The Lost City: Finding Atlantis

This got lost in the shuffle over the weekend, but someone out there claims to have found, not only the fabled lost city of Atlantis, but also a series of smaller cities built in imitation after its destruction.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass (Reuters) – A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain.

"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.

"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.

To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis.

The team of archeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep-ground radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology to survey the site.

Freund's discovery in central Spain of a strange series of "memorial cities," built in Atlantis' image by its refugees after the city's likely destruction by a tsunami, gave researchers added proof and confidence, he said.

Atlantis residents who did not perish in the tsunami fled inland and built new cities there, he added.

The team's findings will be unveiled on Sunday in "Finding Atlantis," a new National Geographic Channel special.

While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain in Atlantis, Freund said the "twist" of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats on Spain's southern coast.

"We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archeology, that makes a lot more sense," Freund said.

The flake factor on Atlantis discoveries is usually pretty high, but Freund and his team claim to have found, not just the city, but also a series of smaller cities that echo Atlantis' multi-ringed design. If true, that's incredible enough even without the Atlantis angle.

We know so little of the ancient world, but there is plenty of tantalizing evidence that there really was a city of Atlantis that was destroyed by flood. The biggest Atlantis booster was Plato who wrote extensively about the city and clearly believed that it existed. Less well known is that Solon spent years working on a history of Atlantis, at least according to Plutarch. And you may recall a story from last year about a new theory that the Mediterranean Sea was formed by a catastrophic flood from the Atlantic Ocean pouring into a previously dry valley.

Read enough ancient sources, and you realize that the ancients were aware of an world more ancient than theirs. We now know that Minos and Troy existed, and that the legends described as happening there actually occurred, at least to some degree. Atlantis may well give up its secrets, yet.

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