Sunday, July 24, 2011
A Tale Of Two Sunken Cities
The Yonaguni Structures
The Epoch Times With Leonardo Vintini........
Classified by some scientists as the archeological find of the century, the structures accidentally discovered off the Japanese coast of Yonaguni offer ancient architecture in the form of pillars, hexagons, stairs, avenues, arcades, and even a stepped pyramid.
While the most conservative hypothesis postulates that the Yonaguni structures are the product of the marked seismic activity in the area, the precise angles of the rocks and their arrangement in relation to one another suggest that this site might hold remnants of a submerged city.
Evidence in favor of this stance includes the chemical composition of the chalky rocks (which do not naturally exist in the region), two openings about 6.5 feet deep adjacent to the structures—which no archeologist dares to classify as a natural formation—and an oval-shaped rock that does not appear to belong to the set, but exhibits a clear northward facing point. The entire submerged city of Yonaguni is estimated by some to be at least 10,000 years old.
Marine archeology has only become an academic possibility in the last 50 years with the introduction of scuba gear. According to marine archeologist Dr. Nick Flemming, at least 500 submerged sites containing the remains of some form of man-made structure or artifacts have been found around the globe. Some calculations figure that nearly a fifth of these sites are more than 3,000 years old.
Certainly, some of these sites were washed away by floods, but others may have found their place at the bottom of the sea through tectonic shifts. As many of these places were originally built on solid, dry land, Earth may have been geographically quite different than what we know today. Likewise, these people would have come from an era more remote than what we understand as the dawn of civilization.
So, is our current civilization the greatest mankind has ever known, or merely one tiny peak among many in a cycle that stretches far into the distant past? The answer might be found at the bottom of our oceans
The Yonaguni Monument
The Yonaguni Monument is a massive underwater rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni, the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands, in Japan. There is a debate as to whether the site is completely natural, a natural site that has been modified, or a manmade artifact
The sea off Yonaguni is a popular diving location during the winter months due to its large population of hammerhead sharks. In 1987, while looking for a good place to observe the sharks, Kihachiro Aratake, a director of the Yonaguni-Cho Tourism Association, noticed some singular seabed formations resembling architectonic structures. Shortly thereafter, a group of scientists directed by Masaaki Kimura of the University of the Ryūkyūs visited the formations. Kimura is a strong advocate of the view that the formations are artificial (manmade).
The formation has since become a relatively popular attraction for divers, in spite of the strong currents. In 1997, Japanese industrialist Yasuo Watanabe sponsored an informal expedition comprising writers John Anthony West and Graham Hancock, photographer Santha Faiia, geologist Robert Schoch, a few sport divers and instructors, and a shooting crew for British Channel 4 and Discovery Channel. Another notable visitor was freediver Jacques Mayol, who wrote a book on his dives at Yonaguni. A plaque in his honor was fixed to the undersea formations after his suicide in 2001.
The Monument consists of medium to very fine sandstones and mudstones of the Lower Miocene Yaeyama Group, deposited about 20 million years ago. Most of the significant formations are connected to the underlying rock mass (as opposed to being assembled out of freestanding rocks).
The formation called "The Turtle"
The main feature (the "Monument" proper) is a rectangular formation measuring about 150 by 40 m (490 by 130 ft), and about 27 m (90 ft) tall; the top is about 5 m (16 ft) below sea level. Most of its top surface consists of a complex series of terraces and broad steps, mostly rectangular, bounded by near vertical walls.
Some of its peculiar details include:
Two closely spaced pillars which rise to within eight feet of the surface;
The "Loop Road", a 5 m (16 ft) wide ledge that encircles the base of the formation on three sides;
The "Totem", a stone column about 7 m (23 ft) tall;
The "Dividing Wall", a straight wall 10 m (33 ft) long;
The "Gosintai", an isolated boulder resting on a low platform;
The "Turtle", a low star-shaped platform;
The "Triangle Pool", a triangular depression with two large holes at its edge;
The "Stage", an L-shaped rock.
