How do we know that the accounts we've found of civilizations (E.g.Egypt) weren't actually fictional literature in the way that Plato's Timaeus and Critias mentioned the island of atlantis as an allegory for pride being a downfall of nations, and some people believed that it was a real island.

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    Consider that a good many people have identified the Minoan civilization (for which there is archeological evidence) with Plato's Atlantis. In which case, Atlantis was a real island. – jamesqf Feb 7 '15 at 22:33
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    They are fictional literature. NASA has a giant factory where they manufacture fake archaeological artifacts for use in museums. – Tyler Durden Feb 10 '15 at 0:49

I believe the answer is archeology. Comparing archeological evidence with contemporary or subsequent accounts is how archeologists get at the truth of their practice.

Without the historical accounts, fabulous or accurate as they may be, it would be difficult for archeologists to know what to look for. However, they do not take these accounts at face value, but seek to verify or refute the accounts, insofar as that is possible, based on their physical research, and rigorous analysis of that research.

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  • Even other texts can confirm a particular text. If one writer writes about Egypt as fiction, there's no reason for another writer to write the same thing, or for diplomatic records in a third nation to be written to also refer to these fictional characters and events.... – Oldcat Feb 19 '15 at 0:17

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