The Underwater Sculpture Park is located two miles north of the capital, St George’s, on the west coast of the island, within an area designated as a National Marine Park, and is easily accessible by boat. The sculptures are placed in clear, shallow waters to allow easy viewing by divers, snorkelers, and viewers in glass-bottomed boats.
The section of the underwater park which has attracted the most attention is Vicissitudes which opened in 2007. Located at a depth of 14 feet, it comprises a circle of 26 life-size cement “children,” all holding hands. The figures in Vicissitudes are crafted from a variety of media but predominantly from material on which plants, algae, or certain sea animals, such as barnacles, live or grow, as well as marine grade cement, sand, micro silica and reinforcing steel.
There has been some debate about the intention of the work. It has been suggested that it was a dedication to enslaved Africans who were thrown overboard during the journey from West Africa to the Americas. But the founder and creator of the Molinere Underwater Park, Jason de Caires Taylor, says that his decision to submerge his work was influenced by a sense of community, not as a tribute to those who perished during the slave trade’s Middle Passage.
He envisioned the collective strength of the figures as they formed a circle to resist the currents of the water, achieving that strength through “unity.” He deliberately chose children of diverse backgrounds as models for the casts from which the figures were made. In this manner, he hoped to create an image of an expansive, global community.
In 2009 Taylor co-founded MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), a monumental museum with a collection of over 500 of his sculptural works, submerged off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. The project is considered one of the world’s most unique travel destinations. Five years later, during the summer of 2014, Taylor submerged “Ocean Atlas” off the coast of the Bahamas. It is currently the largest single underwater sculpture in the world measuring 16 feet high and weighing over 60 tons.
Born on August 12, 1974, Taylor is the son of an English father and Guyanese mother. He grew up in Europe and Asia, where he spent much of his early childhood exploring the coral reefs of Malaysia. He was educated in England, graduating from the London Institute of Arts in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sculpture. Taylor gained certification as a fully qualified diving instructor and underwater naturalist in 2002. His desire to create striking and meaningful art forms and his love of the underwater world led him to explore the intricate relationships between art and the environment.
China’s Atlantis a.k.a The Lion City
A maze of white temples, memorial arches, paved roads, and houses… hidden 130 feet underwater: this is China’s real-life Atlantis. The so-called Lion City, tucked in a lake between the Five Lion Mountain, was once Shi Cheng – the center of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang. But in 1959, the Chinese government decided a new hydroelectric power station was required – so built a man-made lake.
Erecting a dam, the historical metropolis was slowly filled with water until it was completely submerged by the turquoise-blue mass now referred to as Qiandao Lake. Depending on where on the lake bottom it is, the city is between 85 and 131 feet underwater.
And it lay forgotten for 53 years.
Greek philosopher Plato wrote about Atlantis some 2,600 years ago, describing it as ‘an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Hercules.’
He said the island he called Atlantis ‘in a single day and night… disappeared into the depths of the sea.’ Searches continue across the Mediterranean, particularly around Gibraltar, to find the original Atlantis. But China’s man-made version will soon be a renowned attraction. Qiu Feng, a local tourism official, has now suggested using Shi Cheng as a destination for diving clubs.
A team was dispatched to explore the city before tours are designed.
Qui said: ‘We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick to prove it.’ Protected from wind, rain, and the sun, the entire city has been branded a ‘time capsule’ as almost every structure remains completely intact, including wooden beams and stairs.
Yonaguni Monument: The Japanese Atlantis
About 25 meters beneath the waters off Japan lies a stepped pyramid. We don’t know who built it, or when; but there it is, plain as day, available for anyone to go down and inspect. Even now at this very minute, the current washes past sharply squared stone blocks standing dark and forbidding, rising nearly high enough to break the surface. It is called the Yonaguni Monument.
The Japanese archipelago stretches for nearly 4,000 kilometers, from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to the island of Taiwan, off the coast of mainland China. At its extreme southwestern tip is the small island of Yonaguni, Japan’s most western point, just a scant 100 kilometers from Taiwan. It’s quite small, less than thirty square kilometers, with only 1700 residents, but it’s famous for something found in its waters: Hammerhead sharks.
Lots of hammerhead sharks. They’re so ubiquitous that divers come from all over the world to swim with them. And wherever you have a lot of divers, things under the water tend to be found. And that’s just what happened in 1986, when a representative from the Yonaguni tourism board was out exploring off the southernmost tip of the island, looking for a hammerhead diving spot to promote. What he came across was not what he set out to look for, though.
As you’re probably aware, Japan is in a region of great tectonic instability, the Pacific Ring of Fire. It lies just beside the convergence of the Pacific Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate, and as a result, it’s home to ten percent of the world’s active volcanoes. Severe earthquakes are a familiar event there. The layered sandstone bedrock around Yonaguni is therefore deeply fractured. As the tourism rep swam, he passed over this cracked and piled terrain, until he came to a particular formation that stood out. He named the area Iseki Point or Ruins Point.
