|11 June 2004
Satellite images 'show Atlantis' in Spain
The fabled lost city of Atlantis might lie in a salt marsh region off Spain's southern coast, according to research reported online by the archaeology journal Antiquity. The study, not yet peer-reviewed by archaeologists, is based on satellite images showing ancient ruins that appear to match descriptions made by the Greek scholar Plato. Resembling two rectangular buildings, the structures are hidden in a muddy region known as Marisma de Hinojos near the port of Cadiz.
According to Rainer Kühne, of the University of Wuppertal in Germany, descriptions of Atlantis as an "island" simply refer to this part of Spain, destroyed by a flood between 800 and 500 BCE. Kühne's theory is supported by the presence of the two rectangular features which match temple depictions in Plato's dialogues "Critias" and "Timaios."
The structures are clearly visible in the satellite pictures. One feature, 230 meters (755 feet) long and 140 meters (460 feet) wide, could be a "silver" temple dedicated to the sea god Poseidon; the other, somewhat "quadratic" structure, measuring 280 meters (920 feet) by 240 meters (790 feet), could be a "golden" temple devoted to Cleito and Poseidon.
"These rectangular structures are surrounded by concentric circles. This agrees with Plato's description that the temples were surrounded by concentric circles of water and earth. Even the sizes are correct. According to Plato, the diameter of the largest circle was 27 stades, i.e. 5 kilometers. In the satellite photos, the diameter of the largest circle is between five and six kilometers," said Kühne.
Commenting on the satellite image showing the two "temples", Tony Wilkinson, an expert in the use of remote sensing in archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, UK, told BBC News Online: "A lot of the problems come with interpretations. I can see something there and I could imagine that one could interpret it in various ways. But you've got several leaps of faith here. We use the imagery to recognise certain types of imprint on the ground and then do [in the field] verification on them. Based on what we see on the ground we make an interpretation. What we need here is a date range. Otherwise, you're just dealing with morphology. But the [features] are interesting."
For centuries scholars and explorers have searched for Atlantis. The lost city of concentric rings of water and lands has been "found" from Sweden to Palestine, Central Asia, Crete, Carthage, Mexico and Antarctica. One recent theory equates Atlantis with Spartel Island, which sank to the bottom of the sea 11,000 years ago. The island, just to the west of the Strait of Gibraltar, lies only 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the rectangular structures spotted by Kühne.
Sources: BBC News (6 June 2004), The Daily Telegraph, Discovery News (8 June 2004)
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