Ancient ruins flooded off the Spanish coast are the lost city declare UK satellite experts.
The location of the lost city of Atlantis may finally have been discovered, according to one team of historians. Ancient ruins examined using satellite imagery provide evidence that the city's huge harbour walls once stood in southern Spain, the experts say. Many of the sites studied by the team were already known to archaeologists, and are thought to have been constructed by the ancient Romans and Greeks.
Now researchers at private satellite imaging firm Merlin Burrows claim to have found evidence that the sites were in fact built by a mysterious ancient people known as the Atlanteans. Atlantis was recorded in the writings of Greek philosopher Plato, who in 400 BC described an advanced island civilisation that ruled a vast
maritime empire, some 9,000 years before his own era. The city of Atlantis at the centre of this empire was described as having an enormous harbour wall, huge entrance pillars, a temple to the god Poseidon and massive circular pieces of land carved out by the Atlanteans to live on.
It is thought a cataclysmic natural disaster, such as a tsunami or volcanic event, eventually wiped out the Atlanteans, consigning their legacy to legend. Scientists are yet to find conclusive
evidence that Atlantis existed. Many scholars believe Plato invented the story as a way to present his philosophical theories.
Experts at Merlin Burrows believe the flooded ruins of the legendary city are off the coast of southern Spain. The location is somewhere north of the city of Cadiz, Andalucía, centred around the Doñana National Park, which the historians believe was once a vast inland sea. And they claim that south and north of the park there is further evidence of the ancient civilisation, with 15 other settlements dotted along the coastline.
Most of these settlements are believed to be of Roman or Greek origin by archaeologists, as each civilisation once occupied the area. But now using unique satellite investigation techniques, aerial photography and ground observations of the site, British experts believe they have found all the features of Atlantis Plato described and evidence of how they were destroyed.
Although some scholars believe Atlantis to be a myth, Merlin Burrows claim their discoveries will once and for all prove the lost civilisation existed. Maritime historian Tim Akers, head of research at Merlin Burrows, said not only had they discovered Atlantis, but also found the people were incredibly advanced. He said 'laboratory analysis' of material recovered from Spain showed evidence of a type of cement not seen before, as well as ancient advanced metallurgy.
A greenish blue patina has been found covering some of the ruins which tests have shown is an ancient combination of metals. He said: 'Plato describes in detail a patina on the buildings and structures of the cities and temples making up this complex. 'We have filmed clear evidence and have collected samples which have been scientifically tested in a lab in Modena, Italy, which is used to test ancient Roman finds.
'The results of the tests prove the age of the finds are older than Roman or Greek, and that they were more advanced.' Aerial images of the site where Merlin Burrows believes Atlantis once stood show what they think is evidence of a harbour wall – an incredible 75 metres (245 ft) thick. Plato wrote that this wall was '50 stadia long' which would make it around five-and-a-half miles in length.
Satellite images show what Merlin Burrows claim is evidence still visible today of sand dunes where this massive wall was destroyed by a huge influx of water. The same water which eventually filled the inland sea with sediment and destroyed Atlantis. Tim said: 'The site is spread over 100 miles from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, as to age as yet we have been unable to give a fixed date for the beginning, but its end was at the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago. 'At the centre of the line of coastal cities was one gigantic inland sea 65 miles long, filled with multiple islands, some natural, others man-made.
'The main complex consists of two distinct individual multi-Island platforms. 'And one is offset from the other so that anyone on those islands can see every island in the complex. 'It is unique, nowhere in our world is there anything resembling this, and the structures match exactly Plato's dimensions with no deviation. It is absolutely spot on. 'Investigations in Doñana lead to the conclusion that there have been two natural disasters (tsunamis) that caused the islands and dry areas to sink, one of which happened around 1500 BC and the other 200AD. There is also evidence of a tsunami event in the Bible.'
Merlin Burrows have now recorded a documentary film about their mission to reveal Atlantis called 'Atlantica'. In the film the team visit sites they believe still show clues to the past people that once lived there, right up to the naming of the ancient town in the region Medina-Sidonia. The settlement is believed to be the oldest city in Europe and its name means City of Sidon – the word Sidon which could be linked to Poseidon. Tim said much of what Merlin Burrows have found today with their technology is thanks to Plato's original descriptions.
