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The ARE's Search For Atlantis—2007 Summary: Part Two of Three
Discoveries at Bimini: Columns, Marble Building Ruins, and Possible Building Foundations in 100-Feet of Water
By Dr. Greg Little
For 2008-2011 Atlantis search results go to the Atlantis Expedition Index. In part 1 of these reports, the discovery of planes reportedly missing in the "Bermuda Triangle" was detailed. This article describes the finds at Bimini. Part 3, scheduled for posting on September 1, 2007, will detail the 2007 archaeological research at Andros, including the discovery of a huge underwater wall off a small island north of Andros as well as results from land expeditions on Andros and more investigations on the Great Bahama Bank. An update to the entire Bimini controversy, called "Gene Shinn's Bimini Flim-Flam Scam," is here.
Bimini—The small Bahamas island of Bimini, lying only 50 miles from Miami, has been the focal point of intense investigations by the Edgar Cayce organization—the Association for Research & Enlightenment (ARE), headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. ARE members began explorations at Bimini in the 1950s, following clues given in the Cayce readings. However, the earliest expeditions at Bimini were fruitless attempts to discover gold that Cayce related was at the small island. Several 1920s readings stated that 120,000 gold coins were hidden on Bimini and a huge gold vein was about 15-feet below the surface at the inlet between North and South Bimini islands. A series of drilling samples were taken on Bimini in an attempt to discover the gold and other mineral deposits in the inlet area and surprisingly, attempts to "verify" the gold continue to the present. No gold has been reportedly found, however, it is probably questionable whether such a report would be made even if it had been found.
The A.R.E.'s Search For Atlantis Project is not related to the search to verify Cayce's Bimini gold.
The present thinking in the ARE's Search For Atlantis Project is that evidence of an ancient maritime culture has been found at Bimini, Andros, and Cay Sal Bank in the Bahamas. The project has widened its scope in an effort to find definitive evidence of this culture.
With the 1968 announcement of the discovery of the Bimini Road, which is a 1900-foot long J-shaped formation of stone in shallow water off Bimini, interest in Bimini intensified. While early researchers enthusiastically accepted the Bimini Road as ruins from Atlantis, a few skeptics, most claiming backgrounds as geologists, have made a contrary assertion. They claimed that the Bimini Road is the natural remains of a massive slab of beachrock that simply fractured in place and eventually settled to the bottom. Their "proof" was the following:
1. That there are no slabs of stone sitting squarely on top of each other. Our 2005 research proved this was untrue, finding and photographing numerous huge slabs squarely placed into multiple tiers.
2. That there are no tool marks on any stones. Research by archaeologists Bill Donato and a subsequent verification in 2005 also showed that this was not true. There are numerous mortise stones present at the site.
3. That there are no prop stones or leveling blocks under any of the huge blocks. Research in 2005 and 2006 also showed this to be false. Under the watchful cameras of an NBC News film crew making a documentary, we removed numerous rectangular slabs of stone from under the large blocks as well as a large wedge stone, which was used as a leveling block. These were later brought to the surface for examination.
4. That cores from the blocks showed that the stones had been part of the same massive natural formation, specifically that the internal structure of the stones could be traced from one stone to the next. This aspect was not directly investigated by our group. However, inspection of the actual published reports by the skeptics showed that this was not the actual finding. The initial report clearly indicated that there were great differences between areas of the cores and that they were not, in fact, matched from one stone to the next. We found that the subsequent reports, all of which were supposedly based on the first one, simply altered the description of the findings to fit the idea that all the stones matched. Two years ago we exposed this hoax.
5. That all the Bimini Road stones were beachrock, a naturally developing coarse limestone. The idea that all of the literally thousands of stone blocks at Bimini are beachrock comes from a few stone samples, but has been conclusively disproven by a host of researchers. However, the geologists claiming that all the stones are beachrock implied that beachrock would not have been used as harbor construction material. In the Mediterranean, dozens of ancient harbor formations have been found and virtually all of them used beachrock to construct breakwaters, quays, and jetties. In fact, beachrock is the most likely construction material that would have been used. It is at or near the shoreline, easy to cut, and plentiful. The skeptics did not compare any of the ancient harbors in the Mediterranean to the Bimini Road.
