Satellite photos of southern Spain reveal features on the ground that match the description of the lost city of Atlantis, according to research published in the online edition of Antiquity, a leading scientific journal of history and archaeology.
Satellite images 'show Atlantis' in Spain
The exact location of Atlantis has been elusive, although there are various theories, like the islands of Santorini or Crete in Greece. There is no proof, therefore, that it ever even existed.
The oldest historical record of Atlantis that is known to mainstream contemporary scholars was provided by Plato, one of the great classical scholars of ancient Greece (427-347 BCE), in his famous books about the history of the world, Critias and Timaios.
Plato's book describes Atlantis in detail, based on an oral tradition that was handed down through the ages. According to this record, an ancient civilization existed on Earth at some point in the distant past (possibly as long ago circa 9,000 BCE). Many modern scholars have dismissed Plato's account as nonsense, because it describes advanced technologies, such as flying machines, that would have seemed like science-fiction until recent decades.
In modern times, Atlantis has been the subject of numerous works of fiction, a great many theories, and much speculation - not all of which have been credible. Consequently, the name has become synonymous with the paranormal, to the extent that most people think of Atlantis as a purely fictional myth or legend.
The existing records are entirely serious about Atlantis, however. Plato refers to it in terms of "genuine history" and within "the realm of fact."
BBC News, "Satellite images 'show Atlantis'", 7 June 2004.
A scientist says he may have found remains of the lost city of Atlantis.
Satellite photos of southern Spain reveal features on the ground appearing to match descriptions made by Greek scholar Plato of the fabled utopia.
If the latter is true, one of the rectangular features on the "island" matches almost exactly the dimensions given by Plato for the temple of Poseidon.
The features were originally spotted by Werner Wickboldt, a lecturer and Atlantis enthusiast who studied photographs from across the Mediterranean for signs of the city described by Plato.
"This is the only place that seems to fit [Plato's] description," he told BBC News Online.
Mr Wickboldt added that the Greeks might have confused an Egyptian word referring to a coastline with one meaning "island" during transmission of the Atlantis story.
"What we need here is a date range. Otherwise, you're just dealing with morphology. But the [features] are interesting."
The fabled utopia of Atlantis has captured the imagination of scholars for centuries. The earliest known records of this mythical land appear in Plato's dialogues Critias and Timaios.
His depiction of a land of fabulous wealth, advanced civilisation and natural beauty has spurred many adventurers to seek out its location.
One recent theory equates Atlantis with Spartel Island, a mud shoal in the straits of Gibraltar that sank into the sea 11,000 years ago.
Plato described Atlantis as having a "plain". Dr Kuehne said this might be the plain that extends today from Spain's southern coast up to the city of Seville. The high mountains described by the Greek scholar could be the Sierra Morena and Sierra Nevada.
"Plato also wrote that Atlantis is rich in copper and other metals. Copper is found in abundance in the mines of the Sierra Morena," Dr Kuehne explained.
Dr Kuehne noticed that the war between Atlantis and the eastern Mediterranean described in Plato's writings closely resembled attacks on Egypt, Cyprus and the Levant during the 12th Century BC by mysterious raiders known as the Sea People.
As a result, he proposes that the Atlanteans and the Sea People were in fact one and the same.
This dating would equate the city and society of Atlantis with either the Iron Age Tartessos culture of southern Spain or another, unknown, Bronze Age culture. A link between Atlantis and Tartessos was first proposed in the early 20th Century.
Dr Kuehne said he hoped to attract interest from archaeologists to excavate the site. But this may be tricky. The features in the satellite photo are located within Spain's Donana national park.
The Atlantis Dialogue: Plato's Original Story of the Lost City, Continent (Plato)
Fingerprints of the Gods : The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization (Graham Hancock)
Secret Chamber: The Quest for the Hall of Records (Robert Bauval)
"The Insider" mailing list article, 07 June 2004.
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