Ignatius Donnelly: Trans-Atlantic Architecture

Trans-Atlantic Architecture

One of the heinous heresies committed by Ignatius Donnelly was to graphically highlight the numerous architectural similarities between the Old World and the New World.

These astonishing similarities [which the mainstream prefers to dismiss as accidental coincidences] include: obelisks, pyramids, burial mounds, ornamentation, roads, aqueducts, materials and construction techniques.

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


Plato tells us that the Atlanteans possessed architecture ; that they built walls, temples, and palaces.

We need not add that this art was found in Egypt and all the civilized countries of Europe, as well as in Peru, Mexico, and Central America.

Among both the Peruvians and Egyptians the walls receded inward, and the doors were narrower at the top than at the threshold.

The obelisks of Egypt, covered with hieroglyphics, are paralleled by the round columns of Central America, and both are supposed to have originated in Phallus-worship.

“The usual symbol of the Phallus was an erect stone, often in its rough state, sometimes sculptured.” (Squier, ” Serpent Symbol,” p. 49 ; Bancroft’s ” Native Races,” vol. iii., p. 504.)

The worship of Priapus was found in Asia, Egypt, along the European shore of the Mediterranean, and in the forests of Central America.

The mounds of Europe and Asia were made in the same way and for the same purposes as those of America.

Herodotus describes the burial of a Scythian king; he says, “After this they set to work to raise a vast mound above the grave, all of them vying with each other, and seeking to make it as tall as possible.”

“It must be confessed,” says Foster (“Prehistoric Races,” p. 193), “that these Scythic burial rites have a strong resemblance to those of the Mound Builders.”

Homer describes the erection of a great symmetrical mound over Achilles, also one over Hector.

Alexander the Great raised a great mound over his friend Hephaestion, at a cost of more
than a million dollars; and Semiramis raised a similar mound over her husband.

The pyramids of Egypt, Assyria, and Phoenicia had their duplicates in Mexico and Central America.


The grave-cists made of stone of the American mounds are exactly like the stone chests, or kistvaen for the dead, found in the British mounds. (Foster’s ” Prehistoric Races,” p. 109.)

Tumuli have been found in Yorkshire enclosing wooden coffins, precisely as in the mounds of the Mississippi Valley. (Ibid., p. 185.)


The articles associated with the dead are the same in both continents : arms, trinkets, food, clothes, and funeral urns.

In both the Mississippi Valley and among the Chaldeans vases were constructed around the bones, the neck of the vase being too small to permit the extraction of the skull. (Foster’s ” Prehistoric Races,” p. 200.)

The use of cement was known alike to the European and American nations.

The use of the arch was known on both sides of the Atlantic.

The manufacture of bricks was known in both the Old and New Worlds.

The style of ornamentation in architecture was much the same on both hemispheres, as shown in the preceding designs, pages 137, 139.

Mexico - India

Public Works

The American nations built public works as great as or greater than any known in Europe.

The Peruvians had public roads, one thousand five hundred to two thousand miles long, made so thoroughly as to elicit the astonishment of the Spaniards.

At every few miles taverns or hotels were established for the accommodation of travellers.

Humboldt pronounced these Peruvian roads “among the most useful and stupendous works ever executed by man.”

They built aqueducts for purposes of irrigation some “of which were five hundred miles long. They constructed magnificent bridges of stone, and had even invented suspension bridges thousands of years before they were introduced into Europe.

They had, both in Peru and Mexico, a system of posts, by means of which news was transmitted hundreds of miles in a day, precisely like those known among the Persians in the time of Herodotus, and subsequently among the Romans.

Stones similar to mile-stones were placed along the roads in Peru.
(See Prescott’s ” Peru.”)

Atlantis: The Antediluvian World – Ignatius Donnelly – 1882

Mitla is the second most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, and the most important of the Zapotec culture.
Mitla itself was inhabited at least since the Classic Period (100-650 CE) and perhaps from as early as 900 BCE.


The main distinguishing feature of Mitla is the intricate mosaic fretwork and geometric designs that profusely adorn the walls of both the Church and Columns groups.

The geometric patterns called grecas in Spanish seen on some of the stone walls and door frames are made from thousands of cut, polished stones that are fitted together without mortar.

The pieces were set against a stucco background painted red.

The stones are held in place by the weight of the stones that surround them.

Walls, friezes and tombs are decorated with mosaic fretwork.

In some cases, such as in lintels, these stone “tiles” are embedded directly into the stone beam.

The elaborate mosaics are considered to be a type of “Baroque” design as the designs are elaborate and intricate and in some cases cover entire walls.

None of the fretwork designs are repeated exactly anywhere in the complex.