In essence, our research showed that the Bimini Road was actually the remains of an ancient harbor with the stone formation serving as a breakwater and quay. The discovery of dozens of stone anchors there, with obvious rope grooves on them, has verified that there were ancient harbor formations in use. In 2006, an additional harbor works was found about a mile from the Bimini Road. (It was cleared of sand and exposed by a 2006 hurricane.) Dubbed the "Paradise Point Pier," it appeared to be elevated off the bottom and was constructed from piled stone blocks and also seemed to have numerous "columns" on its surface. While the ARE's Search For Atlantis Project had expanded well beyond Bimini, there were several areas around Bimini that merited more investigation. The findings are summarized below.
2006-2007 Bimini Expeditions
In late 2006 and in June 2007, two expeditions were conducted at Bimini. The first was an extensive high-tech project conducted by Bill Donato in November 2006. Both sub-bottom profiling and side-scan sonar were utilized at several areas. A final report has yet to be issued. However, Donato has released some of the findings from the side-scan sonar results in deeper water to the west of Bimini. Donato's project found a line of intriguing bottom structures a few miles west off Bimini at a depth of 100-feet. The computer assisted sonar revealed numerous rectangular features on the bottom. These formations were all aligned the same way, oriented as if they were small buildings sitting by a shoreline. An immediate effort was made to dive to the features using the gps obtained by the sonar scan images. However, as this is near the Gulf Stream, there were strong bottom currents that constantly pushed Donato and Krista Brown off the area. After receiving the images from the commercial underwater exploration company he utilized, Donato sent us the relevant images with the gps locations. Our findings at the site are detailed in the next section.
Donato's Bimini exploration also devoted a day to exploring the Paradise Point Pier area. He found numerous stone anchors on the breakwater formation—exactly as should be found on an ancient harbor formation. In addition, we believe that there may be columns there, identical to the columns reported at the inlet between North and South Bimini islands. (The earlier columns found at Bimini were of two types: fluted marble and cement.) There may be many of these columns present at the Paradise Point formation as they appear on our film of the formation.
The importance of these columns is directly related to their use at ancient Mediterranean harbors. For example, the Roman harbor at Cosa had a long breakwater constructed from large slabs of beachrock and other rubble. Littered on the surface of the breakwater are dozens of cement and fluted marble cylinders identical to those at Bimini. It is not being suggested here that the Bimini formation was a Roman harbor, only that the construction techniques used at Bimini were also employed in the construction of ancient Mediterranean harbors. Beyond that link, the identity of the builders remains speculative. The columns appear to have been added to the breakwater top as rubble to rebuild the structure as it deteriorated over time.
In June 2007, Drs. Greg and Lora Little conducted an expedition to Bimini accompanied by Krista and Eslie Brown. The purpose of the trip was to conduct side-scan sonar of the Bimini Road, the Paradise Point Pier, and the line of stones known as Proctor's Road. In addition, we planned to investigate the site of Donato's underwater rectangles and a stone formation 7-miles north of Bimini. We have obtained our own side-scan sonar unit, built it into a fully portable model, and utilized it to identify and examine a host of underwater features.
Proctor's Road is a mile-long line of stones to the west of the Bimini Road, near the North Bimini shoreline. Previous research had shown that there were five complete or partial stone circles there, formed from huge stone blocks arranged into circular patterns. These are perhaps mooring circles, a method of ship mooring utilized at several ancient Mediterranean harbors, including the previously mentioned Cosa harbor. The side-scan sonar was used to measure and analyze the circles. We were able to identify several of these with the side-scan. In addition, the side-scan sonar was used to obtain a complete image of both the Bimini Road and the Paradise Point Pier. When the images were obtained, sand had covered wide portions of the Bimini Road.
