The most important questions we can ask are about ourselves, not only as individuals, but as a species. Where did we come from? How did we get here? A question that has bedevilled us for as long as we can remember is: Where and when did we take the step from savagery to civilisation?
Mainstream historians, who write our textbooks, insist they know: in Mesopotamia, about 5500 years ago. But they are contradicted by places like Chatal Hueyuek, a 13-hectare condominium village that flourished as part of a much broader urban centre in central Turkey, 15 centuries earlier. More ancient still, archaeologists excavated a nine-metre-high, stone castle in the Near East, at Jerico, that is a 1000 years older. The sophisticated level of construction at Chatal Hueyuek, Jerico, and similar, pre-fourth millennium BCE sites proves they were not the first of their kind, but must have developed from much older precursors. Just who were these precursors, and how far back into prehistory did they lay the foundation for all subsequent civilisations, including our own?
This was the question that sparked more than ten years of concerted research and world travel. I found clues left behind by the long-dead ‘Cliff-Dwellers’ of the American Southwest; among the living oral traditions of Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Australia, and New Zealand; and in the pre-Buddhist temples of Japan and Southeast Asia.
The accumulated evidence compelled me to conclude that mankind’s first civilisation gradually arose in the Pacific around 50,000 years. This period coincided with the Upper Paleolithic, or Late Stone Age, famous for its cave-art in southwestern France, and lowered sea-levels, allowing for occupation of Australia by exposed land-bridges. For the next 38,000 years of relative peace and isolation, the Pacific islanders developed the scientific and spiritual arts to high degrees of sophistication through close observance of natural law.

Their country was known as Mu, the “Motherland,” less a specific geographical territory, than a people and culture spread out over many lands from what is now west-coastal America, throughout Oceania, to Japan. The inhabitants were “Lemurians,” or the residents of sea-girt Mu. Although they venerated numerous deities, the Sun personified the literal and spiritual Enlightenment of a Compassionate Intelligence that ordered the Universe, and attached the eternity of the human soul to recurring patterns evidenced in the cycles of nature.
The Motherland itself was mostly a low-lying, tropical country, much of it close to the equator, and therefore beset by a hot climate. Her population lived in small fishing villages or on farms. Cities were not unknown, but more ceremonial than urban centres. Step-pyramids, temples, plazas and other examples of sacred architecture, many oriented to various positions of the Sun, adorned the verdant landscape. Lemuria’s prolonged civilised idyll lasted until 12,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age came to an end, causing dynamic increases in sea-level. Much, but not all, of Mu was inundated, and large numbers of its inhabitants fled to the Americas and Asia, where the Jomon Culture arose in Japan.
Lemurian refugees and their descendants migrated across China and the then-fertile Gobi Desert region. But Mu recovered from the Late Pleistocene devastation, and her people spent the next 69 centuries elevating their scientific spirituality to levels of achievement still unsurpassed, particularly in monumental construction and what would today be referred to as the development of “psychic powers,” still known throughout Polynesia as mana.
In 3100 BCE, however, an aberrant comet passed near the Earth, provoking a global catastrophe. The lands of Mu were severely effected, and some slipped beneath the sea. Many immigrants escaped to South America, superseding a previous Lemurian colonisation of Pacific coastal Peru. The troublesome comet returned less than a thousand years later to unleash a bombardment of meteoritic material. Mu suffered, but endured, then revived yet again. Her agricultural engineers transformed the high hills of the Philippines into mountainous rice terraces, making Luzon the breadbasket of the Pacific.
Then, in 1628 BCE, major volcanism and violent seismicity spawned by a final, cometary pass, afflicted the South Central Pacific. Most of the lands of Mu dropped beneath the sea, or were depopulated by hundred-foot-high tsunamis. With her ceremonial centres toppled, and infrastructure shattered beyond repair, the survivors abandoned what was left of their broken Motherland. Their arrival in other parts of the world acted as powerful stimuli for the beginning of new societies, forming the basis of new civilisations in Asia and America. The lost Motherland was subsequently remembered by numerous names – Rutas, Haiviki, Baralku, etc. – by the various peoples who shared in the Lemurian experience.
