the high culture there.

It was from this date that some now believe the refugee survivors of the

‘Atlantean event’ introduced

agriculture to the rest of the world, though it was not until the last

50 years, and following the development of radiocarbon dating, that this

date for agricultural beginnings has been more generally accepted by archæologists.

But could

these findings, all above sea-level, be just evidence of the pityful efforts

by a few survivors of the cataclysms

that we now know marked the end of the last Ice Age? Have our archæologists

and prehistorians made a huge boob by considering only the remains of

those lucky enough to have been able to flee to higher ground? And, more

importantly, have they based the whole history of human civilisation on

this small portion of the land mass that was left above sea-level after

the end of the last Ice Age?

Geologists, now using sophisticated computer programs, can re-create the ancient sea-levels graphically, and so are able to pinpoint the areas of land that were above sea-level before the end of the last Ice Age. They have identified two specific periods of rapid sea-level risings at around 14,000 years ago and, most importantly, at around 11,600 years ago – at exactly the time that Plato gave for the inundation of the ancient civilisation he referred to as Atlantis.

More recently,

oceanographers conducting sea pollution studies in the Gulf of Khambhat

(Cambay) off the coast of Gujarat,

northwestern India, have found two

large underwater cities that are each about the size of Manhattan.

While underwater exploration in the past year has shown that archæological

urban remains similar in size exist some 2,200 feet underwater off

the coast of Cuba stretching towards the Yucatan peninsular of

Mexico. How many more ancient cities are waiting to be discovered underwater

on the continental shelves around the world?

How did Plato

know this precise date? Were the records kept by the Egyptian priests

really 9,000 years old? The best place to start would be from the writings

about Atlantis of Plato himself, which he wrote in the form of dialogues

between his teacher, Socrates, Timaeus, Critias (Plato’s

great-grandfather) and Hermocrates. Take a look at what

he had to say before you proceed further down this page.

Image of a bust of Plato

extracts from the Benjamin Jowett translation of

The Timaeus Dialogue

extracts from the Benjamin Jowett translation of

The Critias Dialogue

The purpose

of this page is to introduce some of the many theories about Atlantis,

and about the evidence that is accumulating of a global catastrophe around

9,600 BC that brought cataclysmic floods, dramatic climate changes, and

as some now believe, the collapse of the ‘antediluvian

world’. This cycle of catastrophe, survival, and the rebuilding

of new civilisations from the ruins of the old, is a pattern many believe

has been repeated throughout prehistory. In the third millennium BC numerous

Bronze Age societies around the world collapsed around the same time.

Major upheavals, abrupt climate changes, and the decline of the agricultural

base, were followed by the hurried abandonment of places of long term

habitation and mass migrations by refugee survivors

to other lands. How many times has this happened before or since?

Over the

last twenty years individual scientific researchers have stepped outside

the ‘standard paradigms’ of

their respective disciplines, and begun the process of reviewing the many

archæological anomalies, and the climatological and geological inconstistencies

that have for far too long been ignored by mainstream scientists. Although

they don’t all agree on certain aspects, nevertheless their efforts are

developing a clearer view of prehistory – one that refuses to look at

the history of human civilisation on our planet from the ‘isolationist’

persepctive. The Earth does not ‘stand alone’,

unaffected by ‘events’ in the

solar system in which it exists.


is developing that the history of human civilisation can only be fully

understood in the context of a relatively recent dynamic history of our

solar system. Collectively they have become known as the British School

of Coherent Catastrophism, (BSCC),

and while it is impossible to sum up their ‘neo-catastrophist

paradigm’ in a few short words, it is nevertheless true

to say that it centres on the growing appreciation that at various stages

during the past 20,000 to 30,000 years, and further back into remote antiquity,

our planet Earth has seen a number of disastrously abrupt climate changes

whose causes appear to have been cosmically-induced.

