The ancient civilization of Atlantis was a utopia. It was lush and full of food and wildlife. And the people of Atlantis were wise and just. They were a knowledgeable society capable of amazing feats of architecture and engineering. Most people believe that the story of Atlantis is just a legend, but some say it was a real place that was destroyed by a flood and earthquakes.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato learned of the lost civilization of Atlantis from a relative named Solon. Plato said that Solon visited Egypt around 600 BC, where he learned of Atlantis from priests at the Temple of Sais. The priests said that Atlantis was destroyed 9,000 years before the time of Solon. This would place Atlantis at approximately 9600 BC. According to author and historian Graham Hancock, this timing is significant.

Throughout history, many explorers have searched for the lost city of Atlantis, but have failed to find it. These days, the story of Atlantis is generally thought of as a myth, but that might be changing. New evidence points to a global disaster, which could have caused its destruction.

After the last great ice age ended about 15,000 years ago, the world began warming again. Then after thousands of years of warming, temperatures plummeted and then rose again rapidly 1200 years later. This event is called the Younger Dryas. At the beginning and end of the Younger Dryas, the rapid climate change wreaked havoc on our world. This event ended in approximately 9600 BC – the same time that Plato said Atlantis was destroyed.

Some scientists believe that the climate change of the Younger Dryas was caused by comet fragments. Regardless of the cause, the sudden warming would have caused flooding in some areas.

Many ancient cultures tell stories of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. In the Bible, Noah builds a boat to save people from a catastrophic flood. According to other legends, destruction comes from the sky, which could actually be stories of comets. Other ancient stories speak of a time when the world was on fire or a time when the earth shook. Graham Hancock claims that these ancient legends and what we know of the earth’s history of climate change both support Plato’s story of the destruction of Atlantis. Indeed, the timing of the Younger Dryas and the timing of Plato’s account of Atlantis appear to be spot on.


Vocabulary

civilization

an advanced stage of society or culture

utopia

a paradise, a perfect place

feats

accomplishments

myth

a traditional but not factually accurate story about the early history of a people

plummeted

fell rapidly

wreaked havoc

to ruin or destroy something

spot on

accurate


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