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Atlantis: Discovered at Last? 478

Henry G. writes "The BBC is reporting that recent satellite pictures may show the location of the fabled city of Atlantis, as described by Plato. It is in Southern Spain, though, and not on an island as is commonly believed. Here's an image of the concentric rings over the alleged area." This story has gotten a lot of submissions; it's worth noting that it's also shown up off Cyprus, or near Cuba, or is Crete, or... It is worth noting that that Ubar was found this way.
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Atlantis: Discovered at Last?

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  • Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:13AM (#9355280) Homepage
    So when can I get my eternal youth/healing crystal and flying fish glider thingy?

  • by brejc8 ( 223089 ) * on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:14AM (#9355284) Homepage Journal
    ...who can't see any rings in that photo?

    • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:19AM (#9355314)
      They're in the bottom picture.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ach! You must be looking at the wrong picture. The lower one's taken with the Circular Atlantis Polarizer(tm) on.
    • by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:28AM (#9355356) Homepage Journal
      Nope, I don't see it either. I think this is one of those BBC stories that sounded good until they started writing it ...

      What I don't get is why someone just doesn't go there and start having a look around? Great, we've got satellite images ... is that part of Spain really so inaccessible that we can't just call up the local museum operator and have 'em go see if they see Atlantis in their neighborhood... heh heh, okay, scratch that.

      Bad Idea.

      Still, this story highlights just how much we take for granted in archeology today. We can't even deal with language barriers today, here and now, and the issues they can cause for two human beings trying to understand each other ... how on Earth can we be so sure that we've interpreted a few clay tablets here and there correctly? I know this is an arcane science, with its own rules and regulations, but I can't help feeling that such fundamental issues as the difference between the word for "coastal land" and "island" could have radically confused our understanding of ancient history...

      Its like, great, we've got the source, but what the heck kind of CPU does it run on, and what version of the compiler do we use to build the project with? Give someone a "snippet of C" and have them re-build the PC with it ... hmm ... odd analogy I suppose, but I'm just too lazy to smooth out the wrinkles. Like so many archaeologists before me, perhaps?

      That, and the fact that most 'modern' schools of archaeology seem to have been founded by Christian Faith movements over the years, leads me to a very nasty suscpicion that we've completely misunderstood the Ancients, too many times to be sure ...
      • by mahdi13 ( 660205 ) <> on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:59AM (#9355522) Journal
        What I don't get is why someone just doesn't go there and start having a look around?
        It's located in a Spainish National Park. You need to get permission from Spian to do can't just walk into a National Park anywhere and start digging
        Unless you enjoy prision time...

        But once permission is granted, it's a field day for Field Research
      • by perly-king-69 ( 580000 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:17AM (#9355642)
        IAAA (I am an archaeologist)

        Archaeology is great for looking at the 'duree longue' ... broad sweeps of history and identifying trends therein. eg one can say that over a 100 year period this site switched from using pots made at site y to those made at site z. We can't always say why those changes occurred - although historical facts help. Looking at a single pot can't tell us an awful lot.

        With your C analogy (IAAACP - I am also a C programmer) we'd look at lots of snippets of code identify differences between them, date them (except there is no scientific method for dating code) and hypothesise as to what changes and why.

        Archaeology is not a science, certainly not an 'arcane science'. It's a discipline which employs (amongst other things) scientific techniques, such as C-14 dating.

        • by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) <> on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:41AM (#9355793) Homepage Journal
          except there is no scientific method for dating code

          Sure there is. Look for deprecated system calls, or relatively new "requirements" (such as stdafx.h in C++ programs in Visual Studio. That really pisses me off.) ...If you're examining the raw data off the disk, look at the encoding. Is it big-endian or little-endian? Or is it ASCII or EBCDIC?

          Then there's less reliable methods such as timestamps

          It still requires some knowledge of how coding practices have changed, though.
        • With your C analogy (IAAACP - I am also a C programmer) we'd look at lots of snippets of code identify differences between them, date them (except there is no scientific method for dating code) and hypothesise as to what changes and why.

          Archaeology is not a science, certainly not an 'arcane science'. It's a discipline which employs (amongst other things) scientific techniques, such as C-14 dating.

          Tsk. Tsk. Sure you can. Similar to the Carbon 14 dating you mention, you could date computer code as it sw
        • > IAAA (I am an archaeologist)

          So, how useful is your little dog for recovering ancient artifacts IRL?
        • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:13AM (#9356025) Journal
          (I'm not criticizing you here...)

          So how long would you last in your field if you made a huge claim with only the weakest, unsubstantiated data? This Atlantis claim is based solely on one poorly defined image and absolutely NO physical evidence from the ground. The whole story of Atlantis is based on the assumed infallibility of Plato, as if Plato were incapable of being mistaken or believing a bogus folktale.
          • by perly-king-69 ( 580000 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:22AM (#9356086)
            Quite. Plato's story of Atlantis was a politically based moralising tale. These guys might well have found something, but which sells more (mainstream) books?:
            We found a 2,500 year old settlement in Europe!
            WE FOUND ATLANTIS!!

            No, they won't get much (any) funding from academic bodies, but they'll get a good publishing deal.

