The Pleiades and the idea of Atlantis



copyright © 2006  -

What is the reason for that the Earth around traditions are found with highly
uniform conceptions of certain constellations in the sky? Inherited from
past civilizations? Sailors on long voyages have always navigated by using
the stars, but it need not necessarily be the only way for the spread.


The Pleiades - the "Seven Sisters".


The cosmic star clock
Some rare, extremely large natural disasters hits the globe so that their presence when seen over very long periods appears as something of a recurring phenomenon. Such cyclical, destructive events of the mega size have occurred several times - and will happen again.
          This is a concept that was known not only among the ancient Greeks as Heraclitus, Arist-archus and Hesiod - but also in the Bible and among Hindus, Buddhists and the Persian Zoroaster supporters, where the idea about the world's great upheavals are part of their teachings, and is known also in the Norse mythology as Ragnarok or the Sibyl's prophecy.
          For example, the biblical Noah story about a huge flood in the Middle East is usually calculated to have taken place ca. 6,000 years ago - and such a similar flood that just fit so well to the mentioned one have been accurately confirmed by numerous studies and dis-coveries in Iraq as well as by the Black Sea coast.
          An even earlier round is found in ancient reports' mentioning of the continent Atlantis and its culture's demise by flooding from the Atlantic, now approx. 11,000-12,000 years ago. The direction of Earth's axis moves slowly and constantly its position in a great cycle having a course of approx. 26,000 years (called a Platonic year).
          Just 11,000-12000 years ago the Earth's axis pointed directly at the star Lyra. This, the very bright star was always known as the true north star. At that time the Earth’s axis had a correlation with the World-axis. The World-axis represents a center line of the Milky Way across the sky, connecting the sky’s three most bright stars: Lyra, Sirius and Canopus.
          World-axis constitudes a solid line, while the Earth's axis with its continued position move-ment is almost as the hand on a cosmic clock face marking the changing world eras.
          That all previous cultures have been preoccupied with the stellar world - as a fellow player in the earthly life cycles - numerous signs can show. Anthropologists have in cultures around the world found an everlasting preoccupation with the world of stars and a real serious obsession with them - traditionally leading back through countless of generations.
          So, if the story of Atlantis and its demise has had a concrete background, what a number of interesting clues seem to help clarifying, people would then inevitably have noticed the co¬incidence of the two star-related axes positions. This happened in an era of a course simul¬taneously with the Atlantis continent’s cataclysmic destruction which the ancient people would have seen as the end of a world era and the beginning of a new cycle.


Stellar constellations recorded by peoples of pre-antiquity.
Left:  Orion, 33,000 years ago, carved in a mammoth tusk.


Forhistoriske himmelfortegnelser
In the old stories not only the ideas are presdented about an ancient culture of Atlantis - de¬scribed as a former continent in the Atlantic - but also the trait that Atlantis had colonies in the Mediterranean, and thus both in Africa and in parts of Europe. According to Plato's narrative from the philosopher Solon, Atlantis was an empire that ruled several countries, including Libya and Europe. In that case, a probable influence even up north in Ice Age Europe. Further, traces are also found here showing a considerable interest in the stars.
          In 1979, in a cave in the Danube region in southern Germany, some of the oldest known astronomical records were found - cut into a thin sheet of mammoth tooth. One side of the plate shows a man-like figure, and the other side shows 87 systematic notches. The find is extensively studied, especially by Dr. Michael Rappenglueck, formerly the University of Munich. Carbon-14 dating indicates an age of between 33,000 to 37,000 years.
          One of BBC's science editors, astronomer Dr. David Whitehouse, presented in January 2003 that Rappenglueck by astronomical computer program can display the constellation we call Orion, with its celestial positions about 34,000 ago. This proved correctly with this constel¬lation’s slightly altered appearance due to stellar individual movements, speed ("proper motion") and directions - and you could see how everything fit into precise detail with the carved image. - A coincidence or what? Could there really be as high an age?
          This constellation Orion, also known as Osiris in ancient Egypt, emerges very sharply in the sky and at all times with a very own characteristic shape which could be seen by its main features very far back in time. But we do not yet know much history about that period. Furthermore, evidence has been approved concerning a double meaning of the system with the 87 hollows or notches. Namely, the number of days deducted from one year of 365 days generally indicating a pregnancy period, a method still seen in use as late as the 1800’s.
          Moreover, at the time in question Orion's two most prominent stars were invisible in 87 days of a year – seen from the local latitude at the Danube, where the sky recordings were found, whereas in the Mediterranean in the south, the number of days will be fewer.
These data published in "Science", 7th February 2003 (vol. 299, no. 5608, p. 817).

