(Image: ArtTower, Pixabay)

Bimini Columns

Below is a post by Mr. Darby South concerning alleged stone
columns found off North Bimini Island that some people claim
are related to the alleged lost continent of Atlantis. This is posted
with Mr. South’s permission.

Bimini Columns

Re: Atlantis-any proof ? – Bimini Columns and Barrels. From: southdar Date: 1995/12/10 MessageID: v01510100acf0d9d871bf@[] x-nntp-posting-host: www.tyrell.net x-sender: southdar@tyrell.net (Unverified) content-type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii” mime-version: 1.0 newsgroups: sci.archaeology

Subject: Re: Atlantis-any proof ? – Columns and Barrels. Distribution: world Organization: Friends of Fossils

alam@delphi.comlalam@delphi.com wrote:

>Doug Weller correctly notes that there may be columns other
>than the ones that were tested and apparently are concrete,
>post-1800. Yes, I do believe there are other columns. The
>people I was with can see concrete versus fluted marble (??
>was it marble ?? , it sure was fluted) even underwater. And
>the depth may be only 18 feet underwater down to 30 perhaps.

There is some confusion over what exactly Harrison (1971) found. He did note that two of the cylinders are composed of marble and have flute-like marks parallel to the long axis of the column. However, he noted that the remainder of the “columns” consist of cylinders of an early natural cement encrusted by a layer of whitish calcium carbonate a few millimeters thick. Figure 3 of Harrison (1971:288) shows at least 28 of these natural cement cylinders in addition to the two marble columns.

Concerning the size and shape of the marble and concrete cylinders, Harrison (1971:289) stated:

The most striking aspect of the cylinders is the constancy in size and shape of the whole ones. They are all barrel-shaped, about 70 cm long and 50 cm in diameter (Table 1).

Anybody who takes the time and trouble to read Harrison (1971) will find that on page 288 the following analysis:

The cement cylinders are also composed of material which is not indigenous to the Bahamas (unpublished communication from R. Perkins). On balance, the material seems to be a hydrated natural cement.

Mr. P. Klieger of the Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Illinois, has supported this-opinion on the basis of X-ray and petrographic analysis, as has Dr. R. C. Mielenz (Master Builders, Cleveland, Ohio) on the basis of petrographic analysis. Dr. R. Nurse of the Building Research Station (England) has examined a thin section and concludes that it is a high temperature product and not an oxychloride cement and that “it resembles the ‘grappier’ made from the overburnt product of .. lime kilns”. Mrs. Bryant Mather, US Army Corps of Engineers (unpublished communication), says that the material consists of “calcite, brucite, a complex calcium aluminum hydrate, quartz, hydrogarnet, a little ettringite and some sort of calcium aluminoferrite”, suggesting that the material is a hydrated natural cement manufactured after about 1800. The material also contains widely separated particles of partially carbonized coal, supporting the belief that it is a simple natural cement from lime kilns in the United States, England, France or Belgium.

The characteristic of the cement as described above clearly suggests that the cement are historic artifacts and not of prehistoric origins.

In a previous post, I have summarized arguments by Ball and Gifford (1980) and Gifford (1973) that the so-called “Bimini Roads are natural beachrock that has formed along prehistoric beaches. Thus, the lack of any other identified prehistoric structures, the following statement by Harrison (1971) provides a working hypothesis that is consistent with the known data:

It seems most likely that the objects were formed by hardening in barrels or casks. The wooden containers have by now been broken up and lost. The most likely of the marble and cement cylinders is therefore that they construction materials that were being transported by ship either by shipwreck or design, they came to rest on the off Entrance Point.

If the area within which the columns and barrels lie actually was the site of an ancient Atlantean city, then should enormous quantities of marble (and granite) lying about. However, only two pieces of marble and no pieces of granite have been documented by Harrison (1971). The abundance of concrete barrels amid a couple of short sections of marble columns greatly favors the marble columns being part of the same shipload of construction material that was either dumped or shipwrecked on the Bimini Islands.

I do not believe the reports of columns refer to the ones I have seen photographed. The columns are too much like building columns and too unlike concrete piles. Also, the photos that Mr. Hammonds have illustrated at his web site as the original figures in Ferro and Grumley (1970) from which he scanned his web pictures show a well-defined convexity that make them look much more like barrels than any known column. The only things that would look like columns are likely the two fluted columns described by Harrison (1971). However, I really do not see anything the pictures that look like fluted marble columns although present at the barrel site.

References Cited:

Ferro, Roberto, and Grumley, Michael, 1970, Atlantis: the Autobiography of a Search, Doubleday and Company, New York.

Harrison, W., 1971, Atlantis undiscovered; Bimini, Bahamas. Nature. vol. 230, no. 5292, p. 287-289.

granite was reported as well as marble. Granite is not natural to the Bahamas, so far as I know.

Granite was not reported by Harrison (1971) as having been found at the barrel site. This must be yours or someone else’s finding and, thus, you need to give the source of this information rather then incorrectly citing Harrison (1971) as the source of this data. But even with granite is present, it would mean that a ship carrying granite and marble, instead of just marble, along with cement got into trouble and had to dump stuff overboard or was shipwrecked.

