Sunken Cities, Harbours and Islands
Sunken Cities, Harbours and Islands are to be found all over the world. Sometimes these were caused by local seismic, tectonic or volcanic events. A greater number were undoubtedly caused by the rising sea levels that followed the deglaciation at the end of the last Ice Age. This deglaciation continues today as the greenhouse gases produced by human activity threatens to raise sea levels further that could inundate a number of our major cities that could lead to dramatic social and economic consequences.
The flooding of Atlantis, as recorded by Plato, continues to prompt opportunistic writers to try to link any new discovery of submerged structures with this prehistoric catastrophe. Cuba, The Baltic Sea, Malta, and Southern Spain, among others, have all been touted as Atlantis on this basis. Many more are yet to be discovered that will attract this same spurious identification. There is also the possibility that a sunken structure from Atlantis will be discovered that will not be identified as such.
Even more depressing is the possibility that mankind may have to wait until the inevitable next ice age, when the sea levels again drop, before we will have our best opportunity to identify the true location of Plato’s city. That is assuming that we are still around and in a position to scientifically search for the site of this enduring mystery.
The most spectacular sunken city recently discovered is undoubtedly that of Thonis-Heracleion off the coast of modern Alexandria(c). A close second might be the city found in the Gulf of Cambay in India, for which claims of extreme antiquity have been made, however, archaeologist Justin Morris from the British Museum said more work would need to be undertaken before the site could be categorically said to belong to a 9,000 year old civilisation.
The sunken town of Dunwich was once the 10th largest settlement in England and is frequently referred to as ‘Britain’s Atlantis’. However it was inundated relatively recently, in 1286 AD, and obviously has no connection with Plato’s Atlantis. Modern technology has now enabled an accurate mapping of this old town(b). Similarly, the German city of Rungholt was flooded by the Wadden Sea less than a century later(d).
In 2009 the lost city of Bathonea was rediscovered just 20 km from Istanbul. Evidence of human habitation in an area dated to earlier than 10,000 BC has been found. Millennia later a Greek settlement was established on the site and later expanded by the Romans. Excavation of the partially submerged city may take up to a century. The discovery of cities such as Bathonea understandably raise hopes that someday the remains of Atlantis may also be found.
In 2017, also in Turkey a sunken city has been found in the waters of Lake Van in the far east of the country(e).
A Swedish website dedicated to underwater archaeology, lists a number of known sunken cities(a).