Ancient Cities May Predate Mesopotamia

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A British marine archaeologist Graham Hancock has been examining a submerged city on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Hancock says a civilization thriving there may predate the Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia in present-day Iraq and definitely existed before the Harappan civilization in India and Pakistan. He has been excavating the site off the coast of Poompuhar, near Nagapattinam, 400 km south of Chennai.

At a meeting of the Mythic Society in Bangalore in early December, Mr. Hancock said underwater explorations in 2001 provided evidence that corroborated Tamil mythological stories of ancient floods. He said tidal waves of 400 feet or more could have swallowed this flourishing port city any time between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago, the date of the last Ice Age.

The Gulf of Cambay was also submerged, taking with it evidence of early man´s migration. The populations Mr. Wells and Mr. Pitchappan (see previous article) mapped settled on India´s East Coast 50,000 to 35,000 years ago and developed into modern man. According to Hancock, "the Poompuhar underwater site could well provide evidence that it was the cradle of modern civilization." Hancock´s theory is strengthened by findings of India´s National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), which has explored the site since the 1980s.

Man-made structures like well rims, horseshoe-shaped building sites are some of the lost city´s secrets. At low tide, some brick structures from the Sangam era are still visible in places like Vanagiri. The region, archaeologists say, has been built over and over again through the ages and some of its past is now being revealed. Mr. Glenn Milne, a British geologist from Durham University, has confirmed Hancock´s theory.