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June 07, 2004

Atlantis

I am baffled at this apparent ongoing fascination with Atlantis. Who cares?

Satellite photos of a salt marsh region known as Marisma de Hinojos near the city of Cadiz show two rectangular structures in the mud and parts of concentric rings that may once have surrounded them.

"Plato wrote of an island of five stades (925m) diameter that was surrounded by several circular structures - concentric rings - some consisting of Earth and the others of water. We have in the photos concentric rings just as Plato described," Dr Kuehne told BBC News Online.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 7, 2004 08:34 AM

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Hey, you might find Patrick Duffy there ("The Man from Atlantis"). And Stargate is going to spinoff a whole series there...

Seriously, I think it's one of those primal legends that people constantly seek. Like the Ark (Noah's or the place where the Covenant resided), pieces of the True Cross, the Fountain of Youth and many more things.

Posted by: Fred Kiesche at June 7, 2004 06:57 PM

I'm not of course sure of the total "why," but I'd hazard a guess that this is one of those matters of history/pseudo-history that's seeped into the imagination of the public at large (that is, the 3rd-5th Classes, Roman Republic-wise).

While I think that this particular find is not "Atlantis," we who are interested in history can often use things like this and the recent rediscovery (presumed) of part of the Alexandrian Library to engage those in the Anglosphere, espicially in the US, in taking at least a moment of their time to look back, think, and wonder at the history that lies behind them. Sure, it's only for a second, then back to American Idol's Survivor (or whatever), but a second's better than nothing.

Full Disclosure: I'm one of those who thinks that "Atlantis" was the Bronze Age civiliation on Thera -- not the grossly overpriced hotel/casino in the Bahamas....

Posted by: Clayton Barnett at June 7, 2004 06:58 PM

And, I'd just like to take a moment to disagree with Mr. Kiesche's assertion that the Cross is "one of those primal legends...." You'd be hard-pressed to find a reputable historian who does not think that the Crucifixion was an historical event (unless you're chatting with a Jesuit, of course); and, I've looked upon a piece of it myself at the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.

Posted by: Clayton Barnett at June 7, 2004 07:13 PM

I have a very dear friend who claims to have lived in Atlantis speaking Basque or some such in a past life. There is a kind of pseudo-history/pseudo-archaeology that sets my teeth on edge... Real history is so grand, so profoundly mysterious that I can never understand why so many prefer far less interesting fictions.

The primal/archetypal aspect of the Atlantis story as "first city" is potentially interesting. But then I would still prefer the 9000+ year old remains of human habitation at Jericho to the made up stuff!

Posted by: Flea at June 8, 2004 01:50 PM

Heh. Years ago, in, I think, "Holidays in Hell," P.J. O'Rourke wrote about Jericho: "At the lowest levels of the dig -- 7000 BC or so -- they found that the inhabitants buried their dead in small jars underneath the floor. More proof, as if it were needed, that we are all descended from crazy people."

Posted by: Clayton Barnett at June 8, 2004 11:06 PM