The location of the lost city of Atlantis may finally have been discovered, according to one team of historians.
Ancient ruins examined using satellite imagery provide evidence that the city’s huge harbour walls once stood in southern Spain, the experts say.
Many of the sites studied by the team were already known to archaeologists, and are thought to have been constructed by the ancient Romans and Greeks.
Now researchers at private satellite imaging firm Merlin Burrows claim to have found evidence that the sites were in fact built by a mysterious ancient people known as the Atlanteans.
Atlantis was recorded in the writings of Greek philosopher Plato, who in 400 BC described an advanced island civilisation that ruled a vast maritime empire, some 9,000 years before his own era.
The city of Atlantis at the centre of this empire was described as having an enormous harbour wall, huge entrance pillars, a temple to the god Poseidon and massive circular pieces of land carved out by the Atlanteans to live on.
It is thought a cataclysmic natural disaster, such as a tsunami or volcanic event, eventually wiped out the Atlanteans, consigning their legacy to legend.
Scientists are yet to find conclusive evidence that Atlantis existed. Many scholars believe Plato invented the story as a way to present his philosophical theories.
Experts at Merlin Burrows believe the flooded ruins of the legendary city are off the coast of southern Spain.
The location is somewhere north of the city of Cadiz, Andalucía, centred around the Doñana National Park, which the historians believe was once a vast inland sea.
And they claim that south and north of the park there is further evidence of the ancient civilisation, with 15 other settlements dotted along the coastline.
Most of these settlements are believed to be of Roman or Greek origin by archaeologists, as each civilisation once occupied the area.
But now using unique satellite investigation techniques, aerial photography and ground observations of the site, British experts believe they have found all the features of Atlantis Plato described and evidence of how they were destroyed.
Although some scholars believe Atlantis to be a myth, Merlin Burrows claim their discoveries will once and for all prove the lost civilisation existed.
Maritime historian Tim Akers, head of research at Merlin Burrows, said not only had they discovered Atlantis, but also found the people were incredibly advanced.
He said ‘laboratory analysis’ of material recovered from Spain showed evidence of a type of cement not seen before, as well as ancient advanced metallurgy.
A greenish blue patina has been found covering some of the ruins which tests have shown is an ancient combination of metals.
He said: ‘Plato describes in detail a patina on the buildings and structures of the cities and temples making up this complex.
‘We have filmed clear evidence and have collected samples which have been scientifically tested in a lab in Modena, Italy, which is used to test ancient Roman finds.
‘The results of the tests prove the age of the finds are older than Roman or Greek, and that they were more advanced.’