The fretwork here is unique in all of Mesoamerica.


The Zapotecs are an indigenous people of Mexico.

The first Zapotecs came to Oaxaca from the north, probably in about 1000 BCE.

While never displacing other peoples entirely, they became the predominant ethnic group.

They built many important cities, the most renowned of which are Monte Albán and Mitla.



Dhamek Stupa (also spelled Dhamekh and Dhamekha) is a massive stupa located at Sarnath, 13 km away from Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Stupas originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli, in which ascetics were buried in a seated position, called chaitya.

The Dhamek Stupa was built in 500 CE to replace an earlier structure commissioned by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 BCE, along with several other monuments, to commemorate the Buddha’s activities in this location.


Another of the heinous heresies committed by Ignatius Donnelly was to graphically highlight the evidence showing there was contact between the Old World and the New World.

American Evidences Of Intercourse With Europe or Atlantis

1. On the monuments of Central America there are representations of bearded men.

How could the beardless American Indians have imagined a bearded race ?

2. All the traditions of the civilized races of Central America point to an Eastern origin.

The leader and civilizer of the Nahua family was Quetzalcoatl.

This is the legend respecting him :

“From the distant East, from the fabulous Hue Hue TIapalan, this mysterious person came to Tula, and became the patron god and high -priest of the ancestors of the Toltecs.

He is described as having been a white man., with strong formation of body, broad forehead, large eyes, and flowing beard.

He wore a mitre on his head, and was dressed in a long white robe reaching to his feet, and covered with red crosses.

In his hand he held a sickle.

His habits were ascetic, he never married, was most chaste and pure in life, and is said to have endured penance in a neighboring mountain, not for its effects upon himself, but as a warning to others.

He condemned sacrifices, except of fruits and flowers, and was known as the god of peace ; for, when addressed on the subject of war, he is reported to have stopped his ears with his fingers.” (” North Amer. of Antiq.,” p. 268.)

“He was skilled in many arts : he invented” (that is, imported) ” gem-cutting and metal-casting ; he originated letters, and invented the Mexican calendar.

He finally returned to the land in the East from which he came : leaving the American coast at Vera Cruz, he embarked in a canoe made of serpent-skins, and sailed away into the East.” (Ibid., p. 271.)

3. The Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg, in one of the notes of the Introduction of the ” Popol Yuh,” presents a very remarkable analogy between the kingdom of Xibalba, described in that work, and Atlantis.

He says :

“Both countries are magnificent, exceedingly fertile, and abound in the precious metals.

The empire of Atlantis was divided into ten kingdoms, governed by live couples of twin sons of Poseidon, the eldest being supreme over the others ; and the ten constituted a tribunal that managed the affairs of the empire.

Their descendants governed after them.

The ten kings of Xibalba, who reigned (in couples) under Hun-Came and Yukub-Came (and who together constituted a grand council of the kingdom), certainly furnish curious points of comparison.

And there is wanting neither a catastrophe – for Xibalba had a terrific inundation – nor the name of Atlas, of which the etymology is found only in the Nahuatl tongue : it comes from atl, water ; and we know that a city of Atlan (near the water) still existed on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus of Panama at the time of the Conquest.

” In Yucatan the traditions all point to an Eastern and foreign origin for the race.

The early writers report that the natives believe their ancestors to have crossed the sea by a passage which was opened for them.” (Landa’s “Relacion,” p. 28.)

4. We find in America numerous representations of the elephant.

We are forced to one of two conclusions : either the monuments date back to the time of the mammoth in North America, or these people held intercourse at some time in the past with races who possessed the elephant, and from whom they obtained pictures of that singular animal.

Plato tells us that the Atlanteans possessed great numbers of elephants.

There are in Wisconsin a number of mounds of earth representing different animals – men, birds, and quadrupeds.

Among the latter is a mound representing an elephant, “so perfect in its proportions, and complete in its representation of an elephant, that its builders must have been well acquainted with all the physical characteristics of the animal which they delineated.”


Atlantis: The Antediluvian World – Ignatius Donnelly – 1882

Ignatius Donnelly particularly noted the architecturally similar arches built by the Etruscan, Mycenaean and Mayan cultures.

We find a strong resemblance between the form of arch used in the architecture of Central America and that of the oldest buildings of Greece.

The Palenque arch is made by the gradual overlapping of the strata of the building, as shown
in the accompanying cut from Baldwin’s ” Ancient America,” page 100.

It was the custom of these ancient architects to fill in the arch itself with masonry, as shown in the picture on page 355 of the Arch of Las Monjas, Palenqne.

