Atlantis. Missing Link Between Ancient Egypt and the Americas.by Steve Lautenschlager
An Egyptian pyramid. Pyramids are just one of hundreds of similarities between ancient Egypt and Central/South America.
A pyramid in the Americas. How do we explain the many similarities between ancient Egypt and the Americas? Could Atlantis be their common source?
Similarities between the culture of Egypt and the cultures of South and Middle America from 10,000 B.C. to A.D. 1500 and the theory of Atlantis as a possible explanation for the similarities.
When comparing ancient civilizations, archaeologists and scientists have noted many similarities among different cultures that existed about the same time - from 10,000 B.C. to A.D. 1500. As a result, many theories have been proposed as explanations for the similarities. These theories incorporate ideas such as the mass continent, visitors from outer space, or common ancestry. To explain similarities between the Egyptian and South/Central American cultures, one particular theory proposes that the lost continent of Atlantis was the source for both ancient cultures.
In order to determine the possibility of this theory it is necessary first to consider the similarities between the two cultures, and second, to relate them to a hypothetical lost continent. In both geographical areas countless similarities can be found in all different facets of life including culture, rituals, and technology.
Culturally, the two areas were very similar in their religion and legends. Religion, to both cultures, was very important. Both had a very powerful hereditary priesthood (Donnelly, 1949), and construction of numerous temples in both cultures (Dudly, Faricy, & Rice, 1968; Toth & Nielsen, 1985) reveals religion's importance.
In early Egypt the religion was monotheistic and only fruits and flowers were sacrificed. They also believed in an underworld, as well as the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. Paralleling these in South/Central America, the Peruvian cultures worshipped a single god; the Aztecs of Mexico condemned all sacrifice but fruit and flowers; many of the separate civilizations believed in an underworld, and the Peruvians also believed in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body (Donnelly, 1949).
In Egypt and civilizations of Central America the worship of animals was practiced. Both also worshiped a sun god. In Egypt the sun god was called Ra. The Toltecs of Mexico called their sun god Rana and the Peruvian's sun god was Raymi.
Legends are another common cultural aspect of these two areas. The Egyptian religion, which is constructed mostly upon legends, refers to a time when the sun was completely obscured in dense clouds. The Tupi civilization of Brazil tells a story about two brothers, a struggle between light and dark (Donnelly, 1970). This legend states that "the cloudy day came out worst" (Connelly, 1970, p. 239), indicating that a time of great storms had passed. The Egyptian legends also relate to "ages of fire and ice, and the victory of the sun-god over the evil-one" (Donnelly, 1970, p. 234). Most all of the civilizations in South/Central America and Egypt preserved a tradition of such a deluge (Donnelly, 1949).
During the time of fire and ice, there is also mention of a "cave-life" in both cultures. This was a time when people lived in caves to escape the devastation (Donnelly, 1970).
Further cultural similarities can be found when comparing the established calendrical systems. On both sides of the Atlantic is found a 365 day calendar (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969). When dividing the year the Peruvians and the Egyptians separated it into twelve months (Donnelly, 1949). The Aztecs, however, divided their year into 18 months of 20 days with five intercalary days. Though the monthly division was different, the Aztecs still maintained the 365 day year (Aztec, 1979). Similar also is the exact day on which the year started. The Egyptian and Mexican years both began on February 26 (Donnelly, 1949).
When comparing the written languages of Egypt and South/Central America even more similarities are discovered. In both cultures, hieroglyphics were used. The Egyptians used hieroglyphics on temples, pillars, and statues. Similarly, Mayas used hieroglyphics in tombs, on monuments, medallions, buildings, and on pottery. Both cultures also used their written languages for practical purposes. In Egypt, business records and letters have been found, (Egyptian Language and Literature, 1979) and in many South and Central American tombs, hieroglyphics indicate the name of the deceased and the date of death (Adams, 1986; Hawkes, 1963).
