Susan Schoenberger -
Spend a little time with Dr. Richard Freund of the University of Hartford, and you might be convinced that the lost city of Atlantis is buried deep within a swamp in southern Spain.Freund, who directs the university's Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, worked with a team of Spanish, American and Canadian scientists to examine a muddy swamp in Spain that was first noted as a possible location for Atlantis by a German scientist looking at satellite photos in 2003.Freund's 2009 expedition and his team's findings are outlined in the new National Geographic Channel film called "Finding Atlantis," which has its premiere on March 13 at 9 p.m. In advance of the premiere, the Greenberg Center will host a screening of the film at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 9, at the university's Wilde Auditorium, and the public is invited.Google Earth as a tool of archeologySo how did Freund, who is known for his excavations into historic sites in the Middle East as outlined in his book "Digging Through the Bible," get involved in trying to find the famed lost city?It began in 2003 with the report from the German scientist, who saw what looked like a circular structure with a straight line attached to it in a satellite photo that included the Parque National Coto de Donana, a vast swampy area south of Seville. "Google Earth is one of the great archaeological tools today," Freund said of the satellite image. Pointing to the circular impression, he said: "That doesn't happen naturally."Over the next few years, others conjectured that the structures visible on the satellite images were similar to the island of three concentric circles with only one entrance in and out described by Plato in his accounts of Atlantis, written in about 360 B.C. Plato also placed Atlantis near the "Pillars of Hercules," known today at the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.