If now we look at the representation of the “Treasure-house of Atreus” at Mycenae, on page 354 – one of the oldest structures in Greece – we find precisely the same form of arch, filled in in the same way.

Rosengartcn (” Architectural Styles,” p. 59) says :

“The base of these treasure-houses is circular, and the covering of a dome shape ; it does not, however, form an arch, but courses of stone are laid horizontally over one another in such a way that each course projects beyond the one below it, till the space at the highest course becomes so narrow that a single stone covers it. Of all those that have survived to the present day the treasure-house at Atreus is the most venerable.”

The same form of arch is found among the ruins of that interesting people, the Etruscans.

“Etruscan vaults are of two kinds. The more curious and probably the most ancient are false arches, formed of horizontal courses of stone, each a little overlapping the other, and carried on until the aperture at the top could be closed by a single superincumbent slab. Such is the construction of the Regulini-Galassi vault, at Cervetere, the ancient Caere.” (Rawlinson’s ” Origin of Nations,” p. 117.)

Atlantis: The Antediluvian World – Ignatius Donnelly – 1882


Palenque, also anciently known as Lakamha (literally: “Big Water”), was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century.

The Palenque ruins date from ca. 226 BC to ca. AD 799.


The Regolini-Galassi tomb is an elaborate Etruscan family tomb located in Caere, an ancient city in Italy approximately 50–60 kilometres (31–37 mi) north-northwest of Rome.

It dates to between 650 and 600 BC, probably 640s BC.


The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon is an impressive “tholos” tomb on the Panagitsa Hill at Mycenae, Greece, constructed during the Bronze Age around 1250 BC.


Mayan Arch

Another common feature of the Old World and the New World are the “round towers” found in Scotland, Ireland, Sardinia, New Mexico and Colorado.

Another proof of our theory is found in “the round-towers” of Ireland.

Attempts have been made to show, by Dr. Petrie and others, that these extraordinary structures are of modern origin, and were built by the Christian priests, in which to keep
their church-plate.

But it is shown that the “Annals of Ulster” mention the destruction of fifty-seven of them by an earthquake in A.D. 448; and Giraldus Cambrensis shows that Lough Neagh was created by an inundation, or sinking of the land, in A.D. 05, and that in his day the fishermen could

” See the round-towers of other days
In the waves beneath them shining;.”

Moreover, we find Diodorus Siculus, in a well-known passage, referring to Ireland, and describing it as ” an island in the ocean over against Gaul, to the north, and not inferior in size to Sicily, the soil of which is so fruitful that they mow there twice in the year.”

He mentions the skill of their harpers, their sacred groves, and their singular temples of round form.

We find similar structures in America, Sardinia, and India.

The remains of similar round-towers are very abundant in the Orkneys and Shetlands.

” They have been supposed by some,” says Sir John Lubbock, ” to be Scandinavian, but no similar buildings exist in Norway, Sweden, or Denmark, so that this style of architecture is no doubt anterior to the arrival of the Northmen.”

I give above a picture of the Burgh or Broch of the little island of Moussa, in the Shetlands.

It is circular in form, forty-one feet in height, open at the top ; the central space is twenty feet in diameter, the walls about fourteen feet thick at the base, and eight feet at the top.

They contain a staircase, wliich leads to the top of the building.

Similar structures are found in the Island of Sardinia.

In New Mexico and Colorado the remains of round-towers are very abundant.

The illustration below represents one of these in the valley of the Mancos, in the south-western corner of Colorado.

Round Towers

A model of it is to be found in the Smithsonian collection at Washington.

The tower stands at present, in its ruined condition, twenty feet high.

It will be seen that it resembles the towers of Ireland, not only in its circular form but also in the fact that its door-way is situated at some distance from the ground.

Atlantis: The Antediluvian World – Ignatius Donnelly – 1882

Mancos Canyon

29. a, Holmes Tower, Mancos Canyon


A man leans on a circular masonry tower in Mancos Canyon, Montezuma County, Colorado.

The ruins are the remains of a Native American, Anasazi structure and appear to be dry laid stone with several small openings built into the wall.


Broch of Mousa

Broch of Mousa (or Mousa Broch) is the finest preserved example of an Iron Age broch or round tower in Shetland, Scotland.

It is the tallest still standing in the world and amongst the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe.

It is thought to have been constructed c. 100 BC, one of 570 brochs built throughout Scotland.


Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain.

Although Hovenweep National Monument is largely known for the six groups of Ancestral Puebloan villages, there is evidence of occupation by hunter-gatherers from 8,000 to 6,000 B.C. until about AD 200.

Later, a succession of early puebloan cultures settled in the area and remained until the 14th century.


