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Lost worlds: Atlantis (The History Channel)

Atlantis, an ancient advanced civilisation that disappeared under the ocean in just one day. Some people think that the few survivors from this catastrophe spread around the world and were the creators of later civilizations. For centuries people have been discussing about where exactly this civilization was, and even today, many are still trying to locate the rests of this civilization, although most people consider it just another Greek legend. But legends are usually based on ancient facts.

Has this searched finally ended? Is it possible that we finally know where Atlantis was and what kind of culture they possessed. According to this documentary, the answer is Yes.

This video shows the first part of the documentary and it's enough to understand this theory, but if you want to learn more about it, go to the LINKS tab and watch the rest of the programme.

3.5 thousand years ago, the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history rocked the planet. In the heart of the Mediterranean a peaceful island exploded with devastating force. At a stroke, an entire civilization was wiped from the face of the earth. Then, at the dawn of the 20th century, the remains of a spectacular palace were discovered on the island of Crete. On a neighbouring Greek island, a town was unearthed, preserved beneath thousands of tons of volcanic ash.

Teams of investigators are examining every fragment from these mysterious sites to decipher their hidden secrets. And out of the physical clues lifted from the ash, a radical theory has emerged. These ruins could be the home of ancient civilization: Atlantis. Using cutting-edge visual technology, we rebuild the incredible towns, temples and palaces. We reveal the majesty and the mystery of this lost world.

Every search for Atlantis begins with the writings of the great Greek philosopher, Plato.

- Plato was essentially the father of western philosophy, and because what he had to say was so important and has remained important throughout the history of Western thought, it became much more acceptable, much more respectable, if you will, than if someone else had written it.

In one of the most intriguing of his writings, Plato describes a remarkable utopian society. Rich in wealth and knowledge, their skills as builders and engineers were advanced beyond imagining. But, he says, the peace of this land was suddenly torn apart. Legend has it that the entire civilization was wiped out in a single day and night, engulfed by the ocean and lost to the world for thousands of years. No other mystery on earth has sparked such obsession or given rise to so many extraordinary theories.

On the Mediterranean island of Crete, a discovery was made in early 1900 that would add a new chapter in the search for Atlantis. An archaeologist named Arthur Evans, a real life Indiana Jones, arrived on Crete. He was searching for the treasures of the ancient world.

- Evans was looking for something very specific. He was looking for the first European culture, but he was also looking for the roots to Greek mythology.

Evans began his search in a hill-top settlement called Knossos. He soon found something that was beyond his wildest dreams. In the very first trench he dug, Evans unearthed a magnificent stone throne. It was the heart of a spectacular palace complex. Covering an area the size of four football fields and containing ten times as many rooms as Washington's White House, the dig exposed construction on a massive scale.

- What he found was beyond all expectations of anyone at the time, and essentially he defined the civilization around it, which he called the Minoan civilization.

The name Evans chose came from a figure and ancient Greek myth called King Minos. Minos was said to live in a great palace, at the centre of which he had imprisoned a terrible monster, half man, half bull. It was called The Minotaur.

- So Arthur Evans thought that he had found the palace of King Minos. That probably had nothing to do with King Minos, but on the other hand it seemed like a good label and it has ++++.

Today, a groundbreaking new theory has emerged as to the origin of this lost world.

- It's entirely possible that something like the Atlantis myth comes out of here, and it's passed on for centuries and grew in some kind of grand importance. So there is this theory that the Minoans were, in fact, the early Atlanteans.

It is the sophistication of the palace on Crete that is the first link to the idea of Atlantis. The builders of this remarkable structure had achieved a level of engineering excellence that would not be seen anywhere else in the world for centuries. It is littered with artefacts dating back over 3.5 thousand years. The remains of hundreds of decorative pots and beautiful wall paintings are being discovered. As investigators pieced together the fragments of this ancient art, they are discovering sophisticated images of the people and the lives of a lost civilization.

- It was extremely interesting because this was going back beyond the boundaries of our classical studies and classical archaeology into something entirely new which is not really been envisioned before.

The buildings here are older than anything previously discovered on the island, and they are infinitely more advanced. Teams of experts are now searching for the clues that relate this complex architecture to Plato's story of Atlantis. Collin McDonald has covered every inch of the palace above and below ground to expose every technological achievement. And beneath the surface he has discovered one of the site's most advanced features.

- Down beneath all of this, there is the most remarkable water system both for the drainage of water and for the water supplied itself.

Astoundingly, this sophisticated network of pipes predates the plumbing of the great Greek and Roman empires by over a thousand years.

- These terracotta or clay water pipes are made up of one metre sections, the one tapering into the other. They took water to lots of different parts of the palace. And equaly impressive systems were used actually to get water out of the palace for the drainage system itself.

A vast subterranean network carried waste water away from the palace. Using the details of Collin's survey we can now see how the drain circled through the palace's royal quarter.

- We're right in the middle of the main drainage system of the palace here, on the east side. It's stoned built on either side, about a metre high here. In times of drenchful rain, huge quantities of water could be dealt with by this drainage system.

A similarly sophisticated water management system is described in Plato's stories. He wrote of a palace where water was plentiful. Collected from the surrounding hills, it was in abundance supply throughout the city, just as it was here at Knossos. What's more. At the palace of Knossos, the engineering above ground is every bit as sophisticated as that which Plato describes. The palace contained 1300 rooms spread over 4 floors, all interconnected by miles of passageways. It was centuries ahead of anything seen from the same era on mainland Greece.

- What we had on the Greek mainland in the period of the palaces was nothing more complicated really than maximum three or four room single storey mud-brick structures. ++++ grand architecture on the scale that we see in the Cretan palaces.

Plato described the palace of Atlantis as an acropolis sitting atop a great hill. At Knossos, we find just that. Construction must have involved huge earth moving operations. The entire hill top was flattened and terraces were carved so that the palace......... [END OF TRANSCRIPTION]

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