In Search Of The Stones Of Atlantis
Andrew Collins with the aid of his Colleague, pursues the truth behind the tales of Atlantean `temples' being found off the coast of Florida.
On Labour Day 1968, an underwater archaeologist and zoologist associated with the University of Miami named J. Valentine Manson, believed he had identified a man-made structure of enormous size in shallow waters, north-west of Bimini, a tiny Bahaman island some 55 miles east of the Florida coast. With the appearance of a reversed letter J, it consisted of multiple rows of gigantic, close fitting, pillow-shaped stones that ran for a distance of 633 yards before making an abrupt turn and disappearing beneath the fast shifting sands. After careful study, some of the huge blocks were found to rest on tiny corner stones, or plugs, of either limestone or granite, very much like the megalithic dolmens or table stones of western Europe and New England.
The site became known as the Bimini Road and was extensively investigated during the 1970s by a research team led by ancient mysteries writer David Zink. Although Valentine, Zink and other primary researchers in this field, such as Dimitri Rebikoff and Bill Donato, became convinced that the stone causeway was man-made, oceanographic archaeologists and geologists have repeatedly dismissed the structure as misidentified beach-rock, a conclusion hotly disputed by supporters of the road theory.
Since the 1970s many more examples of inexplicable stones structures have been detected in the clear blue waters of the Great Bahama Bank, which stretches between Bimini in the north and the right-hand shoulder of South America in the south. Yet never has the archaeological community taken even the slightest interest in these strange underwater anomalies, other than to dismiss them with rational explanations.
Such was the situation when on 21 June 1997 a curious E-mail was posted to certain press agencies and newspapers across the United States. It claimed that irrefutable evidence of antediluvian `temples' had been discovered off the coast of Bimini. All was to be revealed at a press conference to be organised on 25 July by one Aaron Duval, the author of the E-mail and the `president' of a local `Egyptological Society', at the Miami Museum of Science.
In subsequent releases despatched between 6 and 15 July to the same sources, tantalising details of the alleged discoveries were outlined by Duval. The so-called `Ancient Bimini Temples', or `Scott Stones' (named after the alleged discover), were said to have been constructed of huge blocks of stone, each around six feet in thickness, and ranging in length from nine to twelve feet. These came in three different colours - red, white and black, bringing to mind the multi-coloured walls that Plato, the Greek poet and philosopher, spoke of in his classic account of the fabled island city of Atlantis. Further linking the Bimini `temples' with Atlantis was Duval's claim that the `walls' were coated in three different types of metal - later revealed as brass, copper and iron. Plato had also said that the walls of the lost city were coated in different types of metals, including gold, brass, tin and an unknown substance called orichalcum, which was said to have `flashed' with a `red light'.
More peculiarly, Duval linked the alleged site with Ancient Egypt, claiming that `casing stones', like those that originally covered the Great Pyramid, had been found on the site. Furthermore, he spoke of the presence of `bore-holes', similar to examples present in the bedrock besides some of the unfinished obelisks to be seen in the famous granite quarries at Aswan. In addition to these features, Duval stated that the Scott Stones possessed `orbital plots of the planets and what seem to have been intricate star shafts', or `sky maps', which `recorded the paths of various heavenly bodies (particularly) Saturn and Jupiter'.
These were serious claims that needed to be checked out, so my colleague and I made immediate contact with Duval via the telephone, expressing our wish to join him for the intended conference at the Museum of Science. Regularly we would ring Duval for a friendly call, and at first he was open with us, but then things started to change. Shortly afterwards the intended press conference was cancelled and Duval advised us not to make the journey out to Miami. However, since we had already purchased non-returnable tickets, this was now impossible and, if nothing else, a few days on Miami South Beach seemed like a good idea to me.
My colleague and I arrived in Miami on 24 July and following several calls from our hotel room, we were finally able to meet Duval in the hotel foyer (he refused to meet us anywhere else) two days later. Yet after three hours in his company he had revealed nothing whatsoever about the so-called `Scott Stones'. Instead he spoke vaguely about some tests that were to be conducted by a local laboratory on some waterproof `glue', or mortar, he had found attached to some of the stones.
He also spoke much about Edgar Cayce ...
In 1940 America's well-known `sleeping prophet' predicted that part of `Poseidia will be among the first portions of Atlantis to rise again. Expect it in '68 or '69'. Incredibly, he had gone on to state that: `A portion of the (Atlantean) temple may yet be discovered under the slime of ages of seawater - near what is known as Bimini, off the coast of Florida'. Although J. Manson Valentine was fully aware of this prophecy when he first came across the Bimini Road in 1968, its fulfilment managed to forge a permanent link between Bimini and Plato's conception of a now sunken island metropolis called Atlantis. Indeed, it has ensured that the Edgar Cayce Foundation has taken a healthy, and very active, interest in the shallow waters of the Great Bahama Bank right through to the present day.
Since we could do little more, my colleague and I returned to the United Kingdom and, despite Duval's cool reception towards us, we kept in touch with him. Within weeks he was claiming that tests carried out on the mortar-like `glue' found attached to some of the Scott Stones were providing a date of 12,000 years BP (before present). He was still awaiting final confirmation of the results from the laboratory concerned, but said he hoped they would arrive within a matter of days. That was in August 1997. In February 1998 Duval was still claiming that the full results had not been received. Yet as with everything else he was alluding to, Duval refused point blank to discuss the matter, and would not reveal the nature of this revolutionary new method that was able to scientifically date stone mortar.
Clouding the issue still further was the involvement of a major international publisher who, with the help of a London-based publicist and literary agent, offered Duval a seven-figure deal for an exclusive book on his discoveries. In our opinion, it was for this reason that he had called off the initial press conference planned for 25 July 1997 and had been unwilling to discuss his alleged discoveries. It is our knowledge, however, that by February 1998 the publisher in question had still not received even a two-page synopsis of the intended book - Duval apparently blaming ill-health, family commitments and the lack of any final test results for this extraordinary delay.
So what is the truth behind these extraordinary claims? Were the Scott Stones simply a creation of Duval's mind - a fiction without any basis in fact? In spite of his reluctance to talk, Duval appeared to be telling the truth. This therefore implied that he did have something to offer - something that in his opinion constituted evidence of Atlantean temples.
Then there was the question of the location of the so-called `Scott Stones'. On being asked whether he would use a boat or plane to reach the site, he refused point blank to answer and became noticeably agitated - even getting up on one occasion with the words `I know what you're trying to do', ie. wheedle the location out of him. Add this to his claim that he often visited the Scott Stones and it implied that they were easily accessible to him, perhaps even in vicinity of Miami itself, and nowhere near Bimini. More significantly, on being prompted as to their position, he would say only that some of the stones were in shallow waters, some were at the low tide mark while still others were permanently on display above the water line.
We could make no sense of these enigmatic statements until, after several trans-Atlantic telephone conversations with leading figures in the Bimini project (none of whom believed Duval's claims), we heard about the work of Richard Wingate, a maverick mineral prospector and explorer. He had become involved with the search for `Atlantean' structures in the Bimini area during the mid-1970s, around the time that David Zink was conducting his yearly expeditions to the Bimini Road.
Wingate believed he had identified new `Atlantean' structures in the shallow waters of the Great Bahama Bank. Unfortunately, they included a scattered array of column drums fashioned from white marble which he took to be the remains of an in situ temple structure. However, as is easy to realise, it seems more likely that this site is composed of ballast or loose masonry deposited here by a colonial wreck during the eighteenth or nineteenth century, a fact that has often been invoked to show the supposed woolly-natured loose logic of those working on the Bimini project. Yet it was his claim to have discovered worked and dressed stone blocks, many displaying evidence of advanced drilling techniques, on a Miami jetty that had most caught our attention.
During a full-length interview on Atlantis and its association with the Great Bahama Bank produced by Douglas Kenyon and Thomas Miller during the late 1970s, Wingate reported how between the years 1925 and 1928 the US Army Core of Engineers hired a Miami salvage company to collect large quantities of stone ballast for the construction of various sea walls and jetties in the Miami area, including those examples at Jupiter Inlet, north of West Palm Beach, and at South Beach and Fisher Island, east of downtown Miami. In this last case two miles of sea-walls of loose stone end in parallel jetties that reach out like arms into the open sea for a distance of around 400 yards.
According to Wingate, all these jetties and sea-walls contained large stone blocks, mostly hard granite, basalt and coral, dredged from a shallow water location named Moselle Shoals (formerly Moselle Reef), which lay some 30 miles north of Bimini. More significantly, he claimed that many of these blocks were not only regular in shape, with right angles and smooth surfaces, but that they also bore evidence of circular bore holes which regularly penetrated their entire width, depth or length for anything up to twelve feet. Strangest of all was his claim that some granite blocks possessed five-sided bore-holes which appeared to turn as they passed through the solid rock, rather like the barrelling of a rifle. Wingate argued that these stone blocks were among those removed from Moselle Shoals, and even managed to find and interview on camera an ageing seaman who could recall the several barge-loads of rock being transported from the Great Bahama Bank to Miami and Jupiter Inlet. This now elderly gentleman also recalled that one of the barges got into trouble and finally sank to the bottom where it remains to this day.
Video footage and photographic stills were shown of the sea-walls and jetties in question, while there was close ups of the stone blocks containing either circular or five-sided bore-holes. Clearly, if Wingate was correct in his surmise, then it strongly suggested that an advanced culture with a highly sophisticated technological capability may well have been responsible for the construction of the stone structures found on the Great Bahama Bank. This would have been strong evidence in support of Cayce's prophecy suggesting that the remains of Atlantis, in particular part of the temple of Poseidia, would be discovered off the coast of Bimini.
Was it possible that Duval's Scott Stones were none other than the cut and machined blocks previously recorded both at Juniper Inlet and South Beach, Miami, by Richard Wingate during the late 1970s? Firstly, Duval linked his alleged discoveries with Egypt's highly advanced stone-ware technology, in particular the stone cutting techniques evident in the granite quarries at Aswan. This, of course, brought to mind the circular and five-sided bore-holes referred to by Wingate. There was also the fact that Duval had mentioned stones in three colours - black, red and white - bringing to mind the basalt, granite and coral found among the jetty stones. In our opinion, however, the clincher was when we heard Wingate say on the TV documentary that attached to some of the jetty stones was a form of `Atlantean glue', or mortar - exactly what Duval claimed to have discovered attached to the remains of his `temples'. Since Wingate obviously believed that these stones were fragments of an Atlantean temple once located at Moselle Shoals, it was understandable why Duval should have come to the same conclusions about the Scott Stones.
Yet if these assumptions were correct, and Duval had simply rediscovered the stones placed among the sea-walls and jetties at Miami's South Beach (near his home in North Beach), then why had he not credited Wingate for these discoveries? Did he not know of his work, or had he deliberately chosen to ignore Wingate's findings? More importantly, were the bored stones spoken of by Wingate really of great antiquity? The elderly seaman from the salvage company involved with removing the ballast from Moselle Shoals had also pointed out that the rest of the stones used to construct the sea-walls and jetties had come from stone quarries in North Carolina and Maine. How could Wingate, and presumably Duval as well, tell such stones apart? How could they know whether a stone block was either from the sea-bed or a mainland quarry? It was a troubling thought, and one which needed to be addressed one way or another.
In order to settle the matter, I decided to return to Miami, arriving there on Thursday, 5 March 1998. The following day I took a taxi ride to Jupiter Inlet and after much tramping around I found the sea-walls in question. They lay either side of the narrow inlet and extended out as jetties into the open sea. In the time permitting I was only able to inspect the stones on the southern side, which consisted mainly of large pieces of white granite and coral fragments, the latter coming from a location just off-shore. Some of the granite possessed lines of shallow bore-holes along their edges, which were clearly done to fracture the stone, while only one piece of granite bore a distinctive circular borehole. It was around four inches in diameter and penetrated through its entire depth for a distance of some four feet. Unfortunately, all the granite stones were unquestionably quarry off-cuts brought in fairly recently to extend the existing sea-wall. This I know as I was able to speak to workmen actually working on the reconstruction of the sea-wall during my visit.
Whether the stones in the sea-wall and jetty on the opposite side of the inlet contained more ancient stones removed from Moselle Shoals remains to be seen. Enigmatically, one work-man - looking like an extra from The Village People - did say that he was unaware of the composition of many of them, saying only that they were `as hard as Hades', whatever that was supposed to mean. He was unable to elaborate any further.
Slightly disappointed I returned to Miami and the next day made my way out to the sea-wall and jetty located at the most southerly point of South Beach. Of the thousands of loose granite blocks examined many hundreds of them bore evidence of circular drill holes of varying sizes and depths. These generally took the form of short incisions in rows, clearly done to fracture, weaken and finally break the rock away from the bedrock. Other holes pierced right through the length, width or breadth of individual blocks, just as Wingate had described. More significantly I found two good examples of five-sided holes, yet I quickly realised that these had been made by a powerful circular drill that had simply jolted off-centre as it had penetrated through the rock, leaving a geometrical, five-sided impression. More telling was the fact that all around one of these five-sided holes were lines of perfectly circular holes that matched the diameter of the curve that formed each of the five sides of the hole, meaning that they had been made by the same drill. Elsewhere I even found a hole with three beautifully curved sides, caused by the same drilling defect.
There were literally thousands of huge stone blocks, many several tonnes a piece, that bore clear evidence of sophisticated drilling operations, and yet not one of them showed any sign of having lain in shallow waters for many thousands of years. The ballast was clean and free of ages of slime and coral, meaning that the vast majority of the stones making up these sea-walls and jetties were, like those at Jupiter Inlet, quarry off-cuts and not the remains of Atlantean temples. Even if the five-sided bore-holes found by myself were not those featured in Wingate's TV documentary from the 1970s, it is simply too much to imagine that the ancient Atlanteans were able to bore five-sided holes in solid rock in the same manner as modern-day quarry drills. In addition to all this, I came across granite blocks stained with iron oxide, caused it would seem either by poles having once been placed inside the circular holes or, in case, the remains of what appeared to be a highly rusted drill bit still stuck in position. I also found traces of modern concrete attached to some of the stones, making me recall the `Atlantean glue' referred to both by Duval and Wingate - I suppose you can mistake one for the other.
Removing the significance of the Miami and Jupiter jetty stones from the equation leaves little significance in the knowledge that vast quantities of rock was removed from Moselle Shoals to build sea-walls and jetties in different parts of Florida in the 1920s. It also destroys Wingate's claims to have found granite and basaltic masonry from the temples of Atlantis. How this affects Duval's claims to have found Atlantean temples off the Bimini coast is up to the reader to decide. The publishers who offered him an enormous advance for exclusive rights to a book that would prove once and for all the existence of Atlantis are still hoping that Duval might have something to offer them.
Even if Duval's claims do come to nothing, it is our opinion that major discoveries are to be made in the shallow waters of the Great Bahama Bank. After his death in 1994, it was found that J. Manson Valentine had left a detailed catalogue of no less than sixty-five proposed archaeological sites, all of them in the vicinity of Bimini and the Bahaman islands in general. Furthermore, Bill Donato and his specialist diving team have recently discovered cut and dressed granite blocks in the vicinity of Moselle Shoals that simply cannot be put down to either dumped ballast from colonial vessels or local beach rock. There is also the Bimini Road itself which, despite claims to the contrary, remains totally unexplained. Should these sites prove to be as ancient as many now believe, then it is clear that Egypt's Sphinx-building Elder culture may not have been alone, and that it was simply one small piece of a much larger jigsaw on a global scale.
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