Cave painting from Lascaux cave - shows the constellations Taurus and the
Pleiades and the Hyades left - all in the correct position for 16,000 years ago.


Pleiades in early magical practising
In our prehistory also the Pleiades were early in focus. In the famous cave paintings, showing scenes with various animals such as horses, oxen, deer, etc., at Lascaux in France, astronomer Frank Edge - according to his book "Aurochs in the Sky", 1995 – was able to identify some patches that have to doo with the sky. For example the Pleiades are shown clearly and so are other stars such as the Hyades in the area at the sky section which is known as Taurus.
          The Lascaux cave decorations are dated to ca. 16,500 BC - and the findings are confirmed and further explored by the above expert Dr. Rappenglueck.
          Yet we still know nothing about how far back in time people introduced the use of these constellations. But the caves contain a lot more of these markings - and the researchers called "a prehistoric planetarium" for a people who were "throughly aware of nature's cycles - their survival depended on them."
          Likewise in the caves there has been found a lunar calendar for lunar months’ generally 29-day cycle from new moon to new moon, here in the form of a series of 29 distinct ball-shaped markings.
In addition, 13 likewise ball markers are separately found in a straight line ending with a precise rectangular blank square. Dr. Rappenglueck sees it as half the lunar cycle, i.e. the 13 days before and after each new moon, and the empty field as it always does in 3 days absent Moon just before the visible new moon appearance.
          But might it ins addition mean the year’s 12 months plus a 13th month lunar month which approx. every 3rd year is added, according to ancient tradition, when the Sun crosses the "big square" in the sky, the constellation Pegasus (a 'horse' as in the second picture)?         
          Several other series with star groups are systematically painted on the walls, especially in a cave system’s main corridors. To anybody being experienced in the general observational astronomy it would be impossible to talk about "random" marings and numbers.
          At the time when the caves were discovered, the whole world was astonished by paintings’ high artistic level. Then it was discovered that many of the images were also for magical use e.g. in connection with hunting. Spiritual and the magical features are known by anthro­pologists to work in tandem, so it would be unusual, if not the cosmos was also involved - and that is exactly represented here.
          Likewise celestial knowledge and religious initiation hung always indissolubly together. The Lascaux cave with these cave paintings have been used for ritual of initiation and magical purposes. In the cave there are no direct traces of habitation, for example from people who created the paintings.



The Lascaux cave paintings showing astronomical data. – Left:  a lunar calendar inserted.
Right:  another of the Lascaux cave paintings: A half lunar cycle and the significant square.

