The great secret about the city of Atlantis has been one of the main talking points of researchers, scientists and treasure hunters around the world for ages. Some of them dedicated their whole lives to try to solve the mystery. Nevertheless, what if the mystery had just been solved?
Atlantis is considered to be a mythological island that has been stirring human imagination and causing a buzz in the scientific communities for thousands of years. Recent major breakthroughs, by a group of archaeologists, might however finally solve the mystery.
If we are to understand the extent of these extreme speculations, we need to dig deep down in human history and start at the rumoured beginning of the Atlantis civilization. It was first mentioned in Plato’s work Timaeus and Critias, around 360 BC. This means that the whole concept originates from the Ancient Greece.
Plato wrote that the island lost all of its gods and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. However, the question remains, can we even trust these ancient texts?
Ahead of Time
In the aforementioned texts, Plato described the civilization as highly advanced with tremendous engineers and architects. The island was supposedly covered in temples and palace with the main city built on top of a hill. Hot and cold fountains were scattered across the island and the residents, also known as Atlanteans, would usually dine in massive halls.
Plato also wrote, in great detail, about the political aspect of the islands: “Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvellous power, which held sway over all the island,”. Even though the mystery is so widespread, these are considered to be Plato’s least significant texts.
The next couple thousand years did not bring any new information to the table, except for pure speculations. That however changed when cartographer Abraham Ortelius produced a theory that Earth’s continents were originally connected before separating.
In 1596, he gave his insight about Atlantis when he said, “Unless it be a fable, the island of Gadir or Gades [Cadiz] will be the remaining part of the island of Atlantis or America, which was not sunk (as Plato reports in the Timaeus).”
The Antediluvian World
The story of Atlantis left a huge mark and sunk into the common conscience of people around the world. Nearly two thousand years later an American, Ignatius Donnelly, became obsessed with the subject.
He did extensive research on his own and published his findings in 1882 in a book called “Atlantis, the Antediluvian World”. He believed that what Plato described was actually a natural disaster that managed to sink the island. However, did Donnelly have any facts to back his claims?
Straits of Gibraltar
Donnelly’s findings were just a bunch of speculations. His theory was based on the belief that the Atlantic Ocean is only a couple hundred feet deep, which is, as we know now, highly unrealistic. His theory was that the whole island had been flooded due to colliding ocean waters. He speculated that the location of Atlantis was by the “Pillars of Hercules”.
The location is nowadays known as the entry point of the Straits of Gibraltar. However, is his theory still reliable after massive scientific developments?
His theory is still popular in the circle of today’s theorists. This is due to the fact that his speculated location also coincides with Plato’s texts. Modern oceanographers have however long since debunked his theory simply by understanding how the tectonic plates work and move.
The idea of shifting waters that sank Atlantis is actually so flawed that people stopped taking Donnelly’s work seriously. Nevertheless, future theorists took his work and managed to expand it.
The Root Race
Helene Blavatsky, founder of the Theospohical Society, was a Russian mystic who was heavily influenced by Donnelly’s work. She considered the Atlanteans as a culturally mature civilization, unlike Plato, who described them as militarists.
She theorized that her race had evolved from the people of Atlantis or as she called them “the Root Race”. She also theorized that Atlanteans cause their own downfall because they have quarrelled and fought internal battles with heavy influence of supernatural powers.
Blavatsky’s theories and beliefs that she shared in her book The Secret Doctrine would cause shocking repercussions. Her manuscript came into the hand of the Nazis and became their inspiration.
The myths and theories about the land of Hyperborea, that was supposedly a home to a godlike race, only fuelled the Nazi agenda of a perfect race. This is considered to be the darkest chapter in the history of Atlantis research. Impartial theorists that came later managed to pull it out of the void.
The new generation of theorists did not take old theories into account but instead produced their own. Out of many theorists, the most notable was Charles Berlitz.
He wrote books about paranormal activity but then developed a peculiar interest for Atlantis. His theory brought Atlantis to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bermuda Connection
In the 70s, he produced a theory that the island of Atlantis was once close to the Bahamas. The reason for the disappearance was that the “Bermuda Triangle” supposedly swallowed it. The Bermuda Triangle is a large area in the Atlantic Ocean where numerous ships, planes and people have mysteriously vanished.
