So...Atlantis found in southern Spain?

I didn’t see a thread on this (if there is one my apologies), but I was watching National Geographic over the weekend and they had a show about an exploratory team looking in southern Spain on a site they think might have been the lost city of Atlantis. If it’s not, then there might be something there in any case.

Anyone else see the show or read any of the articles on this (I did a quick google search and there are a bunch of articles on it like this one)? If so…thoughts? This is more along the line of witnessing, but for debate…is it possible that this IS Atlantis? The show had some interesting stuff in it, though some of it was tickling my BS detector (such as the methane pocket…I mean, this WAS a swamp, after all…so couldn’t the methane have just come from a swamp being buried by a tsunami??). They kept bringing up Troy as an example of a ‘lost’ city that was written off as legend in what was thought to be a completely fictional story and yet it turned out to be real (plus something about two lost cities in the Bible, which also was nudging my BS detector).

At any rate, from the show at least, there seems to be SOMETHING there…and in the sea about 30-50 feet below the surface (they looked like blocks of some kind and according to the show there shouldn’t be any geology down there like it). They also showed some ruins in southern Spain that were supposedly unlike any other architecture in the area and were from several thousand years ago that may have links back to Egypt.

So…anyone know anything more about this than what was on the show or in the various articles? Think it might be a lost city? Think it might be Atlantis or some distorted story with a core of truth (like Troy)? Think there is actually nothing there and these guys have been sniffing the preservative solutions again?


I think that Atlantis was a literary conceit by Plato that he used to represent a perfect state. So the team might have discovered some sort of sunken city or settlement, but I don’t think it would be Atlantis.

Atlantis did not exist and Plato was not talking about a real place. It’s possible other cities have been destroyed by earthquakes and things and some of the ruins sunk into the ocean, and it’s possible Plato chose the location he did based on something in history. It was not a real city. Anybody who says he may have found Atlantis is either a liar or trying to take advantage of gullible people; any journalist who reports on a potential Atlantis discovery is an idiot who should be in another line of work. It’s like reporting that someone may have found Lilliput or the site of Hogwarts.

Sure…but the same sorts of things were said about Troy. And it looks like they found something anyway…it didn’t seem to be the standard woo based explorations, but an actual scientific/archeological survey to me.

Yeah…the the socio-political stuff Plato wrote about was almost surly pure fiction. But it’s possible that he was writing about a real place, the same way Homer was writing about a real place in Troy but pretty much using the city and it’s destruction as the basis for a fictional tale.

It will be interesting to see if they actually find anything real there. The ground based radar system they were using seemed to indicate some interesting stuff might be down there…though they were saying that the water table is so high in that area that it will make excavation very difficult (whatever is there it’s 20 feet below the surface and it’s obvious the whole place was hit by a massive tsunami at some time in the past).


Well, they found a city - maybe. I think that’s basically all we can reasonably say. The problem is the human need to find patterns. The kinds where preconceived notions drive observations “Oh look co-centric circles like Atlantis”…“Oh wet marsh land which kind of makes it underwater like Atlantis”.

If it could be linked to a collapsed civilization, what I’d be curious about is how a city perched on the bottom of the Iberian peninsula gets wealthy enough to become legendary. You’re stuck way the hell out away from the wealth and populations of Asia and Egypt. Weak trade links and distance travel don’t really bode well for a thriving center of knowledge and wealth.

My WAG is that Plato used what information he could find on Thera/Santorini as the basis for his book.

No link in the OP . . . My guess would be the National Geographic show was about a new excavation of a site from the ancient civilization of Tartessos, in southern Spain, which, being a vanished civilization by Plato’s time, might have left some cultural memories that played some part in the formation of the Atlantis idea, who knows. It could be equally true that Atlantis is Tartessos, and Atlantis is Thera/Santorini, and Atlantis is the Minoan civilization of Crete.

However, geology and oceanography rule out the possibility that there was ever, within the period of human existence, an island or continent or other land-mass west of the Straits of Gibraltar that subsided beneath the waves. There are submerged lands in the world; just not there. Nor anywhere in the Mediterranean.

