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SECRETS OF THE DEAD: Sinking Atlantis

Airs Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Volcanologist, Floyd McCoy in Santorini, an island southeast from Greece.

Chemical rocks, like halite (rock salt) and gypsum, form when minerals that exist in a solution are extracted after the solution evaporates. For instance, when large bodies of saltwater dry up, they leave behind halite (pictured).
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Above: Chemical rocks, like halite (rock salt) and gypsum, form when minerals that exist in a solution are extracted after the solution evaporates. For instance, when large bodies of saltwater dry up, they leave behind halite (pictured).

Five thousand years ago the Minoans, Europe's first great civilization, flourished on the island of Crete. They were the first Europeans to use writing, and their technologically advanced and rich artistic culture became the setting for famous Greek myths about Theseus, Icarus and the Minotaur. Yet in their heyday, the Minoans were wiped from the pages of history.

The cause of their downfall has remained one of the foremost mysteries of the ancient world, until now. "Sinking Atlantis" explores, and discounts, all the usual theories about the disappearance of the Minoans -- from a massive volcano that buried them in ash, to Greek invaders who conquered and killed them.

Drawing from the archaeological records, new revelations about Minoan language and religion, and shocking new geological discoveries, the film connects fact with fiction, and reveals the truth behind the reign and fall of the great Minoan civilization.

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Secrets Of The Dead: Sinking Atlantis

Watch the full episode. See more Secrets of the Dead.

Above: Five thousand years ago the Minoans, Europe's first great civilization, flourished on the island of Crete. Yet in their heyday, they mysteriously disappeared. "Sinking Atlantis" digs deep into the Minoan soil and history, following archaeologists who are finding evidence of a massive tsunami that devastated the Minoans and may have spawned the myth of Atlantis.

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