The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks — by Dr. Greg Little

Headlines Screaming, "ATLANTIS FOUND!" Appearing Frequently

by Dr. Greg Little

The past year has seen an unusual number of sensational headlines announcing that "Atlantis Has Been Found" in one place or another. We receive quite a few inquiries on these articles and press releases and are frequently asked why we don't cover these "discoveries" in depth. The reason we haven't commented on these reports is twofold. First, virtually all of the newly discovered locations of Atlantis violate virtually all of Plato's primary descriptions of Atlantis (as well as Cayce's). Second, the "evidence" that is presented in these announcements typically comes from satellite images. However, a few of the most sensationalized reports merit a brief discussion.

Satellite images 'show Atlantis' — BBC Headline (June 6, 2004)

The most recent headlines announcing the discovery of Atlantis have created a flurry of activity on the internet. While the BBC and a few other news organizations have given the impression that the ruins of the major temples in the Center City of Atlantis have been physically found, that assertion is a giant leap from the facts. Yet the BBC subtitled its sensationalized article with a teasing one-liner: "A scientist says he may have found remains of the lost city of Atlantis." The media articles on this discovery come from interviews with Dr. Rainier Kuhne from the University of Wuppertal (Germany). Note that a few of the interviews spell Kuhne's name "Kuehne."

In June 2004 Kuhne published an online article in the UK journal Antiquity titled, "Location and dating of Atlantis." The article can be accessed at

The article begins with comments on the idea that Spartel Island could have been the source of Plato's story of Atlantis. In 2001, Jacques Collina-Girard asserted that a now-submerged mud shoal, located 50 miles west of Gibraltar, was Atlantis. While the shoal was an island in 10,000 B.C., today it is about 170 feet below the surface. Rising sea levels at the end of the last Ice Age submerged the island in about 9000 B.C. The Antiquity article mentions (incompletely) Plato's statement that from the main island of Atlantis one could travel to other islands and reports that three smaller islands (just to the West of Spartel) also existed during the last Ice Age. What the article neglects to mention is that Plato added that, by hopping from island to island, the "opposite continent" could be reached.

The essence of Kuhne's assertions about Atlantis are based on satellite images he obtained from Georgeos Diaz-Montexano and on an examination of satellite images by Werner Wickboldt, both of whom are credited in the article. On one of the satellite images focusing on a marshy area near Spain's southern coast, two rectangular forms were spotted. Not far from the rectangular forms, a partial circular line was seen. Kuhne speculates that the two rectangular formations are the remains of temples described by Plato that were located on the center hill at the middle of the Center City of Atlantis.

While the two rectangular forms are larger than the buildings described by Plato and the partial circle on the satellite image (asserted to be one of the concentric canals ringing the city) encloses a larger landmass than Plato described, Kuhne believes that two possibilities may account for the discrepancy. First, Plato may have "understated" the size of Atlantis. Secondly, the measurement Plato used to describe Atlantis (the Stade) may have been 20% larger than typically thought. Curiously, many scholars assert that the stade employed by Plato is actually much smaller than thought.

The site of the two rectangular forms lies in one of Spain's national parks. Curiously, neither the Antiquity article nor any of the published interviews with Kuhne report any on-site visits to the location whatsoever. The BBC article stated that Kuhne hoped to attract the interest of archaeologists and mount some sort of expedition or excavation at the site.

Some of the articles on Kuhne's report included skeptical comments, but none of them mentioned the rationale employed in the Antiquity article to account for numerous discrepancies between Plato's descriptions of Atlantis and the idea that Spain was Atlantis. For example, Plato gave the approximate date of 9300 B.C. as the time of Atlantis' destruction. Kuhne asserts that the actual time frame was 1200 B.C. The war fought between Atlantis and Athens was, according to the article, a series of recorded conflicts between "the Sea Peoples" and a variety of cultures in the Mediterranean in 1200 B.C. Since the Atlanteans lived on islands and the mysterious 1200-B.C. Sea Peoples lived on islands, according to Kuhne, they are one-and-the-same.

In Plato's account of Atlantis, the largest island of Atlantis was given to Poseidon's first-born son, Atlas. Kuhne asserts that this island was the coastal region of Spain spanning the region from Cadiz to Gibraltar. He asserts that Plato's term "island" or "isle" really means "coast or region." Finally, as to the "sinking of Atlantis," Kuhne believes that a flood occurred on this Spanish plain sometime between "800 B.C. and 500 B.C." This flood gave the impression that the "island" of Atlantis sank.

Readers may certainly reach whatever conclusions they wish but, in essence, this recent "discovery of Atlantis" boils down to the following: two rectangular formations, both of which are larger than descriptions given by Plato, have been spotted on a satellite image of Spain. No one knows what the formations actually are.

Other Reports

2004 expeditions to "discover Atlantis" will reportedly take place this summer. The locations of these searches are Cyprus, Spartel, Spain, the Spanish coast, Malta, and Africa. In addition, scattered reports of supposed Atlantis searches state that expeditions will occur in Central and South America.

It is probable that some form of "ruins" will be found at some of these sites. Researchers will claim that they found Atlantis, but nothing substantially proving the claims will probably be found. The hypothesis we have been following is this: Atlantis was an island empire that was active during the last Ice Age. It was a maritime trade culture that was advanced for the time (18,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C.) but not as advanced as many people think. This island empire extended from Spartel to Cuba. It maintained a host of harbors and ports on all of its main trade routes. The harbors and ports would have been on Spartel, the coast of Iberia and Africa, the mid-Atlantic islands, in the Bahamas, and at Cuba. The main island of Atlantis could not have been in Spain or in the Mediterranean. The reasons are as follows: Plato clearly stated that the island empire was in the Atlantic and that by hopping from island to island the "opposite continent" could be reached; there were two growing seasons on the main island—the areas of the Mediterranean, Spartel, and all of Europe did not have two growing seasons during the Ice Age. We support Andrew Collins' idea that Cuba was probably the main island because its size fits Plato's description and it was warm during the Ice Age.

Those who will report they "found" Atlantis in the coming months may discover some of the trading ports of this island empire. The evidence will be important, but not conclusive.