In his Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization , Graham Hancock examines the numerous structures that have been discovered underwater around the world. Most of the sites that Hancock discusses lie less than 120 meters (395 feet) below sea level, which comes as no surprise since the sea level never fell below this mark during the time Homo sapiens walked the earth. Submerged over 700 meters (2300 feet) underwater, the Cuban city discovered by Paulina Zelitsky and Paul Weinzweig during a joint Cuban-Canadian expedition is the singular exception.
Overturning Old Theories
How can the existence of this underwater city at this great depth be reconciled with the well-established consensus that the sea level never dropped so low? In Hancock’s own words: “What one would not expect to find in water anywhere near as deep as 700 meters would be a sunken city – unless it had been submerged by some colossal tectonic event rather than by rising sea levels.”
However, the hypothesis that the city was originally built at a higher altitude and subsequently sunk to its present depth through tectonic activity has not stood up to the scrutiny of the experts. Grenville Draper of Florida International University considers it highly unlikely that such an event could have occurred: “Nothing of this magnitude has been reported, even from the Mediterranean…”
Great Seas and Vast Depths
On the opposite site of the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea is the Mediterranean Sea. Dividing Europe and Africa, the Mediterranean Sea is an enormous sea – over 2,500,000 km2 (965,255 square miles) that has, at least within the timeline of anatomically modern man, always existed. For millennia, ships of successive great nations and empires sailed the Mediterranean; the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans among them. In 146 BC, owing to its victories in the Punic Wars against Carthage, Rome achieved what no known civilization had hitherto achieved; namely, the control of the entire Mediterranean Sea by a single power.
The Romans, rightly so, called the sea that they ruled over mare nostrum – “our sea”. Could the Romans have ever imagined that “their” sea, long before the dawn of man, was once a dry and landlocked basin? Indeed, they may very well have. In Natural History, Pliny mentions in passing a tradition of the inhabitants near the Straits of Gibraltar: “they also believe that [The Straits of Gibraltar] were dug through by him; upon which the sea, which was before excluded, gained admission, and so changed the face of nature.”
Could it be that the Caribbean Sea has a similar geological history as the Mediterranean Sea? That is, could the Caribbean Sea have been a dry basin, and could it have been so during the existence of anatomically modern man? Having performed an exhaustive search on the topic, I couldn’t find a single source within the alternative literature let alone a peer-reviewed scientific paper that put forth such a hypothesis.
However implausible this hypothesis may be, if true, it would provide a simple and elegant solution to the problem discussed, namely that of how a city could have been built close to 700 meters (2300 feet) below sea level today, or 580 meters (1900 feet) below sea level even during the maximum drawdown of the world’s oceans. If the Caribbean Sea simply did not exist for an extended period of time in the human past, a reasonably advanced civilization inhabiting the area could have built cities on dry land thousands of feet below sea level, even over ten thousand feet below sea level.