The flat parallel faces, sharp edges, and mostly right angles of the formation have led many people, including many of the underwater photographers and divers that have visited the site and some scholars, to the opinion that those features are man-made. These people include Gary and Cecilia Hagland and Tom Holden who went on underwater expeditions to study and photograph the site as well as Dr. Sean Kingsley a marine archaeologist. These features include a trench that has two internal 90° angles as well as the twin megaliths that appear to have been placed there. These megaliths have straight edges and square corners. However sea currents have been known to move large rocks on a regular basis. Some of those who see the formations as being largely natural claim that they may have been modified by human hands. The semi-regular terraces of the Monument have been compared to other examples of megalithic architecture, such as the rock-hewn terraces seen at Sacsayhuaman. The formations have also been compared to the Okinawa Tomb, a rock-hewn structure of uncertain age.
Other evidence presented by those who favor an artificial origin include the two round holes (about 2 feet wide, according to photographs) on the edge of the Triangle Pool feature, and a straight row of smaller holes which have been interpreted as an abandoned attempt to split off a section of the rock by means of wedges, as in ancient quarries. Kimura believes that he has identified traces of drawings of animals and people engraved on the rocks, including a horse-like sign that he believes resembles a character from the Kaida script. Some have also interpreted a formation on the side of one of the monuments as a crude moai-like "face".
Supporters of artificial origin also argue that, while many of the features seen at Yonaguni are also seen in natural sandstone formations throughout the world, the concentration of so many peculiar formations in such a small area is highly unlikely. They also point to the relative absence of loose blocks on the flat areas of the formation, which would be expected if they were formed solely by natural erosion and fracturing.
If any part of the Monument was deliberately constructed or modified, that must have happened during the last Ice Age, when the sea level was much lower than it is today (e.g. 39 m (130 ft) lower around 10,000 years BCE). During the Ice Age, the East China Sea was a narrow bay opening to the ocean at today's Tokara Gap. The Sea of Japan was an inland sea and there was no Yellow Sea; people and animals could walk into the Ryukyu peninsula from the continent. Therefore, Yonaguni was the southern end of a land bridge that connected it to Taiwan, Ryūkyū, Japan and Asia. This fact is underscored by a rock pillar in a now-submerged cave that has been interpreted as a fused stalactite-stalagmite pair, which could only form above water.
Kimura first estimated that this must be at least 10,000 years old (8,000 BCE) dating it to a time when it would have been above water. In a report given to the 21st Pacific Science Congress in 2007 he revised this estimate and dated it to 2,000 to 3,000 years ago as the sea level then was close to current levels.
The existence of an ancient stoneworking tradition at Yonaguni and other Ryukyu islands is demonstrated by some old tombs and several stone vessels of uncertain age.
Some of those who have studied the formation, such as geologist Robert Schoch of Boston University, state that it is most likely a natural formation, possibly used and modified by humans in the past. Schoch observes that the sandstones that make up the Yonaguni formation "contain numerous well-defined, parallel bedding planes along which the layers easily separate. The rocks of this group are also criss-crossed by numerous sets of parallel and vertical (relative to the horizontal bedding planes of the rocks) joints and fractures. Yonaguni lies in an earthquake-prone region; such earthquakes tend to fracture the rocks in a regular manner." He also observes that on the northeast coast of Yonaguni there are regular formations similar to those seen at the Monument. Schoch also believes that the "drawings" identified by Kimura are natural scratches on the rocks. This is also the view of John Anthony West.
Patrick D. Nunn, Professor of Oceanic Geoscience at the University of the South Pacific, has studied these structures extensively and notes that the structures below the water continue above and are slate that "has been fashioned solely by natural processes" and that "there seems no reason to suppose that they are artificial."
Other examples of natural formations with flat faces and sharp straight edges are the basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway and the natural staircase formation on Old Rag Mountain.
James Rollins' book Deep Fathom, while not explicitly mentioning the Monument, features scenes "off the coast of Yonaguni Island" involving man-made pyramid-like structures known as The Dragons that emerged above the surface after widespread seismic activity.
The Yonaguni Monument is important in Graham Hancock's documentary Quest for the Lost Civilization.
The monument was featured on episodes of Ancient Aliens and History's Mysteries both on The History Channel.
