The lost city of Atlantis is thought to be a ‘lost island’ in which an ancient, Utopian society resided. First popularised by Plato, the Greek Philosopher, the Island is believed to have existed around 9,000 BC. Plato has wrote detailed descriptions of the city of Atlantis in two of his books – Timaeus and Critias – describing the Island as lush with a variety of exotic flora and fauna, surrounded by mountains and characterised by three layers of rings and circular harbours. Plato then describes how the people of Atlantis were harmonious and peaceful, although incredibly powerful and advanced for their time, perhaps leading to their downfall. It is then believed that the City of Atlantis was destroyed by Poseidon, the God of the ocean, through a series of natural disasters that wiped the city out in a single day.
There have since been numerous conspiracy theories about where Atlantis is now, or whether it even existed at all. The theory with the most evidence to support it, is that Atlantis is underneath Donana National Park in Southern Spain. Researchers and archaeologists have found evidence of circular formations deep under the ground, matching the description of Plato’s Atlantis, as well as the exact dimensions given by Plato to describe structures. There is also an unusual amount of methane gas in the area, and this could explain how the city was buried in a single event, as decomposing organic matter such as humans, flora and fauna would release large amounts of methane in the process. If that was not fascinating enough, a few miles from Donana National Park, what appears to be a smaller version of Atlantis can still be seen above ground. This suggests that some of the few survivors went on to create a second Atlantis, either to memorialise their old city, or to start again. Within this new Atlantis, there are symbols and features similar to that of the ancient Egyptian culture, and so it is thought that the Atlantian’s were in contact with the Egyptians somehow, and this is how the Ancient Egyptians also were so advanced for their time. Does this mean that Plato’s book was not fiction, and instead a historical road map to help people locate Atlantis for themselves?
Another popular theory about Atlantis was introduced by Charles Hapgood in 1958, in a book named “Earth’s shifting Crust”. Hapgood proposed that Atlantis could actually be found much further South from its origin at the continent of Antarctica. We already know about plate tectonics and continental drift – the Earth looks a lot different to how it did thousands of years ago. Hapgood states that 12,000 years ago, Atlantis was subjected to colder temperatures and became buried under the ice. Those who are advocates of this theory point to the pyramid-like shapes found in the Antarctic ice that could indicate human activity much like that of the Egyptian’s (and linking to the other theory that the Atlantian’s were familiar with the Ancient Egyptians). This is another fascinating theory, although I do think with rising global temperatures, and increasing ice melt that evidence of a civilisation would have been definitively found by now.
Other theories include that Atlantis is under the sea somewhere off the coast of Spain in the Atlantic Ocean, or that the Atlantian’s in fact became the Mayans following the destruction of Atlantis, because the Mayan culture has countless similarities to the culture of Atlantis as described by Plato. Of course there are so many scientists and researchers who completely disregard Atlantis as a myth. They argue that no undeniable scientific proof has been uncovered, and due to technological advancements in recent years, we are likely to have found a missing civilisation, or at least evidence of it. Plato, although not really known for fictional work, therefore made up the tale of Atlantis, perhaps as a cautionary tale about greed.
I’m interested to know what you think about this theory. We have all heard of the story of Atlantis, and I am sure many of you have seen the Disney film, but could it be much more than a story?