During the eighth century BCE, early or proto-Romans began celebrating the annual Lemuria festival to mollify the restless spirits (lemures) of their ancestors. Four hundred years later, the Lemurian domination of Japan ended with the collapse of the Jomon Culture and the arrival of a Mongoloid people from Korea. They found the islands already inhabited by Caucasian indigenes, the degenerated descendants of once-civilised Lemurians. As recently as the early 19th century, the last Lemurians were exterminated by Polynesians in the Poike Ditch Massacre at Easter Island.
Later that same century, English scientist, Philip Lutley Sclater, postulated the former existence of Lemuria to explain the occurrence of early primates on either side of the Indian Ocean. His contemporary, the German biologist, Ernst Haeckel, concluded that mankind first evolved in Lemuria. But the first popular discussion of the Pacific Motherland was not published until 1926, by British Army Colonel James M. Churchward. His Lost Continent of Mu, based on a translation of ancient tablets purporting to describe the drowned civilisation, ignited a controversy that persists to this day.
Dismissed by most readers as a fantasy at best or a fabrication at worst, it found credibility 60 years later, when Kihachiro Aratake found a monumental building under water near Yonaguni, southernmost of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands. Its discovery was followed by at least a dozen other sunken structures observed off the shores of Japan, Taiwan, Pompei, Fiji, Peru and North America. This story, as incredible as it may appear to mainstream scholars, was not invented, but emerged entirely from an immense body of evidence, including related folk traditions, archaeological remains and artefacts, geology, and genetics.
If Mu really existed and the natural catastrophe that destroyed her actually took place, we should expect at least something of this drama to have left its mark in Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, a people who never knew the written word, yet preserved a vivid knowledge of the Lemurian disaster, are the Australian Aboriginals. They tell of Mu-Mu-Na, the flaming rainbow serpent, also known as Mu-It, that fell from heaven to cause a world flood. When recounting the story, even today, Aboriginals swing a bull-roarer named after their mythic rendering of the deluge-inducing comet, because it imitates the fearsome sound produced by the falling “rainbow-serpent.” Their narrations often include descriptions of an ancestral paradise before it sank beneath the sea, remembered as Baralku.
New Zealand’s Maori tell of a priest who prayed for salvation from a great celestial flame that threatened to incinerate the world when it was still new. His prayers were answered with a colossal flood that quenched all the fires, but wiped out a once splendid kingdom, killing most of its inhabitants. Australian Aborigines believe the tenets of their “Dream-time” cult arrived from the “land of Perfection” before it was engulfed by the sea. In Mangaian myth, Ru was the god of Avaiki, the undersea palace of the dead, and creator of an island at the centre of the world, Rangi-motia, yet another name for the sunken civilisation.
The noted 19th century anthropologist Abraham Fornander researched a “Polynesian legend from Raiatea Society group, which states that the Deluge was occasioned by the wrath of Rua-Haku (‘Rua, the Lord’), the great ocean-god of that group.” The Deluge itself was known as Te tai o Rua-tapu after its flood-hero, Rua-tapa, in pre-Christian New Zealand. He was a legendary craftsman from Avaiki, who taught the Maori ancestors the art of woodcarving. Churchward’s statement that “the word tau (ta-oo) is one of the few of the Motherland that has been handed down” appears borne out in Hora-nui-a-Tau, “the Great Out-Stretched Land of Tau,” and Hau-papa-nui-a-Tau, “the Hilly Land of Tau.” In Maori folk tradition, these were the homelands from which the Tangata-Whenua, the original inhabitants of New Zealand, arrived in the ancient past.
The Lemuria glyph symbolising their homeland was configured into a “T,” and pronounced ta-oo, identical to tau in the Greek alphabet. The same T-glyph is repeated in Aboriginal bark painting. It encloses seven sparkling figures corresponding to the Pleiades. Aboriginal myth recalls that the constellation belonged to a group of spirits, the Muramura, which combines the names of the sunken Motherland with that of the sun-god, Ra. They created human beings by smoothing out the limbs of unformed beasts, then gave them the first rites of initiation into sacred mysteries. The Muramura were said to have travelled over the world before being drawn up into the night sky by a long hair cord. Their name (a contraction of Mu, the Motherland, and the ‘Egyptian’ sun-god, Ra), function as creators of human life, and world-travellers, emphasising their Lemurian identity.
