Was Santorini the original Atlantis?
Some scientists believe there are some good arguments that Santorini could be the location of the City of Atlantis. What is left of the island are the remains of the largest volcanic eruption in history over 3000 years ago. This doesn’t match with the timeframe that Plato used but we really don’t know what edits may have occured through history.
Plato tells about a circular island with concentric structures. Santorini today does have an impressive concentric geographic setting and had it also before the Minoan eruption. This has come out because of detailed geologic studies during the past 20 years. Some of the excavations have revealed an inhabited and flowering island landscape and the departing Therean fleet, and some concentric water-land ring structures are visible, too.
Plato writes that Atlantis was situated in the ocean, beyond the “Pillars of Hercules”. The “Pillars of Hercules” were at Plato’s time the Straits of Gibraltar and this would put Atlantis into the Atlantic Ocean. Further, Plato tells that Atlantis was bigger than Libya and Asia together. If one believes Plato literally, Atlantis was then outside of the Mediterranean region. But it is also possible that Solon or Plato either were misinterpreting their old sources or that Plato put it willingly far beyond the Greek-influenced world. And as it turns out there are more than one place referred to as the pillars of Hercules.
There is a lot of support for the theory that the volcanic disaster of Santorini is the source behind Plato’s story of Atlantis. If nothing else it helps with the tourist trade. Details will remain unclear. For example, some people associate Crete with Atlantis rather than Santorini. This is not opposite to the Santorini theory. Santorini and Crete shared a culture, that disappeared on Crete about 100 years later than the eruption. Likely, the impacts of the eruption were enormous for the whole region and might have weakened the power of the Minoans on Crete, so that they could not survive for more than 100 years longer. Also, Crete would fit better to some aspects of Atlantis as described by Plato. It is not very clear from Plato’s writings, whether the described Metropolis and the larger mainland of Atlantis are the same geographic place. So, maybe, the mainland was Crete and the Metropolis with its concentric structure of land and sea could have been Santorini.
In recent years they have found over 200 sunken cities throughout the Mediterranean. More evidence is likely to be found. My personal feeling is that Atlantis was a larger entity outside the Mediterranean and much older. There are clear connections with Mediterranean culture, but I think this is just one small connection to the Atlantis puzzle.
Read more on this theory at http://www.atlantisquest.com