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These ancient civilisations remain trapped under ice and water

Words: Josh Rakic
Photo: Flickr/Ratha Grimes

The Lost City of Atlantis and four more ancient cities that have been lost to the depths of the ocean

Canadian filmmaker James Cameron has been obsessed with what lies beneath the deep ever since taking that tiny personal sub into the depths of the North Atlantic ocean for Titanic. Now, 20 years after the movie’s release, the debut episode of Cameron’s new National Geographic series, Atlantis Rising, claims to have discovered an almost mythical ancient city consumed by water and ice some 6,000 years ago. Many thought the Lost City of Atlantis was under the ice of Antarctica, but Cameron’s latest evidence and claims suggest the city – which apparently disappeared overnight – is in fact located at the entrance to the Mediterranean. With that mind, we’ve gone through the archives to unearth some of the world’s other ancient civilisations lost under ice and water.

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The Lost City of Atlantis

Cameron has followed the writings of Greek philosopher Plato from 360 BC and believes he’s found Atlantis in the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Africa. Though only one episode into his extensive series features the work of historical experts and marine archaeologists, Cameron suggests 4,000-year-old stone anchors found deep underwater are proof of ancient ship docks in the middle of the sea.

The Secret City of Antarctica 

History and conspiracy theorists believe remote sensing photography taken by NASA last year suggest evidence of an ancient civilization – also thought to be Atlantis – lies about 3km below Antarctica and confirms markings on a 1513 AD Piri Reis map by military intelligence. Google Earth images have added to the intrigue, revealing what look to be pyramids emerging from the ice.

© YouTube/Varbage

Heracleion, Egypt 

Also known at Thonis, this ancient Egyptian city was said to be where Cleopatra was inaugurated. It disappeared into the Mediterranean at the mouth of the Nile about 1,200 years ago. This place was one of the biggest trade centres of its time and many experts thought it was a myth before a marine archaeologist discovered it in 2001 when searching for French warships. It’s located 2.5km off the coast in the Abu Qir Bay.

© YouTube/LegitNewz

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The Sunken City of Dwarka, India

In the Gulf of Khambat off the west coast of India, about 37m underwater, lies the sunken city of Dwarka, which archaeologists say is more than 5,000 years old. This vast city was discovered in 2002 by accident during a survey of ocean pollution. Other than structures, recovered debris includes pottery, beads, sculptures, building materials and human remains.

Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Further proof of India’s key role in shaping the world as we know it lies in the waters off the coast of the south of the country, where, in 2016, archaeologists confirmed the site of an ancient civilisation dating back 1,500 years. Locals reported seeing ruins briefly emerge from the water during a 2004 tsunami, so archaeologists visited the site and eventually found brick and stone structures and stairways and walls along the seabed about 1km from the shore and 8m below the surface. Among the finds, the remains of at least three temples have also been found in the area.

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