Atlantis in the Bahamas

Astonishing Discoveries of Ancient Port Facilities Challenge the Conventional Wisdom and Raise Important New Questions

The 1968 discovery of the Bimini Road created an ongoing, contentious issue between self-described “skeptics” and those who argue that the structure was manmade. The 1600-foot long formation lies in about 15 feet of water off North Bimini and has an “inverted J-shape.” It is comprised of rows of stone blocks, mostly square and rectangular, but in many areas the stones are more irregular. When it was discovered, the formation was thought to be the remains of a collapsed wall or perhaps a road, and the site has since been called the “Bimini Road.”

The most vituperative arguments against proponents of the site come from geologist Eugene Shinn. Shinn asserts that the formation was a slab of beachrock that fractured in place. The beachrock, he believes, formed 3,000 years ago with 15 feet of sand under it. All the sand washed away and the beachrock settled perfectly to the bottom. Shinn ridicules those who disagree with his guesswork, but a review of his work shows sloppy scholarship and poor reasoning. (visit his web site at: http://www.mysterious-america. net / biminibeachrock.html). During the past few years so much new information has come from explorations at the Bimini Road and nearby Andros that the most likely explanation of these formations is one that was proposed in 1969 by oceanographer Dimitri Rebikoff. Rebikoff suggested that the Bimini Road could be the remains of an ancient harbor similar to those in the Mediterranean.

 

Bimini Road Proponents

Proponents of the Bimini Road as a manmade formation are many. They include archaeologists, biologists and oceanographers, but the media and academics ridicule them. Proponents cite the uniformity of the site and findings that contradict skeptics’ claims. For example, leveling prop stones are found under many large blocks and granite and tongue-in-groove blocks have been found.

Until I visited the Bimini Road in 2003 /2004, snorkeling and diving for dozens of hours, I believed that it was probably natural. I reasoned that the granite and tongue-in-groove stones had been dropped on the site in modern times. After visiting Bimini, I carefully reviewed the skeptics’ claims as well as discoveries made by proponents. Combined with discoveries at Andros, a manmade origin of the Road is probable.

In 1998, archaeologist William Donato made what is arguably the most important find on the Bimini Road. He discovered a well-defined, wedge-shaped ramp, cut from limestone, under larger stones. The wedge has sharp edges and was used for leveling. Donato also found a huge block on the Road with large grooves cut across its edge. This was an important discovery, since all the previous stones with the tongue-in-groove cuts were small.

One other discovery north of the Bimini Road is relevant. In 1979 Steven Proctor found a straight, long line of stones extending from near the modern shoreline at Bimini toward the Road. At regularly spaced intervals, Proctor found piles of stones arranged in neat circles. While researching the 2002 book, Underworld, Graham Hancock’s wife photographed several of these circles and placed them on his website. The circles have long been a mystery.

 

The Andros Platform

In 2003, my wife Lora and I began a series of investigations around Andros Island, which lies in the Bahamas 100 miles from Bimini. Our initial interest was in relocating and identifying the nature of mysterious formations found off western Andros in the late 1960s and ’70s. Aerial photos were taken of what look like stone circles and structures lying in shallow water. Because Andros is remote and GPS was not available when the formations were found, no one had ever visited the sites. We made an extensive aerial survey of the island eventually finding and videotaping all the mysterious structures, including an “e-shaped” formation discovered by Rebikoff. We then made several difficult boat trips to these locations. All of them, unfortunately, turned out to be natural. But before we left Andros, a former dive operator told us about an underwater stone formation he had seen after Hurricane Andrew passed over Andros in 1992. We found the stone formation the next morning. It was so astonishing that we visited the site about 10 times.

The formation is comprised of three tiers of stone blocks. It is approximately 900 feet long and 150 feet wide. Each tier is about 50 feet wide and two feet thick. The top tier, toward the Atlantic Ocean, is under 10 feet of water. The bottom tier, facing the shoreline, is under 15 feet of water. The blocks are generally square and rectangular. The largest blocks are on the front edge of each tier and are as large as 20 by 30 feet. Behind the large blocks on the front of each tier is a mosaic of smaller blocks. The top tier is flat and we discovered what appear to be steps leading to the top tier. Because the formation resembled a building platform, we called the structure the “Andros Platform.” It is located at Nicholls Town and encloses a semi-circular harbor. Our 2003 book and DVD documentary, The ARE’s Search for Atlantis, detail the findings. (Both the book and the DVD are now available through the Atlantis Rising bookstore.) In addition, a 16-minute video, showing the Andros Platform and the Bimini Road, is available for free viewing at: http://www.edgarcayce.org/am.

