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Was there a real Atlantis?

Author's Note

I grew up ravenous for information on the fantastic, like ghosts and lost civilizations like Atlantis. I was equally interested in archaeology, it being the first word I could spell that impressed friends and teachers alike. So the concept of an actual lost city has long been of great interest to me. It combines the fantastic gruesomeness of an entire city being lost with its inhabitants trapped within as the earth swallows it with the thrill of being discovered intact millennia later by archaeologists. I was engrossed by stories and photos of Pompeii from the first time I heard of it and it was the same when I recently came across a small entry on Helike. The more I dug, the more amazing the story became -- it being the possible and likely inspiration for Atlantis; there being more than one lost city in the same spot, separated by centuries. I wanted to write about it, initially as a blog post, but then I realized that there was too much good stuff here for a short post. That initial ambition became this article and then later the companion Stuff You Should Know podcast episode on the topic.

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  • Cooper, Henry S.F. Jr. "The road to ancient Helike." Natural History. November 2000.;col1
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