          • by swv3752 ( 187722 ) <swv3752&hotmail,com> on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:14AM (#9356503) Homepage Journal
            A lot of archealogy is seperating fact from Myth. Read up on how Troy was found. Ever play the game telephone? A group of people sit in a circle. One person whispers a phrase to the person next to him. By the time the phrase gets around the circle, it usually bears little resemblance to the orignal phrase. The myth of the Unicorn seems to have been derived from Aristotle's third hand description of a Rhinoceros.

            A lot of archealogical sites have been found in the same manner as these photos. The preliminary evidence suggests that it matches Plato's description. We may never know for sure, unless we find a sign on the city limits: Welcome to Atlantis, Population 3,123.
        • by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:40AM (#9356215) Homepage

          Archaeology is not a science, certainly not an 'arcane science'. It's a discipline which employs (amongst other things) scientific techniques, such as C-14 dating.

          I almost belived you were an Archeolog up until you wrote that..

          For something to be a science, you have to be able to do studies, using methods based on theories, and to get results that can be independently verified by repeating the study by peer scientists.

          Archeology is exactly that ..

          If you want an example of something that is not science, take psychoanalysis as an example. It's not even a theory, and as such, can't be disproofed. Everything is based on two subjects of Freud that he found interesting, and used to get him out of his financial troubles.

          I'm sure he is laughing hysterically in his grave.

          • by perly-king-69 ( 580000 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:24AM (#9356596)
            For something to be a science, you have to be able to do studies, using methods based on theories, and to get results that can be independently verified by repeating the study by peer scientists. Archeology is exactly that ..

            No it isn't. Many aspects of archaeology are non-repeatable. Excavation is the obvious example. If you cannot have a control and it is non-repeatable then I'd argue that it is not a science.

            Secondly, although archaeology uses many scientific techniques, it is fundamentally subjective. Once you've excavated a site, got dates from objects and contexts one is still left with the subjective opinions of the primary excavator. What was Stonehenge for? Different archaeologists have different views, though they all may agree on the layout, size and age of the site. And don't even get started on Biblical archaeology!

            Even before that though subjectivity comes into play - where do we dig? where are the bounds of the excavation? what methods of excavation are we going to use?

            Check out some of the writings of Ian Hodder or Phil Barker to explore some of these ideas further.

            BTW, IAAA.

            • by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @01:02PM (#9357546) Homepage

              No it isn't. Many aspects of archaeology are non-repeatable. Excavation is the obvious example.

              Excavation is not about digging dirt, the main part, and the one that matters is to not destroy anything that matters and rigorusly documenting every aspect of it.

              That way you can "repeat the study" later by other archeologs, and based on new theories and/or information, possibly reach a totally different conclusion.

              Secondly, although archaeology uses many scientific techniques, it is fundamentally subjective. Once you've excavated a site, got dates from objects and contexts one is still left with the subjective opinions of the primary excavator.

              Exacty, and archeology is *exactly* like other sciences in that matter. Physics, for example is not *truth*, but merely a collection of our best efforts to describe the universe we live in.

              A new *truth* can be found tomorrow and change the way we think about reality. Take the size and shape of the universe as an example, there are more than one theory about that one.

      • The difference between coastal land and island wouldn't necessarily be very different from each other, and could be similar enough to cause translation errors when reading an eroded clay tablet. I study Japanese, so that's where i'll get my example from: the symbols related to water (such as beach, sea island, etc.) all contain the symbol: (ignore the dots, they are there for layout)

        in the symbol (and no, i can't remember the rest of the symbols). So for reasons like erosion, it could be
      • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:07AM (#9355987)
        "What I don't get is why someone just doesn't go there and start having a look around?"
        • 'Cause then they might be WRONG silly! This way they can get media coverage, financial backing, and pump the whole thing up before they admit that what they're seeing is actually the remnants from
        • this [].

    • by WegianWarrior ( 649800 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:35AM (#9355394) Journal

      If you're looking for something spesific, it's easy to find it.. our mind is good at recognisong patterns, even when they arn't there. Off course, this is what leads people to see cities om Mars, Lenin in their shower curtain [] and, in this cause, traces of Atlantis. It's called pareidolia, and it's more common than you might think.

      PS: I urge everyone to visit the link and explore the site - it's a good read and quite interesting as well as funny.

      • by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:40AM (#9355789)
        Leaving alone wannabe Heinrich Schliemanns like the "lecturer and Atlantis enthusiast" we run across in this article, you don't necessarily even have to be looking for a pattern to think you see it.

        Michael Shermer's book "Why People Believe Weird Things" does a decent job of summing up the problem and how it works with ideas like this: People's minds are wired to look for patterns. They look for patterns that relate to other patterns they're familiar with, mostly, or those are the ones they think they see anyway. Show me a Rorschach blob, or a random scattering of data, and I'm going to try to figure out what it means. Faces on Mars! My fate, written in the tea leaves! Your character, in the lines on your palm! And so on.

        In the case of Atlantis, though, it takes a special kind of thinking to ignore all the obvious political context for Plato -- his and his family's opposition to the way Athens had gone, the whole Republic-as-an-ideal-Sparta thing -- but to seize on the few physical details he describes for Atlantis. They're not missing the forest for the trees: they're imagining the forest where they imagine there's a tree. Based on two rectangles near some concentric circles, no less. Yow.