 

Harbor & Channel at the Andros Platform

On our trips to the Andros Platform, the formation had a different appearance each time because frequent storms shifted sand. We gradually realized that the formation looked like a breakwater enclosing a harbor. However, the depth of the sandy harbor bottom was unknown. It was about 25 feet deep in our first trips to Andros, but if it was used 12,000 years ago, it should have been deeper. In November 2004, we went to Andros with a production crew from The History Channel after a series of hurricanes hit the island. During one of those hurricanes, the eye passed directly over the formation. When we arrived huge sections were deeply covered in sand. But the inner harbor, enclosed by the platform, was now about 65 feet deep. The hurricane had gouged out sand from the harbor but the actual stone seabed still wasn’t visible. It clearly was a deep harbor.

We then looked at what we had earlier thought might be a possible channel into the harbor, at the north end of the platform. Extending into the harbor, cut through the bottom, was a deep channel exposed by the storm. The channel extended through the platform and reefs located another 100 feet toward the ocean. On the other side of the reef lies the 40-mile wide, 110-mile long trench known as “The Tongue of the Ocean.” Locals confirmed that the harbor has never been used except by small fishing boats and there is no record of a channel being made.

 

Tool Marks on the Andros Platform

We have taken about 15 hours of underwater video at Andros and have identified about a dozen square indentations on the top tier. These are all about the size of a posthole. In 2004, Dr. Rudolph Zweistra of the University of Leiden’s physics department took an interest in our video and found several tool marks that had previously escaped our attention. Zweistra found similar tool marks on megalithic ruins in Peru as well as at other underwater sites. Zweistra asserts both the Andros site and the Bimini Road are probably man made.

 

Tongue-in-Groove Block At Andros

During our November 2004 trip to Andros, I scuba dived with two underwater photographers and another diver. Lora videotaped from the surface. Because the water at Andros has strong tidal flows and intense wave action, our group spread out over a vast area. While videotaping, Lora filmed one of The History Channel divers as he was filming me. He was sitting by a large block, which has a distinctive cut groove running horizontally across its edge. The stone’s cut is identical to those found at Bimini by William Donato.

 

Rebikoff’s Harbor Theory

Skeptics have never genuinely examined Rebikoff’s idea about the Bimini Road possibly being a harbor. In a 2003 issue of Athena Review, archaeologists described the difficulties in identifying ancient underwater harbors: “The archaeological challenge centers on problems of visibility, as well as our own expectations of what the physical remains of a prehistoric harbor ought to be. What, indeed, are we looking for? Should we expect to find formal harbor facilities of stone, earth, and other durable materials, in the form of piers, moles, quays, and seawalls?” They assert that what people expect to see at an ancient harbor is seldom seen because constantly changing conditions and other factors (looting) leave sites nearly unrecognizable.

In Central America, a recognized ancient harbor site is located off Yucatan at Isla Cerritos. The harbor was constructed by 400 B.C. and served as the main port for the Yucatan. The remains of a 1000-foot long breakwater still exist at Cerritos. The breakwater was constructed from vertical slabs of beachrock, as was a seawall that encircled the island. In 2004 we visited Cerritos to inspect its construction. Cerritos’ breakwater was made in the same way as a breakwater at the Phoenician harbor of Akko. At Akko, located 15 km north of Haifa, Israel, a 1000-foot long by 36-foot wide breakwater was constructed by forming a vertical wall of beachrock slabs embedded in the bottom with rubble heaped up on its sides. Cut blocks of beachrock were used to create a flat top on the breakwater. A portion of the breakwater was used as a quay (a paved staging area), with a narrow stone pier extending from the shoreline. The breakwater was open on the shoreline, allowing constant water flow to flush silt from the harbor. A platform was constructed off the end of the breakwater with its remains now 15 feet underwater.

While dozens of ancient harbors similar to Bimini and Andros have been found in the Mediterranean, space limitations require mentioning only a few. Dor, about 27 km from Haifa, is a Phoenician harbor built by 1200 B.C. The harbor was constructed from cut beachrock, which in the Mediterranean is carbonate-cemented sandstone. Slabs of beachrock were used to build quays. The quays were made by fitting rectangular slabs together in parallel rows three to four blocks in width. A channel was cut through the bottom allowing harbor access. Dor also had several ship slipways constructed from beachrock. They varied in size but were about 90 feet long and 12 feet wide.

