The lost city of Atlantis has grown as a legend as the years have passed from its first mention by Plato. Did it ever exist? Will it ever be found?
The earliest references to Atlantis come from ‘Timeaus and Critias’, a dialogue penned by Plato in 360BC. The Greek philosopher claimed that Atlantis was an island that lay ‘beyond the Pillars of Hercules’. It was a legend that was to grow over the years. It is said that the inhabitants of Atlantis were great and very powerful. The end of the city came about after an earthquake around 9600BC, all inhabitants died. Even in modern times, the search for the lost city of Atlantis continues.
Atlantis – Donovan
In more recent times, archaeologists have found much evidence for an Atlantis-type culture, that had some kind of disaster, in many different locations. Most of these such finds do not fit Plato’s description of Atlantis at all but some of them do have similarities. It could be that Plato got his geography wrong.
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Some researchers are now under the impression that Plato was out by quite a bit and that the real Atlantis was the Minoan civilisation of Crete. The volcanic island of Thera (now known as Santorini) exploded around 1600BC. It caused a tsunami that was estimated to be around 90 metres high. It engulfed the nearby Crete, killing its inhabitants. Another researcher, Russian, Viatcheslav Koudriavtsev, claims that Atlantis was actually even further north than that. He is under the impression that it was actually somewhere just off the coast of Cornwall, England. Of course, there is always the chance that Plato had got the geography correct in the first place.
Much evidence has been uncovered that backs up the original setting where Plato thought Atlantis was. In 1996, some stones were uncovered on the sea bed close to the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. It appeared that these stones could have been man-made. Testing on them revealed that they were ancient. The connection between Bimini and Atlantis had first been mooted about in 1968 after a local diver had made an odd discovery off the north-west coast. One day while diving he discovered what looked like a ‘road’ of closely-packed stones under the sea.
Seven years after that, man-made stones were found at the same location; they had what was described as a complicated tongue and groove joint system. Marble pillars were also discovered at the site. Nothing of the like had ever been seen in the Bahamas before. Tests, ran by the UK Building Research Establishment in 1996, found tiny amounts of gold through the samples they had taken. Perhaps they had uncovered Atlantis after-all.
Alas, there is always the other side of the coin to look at. Sceptics have long since argued that there is a chance that the pillars were in fact nothing more than decorations that were on there way to America to some rich plantation owner who could afford to have their whims carried out and carried over oceans. They claim that the pillars got lost at sea, on the way to America, in shipwrecks. Tests have been ran on such pillars and evidence was found of a ‘cement-clinker’. This suggest that it was made before the modern ‘Portland cement’ process was invented in the 1820’s. Of course, there is still a huge difference in something made before 1820 and something that would have been made a couple of thousand years earlier.
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Perhaps the real truth of Atlantis will never become discovered. Perhaps because it never existed in the first place. As long as some are willing to believe though, some will keep searching for the lost city of Atlantis.