In the mysterious world of urbex and abandoned cities, none are more iconic – or debated – than the lost city of Atlantis. Described by Plato in 360BC as an island lying in front of the Pillars of Hercules, thousands of years of searching historically found nothing despite promising archeological discoveries. But now, researchers claim to have located Atlantis in the wetlands of southern Spain, despite the feeling among many scholars that the city was nothing more than a Greek myth or fantastical urban legend.
Using Plato’s writings as his starting point, Professor Richard Freund, from Hartford University in Connecticut, used deep-ground radar, digital mapping and satellite imagery to locate what he called “one of the largest and most ancient cities at the bottom of a huge marsh”, north of Cadiz in Spain’s Donaña National Park. The resulting documentary, Finding Atlantis, was screened by National Geographic in the U.S. on Sunday.
Freund’s theory hinges on Plato’s assertion that Atlantis was destroyed by a “natural disaster”, believed to be a tsunami, in 9,000BC: “This is the power of tsunamis,” Freund told the Daily Telegraph. “It is so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that’s pretty much what we’re talking about.” Freund also claimed that refugees fleeing the tsunami established “memorial cities” in central Spain.
(Image: Athanasius Kircher, public domain)
The find – the latest among a surge of discoveries fueled by Atlantis-mania over the years – could be the most compelling evidence yet that the lost city really existed. But like many ground breaking archeological finds, controversy is never far away. The film’s claims were dismissed Monday as scientifically unreliable while Professor Freund was accused of sensationalising the work of a team of Spanish scientists led by anthropologist Juan Villarías-Robles. The Spanish team did, however, confirm what appeared to be a sunken city, with conclusions expected later this year.