Plain of Atlantis
The Plain of Atlantis is 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, we changed over to the metric system some years ago, but builders still speak and write of using ‘2×4’ lengths of timber without specifying that they are referring to inches. Such unqualified 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 dimensions 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 is 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.
An interesting suggestion, although badly flawed, was made by Jean Deruelle who proposed ‘Doggerland‘ in the North Sea as the location of Atlantis, adding an interesting twist to Plato’s description of the Plain. “Deruelle, an engineer and a geologist by profession, offers a hypothesis that is rational, highly precise, and based on his areas of expertise. No other hypothesis than Deruelle’s tackles so credibly the most outlandish elements in Plato’s description of Atlantis: the description of a vast plain, surrounded by a man-made ditch, 180 meters broad and thirty meters deep, large enough to circulate supertankers: it was not a ditch, but a dyke, build over centuries to protect a large part of Doggerland against the slowly rising waters of the North Sea.”(d)
Diaz-Montexano maintains that Plato never said that the plain was shaped like a rectangle.
The Mediterranean, between Sicily and North Africa, has been offered by a number of commentators, such as Alberto Arecchi and Alex Hausmann, as the location of the Plain of Atlantis. There is evidence of large areas of land having been submerged within the region between Malta and the Pelagie Islands. I include here a passing reference from Ernle Bradford who sailed the region which may be of interest to supporters of a Central Mediterranean Atlantis. When discussing the Egadi Islands off the west coast of Sicily he describes Levanzo, the smallest of the group as being “once joined to Sicily, and the island was surrounded by a large fertile plain. Levanzo, in fact, was joined to more than Sicily. Between this western corner of the Sicilian coast and the Cape Bon peninsula in Tunisia there once lay rich and fertile valleys-perhaps, who knows, long lost Atlantis?” [1011.57]
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 comment that, at best, only one can be correct while 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)
North Sea (Doggerland) (Jean Deruelle)
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)
Celtic Shelf (Dan Crisp)
Western Plain, Cuba (Andrew Collins)
Portugal (Peter Daughtrey)
Wales (Paul Dunbavin)
Florida (Dennis Brooks)
Atlantic Floor (Michael Jaye)
Baffin Bay, Greenland (Ian Fox)
Pannonian Plain, Hungary+(Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu)
Guadalete River Plain (Karl Jürgen Hepke)
Saudi Arabia (Stan Deyo)
Yucatan Peninsula (Mark Carlotto)(b)