An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Plain of Atlantis (t)

The Plain of Atlantisis one of the principal features recorded by Plato in great detail. He describes it being “3000 stades in length and at its midpoint 2000 stades in breath from the coast” (Critias 118a, trans. Lee). The shape of the plain is frequently given as ‘rectangular’ or ‘oblong’ and contained an efficient irrigation system that was fed by mountain streams. The fertility of the plain gave the inhabitants two crops annually.

The dimensions given by Plato would translate into 370 x 555 km (230 x 345 Miles). However, the late Ulf Richter has recently proposed(a) that the dimensions originally given to Solon by the priests of Sais used the Egyptian khet(52.4 meters) as the unit of measurement. Possibly Solon recorded the figures without mentioning the units employed. In Ireland today we have just changed over to the metric system but builders still speak and write of using ‘2×4’ lengths of timber without specifying that they are referring to inches. Such notations made at present could be interpreted in the future as 2×4 centimetres. This illustrates how reasonable Richter’s suggestion is. The acceptance of it would give us a more credible 105 x 157 km (65 x 97 miles) as the dimensions of this plain. Richter also maintains that the plain was in fact a river delta, which explains the remarkable fertility of the land.

Jim Allen, who supports an Andean location for Atlantis, offers a strong argument against other principal Atlantis candidates by critically examining the plains included in alternative location theories(c). However, it must be pointed out that Allen had to divide Plato’s imensions for the plain by two in order to shoehorn it into his chosen location.

While I accept that there is evidence that there was flooding on the Altiplano, it took place some thousands of years before the Bronze Age Atlantis described by Plato and certainly long before he wrote “this is why the sea in that area is to this day impassible to navigation, which is hindered by mud just below the surface, the remains of the sunken island.” (Timaeus 25d – Desmond Lee) This not a description that can be applied to anywhere on the Altiplano during the 1st millennium BC. Apart from that, Plato’s account clearly states that Atlantis was submerged and was still so in his own day, making Allen’s critique somewhat redundant.

Diaz-Montexano maintains that Plato never said that the plain was shaped like a rectangle.

The number of different locations that have been proposed for the plain is obviously a reflection of the number of sites suggested for the city of Atlantis. I list the most popular below with the added commented that at best only one can be correct and all may be wrong.

Plain of Atlantis

Mesara Plain on Crete (Braymer)

Central Plain of Ireland (Erlingsson)

Sea of Azov (Flying Eagle & Whispering Wind)

Altiplano of Bolivia (Jim Allen)

Andalusian Plain (Diaz-Montexano)

Plain of Catania, Sicily

Plain of Campidano, Sardinia

Souss-Massa Plain, Morocco (Michael Hübner)

Greenland (Mario Dantas)

Beni Bolivia (David Antelo)

Mesopotamia in Argentina (Doug Fisher)

Black Sea (Werner E. Friedrich)

Plain of Troy (J.D.Brady)

South of England (E.J. deMeester)

Carthage (Pallatino & Corbato)

Celtic Shelf (Dan Crisp)

Western Plain, Cuba (Andrew Collins)

Portugal (Peter Daughtrey)

Wales (Paul Dunbavin)

Florida (Dennis Brooks)

Atlantic Floor (Jaye)

Baffin Bay, Greenland (Ian Fox)

Between Sicily and Malta (Axel Hausmann)

Pannonian Plain, Hungary+(Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu)

Guadalete River Plain (Karl Jürgen Hepke)