Regina Leader-Post

Cana­di­ans on in­ter­na­tional dig team

- By RANDY BOSWELL Post­media News Atlantis · Spain · Alberta · Calgary · Canada · United States of America · Austria · Iceland · Japan · Europe · European Union · Hartford · Hartford · Middle East · Belgium · Belarus · Edmonton · Indiana · Indiana Jones · Indonesia · Aceh · Cádiz

An in­ter­na­tional team of re­searchers — in­clud­ing three Cana­dian sci­en­tists who spe­cial­ize in imag­ing buried ru­ins — says it may have dis­cov­ered the site of the fa­bled lost city of At­lantis in the re­mote marsh­lands of south­west Spain.

Al­berta geo­physi­cist Paul Bau­man, along with two col­leagues from Cal­gary-based Wor­leyPar­sons Canada, con­ducted var­i­ous un­der­ground probes as part of a U.S.-led in­ves­ti­ga­tion aimed at solv­ing one of the world’s most en­dur­ing arche­o­log­i­cal mys­ter­ies.

At a time when the world is wit­ness­ing first-hand the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact of a colos­sal tsunami in Ja­pan, the pur­ported iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of At­lantis in main­land Europe — de­tailed Sun­day in a Na­tional Geo­graphic tele­vi­sion spe­cial — comes 2,400 years af­ter Greek philoso­pher Plato first de­scribed a great civ­i­liza­tion de­stroyed by flood­wa­ters fol­low­ing a mas­sive un­der­sea earth­quake.

De­spite cen­turies of spec­u­la­tion about whether At­lantis re­ally ex­isted or was merely Plato’s in­ven­tion of a mythic king­dom “swal­lowed up by the sea,” nu­mer­ous the­o­ries about the pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion of the del­uged city have been ad­vanced in mod­ern times by re­spected re­searchers and fringe pseudo-schol­ars alike.

The lat­est bid to find the lost city be­gan in 2004, when Ger­man physi­cist Rainer Kuhne spot­ted anoma­lous fea­tures in satel­lite pho­tos of the mud­flats near the mouth of Spain’s Guadalquiv­ir River, north­west of the present-day city of Cadiz.

Ground-proof­ing at the Span­ish site, led by Univer­sity of Hart­ford arche­ol­o­gist Richard Fre­und, took place in re­cent years as a Na­tional Geo­graphic doc­u­men­tary crew filmed the search. The spot is “the best pos­si­ble can­di­date that’s ever been dis­cov­ered with the most amount of ev­i­dence,” Fre­und told the Hart­ford Courant last week.

He has also pointed to in­trigu­ing ar­ti­facts dis­cov­ered far­ther north in Spain, where refugees from a flooded coastal set­tle­ment might have re­lo­cated and art­works of a “me­mo­rial” na­ture — per­haps com­mem­o­rat­ing a lost city — have been un­earthed.

Bau­man told Post­media News that he’s worked with Fre­und at about 20 his­toric sites in the Mid­dle East and else­where, though noth­ing with the “high-pro­file na­ture of some­thing like look­ing for the lost city of At­lantis.”

Bau­man said his team’s work with ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar — as well as mag­ne­tome­ters and elec­tri­cal scan­ners used to de­tect ther­mal or chem­i­cal “sig­na­tures” of hu­man­built ob­jects ly­ing buried in sed­i­ments — was car­ried out in the mos- quito-in­fested river delta un­der ex­tremely hot and hu­mid con­di­tions.

Among the Cana­dian team’s find­ings was a sen­sor read­ing of what ap­peared to be a com­mu­nal oven now buried in swampy sed­i­ments far from any known an­cient set­tle­ment. There were also ex­ten­sive struc­tures that could rep­re­sent canals, Bau­man said.

“The most ex­cit­ing mo­ment was when they dis­cov­ered a stat­uette that was clearly very dif­fer­ent from other cul­tures in the area, but sim­i­lar to other styles of carv­ing and rep­re­sen­ta­tional art of the Bronze Age — the pe­riod they were look­ing at,” Bau­man said. “Then they found a sec­ond stat­uette. You can have all the in­di­rect ev­i­dence and geo­phys­i­cal sig­na­tures, but there’s noth­ing like find­ing an ar­ti­fact you can roughly date, and there’s no ques­tion it was made by hu­man hands.”

A Univer­sity of Hart­ford sum­mary of Fre­und’s find­ings de­scribes how the Guadalquiv­ir mud­flats in Spain’s Dona Ana Na­tional Park yielded “strange geo­met­ric shad­ows of what look to be the re­mains of a ringed city” and of­fered other hints that “an an­cient cat­a­clysm sud­denly buried a thriv­ing civ­i­liza­tion un­der me­tres and me­tres of ocean and mud.”

Bau­man, a 51-year-old, Bos­ton­born sci­en­tist who has lived and worked in Cal­gary for more than 20 years, was ac­com­pa­nied to Spain by col­leagues Jen­nifer Mac­Don­ald, of Cal­gary, and Laurie Pankra­tow, of Ed­mon­ton.

“In some ways, it’s more ex­cit­ing in ret­ro­spect be­cause when you’re ac­tu­ally out there in a swamp in south­ern Spain; it’s very, very hot with a lot of mos­qui­toes,” said Bau­man. “We were try­ing not to be com­plete down­ers, but when we were out there, I can’t say we were com­pletely in the spirit of In­di­ana Jones.”

But he said evenings in the field found the re­searchers gath­ered to dis­cuss each day’s find­ings and that “very ex­cit­ing” con­ver­sa­tions took shape as the ev­i­dence mounted.

But Bau­man, who said he has helped un­earth Hud­son’s Bay trad­ing posts in West­ern Canada and lo­cated clean wa­ter sources in In­done­sia’s Aceh prov­ince fol­low­ing that coun­try’s 2004 tsunami disas­ter, told Post­media News that his ex­cite­ment about the At­lantis doc­u­men­tary’s de­but has been greatly damp­ened by the un­fold­ing tragedy in Ja­pan.

 ??  ?? Geo­physi­cist Laurie Pankra­tow of Ed­mon­ton holds up one of two fig­urines found in south­west­ern Spain that ap­pear to date from the Bronze Age, co­in­cid­ing with the pe­riod of the in­ter­preted ex­is­tence of At­lantis.
Geo­physi­cist Laurie Pankra­tow of Ed­mon­ton holds up one of two fig­urines found in south­west­ern Spain that ap­pear to date from the Bronze Age, co­in­cid­ing with the pe­riod of the in­ter­preted ex­is­tence of At­lantis.
 ?? Pho­tos: Cour­tesy of Paul Bau­man, Wor­leyPar­sons ?? Cana­dian geo­physi­cist Paul Bau­man mon­i­tors an elec­tri­cal re­sis­tance de­vice that pro­vides sub­sur­face data at the Span­ish site be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by re­searchers look­ing for the lost city of At­lantis.
Pho­tos: Cour­tesy of Paul Bau­man, Wor­leyPar­sons Cana­dian geo­physi­cist Paul Bau­man mon­i­tors an elec­tri­cal re­sis­tance de­vice that pro­vides sub­sur­face data at the Span­ish site be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by re­searchers look­ing for the lost city of At­lantis.

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