      • The signs of it are EVERYWHERE, if you know what to look for!
    • by snkline ( 542610 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:42AM (#9355424)
      They are very hard to see in the top picture, but it was fairly obvious to me after a couple seconds, although you can only really see the ring pattern well on the right hand side, my brain simply extrapolated(sp?) the other side. Of course I don't think the jump from "a group of rings with two rectangles" to "ITS ATLANTIS!" is justified even if the measurements are close. Actual groundwork will have to be done to see what is really there, if artifacts indicate that there were two temples there to the correct gods (can't remember which ones even though I just read the friggin article) it may well have been the basis for Plato's Atlantis.

      Maybe my college archaeology classes did pay off, I remember looking at arial RS photos back then and wondering how the hell my prof saw the things he did, but by the end I could see them too.
    • by D-Cypell ( 446534 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:44AM (#9355439)
      You just have to look harder...

      Once you find try to find..

      * Waldo
      * The wizard
      * A scroll
      * Two mermaids pleasuring each other
      * Poseidon's driving license
      * Plato's lost map
      * Sebastian the crab
      * Cowboy Neal's bathing suit
    • by TXG1112 ( 456055 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:49AM (#9355468) Homepage Journal
      Ob. Mallrats quote:

      I'll tell you what you need is a fatty, boombatty blunt! And then I guarantee you'll see a sailboat, an ocean and maybe even some of them big-tittied mermaids doing some of that lesbian shit!

    • by Jade E. 2 ( 313290 ) <> on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:04AM (#9355559) Homepage
      I can see what could be rings... They don't match the ones the BBC drew in, though. Here [] are the ones I can make out, with the red highlights showing the areas I'm extrapolating from. They're not all that concentric... The two close together ones (3rd and 4th) might actually be just one that's farther off center... The outer two are actually clearest after looking at the image for a minute.

      Of course, the whole thing is probably an optical illusion, a la the face on mars, but I'd probably be grasping at straws too after a couple years of searching for (likely non-existent) patterns in satellite images :)

    • I've worked with digital imaging since the mid 80's, done photo enhancement for the police, and have had functioning eyeballs since 1971... I don't see the rings. I think the larger story is the fact that the beach looks like a big strip of bacon. Besides, aside from Patrick Duffy, who gives a shit about Atlantis? Are we looking to outsource some jobs there or bomb them?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:15AM (#9355287)
    ...where's Patrick Duffy?
  • by ShinSugoi ( 783392 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:17AM (#9355302)
    And every single time, it turns out to be false. Call me a skeptic, but I seriously doubt this will truly turn out to be Atlantis.

    Of course, it certainly would be cool if it was the real deal!

    • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:14AM (#9355621) Homepage
      The problem is that a lot of people looking for Atlantis aren't good scientists and make stupid announcements. There are two reasons why I'm still hoping that we'll find Atlantis. Troy was assumed to be mythological right up until somebody found it. Also, Plato is very clear that Atlantis was a real place. He hears about it from an Egyptian priest who says Atlantis existed 9000 years prior. Many people assume there was a bad translation somewhere from 900 to 9000. That would make Atlantis Minoan Crete. I have faith that Plato knew what he was talking about and we'll find it someday.


      • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday June 07, 2004 @01:56PM (#9358064) Homepage
        Plato is very clear that Atlantis was a real place

        This would be meaningful, except for two things...

        1. At that time in human development, "history" amounted to what we might call "mythology". There may be truth behind it, but the stories are meant to be largely symbolic, and had been passed down and altered generation after generation.
        2. Plato never "said" that; Socrates says that in a Dialogue written by Plato. Plato wrote fiction. This is greatly misunderstood- but his Dialogues were PLAYS. Saying "it must be true, Socrates said it in a Plato dialogue" is like saying "it must be true, Hamlet said it in a Shakespeare play."
      • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @06:07PM (#9360511) Journal
        Part of the problem is that the BBC article seems to be missing some history behind the story that makes a non-island city a possibility. Plato pretty much lifted the Atlantis (city) story from the Egyptian tale of Keftiu (as well as embellished on it), a city that supposedly existed past the Pillars of Hercules (Straight of Gibraltar today, which separates Spain and Morocco). Keftiu is rooted in the Egyptian word for Pillar and was believed to be the end of the earth where the sky was held up. Atlantis means isle of Atlas - recognize the similarity? Atlas held up the world in Greek mythology. Keftiu also wasn't necessarily an island - it can either mean the Isle of Keft or the People of Keft. So, possibly due to a simple translation error, an island was born.

        This could very easily be Atlantis. Minoan Crete never made sense (it never sunk) - Santorini island made more sense as most of it blew up (flooding Minoan Crete). It seems to me, though, that it was described as "west of Egypt" and that island's really NW.
  • Magic Eye (Score:3, Funny)

    by Agret ( 752467 ) <> on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:17AM (#9355303) Homepage Journal
    Hey I see it now, its a pony! No wait....its a mule....OH I see it now, it's a city. How silly of me!
  • by Three Headed Man ( 765841 ) <dieter_chen&yahoo,com> on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:17AM (#9355306)
    They found a number of concentric rings (from the walls) in Turkey where Troy was supposed to be. Heinrich Schliemann kind of messed up the dig with heavy machinery and falsifying finding "the jewelry of Helen", but the site still had interesting archaeological finds as well.

    • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:23AM (#9356095) Journal
      I'd say that the use of concentric rings would be relatively common in very early settlements as a basic form of self defense. Hill forts with circular earthen walls are found in England and Ireland. It is simply the shortest and simplest wall you can make around a site. I wouldn't be surprised if prehistoric settlers in Spain and England were in contact and used similar construction styles. To say that this is an automatic sign that it is Atlantis is like saying everyone who wears a baseball cap must be on a major league baseball team.
  • pareidolia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benploni ( 125649 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:18AM (#9355313) Journal
    It's probably just pareidolia []. They know what they are looking for, so they see it in highly ambiguous data. Sure it might be Atlantis, but I remain skeptical until they can produce much more unequivocal evidence.
    • Re:pareidolia (Score:3, Interesting)

      by deadgoon42 ( 309575 ) *
      I agree. While I believe that remote sensing techniques can certainly show things like what it supposedly in these pictures, don't let someone tell you they are an expert and then believe them on that basis. If everyone did that then we'd believe all the nonsense that Richard Hoagland [] preaches about glass tubes on Mars and vast superstructures on the Moon.
    • Re:pareidolia (Score:5, Interesting)

      by quixoticsycophant ( 729112 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:01AM (#9355533)
      Here's a recent and very striking example of fitting data to preconceived notions: zepplin backwards [] (flash link).

      As with all of these things, the trick is that you're shown the message while listening to it, and you tend to make it fit. It's even more convincing after a few listens -- it really sounds like, "There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan." Almost poetic.

      So, rings? They have the scientific method backwards. If, say, a meterologist was looking through some satellite photos happened to notice some rings, that is one thing. But some dude looking for rings in satellite photos is totally different.

      • by bfg9000 ( 726447 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:59AM (#9356373) Homepage Journal
        Here's a recent and very striking example of fitting data to preconceived notions: zepplin backwards (flash link)... As with all of these things, the trick is that you're shown the message while listening to it, and you tend to make it fit. It's even more convincing after a few listens -- it really sounds like, "There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan." Almost poetic.

        Hi, this is Satan. Yeah, you're wrong on this one. It's real. Oh, yeah, and I totally tortured Zepp in a toolshed for a while, but it's HARDLY a little toolshed. It's like 16 x 25. I'm still pissed at Jimmy for that one. I mean, I might not have Led Zeppelin-size money, but I do okay for myself. That "little" thing was just insulting. So to get revenge, I made Page do the Death Wish soundtrack and Plant ended up fronting the HoneyDrippers. That'll show 'em who's boss. One more crack and they're backing Christina Aquilera.
    • Re:pareidolia (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Walkiry ( 698192 )
      It doesn't have to be pareidolia, it could very well be some ancient settlement. It's the southern coast of Spain, there have been people living there and building towns and small cities for several thousand years. Every "important" western civilization had cities in the mediterranean coast of Spain.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:21AM (#9355325) Homepage can clearly see Noah's Ark perched about three-quarters of the way up.

    And the skeleton of a dove.
  • Ahead of the game (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dncsky1530 ( 711564 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:21AM (#9355326) Homepage
    This site [] doesn't need "satelites" to prove atlantis exists

    But these days everyone's finding [] Atlantis
  • Is it just me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sirgoran ( 221190 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:22AM (#9355328) Homepage Journal
    Or is anyone else having Heraldo and the vaults of Capone flashbacks?

    (we found it! we found it! Oh, crap...)

  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:23AM (#9355337)
    Let's go there with our metal detectors and see what we can find!

    Finders keepers?
  • Indy anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 ) <slashdot&remco,palli,nl> on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:25AM (#9355345)
    This article reminds me of the great Lucasgame Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

    Screeny here: s/indy4_7.jpg

    I hope there will be something interesting to find down there :)
  • by Ghost-in-the-shell ( 103736 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:26AM (#9355349) Homepage

    It might be important to note that the sory of Atlantis could and is most likly just that a story. Plato like Homer was a great story teller, he was also had an great impact on many Academic Disciplines.

    While Homers story of The Illiad was based on the real war that happened in Troy, we have no conclusive prof that an island of Atlantis existed. This discovery may provide evidence of the fabled city, but I won't hold my breath just yet.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:44AM (#9355437)
      It might be important to note that the sory of Atlantis could and is most likly just that a story.

      You think? Gee, I don't know. I'm inclined to believe that prefacing the story of Atlantis with a disertation on the value of constructing false histories for the moral instruction of youth and the less sophisticated of the populace and then employing all the standard literary devices of the time to denote that the story being told was instructional myth is purely coincidental.

  • Santorini? (Score:5, Interesting)

    I always thought that Santorini and its adjacent islands were "Atlantis": it was one big island,but it went pompeii and thus you get a big ring of smaller islands. They have excavated and found ancient stuff, of course, etc. Same with Crete. How far do you think the story of Atlantis travelled geographically?
    • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:25AM (#9356603)
      The more I think about it, the more I think Plato based his story of Atlantis on the destruction of Thera (neé Santorini).

      Let's consider the following:

      1. Thera in its heyday had a very advanced civilization by ancient standards with things like surprisingly modern plumbing systems!

      2. The island of Crete--90 miles south of Thera--had more or less the same type of civilization on Thera.

      3. When Thera's volcano did that catastrophic eruption, not only did most of the island sink into the sea from the eruption but it also created a massive tsunami wave that wiped out most of the smaller and larger human settlements on the north coast of Crete 90 miles south. That explains why there was considerable water and mud damage to Knossos.