Rituals and practices play an important part in any culture. Among the ancient cultures of Egypt and South/Central America there were many rituals and practices that were alike, such as circumcision, astrology, and having annual agricultural fairs (Donnelly, 1949). A more significant similarity that is common to both cultural areas is the astronomical and directional orientation of edifices. In Maya culture, knowledge of the heavens developed long before A.D. 250. This knowledge was used in the planning and construction of complex pyramid structures (Hammond, 1986). In the Teotihuacan culture of Mexico, buildings are grouped along a north-south axis (Toth & Nielsen, 1985), and in Egypt the Great Pyramids at Cheops are just four minutes west of perfect northerly alignment and have other directional and mathematical relationships to the moon, the planets, and the stars (Toth & Nielson, 1985).
Burial in underground tombs is a practice common to Egypt, Peru, and Mexico. The rituals of burial in these cultures were also much the same. All three embalmed and mummified their dead. They also went to great extremes to seal tombs so that what was within would be preserved (Adams, 1986; Donnelly, 1949).
The third major facet of similarity is technology. Many technological developments existed in both cultures. One example is the using of gold fillings in teeth, which was done in both Egypt and Peru.
The greatest and most obvious technology similarity, however, was the construction of pyramids. Among the pyramids can be found striking similarities. On both sides of the Atlantic ocean, there are step pyramids constructed of several mastaba-like structures. In both cultures many of these step pyramids stand around 200 feet tall, and evidence indicates that they underwent several changes of plan throughout their construction (Toth & Nielsen, 1985).
The use of stones for building the pyramids is also common in both cultures. The stones themselves and the construction techniques used, not only in pyramids but other structures as well exhibit very similar technology. The Egyptians and the Tiahuanaco culture of Peru were capable of building with stones weighing from 2 to 100 tons. The precise placement of these stones is equally impressive. The Tiahuanacans fit their stones so precisely that a razor blade could not be slipped between them. In Egypt the stones are so accurately joined that there is never more than 1/50 of an inch between blocks (Toth & Nielsen, 1985).
When comparing the technological levels reached by both cultures it is apparent that neither culture surpassed the other in knowledge. The Egyptians, however, exhibited the technology on a greater scale than the smaller civilizations of South and Central America.
Though very few of the similarities have been noted, it can be seen that an explanation is warranted, and that there might have been some connection between Egyptian and South/Central American cultures. Perhaps that connection was Atlantis, a place of common origin. Archaeologists and historians consider the Americas to be the Mayan place of origin; however, mystics theorize that the Mayas originated from Atlantis (Toth & Nielsen, 1985). Ignatius Donnelly, who lists 626 references in his book comparing the culture's similarities (1949), supports a theory which states that "both the ancient Egyptian and American Indian cultures originated in Atlantis, and spread east and west when Atlantis was destroyed" (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969, p. 18).
Before pursuing the theory further it is necessary that one has an understanding of Atlantis. This is because there are relationships between the two cultural areas and Atlantis which refer to legends of Atlantis' location, time of existence, and destruction.
Edgar Evans Cayce, the son of Edgar Cayce, a very noted and credible clairvoyant, has compiled information about Atlantis along with the "readings" of his father (1969). In the "readings" Edgar Cayce placed the location of Atlantis between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. Plato described it as a rugged island or continent larger than North Africa and Asia Minor combined which sank in a volcanic catastrophe around 14,000 B.C. Edgar Cayce places the destruction of Atlantis at 10,000 B.C. (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969).
Edgar Cayce has said that, before the sinking of Atlantis, Egypt and South/Central America were inhabited and advanced in technology. At the time of the sinking of Atlantis the entire world was affected, including Egypt and South/Central America. Many of the edifices and technological advances of the time were destroyed (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969).
When noting the relationships between Egypt, South/Central America, and Atlantis it can be found that the legends of Egypt and South/Central America make reference to the origin of the culture. Peruvian legend says that civilizers of the race came from the east. The Egyptians indicate that their ancestors came from the Island of Mero (Donnelly, 1970). Other legends refer to a geographical connection with this island; they say that there were long bridges of land which joined Africa and South/Central America to Atlantis (Donnelly, 1970). Today, there is some evidence that supports the legends of a land bridge. In the area of the Azore islands, 900 miles off the coast of Portugal, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, deep-sea soundings indicate that a great ridge runs south of the Azores for a distance and then divides, sending one arm to South America and the other to Africa (Donnelly, 1970). A deep-sea core was taken from one place on the ridge and revealed exclusively freshwater diatoms, indicating that part of the ridge was once above sea level (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969). In 1898, also near the Azores, a ship discovered particles of lava from the sea floor, two miles deep, which had solidified with a vitreous structure. Only when lava solidifies in open air does it assume a vitreous structure (Cayce, 1969).