Marine archaeology in the Gulf of Cambay
UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage
1.^ a b c d e f Robert M. Schoch (1999). "Yonaguni Enigmatic Underwater Monuments". http://www.robertschoch.net/Enigmatic%20Yonaguni%20Underwater%20RMS%20CT.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
2.^ a b Masaaki Kimura (1991) (in japanese). Mu tairiku wa Ryukyu ni atta (The Continent of Mu was in Ryukyu). Tokuma Shoten.
3.^ a b c John Anthony West (1998). "Diving for Lemuria". http://www.robertschoch.net/Diving%20For%20Lemuria%20John%20West%20Colette%20Dowell%20CT.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
4.^ Jacques Mayol. Heritage des Peuples de la Mer.
5.^ a b Ancient Discoveries: Lost Cities of the Deep History Channel
6.^ "Skematic drawing of the Monument at the Ishigaki, Okinawa city site". http://www.city.ishigaki.okinawa.jp/en/engnews/ishigakitimes/yonaguni.jpg. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
7.^ "Schematic maps of the Monument at the Alternative Archaeology site". http://www.altarcheologie.nl/index.html?underwater_ruins/yonaguni/overview.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
8.^ Doremon360. "3D model of the Monument". http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1007/575738157_c0a242bbd5.jpg?v=0. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
9.^ a b History's Mysteries: Japan's mysterious pyramids History channel , ep. #7
10.^ "Umi ni shizunda chō-kodai bunmei (The Submerged Ancient Civilizations)". Quark (Kōdansha). 2002.
11.^ "Finely chiseled rock steps at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman outside of Cuzco". http://travel.mongabay.com/pix/peru/cuzco-Cuzco_1021_1387.html. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
12.^ "The Ryukyuanist - A Newsletter on Ryukyuan/Okinawan Studies, Number 57" (DOC). Autumn 2002. http://www.well.com/~sjs/The%20Ryukyuanist%20-%20Number%2057%20FINAL.doc. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
13.^ "Yonaguni, Japan". New Scientist (2736). 2009-11-25. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427361.500-yonaguni-japan.html. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
14.^ a b Julian Ryall (2007-09-19). "Japan's Ancient Underwater "Pyramid" Mystifies Scholars". http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070919-sunken-city.html. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
15.^ "National Geographic News Photo Gallery: Asian "Atlantis" Shows Strange Structure". http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/photogalleries/japan-pictures/. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
16.^ Nunn, Patrick D. Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific University of Hawaii Press (15 Aug 2008)ISBN: 978-0824832193 p.127
17.^ "Hiker's Guide to the Geology of Old Rag Mountain". http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2000/of00-263/of00-263.pdf.
External links"Yonaguni photos". DivingObsession.com. http://www.divingobsession.com/location/userMedia.tdf?keyedId=149&keyedType=DVST
'Lost city' found beneath Cuban waters
BBC News, December 7, 2001
Posted: 2010-06-09 20:33:14
A team of explorers working off the western coast of Cuba say they have discovered what they think are the ruins of a submerged city built thousands of years ago. Researchers from ... Canadian company [Advanced Digital Communications] used sophisticated sonar equipment to find and film stone structures more than 2,000 feet (650 metres) below the sea's surface. The explorers first spotted the underwater city last year, when scanning equipment started to produce images of symmetrically organized stone structures reminiscent of an urban development. In July, the researchers returned to the site with an explorative robot device capable of highly advanced underwater filming work. The images the robot brought back confirmed the presence of huge, smooth blocks with the appearance of cut granite. They believe these formations could have been built more than 6,000 years ago, a date which precedes the great pyramids of Egypt by 1,500 years. "It's a really wonderful structure which really looks like it could have been a large urban centre," ADC explorer Paulina Zelitsky told the Reuters news agency.
May 14, 2008Sunken city off the coast of cuba.Filed under: Ancient Technology, Atlantis, Drowned cities — Tags: 5%, Atlantis, Cuba, drowned city, Guanahacabibes Peninsula — mathilda37 @ 9:35 am
‘Lost city’ found beneath Cuban waters
A team of explorers working off the western coast of Cuba say they have discovered what they think are the ruins of a submerged city built thousands of years ago.
Researchers from a Canadian company used sophisticated sonar equipment to find and film stone structures more than 2,000 feet (650 metres) below the sea’s surface.
They say they still do not understand the exact nature of their discovery, and plan to start a thorough analysis of the site – off the tip of the Guanahacabibes Peninsula – in January.
