Imagine an advanced civilization being swallowed up by the ocean in some unknown cataclysm thousands of years ago. Now, thanks to Disney, kids will know all about it. With tunes.
But don't think this week's look at lost worlds is inspired by the new animated "Atlantis" movie. If anything, it was Disney-owned ABC's sensationalized docu-mercial plugging the movie that got us to take on this topic, if only to offer some different points of view.
A lot of people think Atlantis was in the Atlantic, but trolling the Net for info, we see that anyone who's found a barnacle-encrusted pottery shard thinks he knows where the continent sank. How about the South China Sea (http://www.atlan.org)? Maybe the Caribbean (http://www.atlantisinsights.net/Carib.htm) or Crete (http://www.angelfire.com/hi/alhawk/atlanthira.html)? Even Antarctica (http://www.flem-ath.com) gets some play.
Now that we're pretty sure where Atlantis was, who were these people? Many Atlantis scholars point out the similarities between elements of different cultures as proof of some uber-world that disappeared. You can even take a seminar on it from the Edgar Cayces: http://www.edgarcayce.org/about_ec/cayce_on/targetindex.html). Or just channel it.
Almost every discussion on Atlantis brings up Plato (http://phd.evansville.edu/plato.htm). The Greek "brainiac" wrote about Atlantis (http://www.auburn.edu/~downejm/sp/epsaas/epsaasPlato.html) in two of his dialogues. There's no way he was ever there, so that was either one wild spring break in Sparta, or look who's channeling now.
Making a strong and somewhat overenthusiastic case for Atlantis is "Atlantis the Antediluvian World" by Ignatius Donnelly (http://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/ataw). Ignatius was a 19th century lawyer, land promoter and, evidently, scientist, because he used no occult or channeled material for his work.
If that's too much reading, try Team Atlantis (http://www.teamatlantis.com) and see people having fun with old stuff.
But enough of Atlantis. There are so many lost civilizations worthy of a Web site.
Take Easter Island (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/easter/civilization). The folks at Disney might want to take note: Giant stone heads could make a great chorus.
Then there's the rock art from upper Tibet (http://www.asianart.com/articles/rockart) and the Harrappans of ancient India (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/8076).
By no means should we limit our search to Earth. There's evidence of pyramids on Mars (http://www.mufor.org/ares), and Mars might have had free-flowing water at one time, which could have sunk a continent. That's got to make you think.
Crystalinks (http://www.crystalinks.com/ancient.html) explores many ancient civilizations in this world with lots of pretty pictures. More pretty pictures, but fewer civilizations, are at Eliki.com (http://www.eliki.com/ancient/civilizations).
Yet a few thousand years of history is nothing. The Signposts Perspectives (http://kurellian.tripod.com/lostcv1.html) offer 60 million years of "catastrophism, lost prehistoric civilizations, forgotten technologies and missed opportunities." Should have, would have, could have.
Yet more evidence of ancient technology is at the Erickson Paranormal Research Foundation's Out of Place Artifacts (http://www.eprf.tzo.com/html/artifacts.html). Try staring a 500,000-year-old spark plug in the face and tell us you don't believe.
We'll leave you with a city in India that was irradiated by a nuclear blast 8,000 years ago (http://www.rense.com/general3/8000.htm). Wow. What civilization would ever get so advanced it could self-destruct?
Robert Burns is an assistant Business editor at The Times.