on the now historic Ra voyages.
Added to the discovery of Viking
and Roman artifacts in the Americas,
the Professor thinks there is now good evidence
for transatlantic travel.
We have evidence from, morphology, archeology, ethnology,
ethnography, linguistics, genetics, and even possibly from botany.
Well, it adds up to a lot of evidence.
If there was evidence of people reaching America
thousands of years before Columbus,
this could only have given rise back in Egypt
to the story of Atlantis,
if some of them had managed to get back, a more difficult journey.
But there is another,
even more surprising possible origin for Atlantis.
Could American Indians have sailed east across the Atlantic Ocean
and discovered Europe,
taking stories of their civilizations with them?
Some people think so.
I think it is highly probable that
some American Indians traveled eastbound across the Atlantic,
as long as they were on the Gulf Stream.
So anybody from the Caribbean up along the American coast
to the Canadian/US border,
where the Gulf Stream then starts swinging directly east,
could have followed that moving river in the Ocean.
And there is no reason why they should not have landed in Europe.
People from the earliest American civilization,
those in Central and South America, could only pick up the Gulf Stream
if they could get as far as the Caribbean,
a distance of nearly a thousand miles from the Gulf of Mexico,
where the Olmecs lived.
We know the Olmec certainly used boats and rafts
to move stone and other goods around their territory
in a substantial river trading system.
The rivers they journeyed down flow straight out
into the Gulf of Mexico.
As this statue of a shark eating a man shows,
they are known to have used the coastal areas
for fishing and transport.
But there is no direct evidence that they ventured out any further.
There is no evidence that the Olmec navigated the oceans,
in other words, that they were able to make contact
with other continents or other areas,
at a great distance.
On the other hand, the Olmec's immediate successors in the region,
the Maya, had managed to sail from Mexico to the Caribbean
by the time Columbus arrived there.
Their boats, said to be as large as Columbus' own ship,
have not survived.
But the record of their existence has.
On Columbus' fourth voyage,
he sailed into the southern Caribbean.
He saw and noted in his journal a Mayan trading vessel.
So, there was an ongoing commercial activity in the Caribbean
at the time that Columbus met them,
and a great deal of archaeological evidence that
this goes back for many centuries.
This is absolute proof of the degree to
which some American Indian nations were seafaring.
The exact sailing capacities of earlier American civilizations
are still in doubt.
But it looks as though they may well have been underestimated.
After all, when Thor Heyerdahl wanted to build a reed boat
seaworthy enough to cross the Atlantic,
it was to the fishermen of Lake Titicaca
that he came for the answer.
Here, in the region of Tiwanaku,
were the only people who still had the necessary skills.
The extent of ancient contacts across the oceans
is a lost part of history.
But there are mysterious links suggesting they could,
in fact, have been quite common.
One such link is connected to the culture of Tiwanaku itself.
The kings of Tiwanaku, like the pharaohs of Egypt,
were mummified after death.
That both cultures practiced mummification
might be just a coincidence.
But another startling new link between these two great empires
has been discovered which cannot be called a coincidence.
In the market at Tiwanaku,
the Aymara women are doing a brisk business selling coca leaves.
Chewing the leaves releases the cocaine contained within them.
And this use of coca has always been a vital part of religion
and culture in the Andes.
In fact, chewing coca was a habit of the kings of Tiwanaku.
Statues often show them with a lump of leaves in their cheeks.
But given that the coca plant is only found in South America,
without transatlantic travel it would be inexplicable
to find it being used in other continents
thousands of years ago.
Yet recently chemists carrying out tests on Egyptian mummies
found molecules of cocaine in their bodies,
along with nicotine, perhaps from tobacco, another American plant.
Since the mummies spanned a period of a thousand years,
this discovery could suggest frequent trade
and contact with the Americas.
The recent detection in Egyptian mummies of the cocaine,
is an additional piece of evidence
of this transoceanic trade,
because coca is indigenous to America.
So, somebody must have been bringing it across.
So, despite what we have been taught in school,
early transatlantic travel is a possibility,
one that could solve
the mystery of Plato's lost island continent
a continent that may, in fact,
have been there all the time: America.
People have thought that
Plato's description of Atlantis made no sense.
Once people understand that
Egyptians and Greeks knew very well about America,
then everything else follows,
and it all makes perfectly good sense.
With transoceanic contact, with great empires
and with civilization in the right time frame,
we can imagine that the remains of the lost city of Atlantis
lie somewhere in the Americas.
Lake Titicaca, of such importance to the Tiwanaku empire,
is one of the deepest lakes in the world,
and it has barely been explored.
But what divers have discovered are artifacts from the Tiwanaku period,
including stone boxes with offerings to the gods.
The Tiwanacans put them there,
because they believed that life began in the lake.
Perhaps there was more to this belief than simple religious myth.
Perhaps it is a story about an earlier culture, now submerged.
Could it be that beneath the surface of Lake Titicaca
there lies the lost city of Atlantis?
It is not unreasonable to dream it could be lying there,
waiting to be discovered.
Some people say Atlantis is just a dream,
and that this is why lost civilizations everywhere
have echoes of the legendary empire.
Yet none are a perfect match.
If so, it is one of humankind's most powerful dreams.
The search for Atlantis will never end,
because Atlantis is within us.
Everybody needs to dream of an ideal place,
needs to dream of a paradise.
And that is what Atlantis is.
But if it is a dream,
the story of Atlantis is also solid
and real enough to keep searching on,
in the hope that one day it might be found.