Dwarka, Gulf of Cambay, India
Could the undeniably geometric ruins in India’s Gulf of Cambay be the lost city of Lord Krishna? Many Indians believe so, designating Dwarka as an important site for Hindu pilgrimage. The ruins are located just off the coast of modern-day Dwarka, one of the seven oldest cities in India. The ancient Dwarka was a planned city built on the banks of the Gomati river but was eventually deserted and submerged into the sea, as documented in texts like the Mahabharata and Purana, though some experts maintain that it was mythological.
As the story goes, Lord Krishna had a beautiful and prosperous city built, with 70,000 palaces made of gold, silver and other precious metals. It was his death that supposedly sent Dwarka sinking into the sea.
The ruins, discovered in 2000 and investigated with acoustic techniques, are known as the Gulf of Khambat Cultural Complex. They’re 131 feet beneath the surface. One of the artifacts dredged up by scientists was dated around 7500 BCE, which could support the theories that it is, in fact, the ancient Dwarka.
The Pyramids of Yonaguni-Jima, Japan
Experts can’t seem to agree whether the Yonaguni Monument, a strange geometric formation found off the Ryukyu Islands of Japan, is natural or man-made. But looking at photos of the terraced stone, cut into triangle shapes in some areas, it’s difficult to imagine how it could have been created by nature. The site is a popular diving location despite strong currents, especially because it tends to be a congregation point for hammerhead sharks.
It was called Heracleion by the ancient Greeks and Thonis by the ancient Egyptians. Once situated on the northern coast of Egypt and established as one of the most important port cities of the Mediterranean, the city has been sitting at the bottom of the sea that it once served. Recently excavated after 1,200 years underwater, Thonis-Heracleion has been slowly giving up its secrets.
Artifacts brought to the surface indicate that the city was once a massive trading center and bustling port city. More than 60 ancient shipwrecks have been found in the immediate area, along with hundreds of anchors, coins from across the sea, tablets inscribed in ancient Greek and Egyptian, and massive sculptures that were thought to have once adorned the city’s temples. Those temples have also remained eerily intact, complete with offerings and votives once given to the ancient Egyptian gods.
The city was once the official port-of-entry for Egypt, somewhere around 664 to 332 BC. Now, the city is far from the coastline – the first concrete evidence of the civilization was found 6.5 kilometers off the current coast.
The ancient city of Phanagoria is a case of fiction and mythology becoming truth. According to Roman history, an uprising in 63 BC ended with a huge part of the city being burned and the wife and children of Mithradates VI being murdered by the angry mob. For years, it was thought the whole thing was a story – it was completely unsubstantiated, after all.
Until an archaeological expedition to the underwater necropolis of Phanagoria uncovered a gravestone that read, “Hypsikrates, wife of Mithradates VI”. Hypsikrates is the masculine form of her name Hypsikratia; the gravestone immortalizes part of her legend, that she was so bold, outspoken and courageous that her husband often referred to her in the masculine.
Phanagoria is the largest Greek city that now sits on Russian soil. Located on the Black Sea, it was founded in the 6th century BC and now about a third of the city is underwater, earning it the nickname of the Russian Atlantis. Much of the underwater portion of the city is covered with sand, and includes port structures and a massive section of the city’s necropolis. Divers have also found marble plinths that were once the base of massive statues, along with a huge amount of artifacts left behind by those that once occupied the city.
Cleopatra’s Palace, Egypt
Part of ancient Alexandria sit at the bottom of the ocean, and the 2,000 year old city has been the target of decades of excavation. It’s a long and painstaking progress, but the same poor visibility and heavy waters that hinder excavations and archaeologists now have protected the city for generations, from the time it slid into the ocean after an earthquake.
The Chinese city of Shicheng was founded 1,300 years ago, and much of it was built over the next 300 years. The city’s distinctive architecture includes buildings that date to the Ming and Qing dynasties, beginning with a rule in 1368.
The entire city was flooded in 1959 – and, weirdly, it was flooded on purpose. More than 300,000 residents were relocated, and for some, that meant leaving their ancestral home; families were able to trace their history back through the generations, and it had always involved Shicheng.
Olous, Crete, Greece
While many underwater cities are either difficult to reach or the protected sites of archaeological digs, the remains of the Minoan city of Olous are accessible to all.
Olous once sat on the northeastern end of Crete, and was a thriving city with somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 residents. Thought to have been in its heyday sometime before 800 AD, the city was built not on rocky ground – like other Cretan cities – but instead was constructed on the soft, unstable sands of the coast. A major earthquake struck the area, and the city quite literally shifted and slid into the surrounding waters.