      4. If Solon had properly translated what he heard from the Egyptians in the 7th Century BC, he would have placed the destruction of Atlantis at 900 years, not 9,000 years before his time. 900 years would almost match perfectly the time Thera did its final eruption from Solon's contemporary perspective.
    • Re:Santorini? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by babbage ( 61057 ) <> on Monday June 07, 2004 @12:43PM (#9357348) Homepage Journal

      The most interesting explanation I'm aware of for Atlantis -- and all the other western flood myths (Noah's ark, Gilgamesh, etc) goes back even further, to the end of the last ice age, when sea levels were lower and the Mediterranean basin may have been a relatively small, dry basin.

      In H. G. Wells' Outline of History [], there is this interesting passage:

      Now, this may seem all the wildest speculation, but it is not entirely so, for if we examine a submarine contour map of the Straits of Gibraltar, we find there is an enormous valley running up from the Mediterranean deep, right through the Straits, and trenching some distance out on to the Atlantic shelf. ... This refilling of the Mediterranean, which by the rough chronology we are employing in this book may have happened somewhere between 30,000 and 10,000 B.C., must have been one of the greatest single events in the pre-history of our race. ... Suddenly the ocean waters began to break through over the westward hills and to pour in upon these primitive peoples--the lake that had been their home and friend became their enemy; its waters rose and never abated; their settlements were submerged; the waters pursued them in their flight. Day by day and year by year the waters spread up the valleys and drove mankind before them. Many must have been surrounded and caught by the continually rising salt flood. It knew no check; it came faster and faster; it rose over the tree-tops, over the hills, until it had filled the whole basin of the present Mediterranean and until it lapped the mountain cliffs of Arabia and Africa. Far away, long before the dawn of history, this catastrophe occurred.

      So, we have a huge cataclysmic event that would have been common to all the people living in the Mediterranean basin, possibly going up past the Bosporous to the Black Sea.

      And because nearly all ancient communities seem to have sprung up along sea coasts and river banks, it seems reasonable to assume that the ancient coastline of the Mediterranean (and Black Sea) would have been thickly populated, while the "inland" areas that form the current coastline would have been populated sparsely if at all.

      With that in mind, it seems obvious that whatever remains of any civilizations that preceded ones like Greece & Egypt would have been in areas that are now submerged. The survivors of this cataclysm would have been dispersed across the region, where their stories may well have evolved into the various flood myths that have been handed down to us today. This would help explain why nearly all of these civilizations have flood myths, while also explaining why these stories vary so much.

      It seems reasonable to me...

  • how do they confirm it is atlantis?

    will they find a stone fragment with the words "downtown atlantis, exit 43" in ancient greek?

    no seriously: how does a mythical city of unknown location be "proven" to be this old city versus that old city?

    why can't their find of this ancient city stand on its own as exciting and important? why link it to a dubious unprovable myth?

    it seems to me that there is no way to say either this city or that one is atlantis itself, or am i missing something
    • Troy. (Score:3, Insightful)

      It was believed to be a mythical place, thanks in great part to the Illiad, but it was eventually found.

      The same could be said of some of the biblic places.

      And who knows? We may find one day a place that inequivoably is identified as Atlantis.
      • Re:Troy. (Score:3, Informative)

        by kfg ( 145172 )
        There is one major difference. Homer was writing about events set in historical time, only 400 years or so before in fact, involving historical people whom many people at the time of writing could clearly and accurately trace their own lineage to, in a land not only accessable but well known and colonized. A story of his own culture's recent history.

        Thus the story of Troy was a myth in the sense that the ride of Paul Revere is a myth. False, invented by a poet, but historical.

        The story of Atlantis is a st
    • Well, for the sake of argument here I will assume Plato wasn't just writing fiction when he wrote about Atlantis, I think he was, but we don't know for sure. Anyways Plato described Atlantis (In one of his dialogs, Citias I think?) with quite a bit of detail. Talking about the rings, and temples, and giving measurements for these things. So if a city was found matching these descriptions in exacting detail, we might as well call it "Atlantis"

      Of course I doubt such a place really existed. I havn't read the
    • by tomzyk ( 158497 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:03AM (#9355550) Journal
      I know you meant this as a rhetorical question, but I'll bite anyways.

      Q: how do they confirm it is atlantis?
      A: When they find some artifacts in the vicinity and can carbon date them back from 9000 years ago. When they can find proof of the animals and/or technology that existed there according to the one-and-only document [] that even mentions the city.

      Q: why can't their find of this ancient city stand on its own as exciting and important?
      A: Because the human-race has this drive to solve puzzles and find proofs and explanations of any and everything. The city of Atlantis is no different from Noah's Ark, Solomon's Temple, Eden, or even the laws of physics; people will continually search for them until they find inexplicable proof (whether it exists or not) that they exist.

      Q: why link it to a dubious unprovable myth
      A: Short answer: in hopes of acquiring more research dollars.

      And finally...
      Q: maybe i'm stpid, but...
      A: You are correct, because you can't spell "stupid". ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:28AM (#9355359)
    It strikes me that there will be many cities lost to flooding throughout history. Just because they've found one sunken city doesn't mean that it's the same city Plato was talking about, surely?

