Meet Me In Atlantis

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Preview Your Review. Thank you. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. Extra Content. Our destination was an unremarkable set of prehistoric ruins. There did not seem to be a lot of consensus. He had scoured ancient literature for every mention of Atlantis that he could find and then plugged that data into an algorithm far too complicated for a math novice like me to understand. His results were clear, though. According to his calculations and the laws of probability, the capital city of Atlantis had absolutely, positively existed just a few hundred feet ahead at the nexus of GPS coordinates we were tracking.

Perhaps the defining characteristic of the landscape around us, the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, was its complete lack of water.

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Twice on the way here my driver had slammed on the brakes to avoid crashing into herds of camels crossing the road. The one thing that everyone knows about the legend of Atlantis is that it sank beneath the seas. An earthquake in the Atlantic Ocean, a few miles west of where we were hiking, had caused a tsunami that had flooded the Moroccan coast and then receded.

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The ancient story of this deluge had simply gotten garbled over generations of retelling. Now it had a very familiar ring to it. I had heard a lot of location hypotheses that hinged on tsunamis and other improbable agents: volcanic explosions, mistranslated hieroglyphics, the ten biblical plagues, asteroid impacts, Bronze Age transatlantic cocaine trafficking, and the Pythagorean theorem. All of these ideas had been presented to me by intelligent, sincere people who had devoted large chunks of their lives to searching for a city that most reputable scientists dismissed as a fairy tale.

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Perhaps the second most famous attribute of Atlantis was its distinctive circular shape, an island city surrounded by alternating rings of land and water. At the center of those rings, the story went, stood a magnificent temple dedicated to the Greek god Poseidon. That innermost island, with its evidence of an advanced civilization suddenly destroyed by a watery disaster, was the proof that every Atlantis hunter most longed to find. The clues to solving this riddle had been available for more than two thousand years, but no one had yet found a convincing answer.

Finally, the incline leveled off and we looked out onto a large geological depression, a sort of desert basin enclosed on all sides.

Meet Me in Atlantis

I leaned against a leafless tree and wiped sweat from my eyes. I scanned the horizon from left to right and slowly recognized that we were standing above a natural bowl, almost perfectly round. In the middle was a large hill, also circular—a ring within a ring. According to his calculations and the laws of probability, the capital city of Atlantis had absolutely, positively existed just a few hundred feet ahead at the nexus of GPS coordinates we were tracking.

Perhaps the defining characteristic of the landscape around us, the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, was its complete lack of water. Twice on the way here my driver had slammed on the brakes to avoid crashing into herds of camels crossing the road. The one thing that everyone knows about the legend of Atlantis is that it sank beneath the seas. An earthquake in the Atlantic Ocean, a few miles west of where we were hiking, had caused a tsunami that had flooded the Moroccan coast and then receded.

The ancient story of this deluge had simply gotten garbled over generations of retelling. Now it had a very familiar ring to it. I had heard a lot of location hypotheses that hinged on tsunamis and other improbable agents: volcanic explosions, mistranslated hieroglyphics, the ten biblical plagues, asteroid impacts, Bronze Age transatlantic cocaine trafficking, and the Pythagorean theorem.

All of these ideas had been presented to me by intelligent, sincere people who had devoted large chunks of their lives to searching for a city that most reputable scientists dismissed as a fairy tale. Perhaps the second most famous attribute of Atlantis was its distinctive circular shape, an island city surrounded by alternating rings of land and water.

At the center of those rings, the story went, stood a magnificent temple dedicated to the Greek god Poseidon. That innermost island, with its evidence of an advanced civilization suddenly destroyed by a watery disaster, was the proof that every Atlantis hunter most longed to find.

The clues to solving this riddle had been available for more than two thousand years, but no one had yet found a convincing answer. Finally, the incline leveled off and we looked out onto a large geological depression, a sort of desert basin enclosed on all sides. I leaned against a leafless tree and wiped sweat from my eyes. Of course I remembered.

I scanned the horizon from left to right and slowly recognized that we were standing above a natural bowl, almost perfectly round. In the middle was a large hill, also circular—a ring within a ring. They are almost exact with the story of Atlantis. Do you think maybe we should go down there? But easy money is hard to come by for a freelance writer, and this job sounded like a cakewalk, so I set to work contacting professors at various reputable universities and asking them to rank their top ten philosophers. To my surprise, there was no disagreement about who deserved the top two slots on the list.

I wrote many grade school papers on the differences between aardvarks and anteaters. He talks a lot about ethics and logic.

He was a master of classification who sorted messy subjects like language and nature into neat categories that we still use today. His writings unfold as dialogues between characters, some drawn from real life. It was like hearing that Wittgenstein had helped fake the moon landings. Around this time the Ocean extension of Google Earth was launched. After a few days the excitement faded.

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I assumed the seekers turned their attention back to more important matters, like searching for Bigfoot. Starting in the late s, a hugely successful movie trilogy was released that changed the lives of a generation of American boys. These three tales of incredible journeys, inspired by ancient myths and conflicts that transpired a long time ago in places far, far away, were cinematic catnip for preadolescent suburban youths with overactive imaginations and limited athletic skills.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of being dropped off with my best friend at the local Lake Theater and vibrating in our seats with anticipation. What made these movies, and their beloved stepsibling, the Leonard Nimoy—hosted television show In Search Of. Rather than declaring everything to be either true or false, these movies and programs left things open-ended. Could this thing that looks like a dirty tablecloth actually be the burial shroud of Jesus?

Probably not—but maybe! A lot of what I watched was simply goofy—even at age ten I had doubts about anything involving Martians or communicating with plants.

But usually, by the time the credits rolled I felt an uncontrollable urge to solve some mystery of my own. I should have known I had no natural immunity against a contagion as powerful as Atlantis, but the symptoms crept up on me slowly. The popular notion that Atlantis had sunk in the middle of the Atlantic seemed to have fallen out of fashion. I watched a BBC documentary that argued the Greek island of Santorini had been the original Atlantis, then saw a Discovery Channel special that strongly suggested the lost city had once been located in Antarctica.

Months passed. As a conversation starter I mentioned my new interest to my tablemates and nearly started a fistfight between a homeopath and an aromatherapist. One knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Atlantis had been in the Bahamas while the other angrily insisted that only an idiot would search anywhere but the Mediterranean.


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The more I became intrigued, the more apparent it became that searching— actively searching—for Atlantis, a discipline sometimes referred to as Atlantology, is something of a growth industry. A few arguments were even made for landlocked, mountainous countries such as Bolivia, which seemed a little ambitious considering that whole sank-into-the-sea aspect. Virtually all these possible sites had been found by energetic amateur sleuths.

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At least the polite ones did. One specialist in archaeology and ancient history had written an entire book that treated the urge to find Atlantis as a sort of mental disorder. And yet, almost universally believers and nonbelievers both agreed that Plato had done two things that made a real Atlantis seem believable. First, he embedded dozens of precise details in his story, including measurements, landmarks, and its position relative to other known places—the same sorts of particulars that have been used to find other lost cities.

Second, Plato claimed repeatedly that the story was true and had been passed down to him from very reputable historical sources. This assurance only raised more questions.