Cuba’s ‘Sunken City’ Revisited

The Forbidden Archaeologist

In the year 2000, Paulina Zelitsky and her husband Paul Weinzweig, who owned and operated a company in Canada called Advanced Digital Communications (ADC), were doing research for the Cuban government in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the western tip of Cuba (the Guanahacabibes Peninsula). They were using sonar to scan the ocean bottom for old Spanish shipwrecks, which might be the source of treasure, but they found something even more interesting—the apparent remains of a submerged city. BBC News reported on December 7, 2001: “The explorers first spotted the underwater city last year, when scanning equipment started to produce images of symmetrically organized stone structures reminiscent of an urban development” (

In July 2001, the researchers returned to the site with geologist Manuel Iturralde, of the Natural History Museum of Cuba. This time thy used a remote- controlled submersible vehicle equipped with a camera to film the structures. The BBC News report said, “The images the robot brought back confirmed the presence of huge, smooth blocks with the appearance of cut granite. Some of the blocks were built in pyramid shapes, others were circular, researchers said. They believe these formations could have been built more than 6,000 years ago, a date which precedes the great pyramids of Egypt by 1,500 years. ‘It’s a really wonderful structure which really looks like it could have been a large urban center,’ ADC explorer Paulina Zelitsky told the Reuters news agency.” But she admitted that further research was needed for confirmation. According to a report published by National Geographic News (May 28, 2002) Iturralde said, “These are extremely peculiar structures, and they have captured our imagination. But if I had to explain this geologically, I would have a hard time.” In other words, they were most probably not a natural geological formation. The structures were found at a depth of 650 meters (2,132.5 feet).

Zelitsky proposed that the ruins were perhaps those of a town that existed on a land bridge that used to exist between Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico during the last Ice Age. The basic idea is that during the Ice Age huge amounts of water from the earth’s oceans were stored in the ice sheets that covered vast parts of North America and Eurasia. This caused the sea levels to fall, thus exposing land areas that are now underwater, such as the land bridge between Cuba and the Yucatan. Manuel Iturralde, the Cuban geologist, had some thoughts about that. National Geographic News said: “Iturralde noted that conclusive proof of man-made structures on the site could reinforce some oral traditions of the Maya and native Yucatecos. These people still retell ancient stories of an island inhabited by their ancestors that vanished beneath the waves.”

In 2012, Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, who runs the skeptic website Bad Archaeology, said in his report on this case that the depth of the alleged Cuban sunken remains (over 2,000 feet) is a big problem. He pointed out that during the Ice Age the sea levels only dropped a maximum of about 100 meters (328 feet).

In a report published on on February 26, 2016 (“The Exceptional Underwater City of Cuba: A New Theory on its Origins – Part I”), researcher Brad Yoon made a proposal that did not depend only on rising and falling sea levels. Perhaps the land on which the city had originally been built had itself sunk 650 meters because of huge tectonic shifts. However, Yoon stated: “The hypothesis that the city was originally built at a higher altitude and subsequently sunk to its present depth through tectonic activity has not stood up to the scrutiny of the experts. Grenville Draper of Florida International University considers it highly unlikely that such an event could have occurred: ‘Nothing of this magnitude has been reported.’”

Yoon made yet another proposal: “Could the Caribbean Sea have been a dry basin, and could it have been so during the existence of anatomically modern man? Having performed an exhaustive search on the topic, I couldn’t find a single source within the alternative literature let alone a peer-reviewed scientific paper that put forth such a hypothesis. However implausible this hypothesis may be, if true, it would provide a simple and elegant solution to the problem discussed, namely that of how a city could have been built close to 700 meters (2,300 feet) below sea level today, or 580 meters (1900 feet) below sea level even during the maximum drawdown of the world’s oceans. If the Caribbean Sea simply did not exist for an extended period of time in the human past, a reasonably advanced civilization inhabiting the area could have built cities on dry land thousands of feet below sea level, even over 10,000 feet below sea level.”

Yoon’s idea is interesting, but he was limited in his thinking by his idea that the Caribbean, including the Gulf of Mexico, had to have been a dry basin “during the existence of anatomically modern man.” Most scientists today believe that anatomically modern humans appeared less than 200,000 years ago. So there is no evidence that the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico was a dry basin within that period of time.

But I do not accept that humans like us appeared only less than 200,000 years ago. As I have documented in my book Forbidden Archeology, there is evidence showing that humans like us existed as far back as hundreds of millions of years ago. And we can find in the peer reviewed scientific literature evidence that the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean area was a dry basin during the early part of the Jurassic period (145–201 million years ago), before being filled with seawater in the Middle Jurassic. This evidence was summarized by oceanographer R. M. Darnell in 2015 in his book The American Sea: A Natural History of the Gulf of Mexico, published by the Texas A & M University Press. Darnell (p. 28) said that about 176 million years ago, water from the Pacific began to flow into the dry basin through a channel that opened through central Mexico. The basin was intermittently filled by shallow water. Toward the end of the Jurassic, Darnell (p. 30) said water began to flow into the basin from the Atlantic. This flow filled the basin permanently and deeply, creating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. So it is possible that the structures could have been built on the floor of the dry basin by humans during the early Jurassic, over 174 million years ago.

According to the Puranas, the historical writings of ancient India, humans existed at that time. The concept of time in the Puranas is cyclical. The basic unit of Puranic time is the kalpa, or day of Brahma. It lasts for 4.32 billion years. One kalpa follows another. The kalpa is divided into 14 sub-cycles called manvantaras, each lasting a little over 300 million years. According to the Puranic calendar, we are now in the midst of the 7th manvantaras of the current day of Brahma. The 7th manvantaras began about 120 million years ago. The time when the basin of the Gulf of Mexico began to fill with water (174 million years ago) is part of the 6th manvantaras, which extends from roughly 120 million years ago to about 430 million years ago. The Puranas contain histories of persons who lived at that time. And there is some archaeological evidence that is consistent with that. In the year 1862, a scientific journal called The Geologist published an interesting report: “In Macoupin County, Illinois, the bones of a man were recently found on a coal-bed capped with two feet of slate rock, ninety feet below the surface of the earth.” According to a geologist of the Illinois State Geological Survey, the age of the formation in which the human bones were found is between 286 million and 320 million years old. In 1938, geologist W. G. Burroughs reported finding human footprints in rocks of roughly the same age in Rockcastle County, Kentucky (“Human-like footprints,” The Berea Alumnus, November 1938, pp. 46-47). Burroughs (p. 46) stated, “The footprints are sunk into the horizontal surface of an outcrop of hard, massive grey sandstone on the O. Finnell farm. There are three pairs of tracks showing left and right footprints… Each footprint has five toes and a distinct arch. The toes are spread apart like those of a human being who has never worn shoes.” Giving more details, Burroughs said, “The length of the foot from the heel to the end of the longest toe is about nine and one-half inches though this length varies slightly in different tracks. The width across the ball of the foot is 4.1 inches.” He noted, “The foot curves back like a human foot to a human appearing heel.” So even before the time of the Cuban structures, humans were present. So it is possible they could have built the structures that were later covered by 2,000 feet of seawater.


Michael A. Cremo is the author, with Richard Thompson, of the underground classic Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of Human Race. He has also written Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory. (Visit


By Michael A. Cremo •