>Canals were originally developed for irrigation and much later for transport. They are recognised as having been critical for optimum agricultural outputs and consequently important for the development of many ancient civilisations.<Canals are also evidence of the engineering capabilities of these early societies. Recent discoveries(a) in the Peruvian Andes revealed canals over 5,400 years old.
Canals in the capital city of Atlantis are described by Plato in great detail but with dimensions that are quite unrealistic. One possible explanation for this; the whole story is fiction and the dimensions were just pulled out of thin air. However, if Plato or anyone had been writing fiction you would expect such details to be closer to reality. In fact, Plato expresses incredulity at these dimensions but notes them as a record of Solon’s report.>This adds weight to the theory that the numbers had somehow been transcribed or translated erroneously from the original Egyptian sources or that the units of measurement were misunderstood.<
To my mind, the extent of the irrigation canals recorded by Plato would seem to suggest that the Plain of Atlantis was subject to a dry climate.
The dimensions might be that of a natural feature adapted to suit the needs of a fortified harbour. The latter idea was proposed and expanded on by Ulf Richter(e). He also took issue with the dimensions of the canals as given by Solon/Plato and voiced his analysis on the now-defunct Atlantis Rising Forums – “In my opinion, it is absolutely incredible, even if the Atlanteans had our technology instead of the technology of their age (the time of horse-driven war chariots, of stone-shooters and slingers!) that they could have built such a deep canal! Plato was right when he doubted this information (Crit.118c), but he knew nothing about the construction of canals and therefore did not know, that they were not only incredible, but impossible from the technical point of view, and moreover absolutely unnecessary for the flow of water and for the draught of the ships.”(f)
Extensive ancient canal systems have been identified in both North and South America. John Jensen has discovered one such network in the Louisiana region(a) but has had the good sense not to try to associate it with Atlantis. Jensen’s site also deals with canals in Mexico and Africa. His claim regarding the Louisiana canals has been challenged online(c) and as of March 2016, his own website is offline. However, in early 2017 Jensen published another paper on the Migration-Diffusion website(d) about ancient canals, which includes a reference to the ancient canals on the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts, also dated to the 6th millennium BC.
Further information regarding the Mexican pre-Colombian irrigation systems is available on the Ancient Origins website(b).
>Jim Allen who has been advocating a location for Atlantis on the Andean Altiplano has offered photographic evidence of what appears to be a network of canals with dimensions that he claims to match Plato’s description(g). However, the images shown do not extend for the hundreds of kilometres suggested by Plato. He also points out the existence of a comparable canal grid in the Tabasco region of Mexico.<
(f) https://web.archive.org/web/2/http://forums.atlantisrising.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000972-3.html (link broken 10 Sept 2004)