(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)
Discovery of Atlantis  by Robert Sarmast presents a determined argument for locating Atlantis close to the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. The author claims to have used nearly fifty clues from the works of Plato to pinpoint an area south of Cyprus in waters a mile deep.
However, there is one fundamental weakness with his theory, namely, that the depth at which his proposed site is located (1,650 metres) would have required a Gibraltar Dam and a desiccation of the Mediterranean within human memory, which is more recent than conventional wisdom currently allows. It would seem more cost effective to invest in an in-depth review of the evidence for an inundation of the Mediterranean within historical times before engaging in an expensive underwater expedition.
Using new scientific data, Sarmast has offered a number of 3-D bathymetric maps of this underwater site that can be matched to the topographical descriptions offered by Plato. The author presents his hypothesis as superior to any previously proposed location.
Sarmast is convinced that a fully equipped diving expedition will confirm his belief with clear images of buildings and artefacts. An expedition in late 2004 produced further images that Sarmast claims to indicate structures matching Plato’s description. There was an immediate claim by a German physicist, Christian Huebscher that the features in question were underwater volcanoes that he had previously surveyed. Sarmast responded with a demand that Huebsher prove that the particular mound that he identified as the acropolis of Atlantis was an underwater volcano.
The book and the associated website(a) are well illustrated and a new theory for students of the Atlantis mystery to consider. Recently, Sarmast has received support from Colin Wilson who previously supported an Antarctic location for Atlantis.
The believers in the Urantia Book have received unexpected support from Sarmast’s claims as their ‘holy book’ had identified Cyprus as the location of one of its two ‘Gardens of Eden’ in the eastern Mediterranean.
Cyprus has now been shown to have had an agricultural settlement as early as 9000 BC(c). In 2005, it was claimed that flints found on Cyprus and dated to a possible 10,000 BC, offered evidence of the earliest long-distance sea travel in contrast to earlier shore-hugging(g). I would question this, since twelve thousand years ago sea levels were much lower and landmasses in the eastern Mediterranean were more extensive removing the need for lengthy sea travel. Cyprus would have been much more easily accessible and what is now the Aegean consisted of more land than water.
Cyprus was also added to the list of possible Atlantis sites with the publication of Discovery of Atlantis in 2003, which offered a radical new theory by Robert Sarmast. This theory is based principally on 3-D images of a section of the present seafloor near Cyprus. Sarmast has compiled an impressive list of similarities between Plato’s description of Atlantis and the underwater topography. He also claims to have identified a wall 3km long wall that intersects with another. A YouTube clip centred on Sarmast’s 2004 expedition is available online(i).
The late Philip Coppens wrote a short article(h) on Sarmast’s theory, without arriving at any firm conclusions.
Although it is true to say that this is a radical theory, it is not a completely new idea as the Urantia Book(a) had already suggested an Atlantis/ Eden off the coast of Cyprus. The Urantia Book specifically claims that this Eden was a long narrow peninsula almost an island projecting westward from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea (Paper 73). This detail coincides remarkably with Sarmast’s claim.
I must point out, that in order to uncover this putative site, the sea level would have to be dropped 5,250 feet. Now, the only explanation for this would be the existence of at least one archaeoastronomer in the Mediterranean, probably at Gibraltar within the memory of man, a suggestion advocated by Sarmast but without any supporting evidence. This is quite feasible, as it has been shown that the Mediterranean has dried out on a number of occasions in the past. Current orthodoxy places the last inundation of the Mediterranean by the Atlantic around five million years ago. However, Paulino Zamarro, among others, has postulated the existence of the Gibraltar Dam within human prehistory, which, if true, would add to the credibility of Sarmast’s theory. However, if the Mediterranean had dried out the result would have left Sarmast’s location with a thick salty deposit, a far cry from the fertile land described by Plato.
Supporters of Sarmast’s theory have drawn attention to the annual Festival of the Flood, an event unique to Cyprus, when people in coastal towns sprinkle each other with water to commemorate the salvation of Noah.
Nevertheless Sarmast’s mile deep location contradicts Plato’s description of the sunken capital of Atlantis that even in Solon’s or Plato’s time was described as existing in unnavigable shallows.
Professor Arysio dos Santos who wrote Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found in which he proclaimed his idea that Atlantis was located on the huge swathes of territory around Indonesia that were inundated at the end of the last Ice Age, has also written(b) a paper denouncing the claims of Robert Sarmast as “an obvious hoax and a possible scam”[0320.189]
However, Colin Wilson, who previously supported the idea of Atlantis in Antarctica switched his support to the Cyprus location, which led to him writing the foreword to the 2006 expanded edition of Sarmast’s book. In 2009, Robert L. Gielow, a fundamentalist creationist, also added his endorsement to Sarmast’s theory in another book.
A further claim placing Atlantis south of Cyprus on a scarab shaped underwater feature (33°N-33°E), has been made by blogger Nicolas Fenning. He has also suggested that Freemasonry, Macedonia and the Pharos Lighthouse, all have links with Atlantis. He also maintains that clues to its location were contained in DaVinci’s Last Supper(d)!
*Although little has been heard from Sarmast in recent years, the idea of Atlantis near Cyprus was apparently given a boost in early 2018 when it was reported that Atlantis had been discovered off Paphos. However, any euphoria was quickly dissipated when the last lines of the report(j) were reached. “*This news article was compiled from a press release issued by the CTO on April 1, which celebrates April Fool’s Day – a day where practical jokes and hoaxes are spread.”*
(h) http://www.philipcoppens.com/atlantis.html (offline March 2018) See: Archive 2934)