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Lost City

Atlantis never sank—it just became Cuba.The fabled city of Atlantis was first mentioned by Plato in two of his dialogues...

Atlantis never sank-it just became Cuba.

The fabled city of Atlantis was first mentioned by Plato in two of his dialogues, the Timaeus and the Critias. Plato tells of an island nation outside the entrance to the Mediterranean that several thousand years earlier had attempted to invade Athens before being destroyed in a giant cataclysm. Today, the general consensus among classics scholars and archaeologists is that Plato's story was purely fictional; no such city ever existed. While some believers still maintain that a historical city of Atlantis was real, its location remains an open question.According to Andrew Collins, the author of Gateway to Atlantis, the Caribbean is the obvious answer. In the late 1960s, a stone formation was discovered off the coast of the Bahamas. It's called the Bimini Road, and it convinced Collins that an advanced civilization once lived in areas of the Caribbean islands that are now covered with water. "The sunken area of Atlantis was the area around the Bahamas and part of the Caribbean," he says. "And the flagship of it was Cuba. Everything that Plato said about what he referred to as the central island of Atlantis fits very well with the geographical description of Cuba." Archaeologists and geologists, on the other hand, insist that the Bimini Road is a natural formation.Collins, who has been writing about Atlantis for more than a decade, can anticipate criticisms: "People might say, Hold on, I thought Atlantis sunk. Well, you know, no. It was quite obvious that there were sunken parts of it. But some of it, obviously, would have remained after the waters rose at the end of the last ice age." And what about the archaeological record, which doesn't show any signs of habitation in the Caribbean at the time Plato claims Atlantis existed, around 9500 B.C.? Well, Collins thinks that archaeologists aren't too happy to have nonprofessionals tell them they're wrong about everything: "Marine archaeologists have refused to take part in any work, and when they have, it's just been to put down the works of the amateur divers and explorers who claim that they've found stuff. In some cases, it seems like [the archaeologists] virtually made up or fabricated evidence to try and show that these amateurs are deluded."Collins cites the work of a psychic named Edgar Cayce as evidence for his claims about Atlantis (Cayce predicted that Atlantis would rise again just before the Bimini Road was discovered), and says the people of Atlantis were like any other Stone Age civilization, though to build structures like the Bimini Road, they would have had to be far more advanced than the hunter-gatherer cultures that the archaeological evidence says existed in 9500 B.C. "There would have been some kind of high culture going on," he says."The chances are that there were settlements that were quite evolved for their time. And unfortunately, if they were wiped off the face of the earth, we might never know fully how far they developed." Or if they were ever there at all.

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