During the

past fifteen years there has been nothing short of a massive shift in

the the ways many scientists have begun to look at prehistory, and since

the events of July 1994, when the fragmenting comet, P/Shoemaker-Levi

9, collided with the planet Jupiter, this change has gathered

momentum. The end of the last Ice Age 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, was a

time when abrupt climatic and environmental changes took place, and it

now seems that this ‘event’ has been

repeated many times to a greater or lesser degree, before and after this

epoch, in particular during the period of the Bronze Age. The situation

is summed up well by Social Anthropologist, Dr. Benny J. Peiser, of John

Moores University, Liverpool:

“At some time around 2300 BC, a large number of major civilisations

collapsed. At the same time, there is widespread evidence for abrupt and

widespread environmental catastrophes. Sudden sea-level changes, catastrophic

inundations, widespread seismic activity and earthquake damage, changes

in glacial features and a signal for an abrupt climatic downturn have

been detected at c. 2350. A survey of some 500 excavation reports, research

papers and scientific abstract on late 3rd Millennium BC civilisation

collapse and environmental change show a distinct patttern of environmental

and social upheaval at this time.” [1]

Some recent

studies, while attempting to integrate the archæological, climatological

and geological records, have surprisingly ignored tree-ring and ice-core

data, and there is still an entrenched anti-catastrophist mentality prevailing

amongst many academics in the historical sciences generally. But that,

too, is rapidly changing:

“Over the past fifteen years, an alternative agent for natural disaster

has been much discussed and a growing number of scientists are beginning

to regard it as the most probably single explanation for widespread and

simulataneous cultural collapse, not only during the Bronze Age but at

other times as well. The new theory has been advanced largely by British

scientists such as Victor Clube and Bill Napier, Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra

Wickramasinghe, Mark Bailey, Duncan Steel, and Gerrit Verschuur. The theory

maintains that massive cultural and historical disasters were caused by

the impact of meteor showers and other types of cosmic debris on the Earth.”



an image of a comet or asteroid impacting the Earth from an original painting by Don Davis, NASA

a painting by Donald E. Davis for NASA


The evidence

the BSCC is accumulating has been greatly helped by the dendrochronological

(tree-ring) records, which

are able to determine ‘exact dates’

of abrupt climate changes by virtue of the fact that each tree-ring represents

the growth of a particular tree in a single year. The leading scientist

in this field, Mike Baillie, an archæologist, at Queens University, Belfast,

in the north of Ireland, developed the computer program that allows any

piece of wood recovered during archæological excavations to be precisely

dated by it’s tree-ring pattern.

The dendrochronology

record stretches back some 8,000 years, and throughout that period Baillie

has noted numerous ‘narrowest tree-ring events’

that indicate poor annual growth. From this data Baillie has produced

several dates throughout the last 5,000 years in which the climate abruptly

changed, and he correlated these with ice-core records, marine and lake

sediment records, pollen and paleo-climatic records. He also looked for

hints in the ancient traditions and mythologies of many cultures, specifically

looking for cometary and other celestial-body imagery which he, and others

in the BSCC, regard as representing the accurate observations of ancient


The dates

that emerge from the ‘narowest-ring events’ evident in the tree-ring records also correlate well with episodes

of increased meteoric activity along the model proposed by astronomers

of the BSCC. This model suggests that a large comet entered our solar

system at some point during the last 20,000 years, and following a close

encounter with the planet Mercury, disintegrated, with the Earth periodically

experiencing celestial bombardments

resulting from the encounters with the trails of debris left behind by

this comet over the past sveral thousands of years.

Baillie chronicled

these in his book, “Exodus

to Arthur”, leaving little room for doubt that the main causes

of these abrupt climate changes, and accompanying tectonic and sea-level

upheavals, were periods of bombardment by cometary debris. At the end

of the book he summed up the new understanding of human history as seen

by most BSCC scientists:

“The only remaining question is whether there has been just one close-approach comet, or several, in the last 5,000 years. The candidate dates are 2354 BC, 1628 BC, 1159 BC, 207 BC, 44 BC and AD 540.”


an image of tree-rings linking to the International Tree-Ring Database

The Morien Institute has several ongoing projects focussing on some of the dates given by Baillie and Peiser. One of these is the circa 2350 BC period which saw the collapse of so many early Bronze Age civilisations around the world, from Egypt, Israel and the Undus Valley to China. Another is the c. 1159 BC period which saw the collapse of the late Bronze Age civilisations of the Aegean and the Near East. Whilst a third, and historically important ‘event’, is the c. AD 536 – 545 period which saw the final death throes of the Roman Empire, ushering in the European Dark Age that gave us the Arthurian Romances which are so full of cometary imagery.

