The legend of Atlantis was almost certainly invented by Plato to promote the political ideal expressed in his masterwork The Republic, while praising the heroism of his ancestors. In doing so he might have reworked the myth of the foundation of Egypt, which was attributed to divine invaders arriving from the west during the supposed flourishing of Atlantis.
The key issue explored in these pages is the curious coincidence between the alleged chronology of Atlantis and the timing of real climatic events that support some elements of the myth. The moment of the demise of Atlantis in the myth coincided with the so-called Meltwater Pulse 1b, a sudden warming episode that ended a turbulent climatic period, marked as well by the development of navigation and by the birth of agriculture and temple building in the Middle East.
Although the existence of analogous cultural advances on the central/western Mediterranean shores is today archaeologically unproven, the hypothesis could be verified if the remnants of a submerged culture from the purported time of Atlantis were to be found.
Such a possibility exists for the Strait of Sicily, where a number of islands now lie submerged. The island of Pantelleria, the only source of obsidian in the Strait of Sicily, has not disclosed extensive lithic industries on its soil, implying that the processing was probably made elsewhere. If obsidian or other archaeological traces were to be found on a submerged island in the Strait of Sicily, this would push occupation in this area three or four thousand years earlier than acknowledged today, exactly to the time of Atlantis.
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