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BBC to examine Atlantis legend

1st March 2010

The BBC is to examine the greatest natural disaster to hit the ancient world in a new drama and documentary.

Around 1620 BC, a gigantic volcanic eruption in the Aegean Sea destroyed the island of Thera and created giant tsunamis that hit nearby Crete.

As well as proving to be a catastrophic event for the Minoans, Europe's first great civilisation, the disaster is thought to have inspired the legend of Atlantis.

New BBC drama Atlantis, starring The Lovely Bones actress Reece Ritchie, will tell the story of the eruption and its consequences. It is based on the work of leading scientists, archaeologists and historians and uses visual effects featured in Hollywood films such as 300.

In a companion documentary, historian Bettany Hughes will look at the myth and examine evidence that Plato based his telling of the Atlantis story on the Thera eruption.

Executive producer Ailsa Orr said: 'Atlantis will immerse the viewer in a world they've never seen before, in a brand new, exciting way. It offers our audiences a unique viewing experience - the closest they'll ever get to one of the greatest natural disasters of all time.'

In 2006, scientists from the University of Rhode Island and the Hellenic Center for Marine Research proved that the Thera eruption was the second largest in human history and was on a greater scale than previously believed.

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