What they said in the show (no idea if it’s real or fantasy) is that the area is very metals rich, and that there is evidence that a lot of trade from the various Mediterranean powers flowed through this city to get those metals.

Yeah, that’s what I always thought as well (in fact, I still DO think that Thera was the major basis for the story).

Yep, Tartessos (and they called it something else as well). In the show they said that they were all the same city, and that Plato used the disaster as the basis for his story.


They aren’t saying it was an actual continent. Basically, it was an inland port city in what was then a lagoon and it was hit by a massive tsunami which probably flooded it and then buried it under 10 or so feet of mud and debris, wiping it completely out and rendering the port unusable from then on.


Since I passed on the show, I can’t give a full critique. But Plato invented the Atlantis story to make a point. Could he have been influenced by certain real events? Possibly. Disasters happen. Until we find an inscription that identifies the place as “Atlantis” I’ll remain skeptical. (And I’ll get around to watching the show, eventually.)

The Romans built Illium on what they considered the site of Troy.

So there was considerable reason to think the site had been inhabited a long time. Had some of those settlements meant violent ends? Well, Schliemann’s architectural methods were pretty horrid, but we think so. However, nobody hasr found graffiti saying “Hector slept here”–or referring to That Slut, Helen.

But there were more ancient stories about a real Troy (somewhere) than there were about Atlantis.

Calling these ruins “Atlantis” is like calling H. floriensis “Hobbits”. The researchers know it’s not, but it’s a quick and easy way to raise the public interest in the discoveries.

Sure, it’s much more interesting if they call it ‘Atlantis’, and will generate more interest (and get them more funding for actual exploration…which, of course, is the real point). That said…it does look like it was a harbor. It does look like it was destroyed by a tsunami. It does look like it was ancient. And it is beyond the pillars of Hercules.

I’m just stoked because I love it when they find lost cities like this. If they want to call it Atlantis, and that’s what it takes to find out what’s down there then I’m all for it! I wish someone could light a fire under the Chinese so they would start real excavations of the first Emperors tomb before I shuffle off this mortal coil…I’m dying to find out what all is down there!


Well, where is this exactly? And is it dry land or submerged?

I think the link I gave earlier has a map in it, but basically it’s on dry land. It’s actually in what was a swamp. What it looks like to me is (assuming there is actually anything there), it was an inland lagoon or harbor that got smashed by a tsunami and ‘sunk’ and then eventually became just part of the Spanish coast. It’s in some sort of national park in Spain now…a marsh or something like that.

Part of the city (again, assuming it’s real) looks like it’s offshore (possibly the outbuildings of the harbor, or possibly dragged out when the tsunami rolled back). They were looking at what looked like bricks or blocks tumbled all over at about 30-40 feet depth.


Or something like that, yes.

XXXI. The Dweller

It had been old when Babylon was new;
None knows how long it slept beneath that mound,
Where in the end our questing shovels found
Its granite blocks and brought it back to view.
There were vast pavements and foundation-walls,
And crumbling slabs and statues, carved to shew
Fantastic beings of some long ago
Past anything the world of man recalls.

And then we saw those stone steps leading down
Through a choked gate of graven dolomite
To some black haven of eternal night
Where elder signs and primal secrets frown.
We cleared a path - but raced in mad retreat
When from below we heard those clumping feet.

– H.P. Lovecraft

Indeed, archaeologists do have to be careful.

Sadly, give it a thousand years or so and we might see news reports about this very subject, IMHO…

About 50 years ago, L. Sprague de Camp proposed Tartessos as a place on which Plato might have based his imaginary city-nation.

Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.

Cassilda’s Song in “The King in Yellow,” Act i, Scene 2.

Robert W. Chambers

The best chance for your seed to implant is
The hot quent of an aunt from Atlantis
When she gets in the groove
You can feel the Earth move
Chanters rant, but we know the risk scant is!

Okay that’s clever.