The ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote about the Lost City of Atlantis. In his writings, he tells the story of how the Atlanteans laid siege to Athens. Plato goes onto describe how the ancient Athenians repealed these invaders from their island nation in one of the greatest battles ever known to mankind. In the end, the Atlanteans lose favor with the gods, and the entire island of Atlantis sank into the Atlantic Ocean. This work of fiction was an allegory on the hubris of nations and has mostly fallen into obscurity, overshadowed by Plato’s more notable works. However, Atlantis, a utopian civilization that mysteriously vanished into the ocean, became a source of fascination for generations to come.
Over the centuries, this fixation over Atlantis has led many to wonder just how many civilizations have disappeared with the rising tides. Every so often, we find evidence that suggests these stories of cities buried beneath the watery depths may be true. A diver off the coast of the Ryuku Islands in Japan discovered massive rectangular rock formations dating back to 10,000 BC. All the stones cut at 90 degree angles, stacked to form straight walls and columns. One of the stones even appeared to have a human face carved into it. Another dive team discovered a 300,000-square foot expanse of land off the coast of Laconia, Greece, with streets, buildings, and graves outlined across the submerged surface. But if you’re looking for something a little closer to the American coastline, then check out a strange structure near the Bahamas, just off the coast of the North Bimini island.
Discovered on September 2, 1968 by divers J. Manson Valentine, Jacque Mayol, and Robert Angove, the structure was given the name Bimini Road because of its location and interesting structural property. However, some refer to it as Bimini Wall for those exact same reasons. The structure lies eighteen feet below the water and is comprised of several stone blocks purposefully placed in patterns that suggest they were once part of a road or building. Those who studied the stones believe that, at one time, they connected, but over time their edges have eroded into the rounded, disconnected shape it is today. The manmade appearance of the stones immediately led to speculations that these divers had discovered the remains of Atlantis. However, the distance from the Bahamas to Athens would mean that the Atlanteans had quite an ocean voyage ahead of them just to invade the Ancient Greek capital.
There are those who believe that Bimini derived its name from the Egyptian word baminini. This leads to further speculation that the road was part of an Ancient Egyptian city created around 3100 BC. Exploration of Ancient Egyptian civilization has discovered similar structures closer to present day Egypt, found along the Nile Delta at Alexandria, which date back to 1500 BC. Some have speculated that either the Egyptians visited the Bahamas over five-thousand years ago, while others say voyagers from Atlantis visited both locations 1,600 years apart.
That date of the stones found in the Bahamas match with Plato’s account of Atlantis, and according to ocean research they would not have been underwater at the time. Bimini also contains mineral springs as described in Plato’s writings. Two other factors also mesh with Plato’s account: Bimini road is under the Atlantic Ocean, and the scale of the stones matches the scale of the structures described by Plato.
There are certainly many signs suggesting a city disappearing into the ocean is well within the realm of possibility. All over the world we see examples of rising ocean waters that threaten to overtake mankind’s cities. It is widely believed that the Maldives, an island nation off the coast of India, will be completely consumed by the ocean by the year 2100. Some major coastal cities are also seeing the effects of rising oceans. Venice, for example, has seen its canals overflowing onto its city streets on several occasions. Villa Epecuen in Argentina was a beautiful city built in the 1920s around 340 miles southwest of Buenos Aires. Then in 1985, 5,000 people found themselves displaced when heavy rains broke a nearby earthen dam, flooding the city. The city remained underwater for 25 years before the waters receded, leaving behind and eerie half-submerged ghost town.
So as the waters rise and more cities find themselves submerged, there’s no telling the stories and legends that may grow out of future discoveries. Perhaps the fabled underwater Lost City of Los Angeles, located just below Hollywood Sign Island, will spark some interesting tales.