Advanced Digital Communications is one of four firms working in a joint venture with President Fidel Castro’s government to explore Cuban waters, which hold hundreds of treasure-laden ships from the Spanish colonial era.
The explorers first spotted the underwater city last year, when scanning equipment started to produce images of symmetrically organized stone structures reminiscent of an urban development.
It’s a really wonderful structure which really looks like it could have been a large urban centre
In July, the researchers returned to the site with an explorative robot device capable of highly advanced underwater filming work.
The images the robot brought back confirmed the presence of huge, smooth blocks with the appearance of cut granite.
Some of the blocks were built in pyramid shapes, others were circular, researchers said.
They believe these formations could have been built more than 6,000 years ago, a date which precedes the great pyramids of Egypt by 1,500 years.
“It’s a really wonderful structure which really looks like it could have been a large urban centre,” ADC explorer Paulina Zelitsky told the Reuters news agency.
“However, it would be totally irresponsible to say what it was before we have evidence.”
The thing in this news item from the BBC that worries me is the figure of 650m depth. When would that ever have been at the surface? The sea levels are only supposed to have risen 140m maximum. There would have to have been some subsidence on an Atlantean scale for that to have been possible.
[Actually one of the things about the entire area of the Bimini shelf that people do not realise is that there is an astonishing amount of sinking of the bedrock and deposition of the material going all the time. This is to such a degree that the "Atlantean Scale" sinking of surface level strata thousands of feet since the end of the Ice Age is not incerdible, it is actually typical. Furthermore, some of the land areas of our modern continents were smashed down to a depth of a mile or two below current surface level when the glaciers were resting there-and geology recognises very little difference in strata depressed by an overburden of water as opposed to an overburden of ice. It also seems that such depressing of the land becomes progressively greater the more pressure is put on the same area. In some mountainous regions, a snigle earthquake can displace sections of the earth's surface hundreds or even thousands of feet vertically--DD]
Ancient City - Big Structures,
Symbols Found Submerged
By Michael Posner
The Globe and Mail
A team of Canadian and Cuban researchers have discovered the remains of what may be a 6,000-year-old city submerged in deep sea waters off the western coast of Cuba.
Using sophisticated sonar and videotape equipment, offshore engineer Paulina Zelitsky, her husband, Paul Weinzweig, and her son, Ernesto Tapanes, have found megaliths "of a kind you'd find at Stonehenge or Easter Island," Mr. Weinzweig said in an interview yesterday.
"Some structures within the complex may be as long as 400 metres wide and as high as 40 metres," he said. "Some are sitting on top of each other. They show very distinct shapes and symmetrical designs of a non-natural kind. We've shown them to scientists in Cuba, the U.S. and elsewhere, and nobody has suggested they are natural."
Moreover, an anthropologist affiliated with the Cuban Academy of Sciences has said that still photos taken from the videotape clearly show "symbols and inscriptions," Mr. Weinzweig said. It is not yet known in what language the inscriptions are written.
The sonar images, he added, bear a remarkable resemblance to the pyramidal design of Mayan and Aztec temples in Mexico.
Mr. Weinzweig said it is too early to draw firm conclusions from the evidence collected so far.
The research team plans another foray to the site " off the Guanahacabibes Peninsula on Cuba's western tip " next month. Next summer, it hopes to return again, this time with the first deep-water mobile excavator, equipped with functions needed for on-site archeological evaluation, including the ability to blow sand off stone.
Geologists have recently hypothesized that a land bridge once connected Cuba to Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. And portions of the Cuban island are believed to have been submerged in the sea on three separate occasions in the distant past.
The structures are on a plateau that forms the bottom of what is thought to be a mud volcano, 650 to 700 metres beneath the surface of the ocean and along what is clearly a geological fault line. "It's well known that ancient civilizations liked to build at the base of volcanoes, because the land is fertile. So that's suggestive," Mr. Weinzweig said.
One tantalizing possibility, entirely speculative for now, is that if the legendary sunken continent of Atlantis is ever proven to have existed, these structures may have been submerged during the same cataclysm.
Mr. Weinzweig simply says that more information is needed. "We'd prefer to stay away from that subject. This is something of great potential scientific interest, but it must involve serious authorities on ancient civilizations."
