Some say the lost city of Atlantis lies not at the bottom of the ocean but in plain sight off the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia. Herodotus and Aristotle were two who thought Plato's description of a land beyond the strait between Sicily and Tunisia, which disappeared beneath the waves, referenced the island. Writer and journalist Sergio Frau is another. After researching the island for a decade, Frau suspects a mysterious disaster that devastated Sardinia 3,200 years ago was in fact a tidal wave, which boosts the theory that Sardinia and Atlantis are one and the same, reports the Guardian. Stefano Tinti, an expert on tidal waves who recently visited the island with Frau along with a dozen other experts, says 350 tidal waves have occurred in the Mediterranean over the last 2,500 years and one might explain why all of Sardinia's ancient megalithic edifices below 1,640 feet of elevation are hidden beneath dirt.
Frau explains at least 20,000 nuraghi—fortresses with a main tower—can be found across the island, dating between the 16th and 12th centuries BC. But below 1,640 feet in the south, the structures are buried. Excavations in this area have found a jumble of ceramics, cups, pots, oil lamps, sharpening stones, metal implements, knives, chisels, needles, and arrow tips; gold, silver, amber, and rock crystal jewellery have also been found. Tinti notes the 2003 earthquake in Algeria "triggered a shockwave that reached the Balearics and Sardinia an hour later," but only a comet hitting "very close to the coast and in a very specific direction" could have created a wall of water 1,640 feet high. The Guardian reports researchers could search for evidence of such an impact, including comet fragments, underwater. The initial purpose of the nuraghi, used later for moon worship, is also a subject of interest. (Read more Sardinia stories.)