Focus on the Pleiades in the calendar
During earlier ages organized farming culture was calendar-coordinated in accordance with current astronomical information. In archeology and history the researchers, around 2004, - had to re-write a part of early history of the Middle East because of surprising findings - including a nicely curved 11,000 years old stone staircase in a tower foundation near the Red Sea.
          The research ha previously astained from dating similar thing so far back in time by the main reason that until then did they consider, thus so mistakenly, that the people at this early stage had hardly have started cultivating the soil. It is now known that more systematic farming culture can be traced extremely far back.
          In a much later Greek so-called peasant calendar attributed to Hesiod (known as both a poet and a peasant who had never been outside his office) in the 600’s BC, there exist many specific indications on the stars. In this list the importance of the Pleiades is seen mentioned in connection with the agriculture.
          The Hesiod text makes agrarian activities accompany the stars in different seasons of the year:
           “… When the Pleiades are rising  (i.e. raising together with the sun - called heliacal rising - approx. May 10, in our current calendar style)  it is time to use the harvesting sickle, but the plow when the Pleiades are setting (in the morning November 12th). - Through 40 days the Pleiades stay away from heaven …” (line 382). - And:
           “... When the Pleiades, the Hyades and Orion are setting (3rd, 7th, and 15th November) then mind the plowing (line 615). ... When the Pleiades fleeing Orion, plunge into the dark (by morning setting November 12th) storm may be expected ... "(line 619).
          Peoples of ancient times had an intensively cohabitation-cycle with the stars. Agriculture and shipping used the stars in different ways, respectively forecast of times of sowing and har­vesting - and for navigation and daily time control at sea. However, this difference is not reflected so directly in the seafaring Greeks’ star mythology, in which many older features are from farming culture countries like Babylonia, but especially Egypt.
          The rules for the Pleiades in the mentioned peasant calendar, obviously, were valid all the time - and thus long before the Greeks. Today we know, as already stated, that the agri­cultural culture was in function far, far earlier than previously thought.



An enormous circle plane widespread in the middle of the flat wheat
fields, close to Goseck in Germany. The grounds present remains of
the world’s so far oldest star observatory - an age of 7,000 years.


The Pleiade stars on the Nebra bronze disc
Thus, approx. 10,000 years after the Lascaux cave paintings, the Pleiades can be seen depicted on an astronomical bronze disc found in 1999 in Nebra, ca. 180 km southeast of Berlin in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt.
          Dating based on a set of reliable conditions decides that the bronze disc has been created 3,600 years ago. (More about the bronze plate, below).
          The site of the find was on a hilltop at Nebra in the same area as Goseck where Europe’s and even the world's oldest known star observatory has been uncovered around the year 2000. This also according to Madhusree Mukerjee:
”Circles for Space. German ‘Stonehenge’ marks the oldest observatory” (Scientific American, 8th December 2003).  
          The observatory construction was established with a system of four concentric circular berms and canals without the other (almost as in Plato's description of a Atlantis city plan) - here 75 m in diameter.
          The construction is dated according to the rules for standard chronology of the nature of pot­sherds as well as by the nice linear Neolithic design - everything shows it is at least 7,000 years back in ancient times - several thousand years older than Nebra disc and is even older than Stone­henge.
          There are three gateways - southeast, southwest and north - precisely oriented to the winter solstice line. Standing in the center of the winter solstice - and only at that point of time - the observers could also see the sunrise and sunset in respectively the southeastern and south­western opening.
          Once more it has surprised the research traditional understanding of the past that European Neolithic people and Bronze Age people measured the sky conditions that early in history and in the most exact way.
          This impressive design has required a system of records made by trained people recruited in an enlightened elite with knowledge tradition way back in pre-antiquity civilizations, which hitherto we have heard really nothing about. Retention of knowledge and mathematical and astronomical data requires the existence of writing.
          The Neolithic Vinca-culture’s 7,000-year-old writings have been found in Bulgaria in 1986. In Ukraine, southern France and Yugoslavia have been found pyramidal structures older than the Egyptian constructions - a magnificent ancient culture overlooked. More and more dis­coveries of the ancients are being presented - and will change our current picture completely.
          Again, the construction of the circle site in Goseck has been deeply rooted in a religious, astro-spiritual perception universe besides the astronomical and calendrical concept. That age's calendar purpose alone would not have required such exactness and formidable con­struction.

Sun, Moon, and stars including the Pleiades - 3,600 years ago
represented on the bronze plate from Nebra, Germany.


