| 1 May 2004
Another search for Atlantis off the Cyprus coasts
A quest for the lost island of Atlantis has begun off the southern shores of Cyprus. After a decade of study an American, Robert Sarmast, claims to have assembled evidence to prove that the fabled island lies a mile deep in the sea between Cyprus and Syria. He says he has detected "around 48" of the 50 geographical features Plato described the island as having before it was "swallowed up by the earth". We already reported his theories in November 2003.
By August he hopes to have proved that Atlantis was not simply a figment of the imagination but a real empire with stone temples, bridges, canals and roads. "What we have discovered is a hidden landmass that fits Plato's famed description almost exactly," he said in the Cypriot port of Limassol. "For the first time we've been able to match that description with a real place which does, I think, prove what the ancient world believed, that Atlantis was founded in history and not a myth." That the seafaring civilisation should have been located between Greece and Egypt made "perfect sense," he said, since these were the lands where the story originated. In his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, Plato describes how Atlantis, "an island greater in extent than Libya and Asia", sank under the water in about 9600 BCE.
Mr Sarmast, who has been fascinated by Atlantis since boyhood, built on the research of Russian and Israeli scientists who found the stretch of sunken land off the Cypriot coast in 1989. "We now know that the Mediterranean is one of the most geologically active areas in the world and that at one time it experienced the "epochal flood" that Plato describes," he said.
The $250,000 plus expedition was set to begin in June and would take place in different phases, through the collaborative efforts of the Cyprus based company EDT, and through the American based company Phoenix, along with other marine specialists from around the world. But an archaeologist who asked that her name should not be associated with the clamour said: "This is not archaeology. As far as we're concerned this is just another ridiculous claim."
Sources: Cyprus Mail, News From Abroad, The Guardian (30 April 2004)
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