Eberhard Zangger

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Eberhard Zangger during fieldwork at the Palace of Nestor in Pylos, Greece, in 1998.

Eberhard Zangger (born in 1958, Kamen, Germany) is a German geoarchaeologist, corporate communications consultant and publicist. He became internationally known for his controversial identification of Troy as Atlantis.

Life and Work[edit]

Eberhard Zangger studied geology and paleontology at the University of Kiel and completed a PhD program at Stanford University between 1984 and 1988.[1] After this he was a senior research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge (1988–91).[2] In June 1991 he founded the consultant office Geoarcheology International[3] in Zurich, Switzerland, from where he participated in about six archaeological projects in the eastern Mediterranean each year until 1999.

Zangger began concentrating on geoarchaeology in 1982. His early research work and discoveries included the coastal situation of Dimini Magoula in Neolithic Central Greece, the extent of Lake Lerna[4] in the Argive Plain, the age and function of the Mycenaean river diversion and extent of the lower town of Tiryns, the insular character of Asine, the artificial harbor of Nestor at Pylos,[5] including its clean water flushing mechanism, and a human-made dam in Minoan Monastiraki in central Crete.

Zangger gained international recognition in 1992 with his interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis as Troy.[6][7] According to Zangger, Plato used an Egyptian version of the story about Troy for his legendary report on Atlantis. Only towards the end of his writing did Plato realize that both stories spoke of the same city. Zangger based his argument on comparisons between Mycenaean culture and Plato’s account of the Greek civilization facing Atlantis, as well as parallels between the recollections of the Trojan War and the war between Greece and Atlantis. In 1992 Zangger arrived at the conclusion that Troy must have been much bigger than the archeological scholarship had presumed, and that the city must have had artificial harbors inside the modern floodplain.

In 1994, another book followed suit.[8] This time, Zangger interpreted the legend of the Trojan War to be the memory of a momentous war which led to the collapse of many countries around the eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BC. In contrast to the archaeological scholarship of the time, Zangger attributed greater importance to the states in Western Anatolia that are known from Hittite documents, including the Luwian kingdoms Arzawa, Mira, Wilusa, Lukka and Seha River Land. In Zangger’s view, if these petty kingdoms had stood united, they would have matched the economic and military importance of Mycenaean Greece or Minoan Crete.[9]

In collaboration with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Braunschweig, Zangger prepared a helicopter-based geophysical exploration of the plain of Troy to locate settlement layers and artificial port basins using ground-penetrating techniques.[10] The Turkish Ministry did not grant permission to conduct this project. In 2001 Zangger spoke at a symposium on Troy at the Heidelberg Academy of Science, telling the audience that they had ignored his work and he was ceasing his research.[11]

In the fall of 1999, Zangger became a business consultant specializing in corporate communications and public relations.[12] In 2002 he founded science communication GmbH, a consultancy firm for corporate communications.

Selected Publications[edit]

  • The Landscape Evolution of the Argive Plain (Greece). Paleo-Ecology, Holocene Depositional History and Coastline Changes. PhD dissertation at Stanford University, University Microfilm International, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1988
  • Prehistoric Coastal Environments in Greece: The Vanished Landscapes of Dimini Bay and Lake Lerna. Journal of Field Archaeology 18 (1): 1-15. 1991
  • Geoarchaeology of the Argolid. Argolid, volume 2. Edited by the German Archaeological Institute. Gebrüder Mann Verlag, 149 pages, 1993 ISBN 3-7861-1700-4
  • The Island of Asine: A paleogeographic reconstruction. Opuscula Atheniensa XX.15: 221-239. 1994
  • Zangger, Eberhard; Michael Timpson, Sergei Yazvenko, Falko Kuhnke & Jost Knauss: The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project; Landscape Evolution and Site Preservation, Hesperia 66 (4): 549-641. 1997
  • Athanassas, Constantin et al.: Exploring Paelogreographic Conditions at Two Paleolithic Sites in Navarino, Southwest Greece, Dated by Optically Stimulated Luminescence. Geoarchaeology 27: 237-258. 2012
  • Plato’s Atlantis Account: A distorted recollection of the Trojan War. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 18 (1): 77-87. 1993
  • The Flood from Heaven – Deciphering the Atlantis Legend. Sidgwick & Jackson, London; 256 pages 1992 ISBN 0-283-06084 0
  • Ein neuer Kampf um Troia – Archäologie in der Krise. Droemer Verlag. Munich, 352 pages 1994 ISBN 3-426-26682-2 (English: The Future of the Past: Archaeology in the 21st Century. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2001 ISBN 0-297-64389-4)
  • Zangger, Eberhard, Michael Timpson, Sergei Yazvenko and Horst Leiermann: Searching for the Ports of Troy. In: Environmental Reconstruction in Mediterranean Landscape, ISBN 978-1-900188-63-0
  • Some Open Questions About the Plain of Troia. In: Troia and the Troad – Scientific Approaches. Springer, Berlin, 317-324. 2003 ISBN 3-540-43711-8


  1. ^ "Eberhard Zangger's (then Eberhard Finke) PhD dissertation at Stanford University". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  2. ^ Tjeerd van Andel, Eberhard Zangger, Anne Demitrack. "Land Use and Soil Erosion in Prehistoric and Historical Greece". Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 17 (1990). Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  3. ^ "Author bibliography by Hachette Australia". Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  4. ^ "Prehistoric Coastal Environments in Greece: The Vanished Landscapes of Dimini Bay and Lake Lerna" in Journal of Field Archaeology 18 (1991) pp1–15 Abstract
  5. ^ "The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project". Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  6. ^ "The Flood from Heaven – Deciphering the Atlantis Legend." Sidgwick & Jackson, London; 256 pages 1992
  7. ^ "Wegweiser nach Utopia". Der Spiegel (in German). 1992-05-11. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  8. ^ "The Future of the Past: Archaeology in the 21st Century." Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2001
  9. ^ "Who Were the Sea People?". Saudi Aramco World Volume 46, Number 3 (May/June 1995). Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  10. ^ "Das Puzzle des Philosophen". Der Spiegel (in German). 1998-12-28. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  11. ^ Zick, Michael. "Das Enfant terrible". Bild der Wissenschaft (in German). Retrieved 2012-10-08.  Issue 6/2001, p. 114
  12. ^ Gabriela Bonin: „Geoarchäologie: Provokateur Eberhard Zangger“ (in German), Merian, Kreta, October 2000