Today, divers and snorkelers can poke around amid the ruins of the ancient city. The clear water means that it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the underwater ruins, and occasionally artifacts – like coins – are still found. Some of its features – like an ancient city wall – are still above water, showing exactly where the rest of the sunken city is. There’s also still remnants of murals, floors and walls on land.
The Mulifanua Site, Samoa
The Lapita were the original settlers of Micronesia and Polynesia. They settled the islands after leaving Taiwan and Eastern Asia around 2,000 BC, and by 500 BC they had created numerous settlements throughout the Pacific islands. Incredibly skilled fishermen and sailors, the culture is also known for their very distinctive pottery.
The discovery of more than 4,000 of the distinctive pottery shards off the coast of the Samoan island of Upolu have confirmed that the ancient settlement now submerged beneath the Pacific waters was one of the region’s Lapita villages.
Archaeologists have dated the site to an occupation that happened around 3,000 years ago, during the period of migration and settlement throughout the islands. The site off Upolu is the only confirmed site of Lapita habitation found in Samoa or American Samoa; it’s believed that at the time people were living there, the area was a wide, sandy beach. While little beyond the pottery shards remain of the village, it’s thought that at one time it was the site of one of the Lapita’s distinctive stilt villages. It’s not known how many other villages could still be found in the islands, as the water levels have been extremely variable over the centuries and what was once coastline could now be in the center of an island.
Gulf of Cambay, India
In 2002, the ruins of an incredibly ancient city were found in India’s Gulf of Cambay. Sitting beneath almost 40 meters of water, they were found quite accidentally by an organization conducting a study of water pollution – and they’re forcing archaeologists to rethink the timeline they have in place for our most ancient of ancient history.
The city predates everything that’s currently known as far as archaeological ruins go – by 5,000 years.
Previously, the 4,000-year-old city of Harappan was considered the cradle of life. A thriving Mesopotamian city, Harappan was remarkably advanced for the time, with systems of water storage, straight, well-made streets, ports and fortifications. Now, some believe that the people who founded Harappan were descended from this earlier city, perhaps forced from it when it was swallowed by the waters.
Lake Titicaca’s Pre-Incan Ruins, Bolivia/Peru
As the world highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca has long been shrouded in mystery. Even today, locals believe the lake is sacred and for a while, its depth and the difficulty in diving in the lake made it seem incredibly likely that its secrets would be kept forever.
Recently, dive teams from Akakor Geographical Exploring made more than 200 dives to document the ruins that they found sitting at the bottom of the lake. Not dissuaded by the challenges deep diving at high altitudes presents, archaeologists uncovered the ruins of an ancient temple complex that pre-dates the Incas. Estimated to be around 1,500 years old, the complex includes a temple, roads, walls, and terraces that would have been used for growing crops.
The find comes after generations of stories have been passed down through local families. The stories tell of a long-lost underwater city beneath the lake, and until recently, technology hasn’t been sufficient to make the dives. The temple complex was found in water only about 20 meters deep, and it was only found when divers first discovered a road – then followed that to the temple.
According to Inca lore, the lake is the location of the birthplace of their entire civilization. It’s long been said to be the site of an ancient city called Wanaku, and it’s also been rumored to be the final hiding place of gold stolen by Spanish conquerors and then lost.
Numerous artifacts have been recovered, including gold fragments, ceramic statues, stone statues and vessels, human and animal bones, and incense containers.
Atlit-Yam is the name given to the site of several Neolithic settlements found along the Carmel coast. The sprawling site includes ancient stone wells, the foundations for homes and other buildings, round foundations, and ancient roads. It’s been estimated that the buildings were constructed between 7,550 and 8,000 years ago, and it’s believed that it was submerged suddenly after a tsunami engulfed the area, probably caused by a volcanic eruption
At the center of the settlement there are ancient stone circles, which form religious worship grounds that include fresh-water springs. It’s thought that the sites were devotional, probably dedicated to the water spirits. Some of the stones are standing upright as in traditional stone circles while other stone slabs seem to have been used as altar stones.
Human remains have also been found at the site, including the skeletons of 65 men, women and children. Examination of the skeletons has shown that several died from tuberculosis, making the site the home of the earliest known cases of the deadly disease.
Baiae was an ancient Roman city that was a little bit Sodom, a little bit Gomorrah, and a lot Las Vegas. It was the playground of the elite, the rich and the famous, the site of permanent vacation homes for people like Julius Caesar and Nero. Part of the allure was the city’s hot springs; it sat on a series of volcanic vents, and ensured a regular source of hot water for baths and spas.
