BBC Horizon Scandal

Author of the Month

BBC Horizon: Atlantis Uncovered and Altantis Reborn, 28 October & 4 November 1999

Statement by Graham Hancock 22 November 1999
Atlantis and Antarctica

One of the many gross misrepresentations of my work to appear in the recent BBC2 'Horizon' documentary ('Atlantis Reborn', 4 November 1999) was the repetition of a most unfortunate error often made by other media as well since the publication of Fingerprints of the Gods in 1995. This is the error that I was somehow the originator or creator of the theory that identifies Antarctica with the lost continent of Atlantis.

I AM NOT THE ORIGINATOR OR CREATOR OF THIS THEORY. The full credit for it, as I explained in Chapters 50 and 51 of Fingerprints of the Gods, belongs to the Canadian authors Rand and Rose Flem-Ath who set it out in their book When The Sky Fell (1995) which I was privileged to read in manuscript form in 1993. I believed then, and believe still, that their theory is a ground-breaking one and that it is immensely important to any proper consideration of the possibility that there may have been a lost civilisation. My role vis-à-vis this original and well-thought-out theory was simply that of a reporter and synthesizer, just as I also reported and synthesized the work and theories of many other writers and researchers in Fingerprints of the Gods. Nevertheless despite the fact that I made this clear at the outset, and have continued to make it clear at ever opportunity thereafter when the Atlantis/Antarctica theory has been brought up, there have been numerous occasions in both the print and broadcast media when this theory has been wrongfully credited to me.

These repeated errors have, I know, been a source of great distress for the Flem-Aths, which I very much regret. In the case of the recent 'Horizon' programme, however, the error was further compounded, through the use of extremely selective editing, to make it appear as though I have now withdrawn all support from the Atlantis/Antarctica theory. This is not correct. As I explained at length to the 'Horizon' team in remarks that they chose not to broadcast, the sudden end of the last Ice Age is one of the great enigmas of earth history. I do not believe that this mystery can be explained by recourse to relatively slow and gentle climatic changes. I do very strongly believe that some cataclysmic agency must have been at work and I continue to believe that the mechanism advocated by the Flem-Aths, and by their predecessor and mentor Dr Charles Hapgood, namely a massive one-piece displacement of the earth's crust, is a very plausible explanation of the worldwide cataclysm that did indeed occur. Accordingly I defended the mechanism of earth-crust displacement forcefully against hostile questions from the 'Horizon' interviewer - who, amongst other things, accused me of being a 'pseudo-scientist' for so doing -- but none of this appeared in the final edited film that was broadcast by the BBC. In the same interview I went on to make further remarks concerning asteroidal and cometary collisions with the earth -- which, in my view are also strong contenders for the mysterious cataclysmic agency that ended the Ice Age. All this was cut out of the film as well. In conclusion on this line of questioning I reiterated that the end of the Ice Age was a cataclysm of almost unparalleled ferocity and magnitude and pointed out that the fact that this cataclysm did occur can be accepted from the overwhelming body of evidence that testifies to it - and, furthermore, is accepted by most scientists - even if there is not yet any agreement on the precise mechanism that caused it. The key fact of this mysterious cataclysm, I added, was a worldwide rise in sea levels of approximately 100 metres (more than 300 feet) which had changed the face of the earth completely -- inundating vast land-masses that might previously have been inhabited along almost all the continental shelves. All this, too, was edited out of the film and instead the producers homed in on a tiny snippet from my comments where I stated: "What I've come to realise, as my research has gone on, in a sense is that I don't need Antarctica and therefore I don't need to propose a radical revolution of geological ideas in order to explain a lost civilisation."

Taken out of context as it was, this remark certainly does sound like a total withdrawal of my support from Atlantis-Antarctica and from earth-crust displacement. It was none of that, however, but merely the point in the interview, following a lengthy defence of cataclysmic theories, where I stated that my own research had now moved on in a different direction - based on the undisputed fact of global sea-level rise at the end of the Ice Age -- that involved scuba-diving on continental shelves all around the world and looking for the underwater ruins of a globally-distributed lost civilisation.

Despite 'Horizon's' misrepresentation of my role in the formulation of the Atlantis/Antarctica theory, and of my views on earth-crust displacement and other cataclysmic theories, readers will find that my current position on these matters is concisely and coherently set out in Chapter 12 of my most recent book Heaven's Mirror (1998) - particularly on pages 207-212. On page 210 I point out that: "The earth-crust displacement theory advocated by Hapgood, the Flem-Aths and others has not been well received by orthodox planetary scientists. Geologists in particular have poured scorn on the theory, linked it to the lunatic fringe, and failed to give it any serious peer-review. The impression has been sucessfully conveyed that it is simply an 'impossible' process, advocated by lunatics and therefore not worthy of consideration by genuine scientists. Yet behind the scenes the evidence has been slowly mounting up that displacements of the earth's crust do occur from time to time and that there is no physical or geological reason why such a displacement should not have occurred around 12,000 years ago - precisely as the Flem-Aths allege."

Graham Hancock Signature

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