The latest updates surrounding the possibility of the mythical city being located in the South of Spain
Updated February 2023
Is it possible that the legendary city of Atlantis is situated in the South of Spain? It’s a thought that has been on many people’s minds for centuries. But recently, there have been several theories about its location – one such theory suggests that the mythical city lies at the bottom of Spain’s southern coast.
But what kind of evidence is there to suggest that this might actually be true?
First off, experts studying Atlantis in Spain point out that ancient Greek literature points to sunken cities at around where Spain is today. Secondly, modern technology has revealed an underwater wall located at the bottom of the sea off Spain’s southern coast – an intriguing find that could indicate at least something is at work below the surface.
And it’s not just these two things that has sparked conversation about Atlantis being real and located in Spain. There have been plenty of reports from locals who state they’ve seen unusual lights at night, heard strange noises in the depths of the ocean, or even experienced ‘earthquakes’ along certain parts of the coastline.
Marshlands north of Cadiz show best evidence yet of lost city
Atlantis is believed to have been completely destroyed after a devastating tsunami around 9,000 years ago and, and considering what’s happened in the past few decades, it’s not that difficult to believe. But now archaeologists say they believe the lost city of Atlantis has been found inland in Spain and not miles out in the middle of the ocean, like has been believed for decades.
Plato’s dialogues and archaeological work point to Atlantis’ location adjacent to the strait of Gibraltar.
Plato’s ancient texts describe Atlantis as a massive island beyond the Pillars of Hercules, larger than Libya and Asia Minor. This island was said to have been submerged underwater due to a natural disaster. Atlantis was said to have a powerful army and a highly advanced civilization that dominated western Europe and North Africa.
The authenticity of Atlantis remains a subject of debate among researchers, with some believing it to be a purely fictional story created by Plato, while others think there is evidence to suggest that it was a real civilization that may have even been the origin of our own.
Television documentaries often explore the possibility of Atlantis being located beyond the Atlantic Ocean, with some even proposing that it may have existed in the Andes or the Canary Islands. However, the evidence suggests that it was likely located near the Strait of Gibraltar and extended as far as the Bay of Cadiz.
The same period also saw the mythical and now vanished civilization of Tartessos in Andalusia. It is unclear if they were descendants of the Atlanteans, coexisted with them, or were a separate entity altogether. Further archaeological discoveries may shed light on the truth behind these ancient civilizations and provide a conclusion.
NETFLIXS’ Ancient Apocalypse
Thanks to the new Nexflix docuseries Ancient Apocalypse, the lost city of Atlantis is once again rising to the surface of our imaginations. The show features a theory about Atlantis and what might have happened to the ancient mythical kingdom.
The latest theory presented by the author Graham Hancock, the programme argues that a once sophisticated culture was destroyed by floods triggered by a giant comet which crashed on Earth, a disaster that inspired the legend of Atlantis, it is claimed.
According to Hancock, survivors of the calamity spread round the world – which was then populated by simple hunter-gatherers – bringing them science, technology, agriculture and monumental architecture. We owe everything to these near godlike individuals, it is claimed.
Hancock – who has been promoting these ideas in his books for decades – argues that archaeologists have deliberately covered up this catastrophic vision of civilisation’s spread and accuses mainstream academia of its “extremely defensive, arrogant and patronising” attitudes.
These stark claims have helped the series reach the top of viewing lists on both sides of the Atlantic, to the chagrin of archaeologists who, for their part, have denounced Ancient Apocalypse on the grounds that it provides little evidence to support its grandiose claims and for promoting conspiracy theories dressed up as science.
And, as for the location of Atlantis, there have been plenty of places, including the Sahara, Turkey to the Antarctic and countless places in between.
As to the likely site of the original Atlantis, the serious money goes on the destruction of the Greek island of Santorini and its impact on Crete and puts the blame on volcanic eruptions.
No matter what you might believe, the debate over whether Atlantis exists at all is an intriguing one and still raises many issues of which the most basic is the simple question: why has the story of Atlantis – compared with other ancient myths – maintained its popularity for so long?
Atlantis Rising: Archaeologists’ most extensive search for ancient lost city ever carried out
The documentary, Atlantis Rising, was shown on the National Geographic channel, and documents the most extensive search ever carried out by scientists and archaeologists to find the sunken city of Atlantis.
Taking the viewers on a journey from Santorini in Greece to the Azores Islands, the film examines the many theories that have been advanced over the years regarding the fate of the city and its legendary Atlantean civilisation.
Produced by James Cameron, Atlantis Rising investigates where Atlantis would have been standing at the time of the Bronze Age, and what kind of society it would have been home to.
