Unknown metal ingots on shipwreck offer hint that Atlantis might be real

Rob Waugh

An unknown metal said to have been used in the sunken city of Atlantis has been found on 2,600-year-old shipwreck near the coast of Sicily.

The 39 ingots of ‘orichalcum’ - described by Plato in his writings about Atlantis - are utterly unique. 

'Nothing similar has ever been found,' an expert said.

Plato described Atlantis as glittering ‘with the red light of orichalcum’, and he claimed that it was mined there, and used to build huge, glinting temples to the sea god Poseidon.

A group of Brazilian and Japanese scientists working on the South Atlantic seabed prevoulsy found continental rocks that could be remains of the so-called lost continent. Using a submersible capable of descending to depths of 6,500 meters and collecting samples, they have discovered a granite formation on the Rio Grande Elevation, a rise on the ocean floor about 1,500 km southeast of Rio de Janeiro. According to geologists, as a result of tectonic movements, a land mass which was once above sea level could have sunk into the ocean during the separation of Pangaea, the name given to the giant landmass that existed at the end of the Paleozoic era and whose division formed the continents today known. Roberto Ventura, geologist: “When these samples came aboard the ship, the first surprise was, what are these rocks doing here? We did petrographic, geochemical and geological studies of this material. At the time we came up with the study results – which even then was an unexpected surprise for us – plus the fact that it was in the Rio Grande Rise region, which is a rise with shallower water and with lower gravimetric density than normal oceanic crust made us start to think it was continental crust.” The submersible the scientists are using has barely enough room for just three people, just two pilots and a scientist. It is equipped with a powerful mechanic arm, able to collect samples. The question now is could their discovery be the fabled metropolis of Atlantis, described nearly 2,600 years ago by Greek philosopher Plato and vanished forever beneath the sea?

Sebastiano Tusa, of Sicily's Sea Office, said, ‘The wreck dates to the first half of the sixth century. It was found about 1,000 feet from the coast at a depth of 10 feet.’

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'Nothing similar has ever been found. We knew orichalcum from ancient texts and a few ornamental objects.'

The real metal is a brass-like alloy, which was made in a crucible in ancient times.

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The ingots offer a tantalising hint that Plato’s stories of Atlantis might have been more than myth - many argue that his tale of the sunken city is ficiton, meant to illustrate his political theories.

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Plato’s account of Atlantis was written around 360BC - he describes it as bigger than Turkey and Libya put together, and claims it was a major sea power located in the Atlantic.

The philosopher wrote, ‘It was the way to the other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent.’