Skip to comments.Divers find remains of six 'lost temples'
Posted on 04/10/2002 5:54:43 PM PDT by Pokey78
A MYSTERIOUS settlement that sank beneath the waves at least 1,200 years ago has been discovered by divers off the south-east coast of India.
Granite blocks and walls that lie 20ft below the surface may be the remains of six "lost temples" that form part of local mythology.
The ruins came to light after the controversial amateur archaeologist and best-selling author Graham Hancock interviewed fisherman for a recent television series.
After hearing accounts of the myth of a submerged city, he and two dozen divers searched the sea bed last week.
India's National Institute of Oceanography, which was involved in the discovery, believes the ruins at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu could be 1,200 to 1,500 years old.
But Mr Hancock, who argues that civilisation predates the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians by thousands of years, believes the city could go back to 3,000 BC.
The ruins were discovered half a mile off the coast by a team from the NIO and the UK-based Scientific Exploration Society. They include remains of walls and scattered carved blocks and stones and may cover several square miles.
According to local legend Mahabalipuram was once home to a great city. The gods became so jealous of its beauty that they sent a flood to swamp the city. Six temples were submerged, leaving just one on the shore.
She later went on to become Hollywood's darling.
I've noticed that whenever an archeoligist can't explain what some structure or object is, he decides that its a temple, or has deep religious significance. Sometimes, they're even right.
Of course, its only modern overly-rational mankind that insists on separating the world into religous and non-religous parts.
That deserved at least one!
Pot chard from 9,500 year old site off Indian Coast
I deliiver early morning newspapers and Art is the only "talk" radio I can pick up. I listen "sometimes" just to see what the crazies are up to.
Theory of sunken town off Cuba to get support from geologist's findings
By EGLE PROCUTA-- The Canadian Press
HAVANA (CP) -- Getting to the bottom of the mystery of what could be a lost underwater city near Cuba is far more exciting for a Canadian-led expedition than bringing up emeralds from a galleon on the ocean floor.
This week, their discovery of what appears to be a sunken island with massive temple-like structures will receive an important boost from an expert.
Manuel Iturralde, one of Cuba's top geologists, plans to tell an international conference of geophysicists in Havana on Friday that there is no geological explanation for the megalithic stone formations found in about 700 metres of water some four kilometres off the western tip of Cuba.
Interviewed at his office Tuesday at the National Museum of Natural History in Old Havana, Iturralde said it is still too early to say definitively that the structures are man-made.
But he is eager to gather samples from the site in April and begin solving a mystery has ignited much curiosity and debate, in Cuba and abroad, since it was first announced last December.
Iturralde's conclusion represents a vote in favour of the Canadian-led deep-ocean exploration team that stumbled upon what looked like architecturally arranged stone formations while using sonar scans to comb the ocean floor for sunken galleons in the summer of 2000.
Iturralde was initially skeptical, said Paulina Zelitsky, the exploration team's project director.
Iturralde's doubts were shared by marine archeologists in Europe, who maintained the formations were naturally occurring limestone -- a common underwater geological phenomenon. Other experts have cautioned that there's not enough evidence to suggest there is a sunken city.
"But now the scientific community is catching fire," said Zelitsky, 57, a Soviet-trained offshore engineer who worked in Canada for 30 years.
She is president of Advanced Digital Communications, the company that is joint partners with the Cuban government to salvage archeological treasures from the waters off the Caribbean island.
Her data, collected through sonar scans and videotapes of the site taken from an unmanned vehicle, show symmetrically arranged formations. Their white colour suggests they are made from cut, granite-like stone rather than naturally formed limestone, which is grey or black when oxidized, according to her team.
The megalithic formations -- called Mega for short -- occupy an area of about 20 square kilometres. Zelitsky suggests they might be the remains from a series of rooms connected by large corridors. She wonders whether they were part of a temple-like building used for astronomical purposes about 8,000 years ago.
Iturralde cautioned that more studies are needed to determine whether the formations are indeed the ruins of a sunken city. But after spending a week in mid-March mapping the site from the research ship Ulises, Iturralde said he found physical evidence of "significantly strong seismic activity ... that has not been previously recorded."
This seems to coincide with Zelitsky's theory that an earthquake may have led to the sudden sinking of an island that once lay between the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, at the western tip of Cuba, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Iturralde said it is vital to continue detailed exploration of the site, especially with video images and samples that he was unable to take in mid-March because of equipment difficulties. If the hypothesis of a sunken city proves to be true, he added, it would change the entire understanding of Caribbean history.
Advanced Digital Communications has been struggling to be taken seriously by the scientific community, said Paul Weinzweig, Zelitsky's husband and business partner.
Scientists are hesitant to think seriously about the discovery because it brings up too many questions about Atlantis, the lost underwater civilization that has ignited popular imagination for centuries.
"That's why everybody's scandalized. But there's too much baggage around this and we make no reference to Atlantis," he said in an interview last week from their oceanfront home just outside Havana.
"Cuba is the world's richest underwater cemetery."
The company's primary goal is to bring up treasures from sunken galleons.
But the exploration team, with about 60 Cubans, is finding it difficult to think about anything other than the megalithic structures.
"Right now, we're supposed to be bringing up mounds of emeralds that we've found," said Zelitsky, who several years ago led the team in locating the remains of the U.S. battleship Maine, which was blown up in Havana Bay in 1898.
"But this has taken over our imaginations."
Can't go wrong with a guess like that. Everything was a temple or temple-like, and of course astronomy was the only science.
20 feet below the surface? These things were never lost. They were only unknown to or ignored by educated professionals. I can guarantee you the local fishermen have always known they were there.
I wish Atlantis would be discovered before I kick the bucket!
Me too! Or at least I wish I could hear the old Donovan song "Atlantis" played again on the radio.
Second-hand smoke from all those Cuban cigars. At 2,000 feet deep though,that city has truly been lost!
Don't know. It has to be close though. I notice there hasn't been any further mention of the 'Etruscan like' writing from the Cuban site. They appear to have 'toned down' their excitement some.
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