Square Tower group is the largest collection of pueblo buildings at Hovenweep and was populated with up to 500 people.

Towers at Hovenweep were built in a variety of shapes; D-shapes, squares, ovals and circles and for several purposes, including tool and grinding work areas, kivas for ritual functions, residential rooms and storage.

Towers have limited access, contain few windows and many have narrow slots or peepholes placed in the walls.



The nuraghe is the main type of ancient megalithic edifice found in Sardinia, developed during the Nuragic Age between 1900 and 730 BCE.

Today it has come to be the symbol of Sardinia and its distinctive culture, the Nuragic civilization.

More than 7000 nuraghi have been found, though archeologists believe that originally there were not fewer than 10,000.


Nuraghe in Toralba-Sant'Antine

Santu Antine (in Torralba) is one of the largest nuraghe (ancient megalithic edifice) in Sardinia.

The main structure was built around the 19-18th century BC, and the other parts of the nuraghe date back to the 17-15th century BC.

The main tower originally reached a height of 23-24 metres.


Irish Round Tower

Irish round towers are early medieval stone towers of a type found mainly in Ireland, with two in Scotland and one on the Isle of Man.

Though there is no certain agreement as to their purpose, it is thought that they may have been bell towers, places of refuge, or both.

Surviving towers range in height from 18 metres (59 ft) to 40 metres (130 ft), and 12 metres (39 ft) to 18 metres (59 ft) in circumference; that at Kilmacduagh being the highest surviving in Ireland (and leaning 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in) out of perpendicular).


Donnelly did not believe these similarities are an “accidental coincidence”.

It will not do to say that the resemblance between these prehistoric and singular towers, in countries so far apart as Sardinia, Ireland, Colorado, and India, is due to an accidental coincidence.

It might as well be argued that the resemblance between the roots of the various Indo-European languages was also due to accidental coincidence, and did not establish any similarity of origin.

In fact, we might just as well go back to the theory of the philosophers of one hundred and fifty years ago, and say that the resemblance between the fossil forms in the rocks and the living forms upon them did not indicate relationship, or prove that the fossils were the remains of creatures that had once lived, but that it was simply a way nature had of working out extraordinary coincidences in a kind of joke ; a sort of ” plastic power in nature,” as it was called.

Atlantis: The Antediluvian World – Ignatius Donnelly – 1882

Nuraghe village

The Nuraghe La Prisgiona is a nuragic archaeological site (occupied from the 14th until the 9th century B.C.), located in the Capichera valley in the municipality of Arzachena Costa Smeralda in the north of Sardinia.


Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, Deparment of the Interior – 1937

I guess [again] it all depends upon how comfortable you are with coincidences.

This entry was posted in Books, Catastrophism, History, Round Towers. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Ignatius Donnelly: Trans-Atlantic Architecture

  1. Pingback: Ignatius Donnelly: Trans-Atlantic Languages | MalagaBay

    • malagabay says:

      Thank you for the feedback Michele – very much appreciated.

      Quoting David Pratt:

      On Easter Island there are several dozen round or rectangular towers – or tupas – of uncut stones with a crawl-in entrance and vaulted roof. Such structures are not found elsewhere in Polynesia, but they closely resemble the chullpas of pre-Inca Peru; even their names are similar. Chullpas served as mausoleums for prominent persons and are found in large numbers on desert hillsides from Lake Titicaca down to the Pacific coast. Human remains were likewise found in some tupas. Mainstream writers try to deny any link between tupas and chullpas, and many believe that tupas were chicken houses, as chickens were sometimes kept in them in later times.

      Fig. 3.1 A Rapa Nui tupa (top) and a Peruvian chullpa.

      Easter Island: land of mystery – David Pratt

  2. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on CraigM350 and commented:

    In fact, we might just as well go back to the theory of the philosophers of one hundred and fifty years ago, and say that the resemblance between the fossil forms in the rocks and the living forms upon them did not indicate relationship, or prove that the fossils were the remains of creatures that had once lived, but that it was simply a way nature had of working out extraordinary coincidences in a kind of joke ; a sort of ” plastic power in nature,” as it was called.

  3. oldbrew says:

    This round tower is in Galloway, southwest Scotland.

    ‘It is remarkable as the only cylindrical tower house in Scotland.’

    It too fits the description above: ‘it resembles the towers of Ireland, not only in its circular form but also in the fact that its door-way is situated at some distance from the ground’ (see Wiki photo).

    Free entry too when I’ve been there – turn up and walk in.

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  9. Pingback: Nuraghi, Dun, Broch, Tupa, un unicum planetario - L'Arazzo del Tempo

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