The precise age of the underwater site is also unknown, although Cuban archeologists in 1966 excavated a land-based megalithic structure on the western coast, close to the new underwater discovery, said to date from 4000 BC. "Based on that and other geological information, we're speculating that these are 6,000 years old," he explained.
"It's not exact, but they're very ancient."
If that dating estimate proves accurate, it would mean that an ancient civilization had designed and erected these vast stone structures in the Americas only 500 years after human settlements first became organized in cities and states.
They would also have been built long before the wheel was invented in Sumeria (3500 BC), or the sundial in Egypt (3000 BC). The three pyramids on Egypt's Giza plateau are thought to have been constructed between 2900 and 2200 BC.
The couple's Havana-based company, Advanced Digital Communications, discovered the site in July of 2000, using side-scan sonar equipment to view what resembled an underwater city, complete with roads, buildings and pyramids.
The team returned this past summer with a 1.3-tonne, unmanned Remotely Operated Vehicle, controlled from the mother ship via fibre-optic cable. Its cameras confirmed the earlier findings, showing vast granite-like blocks, between two and five metres in length, that were cut in perpendicular and circular designs.
But because of technical problems, Mr. Weinzweig said, "we were only able to survey the perimeter of the site. Based on initial explorations, we think it's much larger than even our sonar projections show. It may extend for several kilometres."
In addition to the archeological site, ADC has been exploring what Mr. Weinzweig calls "the richest underwater cemetery in the world" for sunken Spanish galleons.
Hundreds of treasure-bearing ships are said to lie around the island, several hundred to several thousand metres deep.
Last year, off Havana Bay, it found the remains of USS Maine, the battleship that blew up in 1898. That incident, never entirely explained, killed 260 sailors and precipitated the Spanish-American War.
[-There is a possibility that the date of the sinking of this supposed ceremonial center was equivalent to Global Superflood 3 or to the Black Sea Flood, 5500 BC. If that is so, it is just possibly also contemporary with the pyramid of Cuicuilco in the Valley of Mexico, according to the more controversial C14 dates there cited by Hapgood.--DD]
'LOST CITY' FOUND OFF CUBA - IS IT PROOF OF ATLANTIS?
A Special Report by Andrew Collins
A 'lost city', that could turn out to be the fabled city of Atlantis, has been located by a Canadian scientific research team. In a press release dated Havana, 14 May 2001 Reuters of London informed the world that Soviet-born ocean engineer Paulina Zelitsky, the president of Canadian-based company Advanced Digital Communications, had detected 'a sunken city' in deep waters off the west coast of Cuba, the largest island of the Caribbean.
Satellite-integrated ocean bottom positioning systems, echo sounders and high precision side-scan double-frequency sonar have detected the presence of what are being described as 'shapes' that 'resemble pyramids, roads and buildings'. Their regularity seems consistent with the idea that they represent an 'urban development' composed of 'symmetrical architecture'.
Reuters reported that the deep-sea city is located on a huge land plateau lying in around 2,200 feet (700 metres) of water. Furthermore, that in Paulina's opinion the complex belongs to 'the pre-classic period' of Central American history, and was populated by 'an advanced civilization similar to the early Teotihuacán culture of Yucatán'.
'It is stunning,' she said during an interview with the Reuters representative at her office at Tarara, on the coast east of Havana. 'What we see in our high-resolution sonar images are limitless, rolling, white sand plains and, in the middle of this beautiful white sand, there are clear man-made large-size architectural designs. It looks like when you fly over an urban development in a plane and you see highways, tunnels and buildings.
'We don't know what it is, and we don't have the videotaped evidence of this yet, but we do not believe that nature is capable of producing planned symmetrical architecture, unless it is a miracle,' she added.
Paulina is cautious about what lies beneath the glistening blue waters of the Yucatán Channel, admitting only that she is 'excited but reluctant to speculate until a joint investigation with the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society takes place early this summer.'
