To the grim list of cities and places wrecked and ruined by the indescribably awful majesty of earthquake-powered tsunamis— Sendai and Fukushima most recently, Banda Aceh in Sumatra six years ago, the west of Java more than a century back—must now be added one that is more famous and enigmatic than all the rest: Atlantis. For it now turns out that the island-city that for centuries has captured the public imagination as the world’s oldest philosophical wonderland may well have existed after all—and it may have done so right where it has long been thought to have been sited: close to the eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Beguiling new research into one of archeology’s greatest mysteries appears to have thrown up remarkably persuasive evidence that remains of the ancient city are to be found in the great Hinojos marsh on the southwestern coast of what is today’s Spain. Richard Freund, a somewhat flamboyant professor of Judaica at the University of Hartford, has claimed that the city that has long been regarded—if Plato’s famous description of it as having existed 9,000 years earlier, before Athens, rings true—as the grandmother of human civilization now lies submerged by mud and cottongrass in a part of the marsh designated as a national park a few miles north of the port city of Cádiz. It is a site now padded over by deer and badgers and a few feral camels, nested on by herons and avocets, and overlooked by Spain’s massive expanses of factory-farmed strawberry fields.
Moreover, since Plato declared in his writings that “one grievous day and night … Atlantis was swallowed up by the sea and vanished,” it is especially noteworthy that the newly found evidence also suggests it was a deadly Japan-style tsunami that finally caused the city to sink and disappear.