Atlantis Found (Again): Yacht Owner Claims to Find Ancient Pyramid in the Azores
Before we begin, a couple of quick notes:
First, thanks to generous donations from readers of this blog, I have updated the Forum section of the website to the full-featured, unlimited discussion paid service. I encourage everyone to give it a try, and if you have suggestions for additional forums or changes you want to see, just let me know. It’s a work in progress.
Second, I wonder how long it will be before Ancient Aliens starts using the McArthur Genius Grant in its advertising. This week astrophysicist Sara Seager won a McArthur Genius Grant, and she has appeared frequently on Ancient Aliens. Seager has publicly faulted the show for taking her out of context and distorting her comments to support the ancient astronaut theory, but given Ancient Aliens’ fast and loose relationship to the truth, I would not put it past them...
Now on to today’s surprising news. Portuguese-language media (and a few English-language reports) are claiming that a sixty-meter-tall pyramid was found in the waters off of the Azores. The structure was allegedly seen by a private yacht owner, Diocleciano Silva, who told the media that the pyramid was regular in shape and aligned to the cardinal directions. Silva estimated the pyramid’s base as being 8,000 square meters (a fraction of the Great Pyramid of Giza’s nearly 53,000 square meters). So far as I can gather Silva did not actually see the pyramid with his eyes but rather detected a roughly rectangular shape with his instruments, recording a set of blue isobars showing the ocean floor. While the Portuguese Navy said it was investigating the claim, both the Navy and the University of the Azores expressed doubt about Silva’s claim, suggesting that the underwater anomaly could have many possible explanations, including a volcanic origin.
Officially the Azores were first discovered in 1427, though sporadic claims of earlier occupations have been routinely proposed, including colonists from Atlantis, Phoenicia, Carthage, Rome, and Africa. So far, however, the only pieces of archaeological evidence are some disputed earthen mounds that may be natural or colonial era, as well as some alleged inscriptions Barry Fell identified as a plethora of ancient languages.
Naturally, the alleged pyramid has already been dubbed the “Atlantis Pyramid” and is making the rounds of the internet message boards as proof that Atlantis has been found.
Were most of the reports not in Portuguese, I’d have put this down to a publicity stunt for the BBC’s new adventure drama Atlantis, which premieres tonight in Britain and in November here in the United States. The show, which takes place in Atlantis, finds the Greek hero Jason, an overweight Hercules, and the sixth century BCE philosopher-mathematician Pythagoras encountering rewritten and re-imagined Greek myths.
Perhaps it says something about the difference between the United States and Britain, but consider this: When Disney released its Atlantis movie back in 2001, it paid for a publicity campaign promoting the idea that Atlantis was real, and the media played along. (Graham Hancock benefited from the hype.) With the BBC’s Atlantis, a journalist from the Guardian actually asked the show’s star, Jack Donnelly, if he was of any relation to Ignatius Donnelly:
"Are you related to Ignatius L Donnelly," I ask, "whose pseudo-scientific 1882 book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World underpins our contemporary fascination with Atlantis?"
I have trouble imagining a U.S. entertainment reporter even being aware of the fictive nature of Atlantis, much less the modern origins of the Atlantis craze.
Depending on technology, I may have a review of Atlantis tomorrow. I am thankful, though, that the show is airing before my due date for my Jason and the Argonauts book so I can bring my book up to date with the first TV series centering on (some form of) the hero Jason.
9/28/2013 07:48:51 am
For the "pyramid" (assuming that's what it turns out to be)...huh, how interesting.
9/28/2013 07:59:55 am
So *that's* where Atlantis has been hiding.
9/28/2013 09:19:47 am
You must have linked to the wrong article. This one just says the local people are like to recognize her from a 2010 Lecture or her appearance on Ancient Aliens. While she mat may have expressed regret after the fact she took the money and sat down in front of the cameras. As a result most TV viewers that recognize her face probably associate her with the show.
9/28/2013 09:53:24 am
The article I linked to notes the connection. There were other articles that specifically identified her as an Ancient Aliens pundit, but in tracing them back I now see that they were all mechanically produced WN.com articles assembled from current article lead paragraphs and older text drawn from a 2012 Scientists' Database profile. I will amend the above text to correct this since WN.com is a piece of crap Google-bait ad site.
9/28/2013 12:38:01 pm
I must have been distracted when I made that post. I look illiterate.
9/28/2013 12:56:15 pm
The first episode of Atlantis can be found here....
9/28/2013 01:25:21 pm
9/28/2013 03:17:24 pm
I've always wondered why Sara Seager keeps going on Ancient Aliens when they are clearly using her. I still have no idea why.
9/28/2013 11:35:33 pm
She gave two interviews back in 2010. They chopped them up and sprinkled them through many episodes to make it look like she appears regularly. It's all from the same interviews, from before she know what they were doing.
9/29/2013 09:58:12 am
I'm waiting to see if they are going to recycle Philip Coppens' segments into the new season.
9/29/2013 03:12:04 am
I saw Atlantis last night, being a Brit - generally it is light-hearted tosh. Not only are Pythagoras (historically real, here pale and geeky) and Hercules (mythical god, here boastful drunkard) living together as flatmates, the Jason of the story is a British interloper from our world sucked through a time portal while piloting a mini-sub on a mission to find what happened to his father's sub years before. This is unlikely to persuade anyone that Atlantis was real... but who knows.
9/29/2013 05:20:29 am
The new "Forum" section is a great idea Jason. I like the ground rules!
9/29/2013 01:37:20 pm
If you're having a section in your book about the Argonauts myth cycle in popular media, did you know about Rick Riordan's young-adult series, the "Heroes of Olympus" series? It's a sequel to the Percy Jackson series, and it is largely based on the Argonauts myth cycle. It even has a hero named Jason, who is named after the original Jason. It's a pretty fantastic read, IMO, and Riordan seems to have done his homework decently well.
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