(Robert) Behzad Sarmast is an Iranian-American and an architect by profession. He abandoned his career to pursue his lifelong passion for ancient history. He is the author of a book, in which he controversially places Atlantis near Cyprus. His website(a) has an interesting collection of maps and diagrams. Coincidentally, the Urantia Book had previously identified a site in the Eastern Mediterranean as the location of Atlantis. Their description matches closely the underwater topography of Sarmast’s site and the
However, a 2016 sermon by Sarmast on the Urantia religion was published online
Urantians have not been slow to exploit this coincidence(b). However, the link between Sarmast and the Urantians has not been actively admitted, although Sarmast’s publisher, Byron Belitsos, revealedthat Urantian funding had been used to obtain the 3D computer modelling of the underwater topography of the seafloor off Cyprus where Sarmast claims Atlantis was located. In October and November 2008 a number of blogs appeared under the name of Robert Sarmast(c). The content of these is religious in tone, although they make some references to Atlantis.However, a 2016 sermon by Sarmast on the Urantia religion was published online.
In 2003 Sarmast compiled a list of similarities between Plato’s description of Atlantis and the Urantia Book’s ‘Garden of Eden’(d).
Sarmast organised an expedition in late 2004 that produced ‘evidence’ of manmade structures, including two ‘walls’ over 3 km long. The site is about seventy miles east of Cyprus towards Syria. At a press conference to announce his discoveries Sarmast was challenged by, Michel Morrisseau, a French geologist who lives on Cyprus, to prove that the Mediterranean had been inundated more recently than the conventionally accepted five million years. Sarmast had no convincing response. However, subsequent to that he attempted to support his views with the unsupported assertion that earliest geographers knew of the breaching of the Gibraltar Dam and that ancient traditions had it that Hercules used his giant mace to smash open the Dam and allow the Atlantic to flood the Mediterranean and so led to the association of Hercules with Gibraltar.
Much more work must be done before Sarmast can rightfully claim that he has discovered Atlantis. In the meanwhile, in an effort to raise funds for the next expedition, his website sought to charge a monthly fee to provide interested ‘members’ with addition information on the preparations for the second expedition. This took place in 2006 with inconclusive results.
Sarmast returned to Cyprus in June 2011 to film a documentary in support of his theory. He had support from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation as well as the History Channel together with some private investors. Filming took place during the Kataklysmos Festival which interestingly celebrates the Deluge and/or Flood of Deucalion.
Since 2013, almost nothing further has been heard from Sarmast, his blogspot(c) is empty and there are no updates on the Discovery of Atlantis website(a)! It is informative to contrast today’s silence with the rhetoric of the initial 2003 press release(e).
However, in 2014, Sarmast had the more than dubious honour of being included in the online Encyclopedia of American Loons(h).
The Arysio dos Santos website offers a critical review of Sarmast’s book(g).
(a) www.discoveryofatlantis.com (link broken June 2018)
*(d) http://www.squarecircles.com/articles/atlantiseden.htm (link broken July 2018)*
(f) http://urantiareligion.com/transcript-for-urantia-religion-video/ (offline April 2017)