Following Plato’s words
The myth of Atlantis finds its roots in the writings of Greek philosopher Plato. Two of his dialogues, the ‘Temaeus’ and the ‘Critas‘, dating back to the fourth century BC, refer to the city and its mysterious civilisation, said to have lived thousands of years before the philosopher’s time – in the Bronze Age. These two stories are at the centre of this new documentary.
“What we did here is ask the basic question of what is the history behind the myth. Since there are so many books and movies about Atlantis, people often don’t realise that the name appears in ancient times only in one place – in Plato’s dialogues. We went back to this source and used the way he describes Atlantis as a treasure map, comparing the city’s features with existing places,” filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici told IBTimes UK.
The team used some of the world’s most advanced navigation and marine archaeology techniques and they combined historical, archaeological, and geophysical evidence with a precise analysis of Plato’s texts, to pinpoint the location of the mythical island and find evidence of related artefacts under water.
“We knew we were not going to find the ‘Disneyesque’ city under water, with statues and ancient buildings still standing, but we hoped to find artefacts and architectural remains that would point to where Atlantis was located”, archaeologist Dr. Richard A. Freund, who participated in the project, adds.
“According to Plato, the civilisation was destroyed overnight by an earthquake and a tsunami –and when a tsunami comes in and destroys a city, so my theory was that materials would have been splattered into the Atlantic. This is what Atlantis Rising is about, looking for these artefacts”.
A marsh in Southern Spain
Over the years, the most popular theories have been that the present-day island of Santorini or the island of Malta had once been Atlantis. Atlantis Rising explores this hypotheses, but finds more compelling evidence in one of the largest marshes in Europe, in Donaña National Park (Southern Spain) which archaeologists have been excavating for years. This location had already been the subject of another National Geographic documentary, ‘Finding Atlantis,’ in 2011.
The marsh in question used to be an open bay, adjacent to the strait of Gibraltar. “This is important because Plato says that Atlantis was located adjacent to the Pillars of Hercules, the name given in Antiquity to the promontories at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar”, Freund explains.
“When you take a writer Plato, one of the most important authors of the Greek civilisation and you have two of this dialogues that talk of Atlantis, you have to take him seriously, even if you don’t take him literally. When he gives a very specific geographical note so that all his readers understand the location he is talking about, we have to take him seriously.”
In all the other locations visited by the film’s team, whether Santorini, Sardinia, Malta or the Azores, a piece is missing from the puzzle, when these places are compared with the Atlantis in Plato’s dialogues.
Jacobovici cites the example of Santorini. “It was destroyed overnight in an eruption, like Plato describes, so people say, it must be Atlantis. There are also important architectural similarities with what Plato says, and the Minoan Bronze Age civilisation was technically advanced. But Plato says Atlantis is on the Atlantic side of strait of Gibraltar, and that is not the case with Santorini”, he points out.
The film also presents the Spanish location as an interesting candidate since during the documentary’s production, a number of massive artefacts, including columns, column drums and Bronze Age anchors, were discovered in the Atlantic, on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Traces of an ancient civilisation
More than finding an exact location for a sunken island, the documentary is about exploring who the ‘Atlanteans’ were.
The film shows that many artefacts and structures share similarities – with signs of the concentric architecture described by Plato – even though they are located thousands of kilometres apart. “In every location we visited, we found the same types of artefacts, the same type of architecture, and the same connections with the Atlantis narrative,” Freund says.
The argument put forward in Atlantis Rising is that there might have been a ‘mother city’ of Atlantis, possibly in Southern Spain, but the Atlantean civilisation then spread out across a very large territory all around the Mediterranean.
“One of the key things I learnt when making this film is that when we say ‘Atlantis’, we are not talking about a particular spot, but about a civilisation. I think we can find remnants of this civilisation from the eastern Mediterranean all the way to the Atlantic. Southern Spain may have been the centre of a civilisation which spread to Malta, Santorini or all the other places we have investigated,” said Jacobovici.
What this civilisation had been when it existed in the Bronze Age and whether other historical sources might refer to it is unclear. The artefacts excavated in the Spanish marsh and in the sea have not yet to be analysed in a lab to find out more about their origins. Only a rigorous scientific and archaeological analysis will determine the history of these objects.
While the film makes an interesting case, it may fail to convince the many historians who believe that Atlantis is just an allegory, a story about moral and ethics for which Plato found inspiration by looking at cities and societies around him. Most academics believe the story of Atlantis may have been the philosopher’s warning to Athens and its inhabitants not to become blinded by hubris.