2010 Bimini Area Expedition Results--A Follow-up On The ARE's Search For Atlantis Project
by Dr. Greg Little
In May 2010 Dr. Lora Little, filmmaker Stan Prachniak, Kimberly Prachniak, and I spent over a week in the Bimini area. Our primary purpose for this trip was relaxation and a vacation but several days were highlighted by excursions to several key locations around Bimini (up to 10-miles away) where we were shown several newly found underwater spots by Eslie Brown. We also took the time to visit several places on land, such as the Fountain of Youth, which we had oddly never seen while there. We also took a close look at a plane we believe had disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle and had been featured on a National Geographic show. The results from the plane investigation will be presented later. In addition, we examined the extensive and impressive wreck of a DC-6 found underwater to the east of Bimini. See the article by Stan Prachniak for more info on these. Stan's article is in the form of a personal diary and gives a good idea of what some of these trips are like.
A summary of the key things we filmed, photographed, and examined at various locations are catagorized below. Photos of several of the areas discussed can be found here.
On the one day we had in the area with little or no winds (the day we arrived), Lora and I took our boat to the deep area called the "Rectangles," which is a wide-spread area of uniformly arranged square and rectangular formations lying on the bottom at 100-feet. The coral encrusted stone formations are found on a mile-long swath about 200-feet wide. They were first identified by archaeologist Bill Donato in 2006 who found them using side-scan sonar. The side-scan sonar images of these look very similar to the few sonar images that have been released from the famous "Cuba" site some years ago. Our one dive at the rectangles, conducted with the History Channel over a year ago, was necessarily brief but pointed to these odd stone piles as probably being manmade. These formations, generally 10 by 45 feet or so in size, appear to number about 50, are laid out in straight, parallel lines, and are located at the edge of the 10,000 BC shoreline—the age of Atlantis. Using our color drop video camera we obtained some stunning closeup footage of the sides of several of the formations. There are areas where it does appear that stone blocks form the sides, but until a close-up and thorough archaeological investigation takes place, the origin of them remains speculative. One photo is here. In past months the ARE has also been to this area using professional dive teams and film crews. They have found that about 50 separate formations are there. (We had identified about 35 on our side-scan sonar, but they we in a more limited and smaller area.) In addition, the ARE continues to investigate a series of ridges in even deeper water that look to be terraces. The ARE has been concentrating its exploration efforts in areas which are 150 to more than 300-feet in depth.
The Paradise Point Pier
This manmade stone formation, which is actually three separate lines of multi-layered stone blocks, was first found in 2004 with Bill Donato, Andrew & Sue Collins, Lora Little, and me. It is clearly a manmade breakwater of unknown origin. Its depth is from about 8-feet to approximately 15 feet. On this trip Lora spent considerable time filming it and discovered, for the first time, definitive stone anchors embedded into the piled stone forming the breakwater. There are several huge anchors there, but the smaller ones are similar to Arawak anchors. There are three separate anchoring, docking, and breakwater formations underwater off the west side of Bimini. All three have stone anchors and show clear evidence of being used by a maritime culture—unrecognized and unacknowledged by mainstream archaeology. These are the Paradise Point Pier, what is known as "Proctor's Road" (a series of stone block circles on a mile-long line), and the Bimini Road. Proctor's Road, running for about 3/4 of a mile, is strewn with stone anchors.
Wooden Ship & Ballast
Storms and tidal surges shifted a great deal of sand at Bimini since our last trip there in 2009. The remains of a large wooden ship (which had been burned) were found off Bimini in about 15-feet of water. In the center of the huge sand-covered wooden planks and burned remains of the ship is a huge pile of small ballast stones. We looked at this ship the second day we were there and by the 6th day sand was beginning to cover it. We have no dating or speculation on the origin of this ship. I will mention that for decades there has been a rumor repeated on documentaries and in books and articles that a Phoenician ship was located at or near this spot.
First Definitive Underwater Stone Building Ruins Found?
Are these Pino Turolla's "Columns"?
There were two huge surprises we had during our stay. One of the most intriguing underwater "areas" we filmed we were taken to by Eslie Brown. Eslie and his wife had noticed extensive shifting sands during the past year and had spotted something very unusual off South Bimini that had previously been covered.
Back in the 1970's a report had been made by Pino Turolla detailing the discovery of about 30 long stone columns off South Bimini. Some of these were described as rectangular beams over 30-feet in length. When Turolla first found these there was no GPS available and shifting sands are a continual problem at Bimini. The columns have never been refound and some skeptics have asserted that Turolla's columns never existed. When I first saw this unusual set of ruins, I thought that it may be Turolla's forgotten and dismissed columns. Thus, we dubbed the area the "columns" but it's definitely not an appropriate term. It is now clear that this underwater area contains the ruins of a stone building or buildings. Photos can be found here.
The ruins are in about 20-feet of water and are surrounded by pristine white sand on all four sides. Thus, the ruins stand out in stark contrast to the sandy areas around them. The "ruins" area is a near perfect rectangle roughly 20-25 feet wide and 30 feet long. The outside "edges" (the outer walls of the ends) of the structure are formed by well-defined rectangular foundations still in place. These are about 20-25 feet long or so, a foot wide and about 1.5-feet in depth. Our dive at the site was unable to determine if the outer foundations walls (or "columns") are a type of concrete or are fused stone blocks. A definite corner was visible on one end of the foundation, which extended under the sand for an unknown length. Running across the center of the ruins is a third straight rectangular foundation, which appears to have divided the structure into two rooms. Inside the outer foundation walls are perhaps a few hundred stone blocks of varying sizes scattered about including many that were standing up against the insides of the outer foundation walls. Many of these blocks are encrusted with thick coral. By our last day at Bimini more sand had moved over the area, but the blocks and foundations were still quite visible. It is possible that this area is what Turolla saw, but it seems unlikely as there were only three long beams there that could be termed "columns." The formation does not appear to be a barge or ship remains, but does definitely appear to be the remains of a stone building. Nothing about it looks modern or historic and it's possible that more remains are to be found under the surrounding sands. Its existence in 20-feet of water makes it intriguing and inexplicable.
Granite Slabs, Underwater Steps, Cut Rooms, and Passages
About 10-miles south of Bimini was another surprise. On an underwater ridge that extends up from a much deeper bottom to about 20-feet below sea level is a well-defined area that contains cut granite slabs, what appear to be steps carved into stone, and square and rectangular "rooms" carved into the ridge itself. One particular area looks like a square room of about 8 x 8-feet. The walls of this formation, cut into the limestone bottom, extend down about 4-feet on each side with the bottom being white sand. There are two smooth granite slabs, each about 4-6 feet long, 2-feet wide, and 8-12 inches thick lying along the inside walls of this room formation-apparently arranged. A passageway leads from this formation to others that are adjacent. One of these adjacent "rooms" has what appear to be three cut stone steps descending down into what looks like another room. Other granite slabs are scatted about in the area. Some had coral growth while others do not.
The granite slabs, if taken alone, could be from an old shipwreck and there are several old shipwrecks in a nearby area—which are located on the deep water side of the ridge. However, the appearance of the rooms and the steps, and the slabs arranged inside a cut square area, make it highly intriguing. Photos can be found at the bottom of this page.