Santha and I flew back in from Tamil Nadu this morning.
As regulars on this MB know, we have been diving at Poompuhur and at Mahabalipuram in southeast India. We have had the privilege of working there with ten first-rate divers from Britain led by Monty Halls of the Scientific Exploration Society and with a great team from India's National Institute of Oceanography led by Kamlesh Vora.
At Poompuhur, despite intensive diving on the mysterious U-shaped structure submerged about five kilometres offshore at a depth of 23 metres (see Chapters One and Fourteen of Underworld) we could not reach a unanimous verdict. On two shows of hands a clear majority of the group, including one of the two NIO marine archaeologists, concluded that it is a man-made structure. But there were significant exceptions to this view and I therefore do not claim to have proved my case there during this expedition.
Over the coming week or so I will set out on this site, supported by photography, the principal pieces of evidence that convince me and others that the structure is man-made. A great deal more work is going to have to be done on it and neighbouring structures, however, before the matter can be regarded as having been satisfactorily settled -- one way or the other.
The reason for this continuing uncertainty, despite the best efforts of a large group of determined and objective researchers, lies in the very bad diving conditions and poor visibility at Poompuhur which hamper and restrict the work underwater at all times.
At Mahabalipuram, the other objective of the expedition, the situation is much clearer. A press conference will be held on 10 April 2002 to announce the extraordinary underwater discoveries that our team made there last week up to two kilometres from shore at depths of 5 to 7 metres. Relevant pages in "Underworld" where I describe my research in Mahabalipuram that led directly to these discoveries are 119-122 and 258-261.
Of course the real discoverers of this amazing and very extensive submerged site are the local fishermen of Mahabalipuram. My role was simply to take what they had to say seriously and to take the town's powerful and distinctive flood myths seriously. Since no diving had ever been done to investigate these neglected myths and sightings I decided that a proper expedition had to be mounted. To this end, about a year ago, I brought together my friends at the Scientific Exploration Society (SES) in Britain and the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in India and we embarked on the long process that has finally culminated in the discovery of a major and hitherto completely unknown submerged archaeological site.
I'll try to find out next week the date that Glenn Milne's model suggests for the submergence of the Mahabalipuram structures. Meanwhile I want to state very clearly and for the record that I am making no claims as to the age of the structures, or what they are, or who built them, or why and when they were inundated. All this will have to be established through further research -- which the NIO estimates will take many years and will involve the participation of experts from many different disciplines. I do, however, feel fully vindicated in the view that I have long held and expressed in my books and television series that flood myths deserve to be taken seriously and can lead to the discovery of significant underwater ruins.
The information that we have gathered at Mahabalipuram up to now will be released at the SES press conference on 10 April. Meanwhile here is the full text of the invitation that went out to the press from the SES on 5 April:
"The Scientific Exploration Society is proud to announce a major discovery of submerged ruins off the south east coast of India and invite you to a Press Reception at 10.30am on Wednesday 10th April 2002, at the Nehru Centre, 8, South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF.
"Following a theory first proposed by bestselling author and television presenter, Graham Hancock, a joint expedition of 25 divers from the Scientific Exploration Society (SES) and India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) led by Monty Halls and accompanied by Graham Hancock have indeed discovered an extensive area with a series of structures that clearly show man-made attributes, at a depth of 5-7 metres offshore of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
"The scale of the submerged ruins, covering several square miles and at distances of up to a mile from shore, ranks this as a major marine-archaeological discovery as spectacular as the ruined cities submerged off Alexandria in Egypt.
"This could prove the ancient myths of a huge city, so beautiful that the gods became jealous and sent a flood that swallowed it up entirely in a single day!
"Come and listen to Graham Hancock, Monty Halls and view unique pictures/video. Further info www.india-atlantis.org.
"Contacts: Melissa Dice; Tel: 01747 854898; email:firstname.lastname@example.org; Sarah Jane Lewis (Press) Tel: 01963 240468."