People liked his theory because of the ancient looking walls and structures near the Bimini coast. These have later been proven to be natural rock formations. Was hope in finding Atlantis lost?
Atlantis and Antarctica
During the same period that Berlitz published his idea, American professor Charles Hapgood did the same. He speculated that a pole shift during the time of Atlantis caused severe catastrophes that led to their demise.
He published a book in 1958 called Earth’s Shifting Crust. In the book, he theorized that what we now know as Antarctica could well be Atlantis. How?
He claimed that over 12,000 years ago the Earth’s crust started shifting. Therefore, a huge mass of land displaced itself over time and later became Antarctica.
During the period of displacement however, this island could have been home to an advanced civilization. Eventually the ice started covering the continent and people were forced to flee. Again, scientific advancements debunked this theory and theorists had to rethink their ideas.
Black Sea Flood
A theory sparked that Atlantis actually never even existed. Some believed that the Black Sea Flood inspired the whole story. In 5600 B.C., the Bosporus Strait breached and flooded into the Black Sea.
The flood was catastrophic and destroyed everything in the region. Although this sounds like a perfect explanation, we have to acknowledge the fact that this happened thousands of years before Plato was even born.
If we are to trust Plato, we should not have to look any deeper into the history than the history of Ancient Greece. Some historians firmly believe that the Atlantis and people of Minoans are the same thing. The Minoans were a group of people who lived in the Greek Islands between 2500-1600 B.C.
They were known for building enormous and majestic structures, and many historians consider them to be the first true European civilization. The connection is therefore easy to spot. What eventually happened to them could also be considered an indisputable evidence.
The Minoans simply disappeared overnight. Naturally, people believe this to be a heavily link with Plato’s story and proof that this is in fact the civilization we are looking for.
Recent theories claim that the Minoans disappear due to an earthquake that struck the Island of Thera (Santorini) possibly somewhere around 3500 years ago. The earthquake supposedly caused huge waves that destroyed everything. However, is there any evidence to support this theory?
The history of this popular theory can be traced back to the end of 60s, when a Greek archaeologist Angelos Galanopoulos presented his idea to the public. While the theory gained ground and a huge following there are still sceptics that believe, he is wrong, because the dates do not add up. Angelos Galanopoulos, however, has an explanation for that as well.
He believes that when Plato’s story was translated for the first time a mistake was made due to a faulty Egyptian translation. The event supposedly did not happen 9000 years ago, but 900 years ago. However, his theory can still be debunked due to the fact that Plato wrote that the Atlantis was near the ancient Gibraltar.
Another historian, Bettany Hughes, shares a similar theory. She believes there are just too many similarities between Plato’s work and the catastrophe that occurred on Thera.
The specialist in classical history told The Telegraph: “Plato describes the Atlantean buildings as being red, black and white – as indeed the masonry at Akrotiri strikingly was (and still is);” The work “also talks about the city encircled by rings of land – the formation of the collapsed volcano.”
The key debate about Atlantis has always been its location. Where exactly was the ancient city? A photograph interpreter, J.M. Allen, speculates that the Atlantis is in fact in Altiplano. Altiplano is an area that is close to the Bolivian Andes in South America.
A famous psychic Edgar Cayce shares the previous debunked belief that the Atlantis is close to the Bimini coast. Many other locations have been speculated about over the years, including Southern Spain, the Azores and even Morocco.
The Rise of Atlantis
Edgar Cayce was a psychic that claimed to be able to heal people, and establish a “connection” with the deceased people of Atlantis. During his sessions he had reportedly wrote down detailed information and his “experience” in the lost city.
He also made wild claims that the city of Atlantis would rise again in the 60s, and that the archives with the information about Atlantis were stored underneath the Sphinx in Egypt.
A Philosophical Construct
After the continental drift became a fact, scientists started rethinking whether to take Plato’s work, and the existence of Atlantis, seriously or not. A scholar, Julia Annas, said, “The idea is that we should use the story to examine our ideas of government and power.
We have missed the point if instead of thinking about these issues we go off exploring the seabed.” Years of speculations and theories were thrown under the bus with this simple yet effective explanation that the city of Atlantis is actually a philosophical construct.
Imagination has no limits and the modern era proved just that. Atlantis became a story that has been presented through numerous, different mediums.
