Homer talks of Poseidon lashing out, Plato refers to a massive marine disaster. What happened on Sardinia in the second millennium BC? What dramatic event swept away the Tyrrhenian civilisation and the “tower builders” cited by Strabo and the poet Hesiod in antiquity? Was it an earthquake or a tidal wave? A comet? Was it punishment meted out by Zeus, as Plato suggests in Critias, acting pitilessly to improve the behaviour of these people who had been spoiled by living in a land where it was always spring? Certainly they occupied a beautiful, fertile island, endowed with all sorts of metal, both hard and malleable, such as zinc, lead and silver.
Writer and journalist Sergio Frau, one of the founders of Italian daily La Repubblica, has been investigating the subject for more than 10 years, drawing on the texts of the ancients. A dozen or so Italian scientists joined him when he visited Sardinia in early June. They included historian Mario Lombardo; archaeologist Maria Teresa Giannotta; Claudio Giardino, a specialist in ancient metallurgy; cartographer Andrea Cantile; archivist Massimo Faraglia; and Stefano Tinti, a geophysicist and expert on tidal waves.
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