The lost continent known as Atlantis has captured imaginations all over the world since its story has spread. An ancient civilization that apparently was far ahead of its time and more advanced than we imagined could be possible at that point in history. This amazing place of technological wonders for its time was apparently wiped off the face of the earth, leaving the world in a fog of mystery over its disappearance and the absence of all its levels of advancement over the rest of the ancient world who had to start over from scratch. Even though our modern world has caught back up and even exceeded the unique elements of Atlantis, we are still curious to see if this place actually existed and if it was truly as advanced as the ancient stories. Several schools of thought have been formulated about the possible location of the lost continent with each place having its own positive elements and drawbacks for the Atlantis theory and with many archaeologists and researchers going out into the field and diligently searching for evidence of this amazing city.
Mediterranean Sea Possibilities
One of the most widely accepted hypotheses for the location of Atlantis certainly has to be the Cretan island know as Santorini (also called Thera). Since the original Atlantis myth is based off the works of Plato, the close proximity of the island to mainland Greece helps align it with the possibility that Plato could have easily reached the location in order to write about it. Also, the shape of the island itself links to descriptions of the interlocked circles that formed different areas of the city and could accommodate many countless ships at each circle of land that separates the moats of sea water and canals. The geological activity of the island lines up with stories of Atlantis as well. The city was said to have fallen into the depths of the ocean after a significant catastrophic event such as a large earthquake, volcanic explosion, massive floods, or even some combination of those happenings. Santorini is actually a huge volcanic caldera with an island at its center. The Thera Eruption of 1600 BCE caused the caldera along the inside of the main portion of the island to collapse and then result in a tsunami that pushed through to flood the caved in island interior. The island's layout that we know today can clearly been seen to be missing several pieces of what used to be a larger, connected island. Modern geologists and underwater archaeologists have confirmed remains of a human civilization on the island when it fell into the sea and that the large pieces of rock resting underwater align perfectly with the missing areas of the island. The fact that the archaeologists have found evidence of multiple storied buildings, indoor water piping, and advanced air-flow management show that the humans living on Santorini when it collapsed were certainly more advanced than the rest of Greece at the time.
An island that used to be along the Straight of Gibraltar but has since been submerged in the waters between southern Spain and north Africa known as Spartel Bank (or Majuan Bank) which is near Cape Spartel is also a hypothesized location of Atlantis by two researchers—Jacques Collina-Girard and Marc-Andre Gutscher. Spartel Bank vanished beneath the surface of the water that runs through the Straight of Gibraltar roughly 12,000 years ago when ocean levels rose from the melting polar ice caps at the end of the last Glacial Maximum of the Ice Age. This date in time puts the Spartel Bank hypothesis in a weird place. It certainly predates Plato's description of Atlantis, meaning that the Atlantian culture might be a great deal older than even Plato realized, or it could mean that the urban island center could not have existed on Spartel Bank because stories of it would have been long gone by the time Plato wrote about Atlantis in such great detail. Currently, the highest point of Spartel Bank is roughly 56 meters below the surface of the water, which dictates that all research on the Atlantis theory has to be done by underwater excavation in a heavily traveled waterway. Such difficult research conditions implies that the study of the submerged island is going slowly.
Atlantic Ocean PossibilitiesAzores Islands
The Azores Islands are a group of islands owned by Portugal which are located in the Atlantic Ocean roughly 900 miles west of Portugal's coast. Specifically Sabrina Island is cited as evidence of the possibility that the Azores Islands might be the left overs of Atlantis as it is a historical example of the sudden appearance and subsequently quick disappearance of an entire island. Also, Portuguese explorers of the sixteenth century reported that a large stone statue was found on the island of Corvo depicting a bald headed man who was clothed in what looked like a Moorish cape and seated upon a large stone horse even though there was no other sign of native peoples on the island. This statue made the Portuguese try to figure out why such a figure would be left on an abandoned island. They came up with their own ideas of perhaps a Carthaginian discovery of the Azores Islands, but recently some researchers have gone back even farther in time to say the islands could be representative of the Atlantian mountain tops.
While it may seem a bit of a stretch to look for Atlantis around the Asian continent, the fact that the ancient understanding of the globe and of the Atlantic Ocean was skewed might allow for this far off place to be considered. The historical understanding of the “Ocean of Atlantis” was that it referred to the world ocean—meaning the waters encircling Eurasia and Africa. The South China Sea where it holds Indonesia and meets the Java Sea has drawn attention as a possible location for Atlantis with the acceptance of the ancient misconception that the “Ocean of Atlantis” means all waters on the eastern half of the globe. The geological instability in that area certainly links up with the stories of Atlantis as even today that part of the South China Sea is highly volatile and susceptible to volcanic explosions, massive earthquakes, and floods. Supporters of this particular hypothesis make the story of Atlantis more realistic and down to earth as they say that the people of that area finally started fleeing their turbulent islands and eventually ran to Egypt. They told their stories to the Egyptians who later relayed the message to Plato who got a few things right but other things wrong due to the story traveling through so many people over time.
Dogger Bank is a large sandbank just off the coast of England in a shallow area of the North Sea. We know that there used to be places in the North Sea that were above water level and have since been submerged as Atlantis was said to have been, such as the medieval town of Dunwich in East Anglia that crumbled into the sea to be recovered by dredging along the Dogger Bank. It is hypothesized that the island of Atlantis in its entirety is the make up of Dogger Bank, and the urban city of Atlantis refers to what is now the Silverpit crater at the base of the Dogger Bank.
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