Monday, June 21, 2010

Remnants of Atlantis? Island Mysteries Offer Tantalizing Evidence.

In 1803 Atlantis proponent Bory de Saint-Vincent published his Essai sur les îles Fortunées. In addition to presenting a straight-forward account of Plato's Atlantis, he also posited that the "lost continent" had subsided in two separate events, leaving behind only traces of their homeland: the Canary, Madeiras, and Azores islands.

In a map from his book, Saint-Vincent describes Atlantis as having once laid due west of Africa, almost touching at capes Bojador and Verde. He called the resultant body of water between these two points "Lac Tritonide," an element important in Diordoro's account of the Argonauts and the African Amazons. On the map, the Canary islands mark the original Atlas range. He (and others) felt that the towering 12,000-foot Pico de Teide matched far better the descriptions of Mount Atlas. Mount Teide, Tenerife

This is curious if you know a little something about Tenerife, that Canary island upon which can be found Pico de Teide. It is on this, the largest of these islands, that one can visit the mysterious Pirámides de Güímar. These mysterious stepped plazas and ziggurats were produced by unknown hands at an uncertain point in time. One of the Mysterious Pyramids

No less than the legendary Thor Heyerdahl attempted to plum its mysteries without much success. However, there is a theory that some archaelogists hold to: adventurous sailors from North Africa made their way to the tiny cluster of islands nearby. These first inhabitants, who seem to have gone extinct, are known collectively as "Guanches". While gone from history, traces of their language live on in dialects found on the Canary island of La Gomera. Later, both the Phoenicians and Carthaginians visited the island on numerous occasions. They found a Berber-like people eeking out a Neolithic life on the island.

It is possible these Guanches were the constructors of these enigmatic "pyramids". However, it remains a mystery as to why they were built. Could there be something to legends of Atlanteans living beyond the Pillars of Hercules? Perhaps not if one must think of a massive continent extending down from the western coast of Africa. However, if through translation blips and exaggeration, Atlantis was more of a political or cultural state than a geographic region, we might consider a culture that spanned multiple islands. Much like the Celts ranged all over Europe before retreating to enclaves on the northern islands, perhaps the Atlanteans held sway over various coastal regions and offshore islands prior to some event that left them stranded or diminished. It is a fact that the region is littered with seismic activities and volcanos. It wouldn't be hard to picture a dramatic end to this proposed-culture.

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