Well hello again, gentle readers! Some time has passed since the last update and there have been many changes in the Real World and in the Blogosphere. Primarily, I’m now unemployed. However, this gives me more time to get this blog going! Huzzah!
There will be some odd updates and changes over the next few days as I get this blog ready for the first official Archaeologist For Hire adventure, Rome!
Now I won’t be able to upload all my pictures while I’m over there (this computer is staying firmly put on US soil…er, desk) but I’ll be sending iPhone pictures as I go via Flickr. There will be regular posts and photos of archaeological interest with a line or two of witty observation and/or commentary.

Until then, I’ll be starting up a semi-regular posting for Archaeological FAQs. Keep your eyes peeled for answers to those burning questions that are regularly asked of archaeologists!


Lemuria, Land of Lemurs

As promised, we continue ArchaeoLOLgical Week here at archaeologistforhire. Last time we had a little chat about Atlantis and today, we shall spend a few moments on Atlantis’ sister civilization/city/friend/wacky aunt Lemuria. The name comes from a term coined by zoologist Philip Sclatar to describe the ancient extent of the lemur habitat, now mostly limited to Madagascar.

For those unfamiliar with this magical land, Lemuria is the Pacific Ocean’s answer to Atlantis. I mean really, why should the Atlantic Ocean get to have all the fun? I’m pretty sure every ocean has at least one ‘lost city/island’ hiding in it somewhere. Atlantic Ocean: Atlantis. Pacific Ocean: Lemuria. Indian Ocean: Kumari Kandam…I think you see where this is going. Before we properly begin, it has come to my attention that Lemuria has an official website and mailing list. I share this link with you now in case you want updates on all the goings-on in this magical realm (LOL!!)

Let us begin. I’m giggling as I am preparing to copy-paste this information, but the following is probably the best summary of what Lemuria is. *snicker*
“Lemuria was an ancient civilization which existed prior to and during the time of Atlantis. Physically, it is believed that Lemuria existed largely in the Southern Pacific, between North America and Asia/Australia. Lemuria is also sometimes referred to as Mu, or the Motherland (of Mu). At its peak of civilization, the Lemurian people were both highly evolved and very spiritual. While concrete physical evidence of this ancient continent may be difficult to find, many people “know” that they have a strong connection to Lemuria

I think that last part may be key…but hey! Here’s a couple of maps so we can find our way around the Pacific Ocean!

As we can see from these handy maps, Lemuria kind of dominated the Pacific Ocean. It’s mountains gave us all those lovely tropical islands in the South Pacific, as well as the Hawaiian Islands further north. Yes, this was indeed an expansive motherland (Mu, as it is known). The people of Lemuria were apparently on the same page as the Atlanteans and were all into spirituality and stuff too. I don’t know if they made awesome scientific and mechanical discoveries like the Atlanteans, but they definitely had the architectural thing down. Check out their houses!
I mean, if this isn’t the absolute pinnacle of eco-friendly and sustainable design, I don’t know what is. Look at that! It doesn’t even have a roof! Or doors! I don’t even know what material that is, but there’s a very good chance it insulates so well you don’t even need to worry about things like windows and doors. Clearly, the Lemurians had advanced to a point in their civilization where doors were no longer needed. Everyone was all in tune with each other and crime didn’t exist. How could you NOT want to live there?

But seriously. Lemuria, while less popular than Atlantis, has still figured very prominently in our collective global history over the past centuries. A one Madame Helena Blavatsky introduced the concept of Lemuria to the occult fans after claiming to have been shown some pre-Atlantean book by some unnamed Mahatmas in the 1880’s. Lemuria gained favor with the clairvoyant sets from then on, with several people of various levels of reknown (or not…) claiming to know facts about Lemuria thanks to some astro-clairvoyance. Hence the detailed maps. There is also much chatter about Lemuria being home to a ‘root race’ of humanity, a lost race of reptilian humanoid creatures and even the land of the Naga, popular reptilian/humanoid/merfolk popular in Cambodian mythology and in various locations throughout Azeroth (nerd point for that one).

However, the best use of Lemuria goes to H.P. Lovecraft, who makes reference to the fabled lost continent as the ancient city of R’lyeh in his Cthulhu mythos. It was also previously a resting place for the Shining Trapezohedron…just in case you were wondering.

So, in conclusion, Lemuria is the magical lost continent of lemurs and it’s sunken remains were the resting place of one of the Old Gods. Questions?