The Hawaiians referred to the same constellation by the provocative name of Humu. Their tau-shaped “Cross of God” was known as the ta-ha-oo. Nearly 3000 miles from Hawaii, a colossal pyramidal platform, the Tauhala, stands in Mu’a, an ancient port-city on the Polynesian island of Tonga. These self-evidently Lemurian names spread across the vast ocean from Australia to Hawaii are invariably connected to enduring traditions of a lost homeland destroyed by an awesome act of nature.
The Maoris believed that Te-Tumu was the ‘source’ which gave birth to mankind in the land of Mataaho, known in the Marquesas’ Deluge-chant, Tai-Toko, as Matahou. Sometime thereafter, it was overwhelmed by a killer-wave which some ancestral survivors escaped by sailing a great “canoe” called the Takitumu, “in remembrance of the original home they came from,” according to the ‘Travels of Tamatea’, an indigenous New Zealand chant transcribed in the late 19th century. It also mentions a place called Muri-wai-hou, a submarine realm reigned over by Limu, the god and guardian of the dead, from his vast palace in the depths of the sea. The chant describes the lost country of Irihia:
“It was a great home of the Maori people, and in it was situated the whare-kura (or temple of learning) of Rongo-marae-roa. It was from this land that men and tribes dispersed to the islands of the great ocean.”
Numerous oral traditions such as these have been confirmed by regional geologic evidence, which defines the three natural catastrophes that decimated Lemuria before 3000 BCE, around 2100 BCE, and in 1628 BCE. A submerged forest near Wellington in Hutt Valley, New Zealand, dated to circa 3100 BCE, shows a good correspondence with the similar submerged forest deposits of this age in western Europe. Along the west coast of Australia, a prominent ‘fresh’ submerged beach platform has been noted by divers at a depth of three to four meters below sea-level, which has also been tentatively dated to about 5000 years ago.
American investigator Kenneth Caroli states that “the last known mega-tsunami in the Indian Ocean hit western Australia around 2000 B.C.” William Jett, a US anthropologist, says there was “severe climate change in Asia about 2100 B.C.”
The outstanding volcanic event of 1628 BCE, the final destruction of Mu, was a blast produced by New Zealand’s Taupo Valley centre. Says Caroli, “the Taupo volcanic zone is quite large, about two hundred fifty kilometres long by forty to fifty kilometres wide, encompassing more than just New Zealand’s north island. It is also broken down into sub-regions. Via carbon-14 dating, it could be exactly contemporary with Akiachak, in Alaska.” It generated a 200-foot high wall of water travelling several hundred miles per hour like an all-encompassing shock-wave throughout the entire Pacific Ocean. Islands standing in its way were overwhelmed and utterly swept clean of every obstruction. Whole archipelagos vanished or were depopulated. Others abruptly sank beneath the surface of the ocean in accompanying earthquakes.

Section of the Kaimanawa ‘Wall’
Despite the trans-Pacific devastation of these natural catastrophes, the physical remains of Lemurian civilisation in New Zealand still exist. Immediately south of Lake Taupo, the Kaimanawa ‘Wall’ is more probably a step-pyramid or terraced, ceremonial marae of immense proportions. The American maverick archaeologist, David Hatcher Childress, who investigated the site in 1996, observed that “the blocks seem to be a standard 1.8 meters long by 1.5 meters high. The bottom block runs straight down to 1.7 meters and beyond. The blocks run for twenty five meters in a straight line from east to west and the wall faces due north. The wall consists of approximately ten regular blocks that are seemingly cut and fitted together without mortar.”
The Lemurian impact on New Zealand and Australia was profound. And as more evidence emerges to confirm the ancient oral traditions of its native inhabitants, mankind gradually realises that our civilised origins are far more profound, technologically and spiritually greater than we have been led to believe.
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Frank Joseph is a regular contributor to New Dawn magazine. To read his latest articles, see New Dawn Special Issue Vol 11 No 2 and New Dawn Special Issue Vol 11 No 1.


FRANK JOSEPH has published more books (eight) about the lost civilisation of Atlantis than any other writer in history. These and his twenty other titles dealing with archaeology, military history and metaphysics have been released in thirty-seven foreign editions around the world. He was the editor-in-chief of Ancient American, a popular science magazine, from its inception in 1993 until his retirement fourteen years later. He lives today with his wife, Laura, in the Upper Mississippi Valley of the United States.
The above article appeared in New Dawn 95
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