He passed the word that he’d found something that looked like a manmade castle. A professor of marine geology, Masaaki Kimura, came to have a look for himself, and what he saw has dominated his life ever since. Kimura founded the Marine Science and Cultural Heritage Research Association, an organization devoted to proving that the Yonaguni Monument is not merely the natural formation it would appear to be, but rather a manmade structure, consisting of a huge network of buildings, castles, monuments, a stadium, and other structures, all connected by an elaborate system of roads and waterways.
It’s exactly the kind of story that the public loves. Headlines trumpeted Kimura’s discovery with such cliche phrases as “Scholars mystified”, “underwater city”, and “Japanese Atlantis” (as I so cleverly titled this episode). History’s Mysteries on the History Channel produced an episode called “Japan’s Mysterious Pyramids” which promoted the idea with little critique; and again on Ancient Discoveries with an episode called “Lost Cities of the Deep”. The BBC and the Discovery Channel have also produced documentaries promoting the Yonaguni Monument’s manmade past.
Web forums and conspiracy sites love to exaggerate such stories as this one. Among the formations identified by Dr. Kimura is one that he has named “Jacques’ Eyes”, after Jacques Mayol who used to free dive the site. It’s a big roundish rock with two depressions near where eyes might be, but it certainly does not look like a carved head and Kimura does not presume to identify it as one. He has a photograph of it on his website that he took personally. He contends that the eyes were carved, but that the rest of the rock is natural. However, there’s a completely different photograph floating around the Internet showing three divers swimming around a tremendous stone head that are very obviously manmade, including what looks to be a feathered headdress. Whatever the source of this photograph is, it bears no resemblance at all to the rock at Yonaguni, despite its being so identified on every website I found it.
I’ve studied Dr. Kimura’s photograph of the Jacques’ Eyes formation and I’m far from convinced the eyes were carved. They’re large concave depressions without distinct edges, not eye shaped, not symmetrical, and not convex like an eyeball. I believe that even incompetent artists would have done a far better job of representing human eyes. Although the underwater lighting is from directly above and the shadows can make them resemble eyes, they wouldn’t have looked anything like that in the open sunlight.
And open sunlight is the key to Dr. Kimura’s hypothesis, which is that this formation was on dry land when ocean levels were lower during the last ice age. 8-10,000 years ago, the Yonaguni Monument was dry; and for tens of thousands of years before that, it was high and dry.
As you can guess, I’m not the only one who is skeptical of Dr. Kimura’s interpretation of the bedrock formations. Virtually all marine geologists who have seen the pictures are satisfied that it’s perfectly consistent with other formations of fractured sandstones. Everyone grants that it is unusually dramatic and has a lot of interesting features, but there’s nothing there that’s not seen anywhere else. The work of Kimura’s own Foundation, which researches many similar formations off the surrounding islands, is evidence that Yonaguni is not especially unique.
This dispute plays right into the hands of the documentary filmmakers, who are looking for the conflict angle in order to promote the idea of controversy, trying to convince us that scientists are somehow torn or debating over this. They’re not. Kimura has a few supporters, but the consensus is resoundingly against him. Dr. Robert Schoch, a geologist at Boston University, is the most often quoted scientist taking the opposing position. Dr. Schoch is probably best known for his work on assigning Egypt’s Sphinx and Great Pyramid dates that are much earlier than previously believed, based on his analysis of weathering (you may have seen him discuss this on science channel documentaries). So Schoch is, himself, a bit of a maverick; apparently, very few other geologists or archaeologists have found Kimura’s photographs and interpretations to be compelling enough to work on.
Schoch has made a few dives on Yonaguni; Kimura has made over a hundred. Nevertheless, Schoch noted what is, I think, the single most damning point against the idea that Yonaguni is manmade:
“…The structure is, as far as I could determine, composed entirely of solid ‘living’ bedrock. No part of the monument is constructed of separate blocks of rock that have been placed into position. This is an important point, for carved and arranged rock blocks would definitively indicate a man-made origin for the structure – yet I could find no such evidence.”
The paleogeology of the region is well known, and Schoch brought samples of the Yonaguni rock to the surface for analysis. He found that they were, as suspected, mudstone and sandstone of the formation called the Lower Miocene Yaeyama Group, which was deposited some 20 million years ago.
“These rocks contain numerous well-defined, parallel bedding planes along which the layers easily separate. The rocks of this group are also crisscrossed by numerous sets of parallel and vertical … joints and fractures. Yonaguni lies in an earthquake-prone region; such earthquakes tend to fracture the rocks in a regular manner… The more I compared the natural, but highly regular, weathering and erosional features observed on the modern coast of the island with the structural characteristics of the Yonaguni Monument, the more I became convinced that the Yonaguni Monument is primarily the result of natural geological and geomorphological processes at work. On the surface I also found depressions and cavities forming naturally that look exactly like the supposed ‘post holes’ that some researchers have noticed on the underwater Yonaguni Monument.”