    IIRC, the Greeks attributed their stories of Atlantis to a travelling Egyptian. So even the Greeks got the information second hand, and probably wouldn't have been able to uniquely identify Atlantis.
  • would be if we discovered a very old, very advanced civilization that threw historians a curveball. For example, what if some ancient civilization was just as advanced as us but nuked themselves out of existence? This could explain much: the gods of Greek mythology, etc. Just a thought.
    • by tomzyk ( 158497 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:12AM (#9355608) Journal
      The neatest thing about this, IMHO... would be if we discovered a very old, very advanced civilization that threw historians a curveball

      Actually, that's EXACTLY what Atlantis was: a VERY old, VERY advanced civilization. They supposedly weren't as advanced as we are today, but they were FAR more advanced than the rest of the world was back in the day... and they existed 9000 years before Plato's time.

      what if some ancient civilization was just as advanced as us but nuked themselves out of existence?

      I've pondered this many times and I keep coming to the same conclusion: If this was true, we would have found SOME evidence of their existence by now. I highly doubt that any really technologically advanced civilization that could create an atomic bomb wouldn't expand their culture beyond a handful of cities. We should have found towers on mountains by now, no? I don't think it very likely that when they wiped themselves out, they destroyed every miniscule building they had ever created.
    • Yeah I followed up the information on the "mysterious sea peoples" mentioned in the BBC article, apparently a crowd of raiders that made short work of most of the civilistions in the area at that period, and I was immediately struck by the similarities between stories of them and some very ancient Irish legends.

      These talk about a people called the "Fomors" (or various other names) who were also known as the "Sea Demons" from the south, who enslaved Ireland for a period, before being defeated by a coalitio

  • by Coos ( 580883 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:29AM (#9355365)
    ... the location of an allegorical tale to teach us the evils of materialism?
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:31AM (#9355374)
    "This is the only place that seems to fit [Plato's] description," he told BBC News Online.

    Except for its not being an island and all the other bits we ignored to make the data fit the model.

  • by virve ( 63803 ) * on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:32AM (#9355380)
    I think there was a error in the headline. It should read:

    Atlantis: Discovered Again?

    It makes the story more consistent with facts.

  • by UnderAttack ( 311872 ) * on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:33AM (#9355384) Homepage
    I can't make out rings nor rectangles in that
    picture. But I clearly see a big cache of WMD in the lower left corner.
  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:39AM (#9355415) Homepage Journal
    ... this is just a PR stunt by the Sci Fi Channel to hype their new series, Stargate: Atlantis.
  • Antiquity link (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rwebb ( 732790 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:40AM (#9355418)
    The original Antiquity article is here [].

    Aside from a great deal of speculation about correlations between Egyptian records, tales of the Peoples of the Sea, and a selective reading of the Dialogues, the only "data" the author points to are the satellite images which may be the remains of rectangular structures. Nothing in situ to indicate dating.

    As there is almost certainly evidence of Bronze Age settlements practically anywhere one cares to dig along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, this article is roughly the equivalent of speculating that an unattributed burial in a 6th century Wessex tomb must necessarily be the remains of Arthur.
  • Final truth? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dexter77 ( 442723 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:45AM (#9355440)
    So, in near future we will have dozen places that claim to be Atlantis. Is this going to be as with Santa Claus. There are atleast ten different countries claiming to be Santa's home countries.

    How do you define which is the real Atlantis? I bet there are many forgotten cities that distantly match description written almost 3000 years ago.

    Can Atlantis be identified without a doubt? If so, then how?
  • by Wizzo1138 ( 769692 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:46AM (#9355446)
    I love this part:
    ...the ancient unit of measurement used by Plato - the stade - may have been 20% larger than traditionally assumed. 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.
    And if the mile is 10000% larger than we tradtionally assume, I only have a one-mile trip to work.
    • by Zibblsnrt ( 125875 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @02:13PM (#9358233)
      (IAAH) One of the problems with determining ancient units of measurement is that they don't give them to us in convinient modern units. We only know what a classical stadia was within a certain range, so there's going to be an uncertainty there.

      A lot of units of measurement used in ancient times were subjective like this. The best (by which I mean "Augh! Worst!")example is the stathmos, which simply meant "a day's march."

      A day's march how? On foot? Horseback? Chariot? With or without a supply train? Jogging? On flat ground? Broken terrain? Roads? The correct answer is "yes," which means that this unit can vary disgustingly depending on the circumstances. A day's trudge through the Amazon and a day's travel on horseback along a plain are both a stathmos, though they're very different distances.

      There's other examples of this, such as the talent, defined as the weight a man could carry on his back comfortably, and therefore something between fifty and eighty pounds. It was used both as a simple unit of weight and as a unit of currency, so you'll see people paying reparations of fifty talents or whatnot to the neighbouring state - which drives people up the wall when the authour's not specifying what the talents are of!

      Units of measurement were also different from town to town. Standardized weights and measures are newfangled.

      The stadia isn't quite so flexible, but the definitions of it I've seen are still based off other units the Greeks used, so yes, enough uncertainty kicks in that we could be off by some significant factor either way. He could have subscribed to a William Tarn-esque "make shit up" school of thought, it's true, but he could also be right. I'd need to take a better look at what he's written to see whether the shoe fits or whether he had to perform some unrequired surgery.


