Looking for the Lost City of Atlantis

March 13, 2011 by David Isgur

Could the fabled lost city of Atlantis have been located? Using satellite photography, ground-penetrating radar and underwater technology, a team of experts (led by University of Hartford professor and archaeologist Richard Freund) has been surveying marshlands in Spain to look for proof of the ancient city. If the team can match geological formations to Plato’s descriptions and date artifacts back to the time of Atlantis, we may be closer to solving one of the world's greatest mysteries.

A new National Geographic Channel documentary, Finding , which will be broadcast nationally on Sunday, March 13, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, follows a team of American, Canadian, and Spanish scientists as they employ satellite space photography, ground penetrating radar, underwater archaeology, and historical sleuthing in an effort to find a lost civilization.

When a space satellite photograph identified what looked like a submerged city in the midst of one of the largest swamps in Europe, the Doña Ana Park in southern Spain, Freund was contacted to see if he could assemble his team to apply their cutting-edge technology (electrical resistivity tomography, which is a virtual MRI for the ground, ground penetrating radar, and digital mapping that quickly and efficiently maps the subsurface of a site and provides instantaneous results for excavators to follow) to this project. In 2009 and 2010, they worked with Spanish and geologists to explore the remains of an ancient city that goes back some 4,000 years.

However, the ultimate solution to what happened to Atlantis was not resolved in the south of Spain but in Freund’s discovery of a series of mysterious memorial cities built in the image of Atlantis in central Spain. Following Freund and his team, headed by geophysicist Paul Bauman from WorleyParsons in Calgary, Canada and geographer Philip Reeder from the University of South Florida, the documentary tracks the search for one of the great cultural icons of all time: Atlantis.

The lost city of Atlantis is one of the world’s most famous mysteries. According to Plato who wrote about it almost 2,600 years ago, Atlantis was “an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules” (The Straits of Gibraltar were known as the Pillars of Hercules in antiquity.), Using Plato’s detailed account of the mysterious city as a map, Finding Atlantis searches the Mediterranean and Atlantic for the best possible location for Atlantis.

The film journeys to Turkey and the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini before heading to southern Spain, beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Plato says that Atlantis once faced a city called “Gadara,” which is the ancient name for modern Cadiz. Here, catamarans and dive boats take the viewer deep into the ocean off the coast of Spain, as a crack team of marine archaeologists and geologists employ sonar and scuba in search of sub-surface man-made structures dating back to the Bronze Age.

And in the vast mudflats of the Guadalquivir river delta, scientists examine strange geometric shadows of what look to be the remains of a ringed city. Here, geophysicists and archaeologists employ the most advanced imaging technologies in the world to determine whether or not an ancient cataclysm suddenly buried a thriving civilization under meters and meters of ocean and mud.

Finally, Finding Atlantis presents the viewer with what is quite possibly the most intriguing piece of archaeology ever associated with Atlantis. Recently discovered 2,800-year-old ruins display an image carved in stone of what looks to be an Atlantean warrior – guarding the entrance to the lost, multi-ringed city!

Explore further: 'Lost continent' of Atlantis stirs debate

Related Stories

'Lost continent' of Atlantis stirs debate

October 13, 2006

Italian scholars in Rome are debating the controversial theory that Sardinia is the lost island of Atlantis, and whether the theory merits further research.

Recommended for you

Biologists trace how human innovation impacts tool evolution

November 24, 2015

Many animals exhibit learned behaviors, but humans are unique in their capacity to build on existing knowledge to make new innovations. Understanding the patterns of how new generations of tools emerged in prehistoric societies, ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (2) Mar 13, 2011
Still not as impressive as the underwater pyramid in the Dragons Triangle that dates 14,000 years old.
not rated yet Mar 13, 2011
@alphakronik, I've never heard of the "underwater pyramid in the Dragons Triangle". I tried to google it but no dice. Any links you could prove me with?
not rated yet Mar 13, 2011
@dqb, Yonaguni Jima Japan. Thought to have sunk over 2,000 years ago. Earthquake got it.
not rated yet Mar 13, 2011
When did you guys become pimps for Documentaries? This is the second article about this Doc in 2 days?
4 / 5 (4) Mar 13, 2011
It's interesting that they state that this putative Atlantis was overwhelmed by a tsunami.
My question is: why would it have sunk to below sea level? I'm not aware of any other instance of a tsunami having "sunk" any cities -washed out, yes- but the likelihood of any hydraulic process such as would be necessary to perform this feat is near zero. Some other process is almost certainly the culprit -most likely subsidence in the area.

And what's the deal with these so-called "memorial cities"? where are they, and what are their names? Are they living cities now, or just ruins?

This commercial pisses me off -very little information, and several sensational claims.

The Nat Geo channel can go suck eggs, as far as I'm concerned, as programming there is seldom any better in quality than this thinly-disguised press release.
not rated yet Mar 14, 2011
Liquefaction and sand-blows can swallow buildings-- Look what happened to parts of ancient Alexandria and modern Kobe.
Also, Cadiz region does have rare, but large quakes. The quake & tsunami of Novem. 1, 1755 razed the place...
not rated yet Mar 15, 2011
also didn't they say it was in a swamp? that could explain a lot.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2011
some recent reaction/comment regarding the findings, and of the content of the NatGeo program:


Mainly, it appears the Freund's claims, and the NG program are wishful thinking at best, cheap sensationalism/career boosterism at worst.

not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
Interesting, if inconclusive stuff. Much more digging is needed to establish the site as Tartessos (many think it was further up the coast at Huelva, the oldest city site in Iberia). The identification of Tartessos as Atlantis is dubious since the locale does not match Plato's geographic parameters. Most likely, Atlantis was a supervolcanic island off Portugal that exploded and sank in the 17th century BC. (See Roots of Cataclysm, Algora Publ. NY 2009)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.