Edge Cayce said in "readings" that the continent itself extended from South America to Africa. He made no mention of ridges. This slightly contradicts the land bridge theory. However, Cayce and the other legends are in agreement that land or land bridges helped to join the three cultures of Atlantis, Egypt and South/Central America.
If all three cultures were connected and Atlantis was the common source, then we would expect direct similarities to Atlantis in Egypt and South/Central America. As described by Plato, Cayce (1969), and Donnelly (1949), Atlantis had agriculture, engraving, a belief in an underworld, the plow, and only sacrificed fruit and flowers. These things were all present in Egyptian and South/Central American culture (Braymer, 1983; Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969; Donnelly, 1949).
Though much evidence supports the theory of Atlantis and its influence on later cultures, it still has its critics. The greatest argument against Atlantis is the lack of any explicit proof of its existence (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969).
A more specific argument states a common belief among geologists -- that the world has always changed slowly. This belief does not allow for sudden Earth changes that would have been necessary to sink Atlantis. However, to make continents disappear and others appear would only require the warping of 1/8000th of the Earth's crust (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969). With this in mind, the sinking of a large island seems plausible. It is remarkable how stable the Earth's surface has been for most of recorded history.
L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine C. de Camp (1964) effectively consider all of the popular arguments against Atlantis, myths, and similarities among cultures. They point out that Plato is the only literary source that speaks of Atlantis and they contend that he contrived it in his own mind. When considering the legends of Atlantis the de Camp's attack the credibility of myths and legends. In addressing the similarities between Egyptian and Mayan cultures, the de Camp's note the differences -- no common food plants, no common domestic animals besides the dog, and no common epidemic diseases. They said the Mayas lacked the plow, wheeled vehicles, and metal tools. Donnelly (1949), however, informs us that the plow was used in the civilized cultures of Peru. This would include the Mayas.
I believe Atlantis or a similar common parent culture is a plausible explanation for the similarities between the ancient cultures of Central/South American and Egypt. I believe the weight of the many legends relating to major Earth changes and a parent culture in the Atlantic cannot be ignored. Additionally, the freshwater plants and lava discovered on the sea floor suggest that the Earth may have seen dramatic changes in her past. While Plato claims that his story of Atlantis comes from a long oral tradition, we have no proof of its authenticity. Yet, some of his descriptions bear striking similarities to the ancient cultures of Central/South America and Egypt. It is the incredible number of similarities and the detail of similarity which suggests a relationship between South/Central America and Egypt (Donnelly, 1949). Donnelly (1949) concludes the legendary lost continent of Atlantis is the explanation.
However, there are still some questions that can't be ignored. Why did South/Central American technology evolve later than Egyptian technology? And could the Egyptians have directly influenced or established the technology of South/Central America? Ignatius Donnelly (1970) informs us that the world was barbaric in places and civilized in others at the time of Atlantis' destruction. The later technological development of the South/Central American culture -- around 300 B.C., as opposed to 3000 B.C. in Egypt -- may be due to the fact that this area was less civilized than Egypt before the destruction and was geographically farther from Atlantis, and as a result took longer to rebuild, or fully develop, its civilization.
The later development of South/Central America could also be explained by a direct Egyptian influence in South/Central America. Geographical evidence suggests that land, now sunk beneath the ocean surface, may have facilitated a connection between Egypt and South/Central America. It's possible that even after an Atlantean destruction, Egypt and South America knew of one another's existence. Edgar Cayce "readings" and a seal found in Mexico with clearly recognizable Egyptian hieroglyphs (Cayce, Edgar Evans, 1969) indicate that there might have been an Egyptian influence in the South/Central American cultures.
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last updated: 04 May 2005