The discoveries were made last summer during deep-sea surveys made by Paulina and a trained scientific research team aboard the Cuban research vessel Ulises. Sonar images revealed 'an extensive series of structures' over a several-mile area in darker and lighter shades. The site is close to the edge of the underwater geological feature known as the Cuban shelf, which falls off sharply in a series of shelves which drop down to several thousand metres, and it is on one of these shelves, in around 600-700 metres of water, that the structures are to be found. The mass of rectilinear features are said to be located in the proximity of an 'extinct volcano, geological faults and a river bed'. This last fact alone shows that the land shelf, which rises to a height of around 40 metres, was once above water.
'Whenever you find a volcano, there is often a settlement associated with it,' Paul Weinzweig, Paulina's husband and a director of ADC, observed. 'I don't know the exact relationship, but it is in the same vicinity as the volcano, the fault lines and the river. They're quite close to one another.'
On the matter of whether the sonar imagery really does show 'pyramids, roads and buildings', Paul stated: 'We had been looking at the images for some months, and keep a picture on the wall showing pyramids in the Yucatán, and let's just say they kept reminding us of these structures. They really do look like an urban development.'
As to whether the light and dark areas of the sonar imagery appear to be three-dimensional features or not, he answered: 'There's a lot of symmetry, apart from actual shapes, and some suggestion of structure. Some American geologists have looked at them and said that the darker shadings are suggestive of metal roofing.'
In order to explore the site more closely, ADC are currently planning to send down remote robot video cameras and a one-man submersible. We therefore look forward to further news of these discoveries in the coming months.
The Search for Sunken Vessels
ADC's intentions had never been to search for sunken cities. Their scientific operation to survey the deep waters off the Cuban coastline forms part of a joint venture set up between the Canadian company and the Cuban government, in particular its state partner Geomar. One of their principal aims is the location of the billions of dollars of bullion and lost treasure disgorged from sunken ships since the time of the Conquest. As Paul said: 'Cuba has the richest galleon cemetery in the world.'
Over the past 500 years it is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of vessels must have been lost in Cuban waters due poor navigation, piracy on the high seas and the violent Caribbean storms that plague the region on a frighteningly regular basis.
Visa Gold, a Toronto-based low-tech company which operates out of Havana's Marina Hemingway, claims already to have found some 7,000 objects from sunken vessels. They include jewellery, diamonds and pistols, said to have come from a brigantine called Palemon, lost off Cuba's northern coast in 1839. Visa Gold's next target is the Atocha y San Jose, a Spanish vessel. It sank in Havana Bay in January 1642 after fleeing storms at sea.
The renewed interest in treasure salving in Cuban coastal waters comes in the wake of Fidel Castro's government recognising the fact that it does not have the ocean expertise or the inclination to conduct scientific operations of this nature. Its divers, who are considered to be among the best in the world, have been diving off Cuba's coast treasure hunting for decades. Yet Cuba lacks expertise and technology for deep-ocean search and science, which is why they have invited ADC to take up the challenge. Their 80-metre oceanographic reseach vessel, the Ulises, uses high-tech equipment and a highly trained scientific team to survey the ocean bottom up to a depth of several thousand metres. It was their high-skilled sonar software analysts who detected the reported underwater remains in the Yucatán Channel.
'These projects are very important in helping us rescue things from history, which contribute to our national patrimony,' said Eddy Fernandez, vice president of Geomar. 'As you know, we have financing problems. This is a very expensive activity. They give us technology and financing. We provide historical and ocean expertise'.
THE CUBA-ATLANTIS ARGUMENT
The implications of ADC's discoveries off Cuba's western coastline are far reaching and quite extraordinary. In an on-line pole, conducted by the NBC home news service MSNBC, of the 1827 people who had voted by the end of 26 May 2001, no less than 73 percent believed that the find 'could be something big: Next stop, Atlantis'.
It means that already NBC are considering the possibility that the sunken city could be linked with Plato's account of the lost city of Atlantis. This is good news for me, as my book GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS, published in 2000, concluded that the most likely location of Plato's sunken empire was Cuba, the first time that this country had ever been proposed in this respect.
I pointed out that the evidence contained in Plato's works the TIMAEUS and CRITIAS hinted strongly that his view of Atlantis was based on stories and rumours reaching the ancient world via Phoenician and Carthaginian who were crossing the Atlantic prior to his age. Moreover, Plato's description of Atlantis' great plain, said to have been 3000 by 2000 stadia (552 by 368 kilometres) in size, matches very well Cuba's great western plain. Before the rapid rise in sea-level following the end of the last Ice Age this stretched southwards across the Bay of Batabanó to the mysterious Isle of Youth and was originally 540 by 160 kilometres in size.