The Lost City of Atlanta

…er, I mean Atlantis. The legendary city of, um, legend, that is much more than an airport. I’m sure at this point a fair portion of everyone knows the tale of the doomed advanced civilization that lived on a Utopian island somewhere either in the Mediterranean or the Atlantic Ocean. These unfortunate citizens did something or other (it really depends who you ask…) to incur the wrath of Zeus, Poseidon, Yaweh (perhaps all 3?) and the entire island along with its inhabitants was lost to the waves. Some say a small contingent managed to escape the destruction and settled elsewhere to impart their wisdom and technology on the developing peoples of the world (Egypt, Peru, Mexico, England, Greece…) but most believe the entire populous perished beneath the perilous…precipitation? Ok, so alliteration didn’t work. You’ll have to forgive me, as it is a signature of the Access Hollywood scripts (Farrah’s follicle fad!) While I gather my thoughts and data, here’s a picture of Atlantis!

Ah, lovely Atlantis! It turns out the fabled island is alive and well…in Dubai. But seriously, Atlantis was first mentioned by Plato is his dialogues Timaeus and Critias around 360 BC. By his accounts, Atlantis was a naval power lying “in front of the Pillars of Hercules” that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon (c. 9600 BC) After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune” and Poseidon may or may not have been involved. In any case, this tale, which may have just been a fable of sorts, spawned a whole mess of Atlantean tales and expeditions to find the ruined island. In fact, this one story has become so ingrained into the social fabric of history that the island was included on many early maps because people assumed it would be out there somewhere in the ocean!
Por ejemplo, here we have a small section of the 1669 Mundus Subterraneus by Anthanasius Kircher. This Dutch map (since the Dutch were the map masters back in the day) stuck the mythical island right between America and Africa. Apparently someone made it there and mapped the rivers too…

The Dutch were not the only ones who included Atlantis in their world maps, since most people felt that Plato’s description was accurate enough to have been real. There was all that space out in the ocean beyond the Pillars of Hercules (or Strait of Gibraltar if you prefer…) so why not stick an island there?
It seemed like a good idea well into the 19th century, and that’s just what some people did!

This map, from Ignatius Donelly’s Atlantis: the Antediluvian World published in 1882, provides us with a world map and an the approximate extent of the Atlantean empire! Who knew?

In the early days of the 20th century, our good buddy Edgar Cayce arrived on the scene and took Atlantean lore to a whole new level. In case you are not familiar with Mr. Cayce and his works/theories/crazyspeak, Wikipedia has created a convenient page for you to learn all about these things.
For those of you who are familiar with Cayce, I can hear you laughing through the internet and know that I laugh with you. Homeboy was crazy. Seriously. A full-blown Pyramidiot if you will.

Moving on. Even today, people are still looking for Atlantis. There are several places that people keep returning to time and time again. Of course, everyone is still scouring the Atlantis ocean floor in hopes that something may turn up as the Atlantic is what you run into once you get past the Pillars of Hercules. Other favorite locations are in Bermuda (that one ‘road’ underwater that is super popular with the scuba fans) and various locations in the Mediterranean. The Greek island of Santorini is particularly popular because it has a long and colorful history of being on the wrong side of volcanic and seismic activity. The whole area has well-documented events of catastrophic events that have decimated entire populations (Minoans, I’m looking at you). Tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have all caused serious damage to the Mediterranean over the millenia, and more than once things have fallen into the ocean or have been lost to the waves so it is fair to see how many of these islands have been tapped as potential locations for Atlantis. For those of you who prefer an unconventional option, Antarctica is also on the list.

In my humble archaeological opinion, I don’t know if an Atlantis as Plato described it really existed. To me, it seems more like a fable reminding people to act right or risk the wrath of a deity. I find it really hard to believe that there was one single outpost of an ‘advanced civilization’ while everyone else on the planet was grunting around with hand axes and basic spears and these guys were building complex machinery and talking with aliens or whatnot. I think that ancient people were more than capable of constructing large-scale monuments because religion, devotion and creativity inspire you like that. Just because we don’t fully understand how they did it then without our fancy machines doesn’t mean they couldn’t do it. It just means they did it in a way we wouldn’t think of immediately…or at all. Think outside the box! Or pyramid, or henge…

Stay tuned for next week’s post in which we uncover the many secrets of Atlantis’ sister civilization in the Pacific, Lemuria!