The prank that drowned a city ARCHAEOLOGY NEWSFLASH 505b
I don’t know what triggered the idea. It may have been a
dare. Or just plain and simple curiosity. In any case, what
I shall relate to you shortly is almost beyond belief…
GRADUALLY RISING SEAS
For 4,000 years, the world’s sea level has been inching up.
The Hadji Ahmed map of 1559, whose original source dates back
thousands of years, shows a landbridge between Siberia and
Alaska, which existed when the original map was drawn. If
the ocean between these two land masses were lowered 100 feet
today, there would be a dry-land path between them.
According to some oceanographers and geologists, the ocean
level may have been as much as 500 feet lower than today.
Ireland was connected with England; the North Sea was a great
plain; Italy was joined to Africa, and exposed land cut the
Mediterranean into two lakes.
Since then, the rising seas have engulfed coastal land and
islands, turning isthmuses into straits and large islands
into underwater plateaus.
Along many of the world’s shorelines are lost islands, now
deep below the sea, with remains of cities, palaces and
In fact, most of the continental shelf, which marks the true
boundaries between the ocean basins and the continental areas,
now lies under a mean depth of 430 feet of water. (It ranges
from 300 feet to about 1,500 feet.)
The present continental shelf probably defines the edge of the
oceans as they developed during the post-Flood glacial peak.
With the ice melt and the draining or evaporation of inland
basins, the seas rose, with minor fluctuations, to their
“The ocean basins can thus be characterized as overfull –
water not only fills the ocean basins proper, but extends out
over the low margins of the continents.” So notes a panel of
geologists. (J.V. Trumbull, John Lyman, J.F. Pepper and E.M.
Thompson, “An Introduction to the Geology and Mineral resources
of the Continental Shelves of the Americas”, U.S. Geological
Survey Bulletin 1067, 1958, p.11)
Oceanographers and geologists generally agree that a dramatic,
rapid rise of water occurred several thousand years ago. This
has slowed to about 1.5 feet per century.
Around the world’s coastlines are undersea river canyons, which
were once above the ocean. Such canyons cannot be cut underwater.
* The submerged Hudson Canyon, one hundred miles long and hundreds
of feet deep, could only have been formed above water when this
extension of the Hudson River was dry land.
* Off the coast of Europe are the Loire, Rhone, Seine and Tagus
canyons. The drowned Rhine Valley runs under the North Sea to
disappear between Norway and Scotland – showing that the North
Sea was dry land.
* Numerous other canyons were cut at the edge of the former ocean
basin (now submerged) : La Plata in Argentina, the Delaware and St.
Lawrence in North America, the Congo in West Africa. Off the
African west coast are submerged river canyons whose rivers no
longer exist in the now-arid land.
All these canyons were cut out above water. Now they are submerged.
The curious Buache map was copied from sources whose origins are
lost in antiquity. This ancient “treasure map” portrays correctly
the location of the Canary Islands and the correct outline of an
underwater plateau which formed their extended shape before the
Anciently, the Greek islands would have been larger and more
numerous, as well. The Ibn Ben Zara map of 1487 (likewise copied
from charts apparently thousands of years old) does in fact show
many islands which are now under water.
In the Mediterranean, earth movements resulting from earthquakes
and volcanoes account for most of the submerged cities, but not all.
Because of the general rising of the water level of the
Mediterranean, large sections of cities well known to history are
now under water. Among these are Baise (a sort of ancient Las
Vegas), numerous points along Italy’s western coast, cities along
the Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia, parts of Syracuse in Sicily,
Lepis Magna in Libya, as well as the ancient harbours of Tyre and
Helike is believed to lie on the sea bottom near Corinth. In
ancient times this sunken city was a tourist attraction for Roman
visitors to Greece. They used to pass over it in boats, admiring
the ruins visible through the clear water. The statue of Zeus,
still standing, was clearly visible on the bottom.
INTO THE DEEP
A thousand feet offshore from the island of Melos are the ruins of
an ancient city at a depth extending to 400 feet. From it there
branch out roads, descending even deeper – to unknown destinations.
Jacques Costeau found on the sea bottom another paved road far out
in the Mediterranean.
Sicily was once joined to Italy by land over which ships now sail.
GIGANTIC SUBMERGED RELICS
Off Morocco, on the Mediterranean side of Gibraltar, marine
archaeologist Dr. J. Thorne has investigated an undersea wall.