Advanced culture much earlier
The scientific interpretation of the Nebra bronze disc came seriously into focus in 2003, after the authorities had confiscated it from treasure hunters who had illegally excavated it.
          Harald Meller, the chief archaeologist of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, believes that the astronomical bronze disc also eventually got a role as a cult object. However, after the disc’s astronomical contents (see below) had been elucidated, he declared:
          "... We have dramatically underestimated the prehistoric people ...".
          However, it seems not noticed that the significance which lies in the technology behind the creation of the disc was very advanced too. Bronze is usually an alloy of copper with approx. 10 per cent (or more) tin to harden the copper, a method known early from about 2,000 BC in Sumerian, Babylonian, Persian and Egyptian discoveries.
          The occurrence locations of both the metals are rarely geographically situated closely to each other except, for example, in Persia where these could be brought into contact with each other so that development of bronze could happen, but tin had to be imported into Egypt where only copper (in Sinai) was at disposal.
          Early, the Neolithic Vinca culture had open copper mines in the Romanian mountains (cf. the ax belonging to the 5000-year Ötzi Alpine man was made of this copper) and in then the larger island of Helgoland.
          As it will be clear, the astronomic decoration on bronze disc could even have been inspired from the Middle East. The solid 32 inches wide and 2 kg heavy disc with inlaid gold show Sun, Moon and 32 stars. Among these a noticeable group of seven stars can be seen and to which the analyzed astronomical factors of disc the disc are pointing - not surprisingly - at exactly the Pleiades.
          As in ancient cultures’ occupation with the world of stars also metalworking had always been conncted to their religious world. One branch led to the alchemy. In the largest copper mining district in the Sinai peninsula the Egyptians had built a temple for sky goddess Hathor and the Sirius star. Perhaps an ancient shrine regarding similar principles may one day be found also in the Romanian mountains. 


Mul-Apin, the stellar and celestial phenomenon record from Babylonia.
Burnt clay tablet with cuneiform characters, ca. 650 BC.

The Pleiades can show intercalary month

On the Nebra bronze disc the Moon is displayed not as an incipient new moon but a 4-5 day old moon. Astronomer Ralph Hansen from Hamburg, Germany, explored the disc’s stellar features and noticed exactly that is it not a delineation of a slender arc of moon as normal for a new moon but that it is with a larger thickness - as it always turns up for its fifth day.
          rom the "Mul-Apin" - the Babylonians’ famous star list from the 7th-6th century BC - a rule is directly recognized as being early reflected in the design of the disc from Nebra. Ralph Hansen thus mentions the "Mul-Apin" as a compendium of "... astronomical know-ledge colected from the earliest times …" - acording to The Times (Times On Line), March 02, 2006.
          The name for the list in question, "Mul-Apin", is a modern designation - here are simply the list’s very first word used: a Babylonian name for the first stars in the sky sector which we call Aries. On this star group Babylonians used the deignation Hunga, 'day laborer' (hireling, hired servant). Here the year began as well as the Zodiac’s range of the constellations.
          From his pioneering excavations of ancient Babylonian cities the eminent British Assyriologist George Smith released his work: "Assyrian Discoveries" (London 1875). In the text (p. 405) he renders from Mul Apin contents: "... When at the third day of Nisannu (the first Babylonian month), the moon and star Mul-mul (the Pleiades) stand together the year is full ...".
          The last part of the statement means or implies that here the Pleiades are visible a rather long time after sunset, and it is so early in the spring,that it is necessary to include a 13th month.
          In other words, because the solar year (365.24 days) does not fit perfectly with 12 moon-measured months (354 days), many cultures add a shot months. This 13th month would - also according to "Mul-Apin" - only be inserted into the lunar year calendar when the moon emerged at the Pleiades in the specific way.
          This arrangement is exactly as it already appears on the bronze disc from Nebra. At appro­priate times, the ancient astronomers has simply compared the dial directly to the sky and measured to see if the Moon and Pleiades corresponded with the image on the disc, which happened every two or three years, thus providing assurance that a shot month could be inserted.