Although I speculated in the book - which has now been published in the USA, Italy, Holland, Germany and Portugal - that the Atlantean city might await discovery beneath the shallow waters of the Bay of Batabanó, news that a sunken city may now have been detected in the Yucatán Channel, between Cuba and the Yucatán peninsular, is exciting news. Incidentally, ADC have plans to explore the Bay of Batabanó during the next year, so it should be interesting to see what if anything they find here.
The Search for the Mother Lode
In September 1972 American oceanic explorer J. Manson Valentine, flying over the Bahamas in a light aircraft with and his associate Jim Richardson, noticed a mass of rectilinear and curvilinear features in shallow waters on the south-western edge of the former Bahaman landmass (now the Great Bahama Bank). Valentine referred to this mass of possible archaeological features as 'the mother lode'. They faced out across the Old Bahama Channel, like some kind of ancient port serving the Cuban mainland. As early as the 1950s light-aircraft pilots reported seeing what they described as underwater 'stonework' which was 'well within Cuban waters'. Similar sightings 'north of Cuba' of an alleged 'submerged building complex covering over ten acres' might even have convinced the Cuban government that a veritable city awaited discovery in its vigorously defended waters. There are, for instance, unconfirmed reports that this 'building complex' was explored with the assistance of Soviet submarines based in Cuba during the 1960s. Strange then that these recent discoveries of a sunken city in Cuban waters are being conducted by a Russian-born Canadian oceanographer.
Among those who felt they had glimpsed the remains of a lost citadel in Cuban waters was Leicester Hemingway, brother of the writer Ernest Hemingway. During a flight into the country, Leicester noticed, beyond its northern coast, 'an expanse of stone ruins, several acres in area and apparently white, as if they were marble'. The exact location of these underwater features remains unclear.
Only time will tell whether the discoveries made by Paulina Zelitsky and ADC do constitute firm evidence of Plato's Atlantis, for if they do then it will fix, once and for all, its geographical location in the Bahamas and Caribbean, and not anywhere else in the world. However, the location of a lost city on a huge land plateau lying at a depth of around 600-700 metres poses new problems for the Atlantis debate. Plato wrote that his Atlantic island empire was destroyed by 'earthquakes and floods' in 'one terrible day and night', post-8570 BC in the TIMAEUS and around 9421 BC in the CRITIAS. This time-frame corresponds with the cessation of the last Ice Age, when we know that the sea-levels began to rise fairly rapidly as the ice fields which had covered vast areas of North America and Europe for tens of thousands of years began to disappear.
In GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS I proposed that the mechanism behind Atlantis' destruction was a comet impact which devastated the eastern Atlantic coast of America, causing literally 500,000 elliptical craters, known today as the Carolina Bays, sometime around 8500 BC (+/- 500 years). Fragments of the comet falling in the Western Atlantic basin, north of the Bahamas, would have created tsunami tidal-waves perhaps hundreds of metres high. These would have drowned, temporarily at least, large parts of the Bahamas and Caribbean, as well as many low-lying regions of the eastern United States.
Myths and legends told by the indigenous peoples of the Bahaman and Caribbean archipelagos, when the Spanish first reached the New World, spoke of just such a cataclysm. They said that the waters suddenly rushed in and drowned the great landmass, breaking it up into the individual islands seen today. Although a fragmentation of the former landmasses of the Bahamas and Caribbean in the manner indicated could not have been caused by tsunamis alone, the gradual rise in the sea-level which followed this cataclysmic event would have drowned, more permanently this time, all low-lying regions, creating the archipelagos we see today. Yet in the thousands of years which it took for the ice fields to melt in full, the sea-level rose only 300 metres (some estimates place it as much as 400 metres). If the 'city' does lie in 600-700 metres of water, we will need to propose a suitable geological mechanism in order to justify its submergence to this depth post 9000 BC. Either that, or we will have to define a geological time-frame in which the land plateau, with its volcano, fault lines and river was above sea-level.
