The world's century-long quest to find the sunken city of Atlantis will come to life in a new National Geographic documentary. Set to premiere on Sunday 29 January on the National Geographic channel, Atlantis Rising documents the most "sophisticated and extensive search ever made" to find possible traces of the ancient mythical civilisation.
The film features Oscar-winning executive producer James Cameron, award-winning filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici working alongside a group of archaeologists, scientists and historians to pierce the secrets of the "Atlanteans" and find out if a particular place or community could have formed the basis for the legend. You can watch the trailer of the documentary above.
Unlike most legends whose origins are unclear, having been lost with the passing of time, the myth of Atlantis is known to have emerged in the writings of Greek philosopher Plato. Two of his dialogues, the "Temaeus" and the "Critas", dating back to the fourth century BC, reference the city and its mysterious civilisation.
Plato mentions that this story was passed on to him by generations of poets, but his take on the myth is the only record of Atlantis' existence.
Atlantis is described as an island with a great capital city, founded by individuals who were half god and half human and created an Utopian civilisation. Rich exotic wildlife, naturals resources and precious metals were abundant on the island, and the civilisation quickly became wealthy and powerful, with great navigation skills.
However, they progressively became greedy and the gods became angry and decided to punish them. Floods and earthquakes descended upon the island. forever sinking Atlantis into the depths of the sea.
Plato was probably inspired by cities and people from his time to write these dialogues, but there is no evidence that Atlantis existed, nor that the island was engulfed by the ocean. This has not stopped thousands of people across countries and generations to be fascinated by this myth, and to look for clues of the "lost" city's existence.
The National Geographic documentary focuses on the discovery of six ancient anchors that could date back to the Bronze Age. Together, they may be the greatest ancient anchor hoard ever found on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar.
"These anchors could be 3,500 to 4,000 years old and establish a harbour in the Atlantic, where I didn't even dare dream to find anchors," says filmmaker Jacobovici. "It's easier to find a needle in a haystack than Bronze Age anchors in the Atlantic."
How these anchors relate to a potential "Atlantean" civilisation remains to be seen, but the film will be interesting for all those curious about the legend of Atlantis as it documents one of the world's greatest efforts to entangle the truth from the myth.
Past explorations have mostly investigated individual, isolated underwater sites, but in Atlantis Rising, researchers will invite viewers on an extensive journey from Greece to the Atlantic Ocean to increase chances of solving the mystery of the sunken island of Atlantis.