  • by cardshark2001 ( 444650 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:47AM (#9355459)
    Scientists are bound and determined to place Atlantis ANYWHERE except in the middle of the Atlantic, where it is.

    There's a chain of islands called the Mid Atlantic ridge, which, if the water level were lowered 300-500 feet (as it was before the end of the ice age) would be a very large island. You could even call it an island continent.

    Plato said atlantis was 9000 years before him, or about 11,500 years ago. We've only learned in the past couple of decades that almost exactly at that time, the mean temperature of the earth raised a significant amount in a short amount of time. If a bunch of ice (North America had a mile-thick layer of ice) melted all at once, and you lived on an island continent, it would seem that your island sank into the ocean.

    Someday I'll be proven correct. I just know it.

    • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:02AM (#9355540)
      Possibly true but you're forgetting one thing.

      In ancient times, all oceans were known as the Sea of the Atlanteans, which is where the name Atlantic came from.

      As far as they were concerned, standing on the shores of the Eurasian continent and Africa, the ocean surrounded them. To them the Atlantic wasn't what we now know as the Atlantic, it constituted the whole ocean. This puts paid to the argument that Atlant-is is in the modern Atlan-tic. It could be, but there are lots of other ridges and sub-oceanic plateaus in other parts of the ancient 'Atlantic' ocean that would have succumbed at the same time as the mid-Atlantic ridge...
    • by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:11AM (#9355598)
      Shh, scientists don't really care about the Atlantis myth. They do care about the public funding for finding Atlantis. I bet once every 10-20 years some scientist gets a decent grant and alot of PR for "finding Atlantis." Does the public really want to know of all the ancient cities? Nope. Does the public really want to fund looking for ancient cities? Not really. Will the public fund looking for Atlantis each time that it generally forgets about it? Yes. That is the real reason we won't ever "find Atlantis." Actually, it would be interesting if some one would fund undersea research for sunken cities. It would have to be sold to the public as the search for Atlantis though.
  • Excavating the site (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cjellibebi ( 645568 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:47AM (#9355460)
    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.
    Would excavating what could be a lost city really wreck a national park? Archaeologists try and be as non-intrusive as possible, and their methods of digging holes are so gentle that they use a toothbrush-like brush to move the dirt. So even if nothing was found after an extensive dig, there would be virtually no ecological damage. And if the city of Atlantis really was found and they decided to excavate everything that could possibly be in Plato's description, would that effect the ecology of the area (providing they did not turn the area into a museum)?
  • FFS! Atlantis again (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kegster ( 685608 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:54AM (#9355495) Homepage
    Why can't these people get it through their heads thaty Atlantis, as recounted by Plato in Timaeas and Critias, is allegorical.

    It has as much objective reality as More's Utopia and Butler's Erehwon. It even had the same purpose, to illustrate a philosophical point and "demonstrate" Plato's idea of an ideal society.

    It just happened that Atlantis was a handy cultural peg to hang it off, somewhat like Avalon and Lyonesse is today for some people.

    There have been numerous candidates for Atlantis, but the outstanding one, IMO, is Santorini.

    That island, part of the of the Minoan civilisation, blew its top somewhat spectacularly, and was probably a contributory factor to the collapse of the Minoan, Mycenaean and Hittite empires, who just happened to be trading partners with the Egyptians at the time.

    The Egyptians, being anal-retentive record keepers kept some records of this, and these, in garbled form, are probably what inspired Plato to use the island as the home for his ideal civilisation.

    Given the effects of this massive explosion on the weather (shitty crops practically guaranteed throughout the region), which would have negatively effected the economies of the Mycenaeans and Hitties.

    The loss of contact with the Minoans (who were in a decline at the time anyway, so this probably played a large part in finishing them off) would likely have pushed them over the edge as well. Both of those regions (the Anatolian Plateau and southern Greece) being somewhat marginal environments to start with, having low annual rainfall, poor and shallow soil, and high summer temperatures).

    This probably would have made it into the Egyptian annals as something along the lines of "those Greek and Turkish bastards haven't turned up so far this year to hawk their tat, no great loss, but a bit of a pain in the arse. Also we have been having some really shitty weather this last year, on the plus side, the surf was wicked last summer. Wonder if they are related? - Amememhat"

    This also would quite likely have been mythologised to a certain extent from the tales of survivors.

    No need for the tortured logic and papering over the cracks here, it all depends on fairly well understood factors, a big fuck off explosion, the fragility of civilisations based on gift-giving economies and ties of obligation, especially in somewhat marginal environments, and a bit of garbling and mythologisation over the years.

    Mix an ambitious philosopher looking for a name to hang an idea off, and Viola! a ready made myth for people to chase incessantly, and for con-men in the mould of Von Daniken and Hancock to make a good living off.
  • South Pole (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Onceat ( 734080 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:57AM (#9355515)
    I thought the land mass under the South pole was Atlantis, the piece fits into the Pangea puzzle , and it is said to have landed up there when the poles revesed there polarity around the same time the great lakes , and the scotish lochs where formed since those two places used to be the poles, I saw it on National Geographic or Discovery a while back
  • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:00AM (#9355530) Journal
    Was Plato there? How does he know about Atlantis? If there was an Atlantean civilization during his era, why is his writings the first? You would think some king would have had a writing about it. And the final question: Do we really want to attempt to resurrect a civilization that Posiden (sp?) decided to sink? I mean come on - the dudes a God for crying out loud. We've seen the previews for "the day after tomorrow" now I know most of us don't want to see the movie - do we really want to see it enacted LIVE? Anyone? Anyone? (ok that was a few more questions) :)
  • Great but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <> on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:03AM (#9355542) Journal
    It's /. so I'm too lazy to look at the article, but from the story I should point one thing:

    As little as we know about alleged Atlantis, one thing is sure from Plato's tales -- Atlantis was beyond the Pilars of Hercules (Gibraltar Strait). So anything on the Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Ocean is a good candidate, whether it is in Amercia, Asia or Antarctic.

