Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the second part of the BBC Horizon documentary series which explores the mystery of whether the civilisation of Atlantis really existed - "Atlantis Reborn Again".
Horizon puts Graham Hancock's controversial theories about the past to the test, dissecting his evidence for a lost civilisation.
Although scientists believe they have categorically disproved the myth of Atlantis, the idea is more popular now than ever before. The latest exponent of the theory of a single lost source for all civilisations, is Graham Hancock. Although he does not call it Atlantis, his compelling ideas about a sophisticated society destroyed in a flood twelve thousand years ago seem to be based on a reworking of the original Atlantis myth, whose survivors brought culture, religion, monument building and civilisation to the rest of the world.
Graham Hancock offers various pieces of evidence to support his theory. He claims that the mysterious lost civilisation left its mark in ancient monuments, which he calculates were built to mirror certain constellations of stars. His hugely popular ideas have attracted such a wide audience that they stand to replace the conventional view of the past, which is based on scientific evidence that the civilisations of the ancient world were developed independently, by different peoples, on different continents.
Horizon journeys across the world to examine Hancock's evidence for a lost civilisation and puts his theory to the test.
Using modern astronomy, Hancock and his followers claim they can find messages from a lost society in the patterns of some of the greatest ancient monuments of the world. One colleague in particular, the author Robert Bauval, believes that the Giza pyramids in Egypt were built to mirror the stars of Orion's belt.
Hancock also believes that the great temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia mirror the constellation Draco as it would have appeared 12,000 years ago - at a time when the world was in the Stone Age. They see this as evidence that a great civilisation existed at this time, and later conveyed its wisdom to the peoples of the ancient world, before disappearing without trace from the archaeological record.
Astronomers, archaeologists and geologists study this evidence. Dr. Ed Krupp of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, is troubled by Bauval's claims.
Horizon further examines Hancock's claims that the Sphinx and the mysterious ancient city of Tihuanacu in Bolivia were built twelve thousand years ago by survivors of the lost civilisation itself.
It considers the idea that either Antarctica or an extraordinary underwater site at Yonaguni, in Japan was the original home of these vanished people. In a film full of contentious debate and powerful arguments, Graham Hancock's claims are pitted against cutting edge scientific analysis to discover whether his popular theory could be true.
Atlantis Reborn Again