Paulina's statement that the 'city' might belong to 'the pre-classic period' of Mesoamerican history, and was populated 'by an advanced civilisation similar to the early Teotihuacán culture of Yucatán', is very difficult to equate with the discovery. The Teotihuacán culture, which thrived in Central Mexico from around 400 BC through until around AD 500, remains an enigma to archaeologists. Its origin is unclear. What we do know is that legends once told by the Totonac peoples of eastern Mexico spoke of the founders of its sacred city of Teotihuacán, with its mighty Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, as having arrived on the Gulf coast from an island homeland which lay beyond the sea. Here was to be found Chicomoztoc, the Seven Caves, where the first humans emerged out of the darkness at the beginning of time. For many reasons, not least of all the appearance of sea-shells of a purely Caribbean nature carved on the walls of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacán, the Teotihuacán culture saw their ancestral homeland as connected in some way with the Caribbean. Moreover, in GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS I identified the original Seven Caves complex as the Punta del Esté caves on Cuba's Isle of Youth, one of which, Ceuva # 1, has been described as a veritable Sistine Chapel of the prehistoric world. Many thousands of years ago unknown artists adorned its walls and ceilings with abstract petroglyphs of a blatantly celestial nature. Yet even so, any sunken city lying off the northern coast of Cuba, in 600-700 metres of water, must antedate the Teotihuacán culture by many thousands of years. Curiously, Pauline Zelitsky visited Ceuva # 1 at the Punta del Esté complex during the summer of 2000, shortly before she made her dramatic discovery of the underwater 'city'. There is something magical about this place. It assaults the senses and inspires thoughts regarding the origins of Cuba's indigenous peoples and their apparent knowledge of the cataclysm which devastated the region so many thousands of years ago.
If Paulina Zelitsky and her oceanographic colleagues are right in their belief that 'pyramids, roads and buildings' do lie off Cuba's western coastline, then it is clear that the prehistory of the Caribbean, and its influence on the rise of Mesoamerican civilisation, will have to be revised dramatically. Moreover, it could well be that at long last the mystery of Atlantis, mankind's greatest historical enigma, is about to unfold in a most spectacular fashion.
Sources: 'Looking for lost riches in Cuba's seas: Underwater surveyors say they may have found sunken city', Reuters report dated Havana, 14 May, 2001,
Collins, Andrew, GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS, Headline, London, 2000; Carroll & Graf, USA, 2000.
All references comes from either of these sources, or personal communications between Paul Weinzweig and the author between 17 and 29 May 2001.
I also own a copy of Collin's Gateway to Atlantis and I agree with most of the major points. On only one major point do I disagree-the key identification of the Antillean area with Atlantis. This fails for the specific reason that fossil elephants do not occur in the region. But Cuba makes a perfectly splendid Antillia, and in fact that also allows for historical documents alleging precolumbian transoceanic contact with this same Antillia. I completely uphold Collins' interpretation of the catastrophe and its date, and I have been able to go beyond Collins' statements to offer definitive proof of the celestial body impact and its date.
I consider Collins' statement for the "Atlantis" on the New World side to be exactly the same as the statements just alluded to by D. Crisp about the "Location of Atlantis" on the European side-that the "Kingdom of Atlantis" means all of the area settled by the Atlanteans and thus includes both sides of the Atlantic.
For this reason I endorse Collins as well as Hancock. I do (officially) NOT endorse any theories suggesting any permanent prehistoric settlements on Antarctica-the mere fact that its shores may have been surveyed by a technically superior culture does not necessarily imply that the continent was ever settled. And even if it was less extensively glaciated in the past than it istoday, it still would have been largely glaciated and that would make it very uncomfortable to live there. So I specifically reject the arguments of the Flem-Aths. I do make use of the concept in fiction but I feel that from a practical point of view it is far too unrealistic..
Atlantis in the Caribbean. Red Lines=Reports of submerged ruins and possible areas of lowland habitation 12000-7000 BP. At the end of the third Global Superflood period, the first recognised human inhabitants of the Antilles appear, there is a minor local extinction event, and eviodence for pottery and Manioc processing also appear. Lowland Mayas and early Colombians are also part of this ethic relocation event.Submerged ruins include what look like typical Mesoamerican ceremonial centers, Plazas and ballgame playing yards.
It is also entirely possible that bananas and coconuts had been introduced by then.