Atlit, a Phoenician harbor dated before 500 B.C., is 20 km south of Haifa. A 400-foot long by 30-foot wide pier was constructed by laying six-foot long slabs of cut beachrock side-by-side using 5-6 layers of stones. Most of the upper layers of stones have “disappeared,” and the vast majority of the pier has only the bottom layer of stones present now under 15 feet of water. Two openings into the harbor served a dual purpose. They allowed ship movement and provided flushing of silt.

Cosa is an ancient harbor in Italy. It has a 400-foot long, 200-foot wide breakwater. Five large stone circles were constructed outside the main Cosa harbor, which were used for mooring.

Claudio, another ancient harbor in Italy, was established before the Roman era. The tops of several stones forming a massive breakwater have square indentations, about the size of postholes used for mooring.

The parallels between the Mediterranean harbors and the Bimini and Andros formations are striking. The Bimini Road, extending for 1600 feet, and the Andros Platform, measuring 900 feet, are both identical to Mediterranean harbors. In addition, the existence of only one level of stones at the Bimini Road is identical to findings at several Mediterranean harbors. In brief, the highest courses of stones were looted over the centuries for construction. Similarly, it is documented that barges of stones were removed from the Bimini Road in the 1930s and taken to Florida to rebuild breakwaters. The size of the stones at both Bimini and Andros are comparable to those employed in the Mediterranean and significantly, beachrock, which was a convenient construction material, was utilized. Like the Mediterranean harbors, both Bimini and Andros show openings for the flushing of silt and passage of ships. The Bahama formations also show clear evidence of piers and quays, and the Bimini Road has what appear to be slipways similar to those at Dor. In addition, the enigmatic stone circles at Bimini are identical to the stone circles utilized for mooring at Cosa. Finally, the square toolmarks on the top tier at Andros are identical in size and shape to the mooring stones at Claudio. In short, both Bimini and Andros appear to be the remains of ancient harbors.

 

Carbon Dating & Sea Levels

In the 1970s, Shinn and others attempted to carbon date the Road by evaluating conch shells embedded in stones. The resulting dates were 2000- to 6000-years ago, which is too wide a range for the dating to be accurate. Geologist John Gifford carbon dated the bedrock under the Bimini Road to 15,000 years ago. Carbon dating beachrock is now known to be flawed because the stones are easily contaminated. The most appropriate dating method is via luminescence, a procedure we hope to soon complete.

If Bimini and Andros were harbors, one possible way of determining the timeframe of their use is via sea levels. Most people know that during the last Ice Age sea levels were at least 300 feet lower than today. Underwater research by Florida State has shown that the 300-foot level occurred around 17,000 B.C. Modern sea levels were reached well before 4000 B.C. Because the current depth of water over the highest tier of the Andros Platform is 10 feet, we believe that the sea level at the time of its construction might have been about 10-15 feet lower than today. Detailed depth charts around Bimini show that when the sea level was 10 feet lower, the Bimini Road was near the shoreline and formed a harbor. The line of stones off the east side of the main formation actually began on the ancient shoreline making it a pier ending at what are possibly slipways. But one factor confounds the issue of determining ancient sea levels. The USGS has found that during the past 7,000 years the seabed off Southwest Florida shows 10-35 feet of additional carbonate sedimentation, essentially forming a new and progressively higher bottom. This finding may explain how Bimini and Andros could have been used far earlier than 8,000 B.C. as well as causing sufficient sediment to fill in harbors. If the seabed under the Bimini Road and Andros Platform has not increased in height, then the best estimate for the use of the harbors would be 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. However, if the seabed has increased in height, then the formations could have been used well before that time period, the supposed time of Atlantis. Our next step is to use newer dating technologies to clarify when the blocks were actually formed.

 

CAPTIONS: Wedge-shaped leveling stone discovered by archaeologist William Donato under a large stone block at the Bimini Road. (Photo by William Donato) “Smaller” stone block on Andros Platform. (Photo by Lora Little) Stone block on top of other blocks at Andros Platform. (Photo by Lora Little) Row of stone blocks on the south end of Andros Platform. (Photo by Lora Little) Leading edge stones of bottom tier (shoreline approx. 300 yds away). (Photo by Lora Little) Probable steps leading to top tier. (Photo by Lora Little) Top tier, just above steps. Note how much sand covers the blocks. (Photo by Lora Little) Steps (outlined) to top tier of Andros Platform. (Credit—Lora & Greg Little)

 

Dr. Greg Little and his wife Lora are authors of several books on megalithic culture in the Americas, including, their recent The A.R.E.’s Search for Atlantis.

By Dr. Greg Little