    Anything on Mediterranean Sea, or Black Sea is NOT beyond the Pilars of Hercules.

  • by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:24AM (#9355680)
    Granted, Atlantis has become a larger myth, okay. But it started with Plato. No literature before plato refers to Atlantis -- kind of striking given Homeric poetry that's hinted at Mycenean geography and so on.

    Plato's references to Atlantis, specifically, are basically a sequel to his Republic, which is in turn an idealized version of the Spartan state. The Republic is mostly about an anti-democratic reaction to the direction Athens chose to go. The Atlantis myth is essentially a way of describing early Athens as virtuously fighting against an outside invader. Plato was using his created myth, to quote a skeptic's article on this, as a "noble lie." []

    The specific physical characteristics being cited in this article are so ludicrously overgeneral that I'm amazed they don't have more than one match to go on. All you have to know is what the article says: "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 another Heinrich Schliemann. They'll be planting golden masks next.

    (Hey, I've found another ancient city of Troy! It's an Anasazi settlement. Go ahead... prove it ain't. Or maybe Atlantis was on Santorini. Or was that Troy? Or Tyre. Yeah... Tyre.)

    • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:44AM (#9356242) Journal
      I dunno, not to side with the woo woo crowd, but it doesn't really read as a parable or political lesson unless something gets lost in the translation. It's more like a straightforward history. Are you sure you're not thinking of Bacon's "New Atlantis"?

      Plato's work describes a rather agressive and widespread empire. Hindu legends of the Deva Nahusha also tell of a similar, widespread empire around the same time. Atlantis is not mentioned by that name anywhere outside of Plato's work, but strikingly similar entities are told of in other place under different names.

      There's lots of other myths and legends in other cultures around the world that seem to point to some sort of largish civilization at the time Atlantis was supposed to have peaks. No UFOs, no advanced technology, no silliness... just *something* that is, for the most part, still undiscovered. It's not a big deal, really. So the dawn of civilization gets pushed back a bit. So what? It'd be interesting. Look at Caral in Peru. That discovery pushed back the birth of city life and organized farming in the "New World" a full 1000 years in one shot.

      As for the features being spotted by an Atlantis enthusiast, well, use scientific method here: who else is looking for it? ;-)

  • by AnswerIs42 ( 622520 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:55AM (#9355894) Homepage
    to located the Iraq WMDs??

    I mean if he can pick out Atlantis from that one picture.. he should be able to find every hiding spot in Iraq..

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:02AM (#9355943) Homepage
    There are "a lot [] of supposed sites for Atlantis. I would have to say this is one of the least faith inspiring "finding" I've seen.

    Mythology being quite entertaining to me, I've read of most of the supposed sites. There is an island called Thera, located off the coast of Crete. It seems to me that if anything found so far is the fabled Atlantis, this is it. [] Archological digs show that they had both hot and cold running water, as well as a very advanced trade. Prior to the erruption, there was a circular cove around the island. There are significant enough similarities between Plato's Atlantis and Thera for there to be a very convincing arguement for this site. The disaster of the volcanic erruption would fit the timeframe of the other legends surrounding the survivors of Atlantis - for instance, the Spanish conquistadors that slayed the white-skinned men on the northwestern coast of Africa that claimed to be from such a society (I think? my memory is sketchy.)

    I suspect people aren't making conclusive claims about Thera being Atlantis yet because there simply aren't enough interesting historical mysteries to get funding for. Atlantis is a pearl in almost everyone's eyes, thus people keep searching - finding various other interesting things - in the name of searching for Atlantis.

    After all, once you've found all the easter eggs that they said there were, you're not going to want to keep looking, as it's not likely you'll find anything - or so you think.
  • by BigGerman ( 541312 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:10AM (#9356008)
    .. it is not in the Atlantic, it is not under water, but other than that it is Atlantis just like Plato described it?
  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) * on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:52AM (#9356310) Homepage

    That "Atlantis" referred to most of Indonesia, under the South China Sea [], since it was a full continent rather than a bunch of islands during the last ice age []. It's pretty novel, and I can't recall any other work putting forth this theory (ie, anything on TLC - heh).

    A Brazillian Professor has a pretty informative site about this [] where he talks about his research. Since they added a forum [], it seems that more other people than I realized have been following this as well.

    How does this work, you say? Well, if you consider the mediterranian philosophy of flat earths and rings going out, they considered the "Atlantic Ocean" to be a sort of "world ocean", not the specific ocean we call it today []. Plus, there are a whole other number of Atlantis "checklist items []" that the area has in its favor that really don't exist in the Mediterranian or South America (ie, lots of elephants, dual rice harvests, etc...)

    Anyway, now that it's posted... I'd be interesting in seeing some other Slashdotters' opinions about it.


Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein