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Established 16/3/2000

Is Plato's Atlantis map in Knowth, asks Swedish academic

A four-feet granite stone basin in the Eastern passage of Knowth may be engraved with a map of the city of Atlantis, as Plato described it. The three concentric circles match the three concentric lakes of Atlantis. A copy of the stone is displayed in the Boyne Valley visitor centre (see photo).

Is this Plato's Atlantis map?

The stone basin from Knowth’s eastern passage, with Plato’s map superimposed. ©Ulf Erlingsson. Click for larger version.

The similarity was noted by Dr. Ulf Erlingsson, who visited Knowth last month. His book Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land will be released in Europe September 30 th (16.95). Plato described an inner island 5 stadia in diameter, surrounded by a circular lake 1 stade wide.

Continuing out, there was a circular island and another lake, each 2 stadia wide. Finally there was another island and lake, each 3 stadia wide. A stade equals 100 fathoms, or 200 yards. Dr Erlingsson suggests in his book that the megalithic yard should be used, which translates to a stade of 166 m.

Says Dr. Erlingsson, “The similarity is near-perfect, but only near: One of the 6 shorelines does not match up between the map and the stone basin. I would definitely like to examine the original.” The original stone basin is inaccessible for visitors, inside the grave mound where it has been for over five thousand years—twice as long as the time since Plato wrote about Atlantis.

Even if this might not actually be a map, it is still striking how common concentric circles are on Ireland, not at least at Tara. Tara is associated in myth with a racetrack, and Plato wrote that Atlantis’ city contained a racetrack. But there is no water in Tara, how to explain that? “One might speculate,” says Dr. Erlingsson, “that Tara, too, is a map, a copy, of another place, created by the mythical Thuata de Danaan.”

Dr. Ulf Erlingsson

Dr. Ulf Erlingsson. Click photo for larger version.

In myth, Thuata de Danaan came to Ireland with four treasures, among them the Stone of Destiny that is still standing at Tara. Another treasure was the Cauldron of Dagda. “Wouldn’t it be a lovely thought if the stone basin in Knowth was the Cauldron of Dagda? Some things science can never prove or disprove, but we have to leave it to our imagination. Just like our world and the fairy world are distinct, so are the world of science and the world of imagination distinct—distinct, but equally important. We scientists must respect the fairyland, while believers must respect that logic and reason must govern the search for real world facts,” says Dr Erlingsson.

More information about the book at

Other pages of interest:
INSIDE KNOWTH: see the beautiful carvings inside the western passage.
IS IRELAND ATLANTIS? Swedish academic claims Tara was capital city of Atlantis.

Is Ireland Plato's Atlantis? | What do you think?

All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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