Justin Winsor (1831-1897) was a distinguished American librarian and historian and a recognised authority on early American history. In volume one of his Narrative and Critical History of America (1889)(a) he began his dissertation with a chapter on the geographical knowledge of the ancients. With regard to Atlantis, having discussed it at length and despite quoting a string of classical writers who accepted the existence of Atlantis and just a few with a contrary opinion, , he concluded that Plato’s story of a lost civilisation was just a literary myth.
Lake Tritonis is frequently referred to by the classical writers.* Ian Wilson refers to Scylax of Caryanda as having “specifically described Lake Tritonis extending in his time over an area of 2,300 km2.” He also cites Herodotus as confirming it as still partly extant in his time, a century later, describing it as a ‘great lagoon’, with a ‘large river’ (the Triton) flowing into it.[185.185]*
Lake Tritonis was considered the birthplace of Athene, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, after whom Athens is named. The exact location of the lake is disputed but there is some consensus that the salty marshes or chotts of central Tunisia and North-East Algeria are the most likely candidates. It appears that these marshes were originally formed a large inland sea connected to the Mediterranean but due to seismic activity in the area were cut off from the sea. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book.
*I should also mention that Lake Tritonis along with the Greek island of Lemnos and the river Thermodon in northern Turkey, now known as Terme Çay, have all been associated with the Amazons(d).*
Edward Herbert Bunbury, a former British MP, included a chapter(a) on Lake Tritonis in his 1879 book on the history of ancient geography[1531.v1.316].
In 1883, Edward Dumergue, published a brief study of the Tunisian chotts, which he concluded were the remnants of an ancient inland sea that had been connected to the Mediterranean Sea at the Gulf of Gabes.
Lucile Taylor Hansen in The Ancient Atlantic, has included a speculative map taken from the Reader’s Digest showing Lake Tritonis, around 11.000 BC, as a megalake covering much of today’s Sahara, with the Ahaggar Mountains turned into an island. Atlantis is shown to the west in the Atlantic.
In modern times, Alberto Arecchi has taken the idea further and suggested that the inland sea, where the chotts are now, was the original ‘Atlantic Sea’ and that the city of Atlantis was situated on an extended landmass to the east of Tunisia and connected to Sicily due to a lower sea level. Arecchi’s identification of the chotts with Lake Tritonis has now been adopted by Lu Paradise in a May 2015 blog(c). The Qattara Depression of Northern Egypt also contains a series of salt lakes and marshes and is believed by others to have been Lake Tritonis.
Cindy Clendenon is the author of a book on hydromythology in which she concludes that “the now-extinct Lake Tritonis once was a Cyrenaican lagoon-sabkha complex near today’s Sabkha Ghuzayyil and Marsa Brega, Libya.”(b).
The Caribbean Region with the many islands of the West Indies is favoured by a number of authors who find in the writings of classical writers evidence of very early knowledge of the islands in the western Atlantic by the peoples of the Mediterranean. As a source, these ancient authors have to be treated with great care, as so much of the historical and geographical details are at best second-hand and sometimes just conjectural if not fictional. This is compounded by the fact that so many of these early writers borrowed from each other so that an early ‘fact’ that is erroneous could be transmitted unchecked for centuries if not permanently.
The seas around many of the Caribbean Islands are quite shallow indicating that during the last Ice Age the exposed land area must have been considerably larger. If Atlantis existed in this region there are many candidate locations.
An American researcher, Amy Smith, has produced a website(a) claiming that Atlantis had been located on a now demolished landbridge linking Cuba with the Yucatan Peninsula, in the Caribbean and was destroyed at the end of the last Ice Age when the Mississippi was dramatically swollen by meltwater from the retreating glaciers and poured into the Gulf of Mexico, which was then an enclosed sea. This in turn led to the breaching of the landbridge linking Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula and the destruction of Atlantis in its vicinity. Smith has recently expanded on the events leading to the destruction of Atlantis(b).
Edgar Cayce’s followers in A.R.E. have focused their attention on the Bimini sector of the Bahamas, although Greg Little opted for a location just north of the Isle of Youth off Cuba. Andrew Collins is also convinced that Atlantis was in located near the Isle of Youth, while, more recently, Norman Frey has added his support to the same locality.*Mel Fisher claimed to have found Atlantis in the vicinity of Cuba, but failed to reveal the exact location before his death.*The Italian researcher, Emilio Spedicato, has chosen the nearby island of Hispaniola.
Gábor Bihari, the Hungarian researcher, submitted a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference outlining his view that Plato’s Alantis story was loosely based on reports of a very ancient empire in the Caribbean brought back to Europe by refugees from there after it was inundated at the end of the last Ice Age.
In December 2009, we were subjected to one of the periodic claims that Atlantis had been ‘found’, this time in the Caribbean. Poor quality images were offered as evidence of a submerged city. While it is understandable that the discoverers might be reluctant to disclose the exact location, it is more difficult to understand why they were equally unwilling to disclose their own identities. They also claimed, without evidence, that the structures predated the pyramids of Egypt. Funds are now being sought for a fully fledged expedition.
Jay/Brad Yoon offered support for a Carribean Atlantis in a short 2012 book, Atlantis Shrugged, in which he claims that a dry Caribbean Basin, 13,000 feet below sea level, was home to Atlantis, but the surrounding ring of mountains retaining the ocean was shattered by an earthquake and flooded Atlantis.
(a) http://www.losthistorypublishing.com/Catastrophy.html (offline 05/09/15)
(b) http://www.losthistorypublishing.com/Atlantis.html#Support (offline 05/09/15)