In the 8th century, the Saracens moved through the area and sacked the city. It never recovered, and was ultimately abandoned sometime around 1500. It was inevitable, though, as waters were rising and slowly flooding the city, which had already sat low on the bay. The volcanic vents that had been such a draw to the city in the first place were shifting; other cities in the area, like Pozzuoli and Miseno, were also sunk beneath the waves.
Seahenge Norfolk, England
Seahenge, also known as Holme 1, consisted of a ring of fifty-five oak trunks that formed a circular enclosure with a large inverted oak stump in the centre. The trunks were placed in a trench and not in individual holes with their bark facing outwards and split sides facing inwards. Placed about 3 ft into the ground, we will never know how tall the trunks actually were. It was built around the 21st century BC. After its discovery in 1998, the site was excavated despite protests from Neo-pagan groups and the timbers were cleaned and placed in permanent storage. A recreated Seahenge was placed at the original site and a museum opened to the public in 2008.
Pavlopetri Peloponnese, Greece
Pavlopetri is unique as it is the earliest submerged archaeological city to have been discovered. It had a layout of streets, courtyards, tombs and various buildings that has largely remained as it was millennia ago. Accurately mapped for the first time in 2009, archaeologists were amazed to discover the site sprawled more then 30,000 square meters. The town was engulfed around 1000 BC by an earthquake. A protected underwater cultural heritage site as listed by UNESCO, it remains in danger of being damaged by thieves, tourists and boat anchors.
The Shore Temple Mahabalipuram, India
The famous Mahabalipuram temple has always been encased in folklore. The legends spoke of seven temples that were so dazzling; the gods grew envious and sent a flood that submerged all but one of them, leaving the Shore Temple companionless. After the Tsunami of December 2004, a collapsed temple as well as several other structures and primordial rock sculptures used in the same era to decorate walls and religious shrines were exposed. It revived theories that Mahabalipuram formed part of the Seven Pagodas the first Europeans wrote about.
The Bimini Road, sometimes called the Bimini Wall, is an underwater rock formation near North Bimini island in the Bahamas. The Road consists of a 0.8 km (0.50 mi)-long northeast-southwest linear feature composed of roughly rectangular to subrectangular limestone blocks.
Although it is generally considered to be a naturally occurring geological feature, as a result of the unusual arrangement and shape of the stones some believe that the formation is the remains of an ancient road, wall, or some other deliberately constructed feature. For example articles published in Argosy (an American pulp magazine) and either authored or coauthored by Robert F. Marx, a professional diver and visitor to the Bimini Road, argued that the Bimini Road is an artificial structure.
MEGALITHIC RUINS near Yucatan Channel, Cuba
A team of scientists continues to explore megalithic ruins found in the Yucatan Channel near Cuba. They have found evidence of an extensive urban environment stretching for miles along the ocean shore. Some believe that the civilization that inhabited these predates all known ancient American cultures. So far, only computer models of this mysterious underwater city exist.
Samabaj Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Discovered in 1996, researchers have concluded that the ruins were originally an island until volcanic activity or a landslide sunk it 1700 years ago.
All over the world, there are sunken cities, in every single corner of our Globe we will find evidence of cities that crumbled and were devoured by the ocean. There’s more than 200 known sunken cities in the Mediterranean alone and what we’re looking at are the remains of cities at a time when mainstream archaeology tells us there were no cities, anywhere in the world, now it really does not take long to connect these ancient underwater ruins with unidentified objects.
Throughout history we have reports of strange lights coming out of the oceans, strange phenomena that you cannot explain. Some of these lights are attributed the lesser-known marine counterpart to UFO‘s, the USO or Unidentified submerged objects. Is it possible that Alien civilizations have underwater bases on our very own ocean floor? Ancient Astronaut believers say yes.
Covering more than 71% of the planet, the Earth’s oceans are a vast and largely unexplored mystery and even today we have trouble accessing and mapping the ocean floor. For most of recorded history, man could only guess at what lay beneath the ocean’s surface, but thanks to today’s technology we are able to explore our oceans with greater detail then ever before.
Today we have equipment that can access areas and depths that some years ago were inaccessible to us and we could only guess what was really down there, how many amazing underwater worlds are just waiting to be found?
Scientific theory suggests that during Earth’s last Ice Age, ocean levels were once much lower than they are today.“You have to envisage a world in which there are two mile-deep ice caps sitting on top of northern Europe and North America, in which are accumulated enormous quantities of water we know that this water began to melt about 21,000 years ago, and finished melting about 10,000 years ago.” – Graham Hancock