We all love a mystery, and this one is truly a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. Hidden in the seas of the southern coast of Yonaguni, Japan, a discovery has been made that has confused archaeologists, historians and scientists no end, and kicked off its fair share of debate.
It is believed that lying beneath these waters are the submerged ruins of a lost civilisation from 10,000 years old, but herein lies the rub – while experts on one side argue that the ‘ruins’ are manmade, more conservative scientists insist it was created and carved out by natural phenomena.
This incredible, otherworldly Atlantis was first discovered in 1995 by Kihachiro Aratake, who after going a little off-course from the Okinawa Shoreline came upon a bewildering sight. Around six metres below the surface of the water, Kihachiro found a structure that to the naked eye looks surely as if it was built by the hand of man. How else could these vast blocks of stone and rectangular formations, built at perfect 90 angles and seemingly making up walls and steps, much like you’d find on an Inca pyramid, be made in any other way?
Naturally, this immediately piqued the interest of professionals and the curious alike, and great effort was soon invested in exploring the site further, with a view to uncovering its origins – a process which quickly produced some exciting findings. What appeared to carvings, crossroads, a great arch made up of monolithic stone blocks, and majestic staircases along a large pyramid-eqsue structure measuring 76m long are just some of the sights that experts saw when they explored what was quickly dubbed ‘the Yonaguni Monument’ – otherwise known as Japan’s Atlantis.
By all intents and purposes, it is difficult at first glance to come to the opinion is anything other than the remnants of an ancient Japanese civilisation from around 10,000 BC. Surely this was once a thriving city that fell beneath the waves after a cataclysmic earthquake in an area of extreme tectonic activity?
Not so, say a number of the world’s leading marine geologists, who say that the ‘monument’ is in fact a rock formation that has been carved out by wave erosion over millions of years. Looking at dates, the Yonaguni site simply doesn’t fit around what is known of human history at the time it was supposedly built, and scientists are a sceptical bunch at the best of times.
Maybe it is manmade, maybe it isn’t. What is undeniable, however, is that it is spectacular. Let’s just enjoy the sight of this wonder, and take pleasure in the fact that there are still mysteries out there that can leave us wondering.