Please read Part A for background to this story. It will bring you “up to date” on where we return to this fascinating story.
For years and years Mestdagh drove and walked over the French countryside, tracing the ancient roads around Sens. He mapped them, measured them, and tried to make sense of them. He found a total of 64 roads, extending up to 200 miles from the center in Sens. Many of the roads were flanked by megaliths which are believed to have been used as markers by the ancient Celts and other ancient peoples to determine boundaries between regions.
Upon analyzing all his data, our energetic historian realized that he had come upon a pattern that included not only the ancient roads and megaliths, but other geographic items as well. He found, for example, very long ditches that had at one time formed a series of gigantic concentric ovals with the mysterious city of Sens at the center.
Many of these ditches are visible today. Others have been turned into roads and others have disappeared under modern urban development. Analysis of the ditches strongly suggested to Mestdagh that they were at one time filled with water. He hypothesized that the inner ditches probably functioned as canals since some were connected to rivers. In fact, each of the concentric circle ditches around Sens connected to one or another natural river.
So who built all these ditches and ovals? Who laid out the city plan for Sens? That’s another enduring mystery, but one Mestdagh was determined to solve. In considering candidates, Mestdagh noted that since the Sens city center was oriented toward the cardinal points, their builders had to have a good knowledge of astronomy and geography. This got him thinking about Egypt and Atlantis, but we’ll come back to that in a bit.
Mestdagh’s most interesting finding, in my humble opinion, was the concentric ovals. First, they were huge. Starting from the smallest, Oval 1’s circumference was 400 miles. The largest, Oval 4, has a circumference of 1,106 miles! Mestdagh noted that if one were to map the ancient Celtic tribal boundaries, they coincided with these ovals and the roads that fan out from Sens. So it appears there was some connection to the Celts, which we will ponder as the story plays out.
Another fascinating Mestdagh finding is that if one considers that the oval ditches contained water, it is reasonable to consider the land within the ovals to be islands. Hence the name of the region, Ile-de-France, becomes more understandable.
And now for the possible Atlantis connection. This is where Mestdagh moves from talking about actual physical discoveries to speculation and interpretation. We’ll follow along, and come to our own conclusions after hearing his story.
The story of Atlantis was told to Plato by Solon. Solon heard the story from Egyptian temple priests. They told Solon (and through him Plato), that Atlantis was on an island that was 3,000 stadia (333 miles). It is not clear from Coppens’ book (The Lost Civilization Enigma, The Career Press, 2013) whether this referred to the width of the island, its circumference or what. Plato included this figure in his writings about Atlantis. Mestdagh realized that Oval 4 can be inscribed inside a diamond comprised of equal sides that are 333 miles long. He thus began to think that perhaps Sens was actually Atlantis.
Once getting this idea, Mestdagh found more “evidence” in Plato: Plato said that Atlantis was located on relatively flat land (as Sens is); he said that it was located between mountains and the sea (Sens sits between the Alps and the Mediterranean sea); Plato said that Atlantis was 222 miles from the sea, which is actual distance from the diamond around Sens to the Mediterranean. Plato talked of the 10 kingdoms of Atlantis. Mestdagh noted that counting the land within Oval 1 as 1 kingdom and then adding the nine areas within the other ovals which were demarked by the ancient roads, there were a total of 10 clearly-defined regions. He also noted that another Greek philosopher, Proclus, referred to a text which stated that the central kingdom of Atlantis was 1000 stadia (111 miles), which Mestdagh claimed to be the precise width of Oval 1. Note: I cannot resolve previous Platonian statement that Atlantis was 3,000 stadia with this one. It might be a matter of width versus circumference, I’m not sure. If any of you can resolve the matter, please write!
Mestdagh noted other types of things that he believed linked Sens with Atlantis. For example, he noted that there is a town named “Avalon” within oval 1. This is the name of a lost mythical land in Celtic tradition. He also noted that on some of the stones that are part of ancient burial mounds in the region there appear images that have been interpreted by some as “solar wheels”. Mestdagh’s interpretation was that they were actually depictions of the outlines of Atlantis, showing its nine-plus-one kingdoms. Carvings around the “solar wheels” added further confirmation, according to Mestdagh, as they showed mountains to the south, the shores of East Anglia and Kent, and the Rhine and Main river systems. All these features coincide with the geography around Sens.
Coppens (p190) offers his own set of facts that he takes as further linkages between Sens and Atlantis. Recalling that the region around Sens is referred to as Ile-de-France, he says that the world island in Dutch is eiland, which means “egg land” or “the land in the shape of an egg” which is, of course an oval. He also points out that the English word island comes from is-land or ys-land and that in Brittany there is an old story of a drowned land of Ys. This land supposedly used dikes to protect the island from the sea. Coppens points out that the canals Mestdagh found could easily be considered dikes. Finally, Coppens recalls that the inhabitants of Sens were known as the Senones, “the Elders” in Celtic times which to him sounds very Atlantis-like.
Mestdagh eventually came to believe that Sens was, in fact Atlantis. Further, Coppens says (p191) that he believes this as well. Specifically, Coppens says he believes that Sens was “the capital, the sacred spiritual center of Atlantis.” Curiously, Coppens almost immediately begins to back-pedal on this as simply says (p192) that “from c. 4500 to 1200BC, a major civilization existed in Europe about which we know very little.”
So, what to make of all this? It is pretty clear that Mestdagh was onto something big. He found overwhelming evidence of very ancient road builders who were knowledgeable about astronomy, geography and mechanics. They were a highly industrious bunch capable of organizing themselves sufficiently to carry out prodigious feats of engineering.
Further, it’s pretty clear that the layout of the Sens region closely reflects the descriptions of Atlantis in Plato and some other ancient Greeks’ writings which they claim ultimately came from the Egyptians. Yet what is less clear is that this necessarily leads to the conclusion that Sens was Atlantis. It may, but it may not.
Here is one reason to be skeptical. Plato not only described where Atlantis was and what it was like, but he also described when it was. Specifically, he said it sank about 12,000 years ago (about 10,000 BC). Yet all the information Mestdagh developed suggested that the Sens civilization ended about 1,200 BC. That’s quite a difference. If we’re going to believe Plato about his geography and descriptions, how can we simply discount his timeline? Mestdagh realized this problem and came up with a convenient solution: the number of years being referred to were lunar years rather than solar years. This makes the dates work perfectly.
One wonders if this is just a bit too convenient. Coppens too finds this too convenient and suggests several alternative explanations. The one he ultimately embraces is the idea that while there indeed is a genuinely lost ancient civilization in Europe (represented by Sens), it was constructed as a perfect copy of another, even more ancient civilization, which was Atlantis.
Now I’m no historian, but I’m pretty sure I recall that throughout the world there are examples of peoples building new cities exactly on top of places they believed old cities to exist. Moreover, I think I recall—and I would welcome any examples you readers may know of—where a culture purposefully replicated the dimensions of previous’ cultures’ buldings. I think I recall perfectly replicated temples for example. Assuming I’m not too far off on these recollections, the idea that Sens would be a replica of a previous culture’s major city is not at all far-fetched.
If we accept for the moment that Sens is a replica of a more ancient city and culture, it still remains to prove that this earlier place was Atlantis. Thus far, that proof is not at hand and this remains an enduring mystery. But thanks to Mestdagh, we have a very intriguing new line of speculation to follow.