The Lost City Of Atlantis Believed Found Off Spain
A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago, in mud flats in southern Spain.
"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.
"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a professor at the University of Hartford who led an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.
The team's conclusions are detailed in "Finding Atlantis," a National Geographic Channel special.
While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain is Atlantis, Freund said the "twist" of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats.
"We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archaeology, that makes a lot more sense," Freund said.
A computer graphic shows the concentric rings that may have existed during Atlantis' ancient heyday. Scientists have seen evidence of such submerged structures beneath the vast marshlands of southern Spain's Dona Ana Park.
Greek philosopher Plato wrote about Atlantis 2,600 years ago, describing it as "an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules," as the Straits of Gibraltar were known in antiquity.
Using Plato's detailed account of Atlantis as a map, searches have focused on the Mediterranean and Atlantic as the best possible sites for the city. Researchers have previously proposed that Atlantis was located on the Greek island of Santorini , the Italian island of Sardinia or on Cyprus .
Tsunamis in the region have been documented for centuries, Freund says. One of the largest was a reported 10-story tidal wave that slammed Lisbon in November 1755.
Debate about whether Atlantis truly existed has lasted for thousands of years. Plato's "dialogues" from around 360 B.C. are the only known historical sources of information about the iconic city. Plato said the island he called Atlantis "in a single day and night ... disappeared into the depths of the sea."
Experts plan further excavations at the site where they believe Atlantis is located and at the mysterious "cities" in central Spain 150 miles away to more closely study geological formations and to date artifacts.
"Finding Atlantis," a documentary about the search for the city's ruins, will air on Tuesday on the National Geographic Channel.