Baillie in particular has shown that the legends of the arthurian ‘wastelands’ are likely to be memories of the last great encounter the Earth had with cometary debris bombardment as suggested in the tree-rings for AD 536 – 545.

The joint research of the late Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe of the University of Wales at Cardiff, which proposes that an ocean impact of a comet-sized object was
the probable cause of the cataclysmic ending of the last Ice Age, has found a ready audience amongst those otherwise traditional academics who are beginning to listen to the arguments of the ‘coherent Catastrophist’ school of thought. The detail of the model proposes that a celestial body of sufficent volume to vaporise and eject billions of gallons of sea-water into the upper atmosphere, thereby causing an almost instant ‘greenhouse effect’, impacted a major ocean around 12-13,000 years ago.

As the ‘main greenhouse gas’ is without doubt ‘water vapour’, and as this date is consistent with the patterns of periodic encounters with the remnants of a giant comet proposed in the ‘windows of probability’ models put foward by the BSCC, the hypothesis that regular ancient bombardments of meteorites and asteroids caused the end of the last Ice Age deserves a fairer hearing than some academics seem prepared to give it.

The Morien

Institute takes the simple view that much more

evidence of prehistoric civilisation in many parts of the world,

dating from well before the sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice

Age, will come to light in the near future. Some will no doubt claim their

discoveries are the site of ‘the true Atlantis’.

Others may claim to be able to locate the actual site of the biblical


Flood. But most people will simply marvel at the extent of prehistoric

Ice Age civilisation that was destroyed in the many periodic cataclysms

our fragile and vulnerable planet has suffered within the last 20 millennia

or so – since the break-up of a giant comet whose remains today are to

be found in Encke’s Comet, the asteroid Hephaistos, and in the daytime

Taurid meteors. Do our cherished beliefs about the history of human civilisation

need to be radically reviewed?


many ‘blank’ spaces exist in

the prehistoric record that the Morien Institute

is building an information resource that Atlantis skeptics and advocates

alike can use to explore these facinating epochs of our distant past.

As more and

more ancient ruins are discovered all around the world on the continental

shelves that were submerged during

the abrupt end of the last Ice Age, our main News

Page carries reports that are updated daily.

In our Marine Archæology News Archive are links to other web sites where you can

review some of the many and varied theories about the lost continents,

islands, or cities of Atlantis. Some may well stretch credulity, and some

are highly thought-provoking, but others are closer to the truth than

‘official interpretors’ of prehistory


June 2002

Morien Institute

illustrated interview with

Dr Paul Weinzweig

of Advanced Digital Communications,

Havana, Cuba, regarding

the discovery of:

“Megalithic urban ruins discovered off the coast of Cuba”

please left-click to go directly the interview with Dr Paul Weinzweig

Underwater Megaliths

off the coast of Cuba

The Underwater Pyramid

Structure at Yonaguni

October 2002

Morien Institute

illustrated interview with

Professor Masaaki Kimura

of the University of the Ruykyus,

Okinawa, Japan, regarding

the discovery of:

“Megalithic structures found underwater off the coast of

Yonaguni-jima, Japan”

please left-click to go directly the interview with Professor Masaaki Kimura

“Atlantis of the West: The Case For Britain’s Drowned Megalithic Civilization”

Paul Dunbavin

an image/link direct to this product at

EU English Edition

“Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia”

Stephen Oppenheimer

an image/link direct to this product at

EU English Edition

“Cataclysm: Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 BC”

D. S. Allan & J. B. Delair

an image/link direct to this product at

US edition only

but available worldwide


The Mysterious Origins

of Civilization”

Graham Hancock & Santha Faiia


an image/link direct to this product at

EU English Edition

“Atlantis and Earth’s Shifting Crust”

VHS NTSC version

(USA and Canada)

Japan’s Mysterious Pyramids: VHS

History Channel

“Do undersea relics near Okinawa offer proof of a sophisticated civilization during the last ice age?”

“Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective”

Ulf Erlingsson

an image/link direct to this product at

EU English Edition




October 2002 Morien Institute illustrated interview with Professor Masaaki Kimura of the

University of the Ruykyus, Okinawa, Japan, about the discovery of:

“More megalithic structures found off the coast of Yonaguni-jima, Japan”

please left-click to go directlt the interview with Professor Masaaki Kimura




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