He said: 'Plato describes the location exactly and all we did was follow in his footsteps the way ancient seafarers would have travelled to the cities. 'We explain why, people have misunderstood the circles of Atlantis and why no one had seen these stunning complexes before. 'The site has both Tartessian, Greek, Phoenician, and Roman additions and our scans show multiple occupations over time till there final and ultimate destruction.
'We only present the facts and try not to delve into speculation. What is unique in our presentation is all of this material has never been seen before.' Now Merlin Burrows hope recognition of both their discovery and distribution of the film will help protect the region for future generations and secure funding for further study. Tim said: 'To understand Atlantis is to understand the ways of ancient life as it was at the peak of human life on earth. 'We would hope that the people in southern Spain would benefit from the knowledge of their ancient past.
'That all the sites are protected, and in some cases moved, so we can all enjoy them in the future. Also, that the regions would benefit from the tourism both in work and other opportunities. 'New museums and scientific study centres would enhance the economy and open active debates to the early origins of man.' Documentary filmmaker Michael Donnellan has produced the film 'Atlantica' about Merlin Burrows discovery.
Michael, who has studied classical Greek and Minoan archaeology, travelled to Southern Spain to film what Tim and the team of satellite historians had found. He said: 'Finding and filming Atlantis has been life changing. Talk about a purpose. 'All my skillsets and passions have come together in the creation of this series of films. The discovery of Atlantis is monumental. 'Suddenly we know, not think, but know that humanity, in an advanced stage of development, existed, so long ago.
'And had existed undisturbed for many thousands of years prior to its destruction. 'The imagination boggles when considering their capabilities. We have a lot we can learn from this civilization, to help move our own into a better future.' Michael said that tests at the Modena Materials Analysis Laboratory in Italy on material taken from the site had revealed amazing results.
He said: 'The harbour wall seems to have had a coating that prevented barnacle growth, like modern Teflon. 'That requires highly advanced construction technologies and knowledge of chemistry. 'We've received overwhelming excitement about our discovery of Atlantis, including a great deal of feedback from our colleagues in academic circles as well. 'It is for this reason we continue to include every science available to us, in order to verify all our finds are genuine, and to satisfy every angle we can.' Material gathered from the Atlantis site, from the harbour wall and from the pillars found on the beach, has been tested in Italy at a laboratory used to dealing with Roman finds. Dr Giacomo Falanga, from the Modena Centro Prove, a chemical testing laboratory in Modena, Italy, said samples from the site included a variety of material. He said: 'These structures contain binders, like calcite. The presence of mica, potassium, and other trace minerals show proof of artificial mixing of materials, so the samples we have tested are made from an ancient, prehistoric concrete.' Andrea Carpi, a space materials engineer from the laboratory, said: 'We can confirm with certainty that the samples analysed were the creation of an ancient civilisation with advanced construction methods, which makes me believe that we're talking about a civilisation with very advanced technology.'
Plato created the legend of Atlantis. So why is it still popular more than 2,000 years later?
If the writing of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato had not contained so much truth about the human condition, his name would have been forgotten centuries ago.
But one of his most famous stories - the cataclysmic destruction of the ancient civilization of Atlantis - is almost certainly false. So why is this story still repeated more than 2,300 years after Plato's death?
"It's a story that captures the imagination," says James Romm, a professor of classics at Bard College in Annandale, New York. "It's a great myth. It has a lot of elements that people love to fantasize about."
Plato told the story of Atlantis around 360 B.C. The founders of Atlantis, he said, were half god and half human. They created a utopian civilization and became a great naval power. Their home was made up of concentric islands separated by wide moats and linked by a canal that penetrated to the center. The lush islands contained gold, silver, and other precious metals and supported an abundance of rare, exotic wildlife. There was a great capital city on the central island.
There are many theories about where Atlantis was—in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Spain, even under what is now Antarctica. "Pick a spot on the map, and someone has said that Atlantis was there," says Charles Orser, curator of history at the New York State Museum in Albany. "Every place you can imagine."
Plato said Atlantis existed about 9,000 years before his own time, and that its story had been passed down by poets, priests, and others. But Plato's writings about Atlantis are the only known records of its existence.
Possibly Based on Real Events?
Few, if any, scientists think Atlantis actually existed. Ocean explorer Robert Ballard, the National Geographic explorer-in-residence who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, notes that "no Nobel laureates" have said that what Plato wrote about Atlantis is true.