Discovery of Marble "Ruins"
Several years ago the Browns learned of an area about 7-miles north of Bimini, which had some interesting stone blocks on the bottom. Reaching this area, we saw a few dark, coral encrusted beams of stone and several small piles covered with sand. The side-scan sonar revealed that the area was actually widely littered with apparently stone forms hidden under sand.
Focusing our efforts on the one small exposed area, we were astonished to see a triangular, well-polished slab of stone that appeared exactly like the apex at the top tip of a roof on a temple. It was about 7-feet long and its thickness is unknown. The triangular stone was embedded in sand but we were able to confirm that it was at least three feet thick. After cleaning this stone of sand and debris, a beautiful, somewhat ornate slab was revealed. Several small pieces off the edge of this apex were removed and brought to the surface. It was white marble, gleaming like quartz in the sun. Several beams, some as long as 15-feet were found, with one end disappearing into the sand. In addition, columns, polished building slabs, and many smaller blocks were found. Small samples revealed that these were of the same type of white marble. Knowing that the site had been previously known, we then scoured records to see what had been written about it. We found that in 1970, Richard Wingate and a group of researchers had investigated the marble. Using an underwater sand blower, Wingate found that the marble was widely scattered and had at least three layers of slabs before it reached the bedrock seabed. Under the bottom layer of marble, Wingate found the wooden ribs of an old ship. According to Wingate's group, not far from this site there are massive areas covered with granite slabs, supposedly from two other shipwrecks.
We had previously visited Moselle Shoals, only a few miles away and found shipwrecks and hundreds of granite blocks. Unfortunately, the entire area is literally littered with shipwrecks and such cargo. In his 1980 book, "Lost Outpost of Atlantis," Wingate related that at some future date an archaeologist would rediscover the marble and wonder what it was. Indeed.
Donato's Underwater Rectangles: Building Foundations?
Using the gps obtained from Donato's side scan sonar image, we arrived at the area of the underwater rectangles. We then utilized our own side-scan sonar and found them within 5 minutes. We used a setting that yields a bottom image 700-feet wide and could see that there were numerous rectangular formations on the bottom lying in what looked like a nearly straight line. The rectangular forms sat at the top of a 10-foot drop-off, which led to a narrow flat area. Then it descended quickly toward the deep Gulf Stream. Intrigued, we dropped a lead weight buoy as we passed over one of the larger rectangular forms. We later found that the weight fell directly into the rectangle and, surprisingly, the boat's anchor fell into another one nearby.
The sizes of the rectangular formations vary somewhat with the largest about 15 x 30 feet, however, most of them are smaller, 8 x 10-feet, about the size of small buildings. Their depth (100-feet) is actually just above the sea level at 10,000 B.C. It is known that in 10,000 B.C. the sea levels were about 110-feet lower than today, meaning that these structures were once elevated just above the ancient shoreline.
Eslie and Krista Brown, both of whom are Master Divers, dived the site and took a series of photographs in the cloudy water near the Gulf Stream. When they reached the surface, they reported that the structures were formed out of coral encrusted stone. The photos revealed that the sides of some of the formations seemed to be made from small stone blocks, some of which sat squarely on top of each other. Several square or rectangular stones appeared to be embedded into the bottom, especially at the corners of the rectangular structures. In addition, several photos show intriguing artifacts, which could be pots or amphorae. However, only a more detailed investigation can prove the actual identity of the artifacts and the structures. In sum, the preliminary investigation of these rectangular forms shows that they may well be building foundations, perhaps as old as 12,000-years. Plans are now being made for a more thorough investigation of this site.
For 2008-2011 Atlantis search results go to the Atlantis Expedition Index.
Above: Double & triple tiers of blocks at the Bimini Road.
Above: Underneath a large block of the Bimini Road, this photo shows how rectangular slabs were used to level the large blocks and provide support.
Above: Wedge stone removed from underneath a large block of the Bimini Road.
Above: Rectangular support stone removed from underneath a large block of the Bimini Road.
Above: Portion of Bill Donato's side-scan sonar image showing rectangular forms at 100 feet.
Above: Column or stone cylinder lying on the top of the Paradise Point Pier breakwater.