Soviet Scientist Says Ocean Site May Be Atlantis
By Craig Whitney
Special to the New York Times
Moscow, May 20 - Plato, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and all you science fiction writers who have puzzled over the lost Continent of Atlantis, move over for Prof. Andrei Arkadyevich Aksyonov.
Soviet scientists may maintain that the so-called Bermuda Triangle, an area in the Atlantic where mysterious disappearances of ships and planes is said to have occurred, is nothing but water and that flying saucers are optical illusions. But Prof. Aksyonov says he has photographs of man-made stone walls and staircases at a depth of about 200 feet in the Atlantic Ocean, 275 miles southwest of the Portuguese coast.
"It's possible that it's a part of Atlantis, maybe not the whole thing, but a part," Dr. Aksyonov said. He is a man of established scientific reputation, a deputy director of the Institute of Oceanology of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
His evidence, he concedes, is limited: two pictures showing eleven stones that he believes bear the mark of human handiwork.
The photographs were taken two years ago, not by Dr. Aksyonov but by a colleague, Vladimir I. Marakuyev.
(Photo was here)
The New York Times, May 21, 1979
A Soviet Scientist said he found ruins on the Ampere Seamounts
With a submersible camera on the submerged summit of the Ampere Seamount, a dormant volcano midway between Lisbon and the Madeira archipelago. The ocean floor around the seamount is more than 10,000 feet below the surface.
In his office at the institute, Dr. Aksyonov said recently that he was sorry but he could not show the pictures. "They belong to Marakuyev, and he is very sick with a heart condition in the hospital," he said. "I think they'll be published in one of our scientific journals sometime soon."
Mr. Marakuyev apparently did not realize what he had until late last year, when he got around to developing film from a 1977 exploration of the seamount that he had made in the Soviet research vessel Moskovsky Universitet. "I don't know why it took him so long to get to them," Dr, Aksyonov said.
An offer of Directions
He will not say he has discovered Atlantis, but he offers free directions to anybody else who wants to. "All you would have to do is take a ship with the right equipment to the Ampere Seamount, go down 60 meters, find the stones and bring them up to see if they are manmade or not," he said. "It's my personal opinion that they are."
Accounts of the discovery were published in Europe earlier this spring, and Dr. Aksyonov says they brought amused smiles from oceanographer colleagues in Denmark.
"I asked them, 'Did any of you believe this?' They said 'No,' and they said they laughed a lot."
As he describes the pictures, of a total of eight, only two are really interesting.
'Typical Wall From Antiquity'
"One of them shows eight stones - four square ones and four rounded ones in a line about three and a half or four feet long," he said. "Specialists who've looked at it say it's a typical wall from antiquity. The second photo shows three equally spaced stones at the left-hand edge, and it appears to be part of a staircase."
Dr. Akysonov just returned from an unrelated oceanographic cruise in his research ship, the Vityaz.
"Heinrich Schliemann, the great 19th-century German archeologist, found the ruins of Troy by studying the poetry of Homer very attentively," he said. Mr. Schliemann, too, got a skeptical reaction at first.
Atlantis was described in two of his dialogues, the Timaeus and the Critias. "Plato says it was located in the Atlantic Ocean and on an island and that tribes living on it took part in wars in southern Europe and in North Africa before one day the island sank between walls of water," Dr. Aksyonov said. "I believe that the objects in the pictures once stood on the surface too, though specialists say it's difficult to believe the seamount could have sunk so far," he said.
Cities Lisbon Earthquake
He says that the catastrophe earthquake in Lisbon in 1755 caused a tidal wave and a flood that left part of the city forever beneath the sea. Something similar, he surmises, may have happened to an island of which the Ampere Seamount would be the submarine remnant.
The legends around Atlantis have been nourished over the centuries. It has been variously located in America, Scandinavia, the Middle East and the Canary Islands, 500 miles south of the Ampere Seamount.
"The ocean is full of mysteries," Dr. Aksyonov says. "And our investigations are the beginning of our understanding."
Published May 21, 1979
Copyright the New York Times