Tech UPTechnologyAtlantis and Mu: the story of the invented continents

Atlantis and Mu: the story of the invented continents

The central dogma of the so-called ‘alternative history’ is the existence of lost civilizations, and the two most famous sunken continents always hover over it: Atlantis and Mu. Regarding the first, none of the amateur pseudo-historians find it surprising that the two The only direct references that exist to a sunken continent in the Atlantic are two Dialogues by Plato, in which he uses Atlantis as a counterpoint to the perfect Greek society.

In such a context it is easy to understand that it is a political allegory, given that there is not a single mention in any historical document nor is there the least archaeological remains that corroborate the existence of such a civilization . Now, the imagination is free and the paper holds what you write, and in the second half of the 19th century that allegory became a historical fact thanks to the pen of the American writer and politician Ignatius Donnelly. The similarities that he saw between the peoples of the Old and New Worlds were explained by the existence of Atlantis , which had acted as the origin and diffuser of all kinds of customs, such as marriage and divorce. His books, converted into true bestsellers, served as inspiration for the myth that we know today.

Interestingly, the second half of the 19th century was the time of creation of disappearing continents and land masses. One of the reasons for this was to explain the similarities between the biological species existing in areas separated by the oceans . The zoologist Philip Sclater, to whom we owe the definition of the planet’s zoogeographical regions, proposed the existence of submerged land masses in the Indian Ocean to explain why he had found lemur fossils in Madagascar and India but not in the Middle East or in Africa.

Thus was born the myth of the Lemuria continent, which was adopted by the devious occultist Helena Blavatsky to install her own ravings on it: a race of two-meter-tall hermaphroditic humans had inhabited it. Already in the 20th century, the Tamil historian Devaneya Pavanar recycled Lemuria to place there the lost island Kumari Kandam , which according to Tamil legend is the origin of their culture. And in 1991 the editor-in-chief of the Tamil Etymological Dictionary Project of the Tamil Nadu region in India, R. Mathivanan, claimed to have deciphered an ancient text of the Indus Valley Culture – from the 3rd millennium BC. C.- and from which he extracted, not only that the Kumari Kandam civilization flourished in 50,000 a. C., but there was an advanced Tamil civilization around 20,000 BC. C. on Easter Island. Pseudo-archaeology at the service of nationalist ideology.

The Pacific also could not escape the established tradition of placing lost continents throughout the planet’s oceans, and at the end of the 19th century Mu was born by the hand of the American antiquarian Augustus Le Plongeon, a man obsessed with the idea that the Mayans created the Egyptian civilization after having made a stopover in Atlantis . Now, there were monuments, like the Mayan city of Palenque, that archaeologists supposed to be Mayan but in reality were not: according to Le Plongeon it was built by Polynesian people. Since then, Palenque has been a common reference among pseudohistorians : the inscription on the sarcophagus of one of the lords of the city, Pakal the Great, has been interpreted as the representation of an astronaut piloting a spaceship.

Le Plongeon thought that the Mayan civilization came from another much older -in fact, even older than the Atlantean-, the Naacal, who placed in a new lost continent located in the Pacific and who baptized with the name of Mu. This idea he took up the imaginative occult writer James Churchward and turned Mu into the Garden of Eden , the cradle of mankind, a place inhabited by 64 million souls more than 50,000 years ago. Technologically advanced, this Pacific Atlantis established colonies all over the planet which, after the disappearance of their mother-continent in a devastating night plagued by earthquakes and volcanic explosions, ended up giving rise to the Hindu, Mayan, Mesopotamian, Babylonian and Egyptian cultures. .

Already in the 20th century Robert Charroux, Eric von Däniken, Jacques Bergier, Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and the Spaniards Javier Sierra, Manuel José Delgado or Juan José Benítez, among others, are the heirs to this tradition of elaborating flowery historical extravagances and making them go through rigorous work. However, none of his “investigations” make use of the historical method; their books are simply a meager and arbitrary selection of archaeological data that they use to clothe their preconceptions , leaving aside the vast body of evidence that contradicts them.

However, fitting their “evidence” into the delicate framework of their speculations requires them to take a previous step: eliminate the context. But archeology is not about locating or recovering objects, as the famous Indiana Jones did; More than an archaeologist, Indy was a treasure hunter. Unearthing a stone ax or a cuneiform tablet, by itself, means nothing. It is necessary to dig vertically to know the history of the place through time, and horizontally to be able to relate it to other objects and to be able to determine if we are, for example, facing a tomb or a dump. For this reason, any archaeological remains that are shown ‘floating’ in space and time, out of context, are nonsense . This is precisely the way alternative history advocates work: they search for objects, constructions, inscriptions…, decontextualize them, and display them as “evidence” that, of course, the evil professional historians deny and ridicule.


Colavito, J. (2015) Foundations of Atlantis, Ancient Astronauts and Other Alternative Pasts, McFarland & Company

Feder, K. L. (2019) Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology, Oxford University Press 

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