In recent years, Dr. Kimura has acknowledged that the basic structure of the Monument is probably natural, but asserts that it has been “terraformed” by humans, thus creating the specific details such as Jacques’ Eyes and the roads. He has also found and identified what he believes to be quarry marks and writing. To my eye, these don’t look anything like quarry marks or writing. It’s not a testable claim; the analysis simply comes down to personal opinion and interpretation. But it’s certainly possible. Were there people living there 8-10,000 years ago?
From everything we know so far, the answer is no. Yonaguni is one of the Ryukyu Islands, of which Okinawa is the largest, and the earliest archaeological evidence is that of the Late Shellmound phase which began only as recently as 300 BCE. The Ryukyu Islands are in deep water, at least 500m deep on all sides, and at no time during the last glacial age were the islands accessible by land bridge. This means that if any people were there when Yonaguni was on dry land, they did not stay, and they would have to have arrived by boat. This is something else we can check.
Nearby Taiwan has probably been populated since Paleolithic times, tens of thousands of years ago, but the earliest population for which we have any evidence was the Dapendeng Culture which began 7,000 years ago. This is about the time that fishermen began to use canoes for coastal travel, about 5000 BCE. If the Dapendeng colonized Yonaguni, they would have had to have done so by boat. This cuts the timing very, very close. Yonaguni was probably already awash when the first Dapendeng canoes put to sea as glacial melt brought sea levels up. Of course, the studies which give us those dates could be wrong. But we do know that if the Dapendeng ever did colonize Yonaguni or the Ryukyus, they did not stay. Genetic studies have shown that the founding Ryukyu populations migrated southward from Japan, not from Taiwan.
So taking everything into account, the likelihood that prehistoric human hands ever had the opportunity to touch the stones of the Yonaguni Monument appears vanishingly small. The only evidence that they did is a personal assessment of some fairly ambiguous undersea formations, none of which are geologically surprising, and all of which have analogs at known natural sites around the world. If the Yonaguni Monument is truly a Japanese Atlantis, it is a highly improbable one indeed.
Further investigations, based on more recent scans, are pointing to the possibility of there being an underwater volcanic hill. More information should come to the surface. Some believe this new explanation may be a coverup, but that position remains speculation at this point.
A Portuguese news outlet has reported the discovery of a very large underwater pyramid, first discovered by Diocleciano Silva, between the islands of São Miguel and Terceira in the Azores of Portugal. Silva says the structure is perfectly squared and oriented by the cardinal points. Current estimates obtained using GPS digital technology put the height at 60 meters with a base of 8,000 square meters. The Portuguese Hydrographic Institute of the Navy currently has the job of analyzing the data to determine whether or not the structure is man-made.
The pyramid was found in an area of the mid-Atlantic that has been underwater for about 20,000 years. Considering this is around the time of the last Ice Age, where glaciation was melting from its peak 2,000 years prior, whatever civilization, human or not, that was around before the Ice Age could be responsible for building the pyramid. While the Portuguese Navy still hasn’t determined its origins, many might question why this structure wasn’t reported on sooner than late 2012. Certainly, the NOAA, which studies volcanic activity in the area of the pyramid, would have discovered it through sonar imaging and so forth, as the area is heavily studied due to volcanic activity. Either the NOAA hasn’t yet come across it, they are hiding what they have found, or the pyramid doesn’t exist. The last theory does not seem to be likely given the authenticity of the find.
Archeologists from the Portuguese Association of Archaeological Research have recently discovered evidence on Pico island pointing to the existence of humans in the Azores region before the arrival of the Portuguese thousands of years ago, further supporting the notion that this pyramid could have been built by a different civilization — perhaps the same civilization responsible for the mysterious rock art found on the islands. Was the pyramid built by whatever civilization existed prior to the Portuguese? Is it possibly not even manmade?
Here is the Portuguese news report with English subtitles for those who wish to look into the authenticity of the claims.
The Azores are an interesting region, comprising a chain of nine volcanic islands in three main groups that are roughly 930 miles west of Lisbon. They are all situated on the fault lines between the North American, Eurasian, and African tectonic plates — an interesting place to have a pyramid given the energetic qualities often associated with these structures.
The incredible mystery of the ‘alien spacecraft’ that lies at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
A STRANGE, circular object found at the bottom of Baltic Sea in 2011 continues to baffle scientists. But alien hunters have their own theories.
WHEN the mystery object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea was first spotted in 2011, it baffled experts and excited alien hunters. They still don’t know what it is.
Dubbed the “Baltic Sea Anomaly”, the structure looks like the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars.
It was discovered five years ago by Swedish treasure hunters, Ocean X team, led by Peter Lindberg, its captain, and his co-researcher Dennis Asberg.
They used a side-scan sonar and found something strange 91 meters below the surface of the water.