We’ve found the lost city of Atlantis… Again: NPR

Atlantis illustration

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(Fox Photos/Getty Images)/(Fox Photos/Getty Images)


Atlantis illustration

(Fox Photos/Getty Images)/(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

We have the great Greek philosopher Plato to thank for his lifelong obsession with the lost city of Atlantis. Around 360 BC, Plato wrote that Atlantis was a great and wondrous empire destroyed some 11,000 years before by earthquakes and floods over a 24-hour period.

Here are some of the many theories put forward over the years about where and what Atlantis was:

In the 19th century, several scholars suggested that ancient Maya hieroglyphics spoke of a lost continent and therefore the site may have been near Mexico. The theory was that the Mayans had interacted with the ancient Egyptians, who in turn passed the story of Atlantis to the ancient Greeks, which is where Plato got it. But that theory fizzled out when it became clear that early Mayanologists didn’t fully understand the culture’s complex hieroglyphics.

In 1912, the public caught Atlantis fever, thanks to an article titled How I found the lost Atlantis at William Randolph Hearst New York American. It was written by a man claiming to be the grandson of Heinrich Schliemann, the archaeologist who excavated Troy. He had alleged that Trojan artifacts revealed the true location of Atlantis, submerged in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the United States. The Azores were supposed to be the peaks of the Atlantean mountains. But the author disappeared shortly after the article was published, and it is now widely regarded as one of yellow journalism’s great hoaxes.

Other 20th-century accounts placed Atlantis off the coast of Portugal, on a Greek island, and even in the Brazilian rainforest, although the British explorer who went to prove this theory was never heard from again. . Not to be outdone, the start of the 21st century has seen a wave of Atlantisitis.

In June, a German physicist claimed that the Lost City was actually a region in southern Spain. Also this year, a Swedish geographer proposed that Atlantis was not at all close to the Mediterranean, but was actually Ireland. He says the size of the Emerald Isle matches Plato’s estimate well, and that the myth of the destruction was inspired by the submergence of a shoal in the North Sea around 6100 BC.