The wall extends for 9 miles atop a submerged mountain 120 feet
below the surface. Some of its stones are each larger than 2-story
houses (about as large as those used in the gigantic foundation of
the Baalbek temple of Lebanon). Dr. Thorne observed roads going
down the mountain further into unknown depths.
ATLANTIC OCEAN RUINS
In 1985, several hundred miles east of the Azores, a Russian
submarine under the command of Nikolai Seleznev, was filming the
ocean floor with a special deep-diving camera, when, at a depth of
120 feet, they noticed a string of stone columns and then a massive
“We couldn’t believe our eyes,” he said. “We were viewing an
entire city with magnificent boulevards and avenues and they were
lined with what looked like temples and halls, government buildings
Suddenly their power flickered. The engines shut down on their own
and then the needles on the instruments, including clocks, began to
quiver and run backward. Many of the crew began to hallucinate.
The terrifying experience ended as suddenly as it began, after about
15 minutes. (Australasian post, January 30, 1986)
Other explorers have reported a mysterious energy field in the area.
THE PRANK THAT
KILLED A CITY
The sunken city of Ys is placed traditionally close to the French
coast. Here was played out an intriguing story of juvenile
delinquency. It is reputed that Dahut, the daughter of Gradlon,
king of Ys, during a drinking bout with her lover, opened the city
floodgates with a stolen key, to see what would happen….
(In case you haven’t guessed, the sea rushed in and the whole city
went under, forever!)
THE DAY THE SEA
England was once part of the European mainland, with a land bridge
between present-day Dover and Calais. During this initial early
period, settlers probably trekked across the intervening valley
unimpeded. But soon the rising sea level became noticeable.
I can imagine a grandfather standing one day on a hilltop with his
grandson. They look down on the valley below. The old man points
and says, “The sea comes further up that inlet now, than when I was
Perhaps that grandson lived to see that first, historic high tide
go roaring all the way through the valley, scouring out its sides,
joining the North Sea with the Channel.
In locations all around England and Wales are submerged forests.
Trawlers have brought up fragments of oak trees in their nets.
The oaks grew where now are 60 fathoms of stormy water.
MORE RECENT INUNDATIONS
Denmark: Off the coast is the small island of Nordstrand. It is
the last trace of a large tract of rich farmland that, as recently
as 300 years ago, was covered by an inrush of the sea. Six thousand
people and their homes were swept away.
Holland: In the thirteenth century, the slowly rising North Sea
suddenly rushed inland over parts of low lying Holland and formed
the big inlet called the Zuider Zee, destroying 30 villages and
80,000 people. Last century, the Dutch reclaimed this rich land
England: During the reign of Henry II, one of the most important
seaports of England was Shipden in Norfolk on the east coast. It
had a large and beautiful church famous all over England. Five
hundred years ago, Shipden was swallowed up by the sea – church,
dock and all.
The Dover Strait is still widening by about one foot a year.
There are, of course, places where land has been built up with
earth eroded from other sites. But the overall result has been
loss of land.
Again, not all underwater ruins resulted from the rising sea level.
In some cases the land actually sank under. Nevertheless the
rising ocean is still slowly but steadily wearing away the
coastlines of the world. Generally the erosion is scarcely noticed.
At times, however, the waves suddenly gulp down wide stretches of
land without warning.
Its the same story around the world… in the Indian Ocean and also
In fact, I was recently invited to conduct a seminar series the
Solomon Islands in the south west Pacific. The news was given me
of a low-lying island in the Solomons which was recently abandoned
by its inhabitants, who have migrated to land likely to survive
Currently the sea level is rising at the rate of 1.5 feet (45
centimetres) per century. It’s a pity… some of our most exotic
low-lying tropical islands seem next in line to be swallowed up.
But there’s probably no need to rush your travel agent yet.
If you want to discover other amazing facts about lost cities,
here is where to go:
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?
Please email me your questions. I am here to help
you with any questions on ancient mysteries. Just
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International explorer, archaeologist and author
Jonathan Gray has traveled the world to gather data
on ancient mysteries. He has penetrated some largely
unexplored areas, including parts of the Amazon
headwaters. The author has also led expeditions to
the bottom of the sea and to remote mountain and
desert regions of the world. He lectures internationally.
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