Moon and Pleiades
In addition to the curved moon on the Nabra bronze disc seal two other more flat, curved shapes are added beneath the solar and lunar symbols. These arcs have by researchers, including Prof. Francois Bertem of the Halle-Wittenberg University, been placed in plausible relation with ideas of ancient Middle East. Thus, for example, regarding the "Solar boat", a representation of the sun sliding motion by firmly guided direction - even through the night, when it cannot be seen.
          The arcs mentioned are equipped with regularly placed markings. It could be suggested that they could have functioned as a permanent recall device that indicates absent days of a lunar year. In the cases of the disc being used as an aiming instrument the markings are not unlikely to have been used for the division of the horizon concerning, for instance, the places for the raising of certain stars.
          From ancient experts of star knowledge in Babylon, Greece and Rome, records and rules have been found, which also for astrological features deals with a celestial bodies’ nature of changes in quality depending on the constellation in which it is situated.

          Such conditions can be seen in ancient astronomer Ptolemy's work "Tetrabiblios" (book 1:20). Often in his text a planet was specified with a relation to a specific location within a certain constellation. By calculations based on the positions in the starry sky in ancient times, it turns out that these particular locations are the positions of some of the major fixed stars.
          For example, a lunar quality is regarded as "elevated" when the moon is in the position of 2 degrees of Taurus. Precisely at this position the Pleiades were located.
          The bringing together - again - of the Moon and Pleiades is interesting because the Pleiades were known as a calendar marker of the arrivals of the spring rain and the spring floods, and in addition that also the moon by itself can trigger the floods and meteorologically the rain.

Traditions about the lost world
Many other ancient cultures around the world, in India, Sumer, Egypt, China, and America, related itself to the sky and stellar community. For example, among the ancient Egyptians the star Sirius signified so very much that it was identified with their greatest goddess Isis.
          A resounding of this was documented later by the Roman writer Apuleius (124-180 AD) who mentions the Egyptians (and his own opinion in favor of) the ideas of Isis as:
          "... the mother of the stars, ruler of the ages, and queen of the world ...",
and he also expresses the perception of the goddess's ubiquity and universal care.
          All these cultures have traditions about huge floods in a world scale size, however - when seen from the present - often with no or hardly recognizable detail. Also, it complicates exploration. And regarding the ideas of Atlantis it is being claimed that at the continent's disappearance in the Atlantic the survivors fled away to both sides - to Europe in the east and America in the west.
Idag findes der mange forskelligartede omtaler og indicier af vekslende kvalitet - det er ikke formålet her at opregne alt, hvad der findes eller er til fordel for bestemte opfattelser. Dog kan der sig ind imellem fremdrages relationer og facts, der giver stof til eftertanke.
           Som nævnt, kendtes der over store dele af verden fortidsberetninger knyttet til Plejadernes stjernegruppe, angående ”de syv Plejadesøstre, hvoraf den ene forsvandt”. Det vil naturligt være af direkte relevans at sætte mange af de nye fremdragne træk i relation til overleveringer i oldtidens Europa (og Egypten), bl.a. dette at Plejaden Elektra, der også har navnet Atlantis, forsvandt - ligesom kontinentet Atlantis og dets kultur forsvandt.

One of the Hopi Indians' magical inscriptions with omens, on Prophecy Rock
 in Arizona, including about the "Blue Star Kachina (Sirius)" and its "signals".