Still, Ballard says, the legend of Atlantis is a "logical" one since cataclysmic floods and volcanic explosions have happened throughout history, including one event that had some similarities to the story of the destruction of Atlantis. About 3,600 years ago, a massive volcanic eruption devastated the island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea near Greece. At the time, a highly advanced society of Minoans lived on Santorini. The Minoan civilization disappeared suddenly at about the same time as the volcanic eruption.
But Ballard doesn't think Santorini was Atlantis, because the time of the eruption on that island doesn't coincide with when Plato said Atlantis was destroyed.
Romm believes Plato created the story of Atlantis to convey some of his philosophical theories. "He was dealing with a number of issues, themes that run throughout his work," he says. "His ideas about divine versus human nature, ideal societies, the gradual corruption of human society - these ideas are all found in many of his works. Atlantis was a different vehicle to get at some of his favorite themes."
The legend of Atlantis is a story about a moral, spiritual people who lived in a highly advanced, utopian civilization. But they became greedy, petty, and "morally bankrupt," and the gods "became angry because the people had lost their way and turned to immoral pursuits," Orser says.
As punishment, he says, the gods sent "one terrible night of fire and earthquakes" that caused Atlantis to sink into the sea
- binder - a substance used to make other substances or materials stick or mix together
- boggle - be astonished or baffled when trying to imagine something
- carve - cut (a hard material) in order to produce an object, design, or inscription
- coating - a thin layer or covering of something
- conclusive evidence - shows that something is certainly true
- consigning - deliver (something) to a person's keeping
- delve - reach inside a receptacle and search for something
- deviation - the action of departing from an established course or accepted standard
- dimension - a measurable extent of a particular kind, such as length, breadth, depth, or height
- enhance - intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of
- few, if any, – very little, if they really exist
- flood - an overflow of a large amount of water beyond its normal limits, especially over what is normally dry land
- greenish - means slightly green in colour
- harbour - a place on the coast where ships may moor in shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures
- influx - an inflow of water into a river, lake, or the sea
- legacy - an amount of money or property left to someone in a will
- lush - if you describe a place or thing as lush, you mean that it is very luxurious
- maritime - connected with the sea, especially in relation to seaborne trade or naval matters
- mica - a shiny silicate mineral with a layered structure, found as minute scales in granite and other rocks, or as crystals. It is used as a thermal or electrical insulator
- moat - a moat is a deep, wide channel dug round a place such as a castle and filled with water, in order to protect the place from attack
- naval - naval means belonging to, relating to, or involving a country's navy
- offset - a consideration or amount that diminishes or balances the effect of an opposite one
- patina - a green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period
- pillar - a tall vertical structure of stone, wood, or metal, used as a support for a building, or as an ornament or monument
- potassium - the chemical element of atomic number 19, a soft silvery-white reactive metal of the alkali-metal group
- resemble - have a similar appearance to or qualities in common with (someone or something); look or seem like
- reveal - make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others
- seafarers - people who work on ships or people who travel regularly on the sea
- settlement - a place, typically one which has previously been uninhabited, where people establish a community
- spot on - completely accurate or accurately
- stunning - extremely impressive or attractive
- temple - a building devoted to the worship of a god or gods
- vast - of very great extent or quantity; immense
- wipe out - to wipe out something such as a place or a group of people or animals means to destroy them completely
Useful phrases from discussion
- Nobody has found it yet
- It is supposed to have had a lot of gold but where did all this gold come from?
- When the tide is 'running' in or out then there is a very strong current.
- tide - the alternate rising and falling of the sea, usually twice in each lunar day at a particular place, due to the attraction of the moon and sun
- current - a body of water or air moving in a definite direction, especially through a surrounding body of water or air in which there is less movement
- Bloody cold.
- bloody - is very violent and a lot of people are killed
- Ebb and flow.
- ebb - the movement of the tide out to sea
- flow - move steadily and continuously in a current or stream
- The coast is very shallow here.
- shallow - of little depth
- In the ice age the sea levels were very low.
- In this time the UK was attached to Europe.
- There has been a lot of discussion and dialogue about Atlantis.
- They will turn it into a theme park.
- theme park - a large outdoor area where people pay to go to enjoy themselves. All the different activities in a theme park are usually based on a particular idea or theme
- Time and tide waits for no man!