Many movies and animated movies, such as Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, documentaries, such as Luc Besson’s Atlantis and even famous comics, such as Marvel and DC, used the story, left a mark and sparked imagination of people around the world. However, the search for the real city never stopped, and still sparked the most interest.
Original or Fake
Many debate that Plato’s works are not strictly original. Claims have been made that the famous philosopher borrowed ideas from other works, such as the Story of Gyges. Others theorize that he got the inspiration from sources such as the war of Troy or the Sea People’s invasion.
Third group of people insist that all of his works are, without a doubt, original. His only inspirations could have been from real life events, such as the destruction of Helike.
Another interesting theory popped up, but was majorly frowned upon by the masses. Theorists from Mesoamerica, such as Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg and August Le Plongeon presented detailed theories and speculations that the Mayan or the Aztec civilizations were the ones responsible for the construction of Atlantis.
August Le Plongeon travelled the region in the 1800s and translated a few Mayan texts, such as Popol Vuh, and by doing so, he claimed and believed that he had all the evidence to support his theory.
As a result of his unconventional theories, Brasseur De Bourbourg’s reputation declined rapidly, especially after making claims that he could not support with evidence. He went so far as to claim that the Mayans were descendants of the “Toltecs” people, who were supposedly a superior race that created the Atlantis.
He managed to spark the interest in the unconventional way of thinking, but his theories were nothing more than pure speculation and borderline fantasy. In contrast to Brasseur De Bourbourg there were recent, believable findings made by one individual…
In the last few years there were not many claims made about the possible location of the Atlantis. An exception occurred in 2015 however, when Michael Hubner, a German computer expert, speculated that Morocco was home to the ancient ruins that we seek.
He gathered all the clues from Plato’s work and highlighted all the areas within a 3000-mile radius of Athens. His research eventually led him to Morocco, but what could he possibly find in such a random country?
Hubner’s work was unique and never seen before in the research circles. He did not choose a location and support it with evidence, but rather used computer technology and calculated where the location of Atlantis might be. From Plato’s work, he drew out 51 specific attributes about the depiction of Atlantis.
Attributes such as being near the sea, being outside the “Pillars of Hercules” and having elephants. Morocco miraculously supported all of the 51 attributes. Two years later, archaeologists located the most serious discovery to this date.
An ancient city was discovered just recently, and many theorists believe that it is quite possibly the city of Atlantis. A small detail sticks out, however. The city is not located in the Atlantic Ocean but rather in the Pacific. New aerial images show that Nad Madol is clearly located on the island of Pohnpei.
The researches who had already visited the ruins have discovered that the ancient city was built over a lagoon. However, what makes this discovery different from all the others?
Similar to Atlantis
Atlantis theorists claim that the walls and tidal canals that surround the city are similar to those that Plato mentioned in his work. Researchers are led to believe that Nan Madol is built out of roughly 750,000 tons of black rock.
The name, Nan Madol, actually translates to “spaces between,” referencing to the canals that flow through the ruins. Whether or not this is Atlantis, it is an amazing discovery nonetheless.
The Seat of Political Power
Mark McCoy, the leader of the research team, believes that the discovery is a game changer, regardless if it is Atlantis or not. “It now looks like Nan Madol represents a first in Pacific Island history,” he said.
“It was the seat of political power, the centre of the most important religious rituals, and the place where the former chiefs of the island were laid to rest.”
McCoy and his team uncovered and investigated a tomb that a chief was buried in. By doing so, they managed to determine a much precise age of the city.
McCoy said: “With the results described in our new paper, [it] can now be compared to other islands in the Pacific and societies around the world,” This means that there are possibly more ruins like this one, even Atlantis. The question remains, who lived in Nan Madol?
McCoy explained that Nan Madol was once a capital city of the Saudeleur Dynasty. This Kingdom was once home to the Saudeleur people, until 1628.
They were responsible for the structures in this ancient city and in nearly 100 artificial islands close to Pohnpei. Archaeologists consider the ruins to be well ahead of their time.
The Elusive City
Nan Madol might not be Atlantis, but there is no proof to claim otherwise either. Even if Nan Madol is not Atlantis, there is no downside to what the archaeologist managed to unearth.
Something amazing and historical. Discoveries like this push the researchers forward and encourage them to double their efforts in search of the mysterious and elusive city of Atlantis. Who knows, maybe we have already found the city of Atlantis and we do not realize it yet.