Pleiades and Sirius among the Indians
Let us also look at the American side. Here there are still tribes with a de facto non-technological culture - like by the gifted Neolithic peoples in Europe with their stunning star knowledge of 10-30,000 years ago.
          The Hopi people, one of North America's oldest Indian societies, in later times gathered mostly in Arizona - they are respectfully called "the North Americans Indian's memory'. Parts of their knowledge and prophecies are maintained in signs carved into rocks, including the famous Prophesy Rock, which the people protects. Europeans have known its existence for some hundred years. As the Bible the Hopis’ legend of creation begins "... The first world was Tokpela (endless space). ..."
          According to the Hopis’ tradition, the Earth has been moved or flipped several times already - most recently with "great flood" of 11-12,000 years ago. The timing corresponds to the number of years which Plato 2,400 years ago indicated, namely 9,000 years earlier, for the continent of Atlantis’s flooding and destruction. It was that time when the "pointer on the large star clock", the World-axis, had its position coincidental, or parallel in space, with the direction of Earth's axis.
          Although many older history reports across the Earth refers to several different and often very profound natural disasters and floods, they can hardly be classified as purely "incidental" cases where the specified times of events are exactly the same.
          The Hopis argue that there have been three previous "world ages" before the current fourth. In an old Hopi prophecy declares that "... when the Blue Star Kachina will appear in the sky, the fifth world realized ...". Saquasohuh ('Blue Star') Kachina is Hopis name for the star Sirius, and they say that the then "... will dance on the big space ...".
          World-axis - formed by the three bright stars, Canopus, Sirius, and Lyra, located on a straight line across the sky - was known by many peoples. When Sirius, the brightest of them all, is here referred to "appear on the large space (sky plane) with new stage", it is like a picture of that the World-axis’ position moves - and marks a new era.
          In North America various Indian peoples the idea is widespread that Sirius is seen as a wolf - cf. in Egypt the star Sirius was associated with the jackal god Anubis and Europe and the Orient with the Greater Dog, i.e. the constellation Canis Major.
          Several North American Indian tribes, including Iowa and Dakota Indians have a widespread legend that says that their ancestors came from a country "at sunrise". Iowa and Dakota Indians believed that "all Indian tribes were originally one and lived on an island - against the sunrise." From there they crossed the ocean in "huge sailboats, as the old Dakota sailed ii weeks before they finally reached land".   
          Further south - in MesoAmerica - the ancient Mayan people present descendants: Lacandon Indians in Chiapas - were (re)discovered in 1900-century. In their hitherto isolated communities found some traits with surprising similarity with the traditions of the Basques in Europe and the Berbers in Africa near the Atlantic coast, the ocean the second boundary in the east.
          In Maya, the Guatemala people's holy book "Popul Vuh" presents descriptions of travelers from the cosmos, the use of the compass, and the knowledge that the Earth is round, and knowledge to 'secrets of the universe'. There is also referred to past civilizations where "blacks and whites lived peacefully together in this happy land, and spoke one language". Then it continues to tell how people migrated to the east and west.
          The Maya’s special hieroglyphic texts mention that their ancestors from a country out to sea in the east was once arrived there and created an advanced culture community. It is here emphasized that they came from - the Pleiades

Orions bælte på sigtelinjen til Plejaderne

Ove von Spaeth
Forfatter og forsker, -  Copyright © 2006 (& © 1983).
Enkelte dele i teksten er fra bind 2 og 4 i Ove von Spaeths bogserie ”Attentatet på Moses”.
( C.A.Reitzels forlag og boghandel, tlf. 33 12 24 00  & )

Yderligere information:


Bibliografi, orienterende

Boyes, Roger (in Berlin):  Bronze Age clock that told man it was spring, The Times, by Times On Line, 2nd March 2006,,,13509-2064962,00.html .

Edge, Frank:  Aurochs in the Sky, 1995.

Fawkes, Helen (in Kiev):  Pyramids discovered in Ukraine, BBC Science,  -  Thursday, 7 September 2006, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK 

Mukerjee, Madhusree:  Circles for Space. German ‘Stonehenge’ Marks Oldest Observatory, Scientific American, 8th December 2003. 

Osmanagich, Sam:  The World of the Maya, (Gorgias Press) New Jersey 2005.

 Pannekoek, A.:  A History of Astronomy, (London 1961) New York 1989, pp. 37-38, 95-96.

Smith, George:  Assyrian Discoveries, London 1875, p. 405, -  & in: Monthly Notices of the Royal Society, XXXIX, p. 454.

Waters, Frank:  The Book of the Hopi, Penguin (Non-Classics) reprint edition 1977.

  Whitehouse, David:  Ice Age star map discovered, BBC Science,  -  Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 01:00 GMT 02:00 UK  

Whitehouse, David:  Oldest lunar calendar identified, BBC Science,  -  Monday, 16 October, 2000, 22:27 GMT 23:27 UK

 Whitehouse, David:  Oldest ‘star chart' found, BBC Science,  -  Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 10:50 GMT


Copyright © 2006 (& 1983)   by:  Ove von Spaeth  -  -  All rights reserved.