Ignatius Donnelly

The Identity of the Civilizations of the Old World and the New


Plato described the Atlanteans as accomplished builders, constructing walls, temples, and palaces.

This architectural prowess is evident across ancient civilizations. In both Egypt and the Americas (Peru, Mexico, Central America), architectural structures share striking similarities. Walls in both regions often receded inward, and doors were narrower at the top than at the threshold.

Obelisks covered with hieroglyphics in Egypt find their counterparts in the round columns of Central America, both possibly originating from phallic worship.

Similarities extend to burial practices, with mounds constructed in Europe and Asia for burial purposes mirroring those in America. Homer, Herodotus, and accounts of Alexander the Great describe symmetrical mounds over graves, paralleling the burial rites of the Mound Builders in America.

Grave-cists of stone in American mounds are similar to the kistvaens found in British mounds.

Both regions also used wooden coffins enclosed in tumuli, and articles buried with the dead, such as arms, trinkets, and food, are common to both.

The use of cement, the arch, and brick-making was known on both sides of the Atlantic. The style of ornamentation in architecture, as shown in various designs, also reveals similarities.


The Atlanteans mined and worked metals like copper, tin, bronze, gold, silver, and probably iron.

Similarly, American civilizations possessed these metals. The age of bronze in America, preceded by an age of copper, suggests the working of metals may have originated there.

The Mexicans manufactured bronze, and the Incas mined iron near Lake Titicaca, indicating an advanced knowledge of metallurgy that could date back to Atlantean times.

Sculpture and Painting

Both the Atlanteans and American civilizations practiced sculpture. Monuments in Yucatan, such as the “Cara Gigantesca,” bear symbolic adornments similar to those of Egyptian and Hindoo priests.

The orbicular wheel-like plates of these statues may be linked to the wheel symbol of Kronos and Saturn, or the cross of Atlantis surrounded by a ring.

The art of painting was highly developed in both regions, with wall paintings in Central American temples comparable to those in Egypt.

Engraving and Agriculture

Engraving on pillars was practiced by the Atlanteans, a tradition continued by the American civilizations, Egypt, Phœnicia, and Assyria.

Agriculture was central to both Atlanteans and the American civilizations, as well as the Egyptians.

Kings in both Egypt and Peru participated in annual ploughing ceremonies, dignifying and consecrating the occupation.

Public works, such as roads, aqueducts, and bridges, were grand and well-constructed in both the Old and New Worlds, showcasing a shared advanced engineering skill.

Navigation and Manufactures

Both American and Mediterranean civilizations engaged in navigation. Columbus encountered the Mayas in a large, sail-equipped vessel, indicating a knowledge of sailing.

American civilizations manufactured woollen and cotton goods, pottery, glass, and engraved gems. The immense gold vessels and ornaments of the Peruvians, who paid a significant ransom to Pizarro, highlight their advanced manufacturing capabilities.

Music and Weapons

Music in the Highland Scotch, Chinese, and other Eastern nations shows great resemblance to the five-toned music found across these regions. The weapons used by American civilizations—bows, arrows, spears, short swords, battle-axes, and slings—were identical to those of the Old World, indicating a shared origin of these technologies.

Religion and Beliefs

The religion of the Atlanteans, described by Plato as pure and simple, involved worshipping the sun and making offerings of fruits and flowers.

This mirrored the religious practices in Peru, Egypt, and other ancient civilizations.

The Guanches of the Canary Islands, Egyptians, and Peruvians all believed in the immortality of the soul and preserved their dead through mummification.

The use of confession, penance, baptism, vestal virgins, and powerful hereditary priesthoods were present in both continents.

The belief in an evil spirit, burnt incense in temples, and divining the future from animal entrails were common practices. Traditions of the Deluge, systems of writing, and religious festivals also show similarities.

The myth of Phaëthon and the Nahua record of a rain of fire reflect a shared memory of cataclysmic events.


Customs like the fermented intoxicating drinks, marriage ceremonies, triumphal processions, and the use of banners were present in both the Old and New Worlds.

Practices such as circumcision, agricultural fairs, census taking, division of land, and theatrical plays were also shared.

The joining of hands in marriage, renewal of fires, and the use of scales, weights, and mirrors further emphasize the cultural connections.

Calendars, beliefs in four great primeval ages, and mythological stories, such as the eclipse being devoured by a dragon, were similar.

Even unique customs like the “Couvade,” where the father takes to bed after childbirth, existed on both continents, indicating a deep-seated cultural connection.

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