In -_Re: Need new challenge_, lalam@delphi.com also mentioned the presence of granite as he wrote:

Mark Hammons  wrote:
>dweller@ramtops.demon.co.uk (Doug Weller) wrote:
>>In article <49notm$reb@newsbf02.news.aol.com>,
>>          mrbungl195@aol.com (MrBungL195) wrote:
>>> Mark Hammons wrote
>>> >   I also do not believe the photographs were cement droppings,
>>> >   as one moron posted.  I suppose most of those who replied
>>> Doug Weller wrote:
>Mark Hammons did not write such a phrase.  I don’t think they are
>conveniently dumped concrete barrels, either, but I didn’t call them

…much material omitted
… other divers on the site since 1971. Bill was there twice this year. He does not believe that the granite stones found there are local or natural. The find of the granite stones was accidental by curious divers. A lab in Baltimore, MD, I was told, decided that it was granite.

Unfortunately, it is unclear as to the size, shape, and context of which the “granite stones” that he talks about in his post. As a result, evaluation as to what these stones are and their significance is impossible to do. Given that Ball and Gifford (1980) and Gifford (1973) have clearly documented that the slabs that compose the so-called “Bimini Road” consist entirely of naturally occurring beachrock, the granite stones could represent either ballast stones or ornamental stone dumped from a ship in trouble or shipwreck. The simple presence of scattered pieces of granite fails to be proof of the existence of a former Atlantean city given the documented abundance of historic trash present in the area. Granite is a very easy rock to identify in hand specimen. It is something that first year geology student should be able to do. That a laboratory had to identify it for you is revealing of the level of geological expertise available among your group of divers.

As mentioned above, Harrison (1971) presents documented proof that concrete cylinders occur with the marble cylinders. In fact, the vast majority of the cylinders consist of concrete instead of marble. Again, the presence of numerous, documented concrete barrels along the shore of Bimini Island indicates that by dumping or shipwreck, the nearshore zone of these islands has been littered with historic debris. Unless you have some way of dating or tracing the source of the marble and granite, it will be impossible for to argue that these granite and marble represent the remains of any prehistoric cultures.

References Cited: Harrison, W., 1971, Atlantis undiscovered; Bimini, Bahamas. Nature. vol. 230, no. 5292, p. 287-289.

Back to the article, in which m-hamm@maroon.tc.umn.edu says:

There are clearly shown dressed stone columns in 30 feet of water. I can’t remember the magazine, but somewhere I saw an article on a piece of carved sculpture that was brought up from this site. The figure was reportedly of some abstract feline form, and was a “cornerstone” of some sort.

There are four problems with the “feline sculpture” as evidence for a man-made origin of the slabs of beachrock. First, you present absolutely no evidence that this sculpture is any way related to the limestone slabs. Because the surface deposits within the nearshore been frequently mixed by wave action, the age of the sculpture is unknown. Second, the origin of the sculpture is unknown. It could be either an artifact of your mythical Atlantean culture, a Mayan sculpture lost in a shipwreck on its way back to Spain, a modern or historic sculpture dumped or lost overboard, or from any of number of other possible sources. Finally, research by Kuche (1975) has demonstrated that many of the mysteries reported about the Bahamas region have been fabricated by writers of books and producers of documentaries who were more interested in creating entertaining fiction disguised as fact instead of truthfully reporting the facts about the Bahamas. Thus, unless the existence of this sculpture can be documented with a reliable citation, it is only another Bermuda Triangle fish story that proves nothing.

Reference Cited: Kuche, Larry, 1975, The Bermuda Triangle – Solved. Harper and Row, 302 pp.


1. an abundance of historic barrels of concrete have been clearly documented by Harrison (1971) along with two short sections of marble column as having been observed within the nearshore of the Bimini Islands, Bahamas.

2. There are undocumented claims of “stones” of granite having been found also. Because of an utter lack of details about this finds, it is impossible to make any interpretations concerning the significance of their presence. They could have been deposited on the nearshore surface any time in the last 15,000 years. For the granite, any number of explanations can be given, e.g. ship ballast stones, cargo debris from a shipwreck, etc., given the gross last lack of information about their physical characteristics and the context of where they were found.

3. In case of the marble columns, the fact that only two 60 cm long sections of columns has been documented in addition to and associated with numerous historic concrete barrels suggests that they part a cargo that was either dumped overboard or shipwrecked.

4. The “feline sculpture” is so poorly documented that for all is known about it, it could just as well be another Bermuda Triangle folktale.

5. Given that the so-called “Bimini Roads” have been clearly documented by Ball and Gifford (1980), Gifford (1973), Harrison (1971), and McKusick and Shinn (1978) as being natural Holocene beachrock, there is an absolute lack of any evidence for the presence of any major prehistoric cities or structure just offshore of the Bimini Islands. If any city had existed, it should have left something more substantial than a couple of 60 cm long marble columns and a few “stones” of granite.

References Cited:

Ball, Mahlon M., and Gifford, John A., 1980, Investigation of submerged beachrock deposits off Bimini, Bahamas. Research Reports National Geographic Society. vol. 12., p. 21-38.

Harrison, W., 1971, Atlantis undiscovered; Bimini, Bahamas. Nature. vol. 230, no. 5292, p. 287-289.

Gifford, John A, 1973, A description of the geology of the Bimini Islands, Bahamas. University of Miami, Florida, 88 p.

McKusick, M., and Shinn, E. A., 1980, Bahamian Atlantis reconsidered. Nature, vol. 287, no. 5777, pp. 11-12.

Yours, Darby South southdar@tyrell.net

Baton Rouge, LA Dec 14, 2001

Copyright © 1996-2002 Paul V. Heinrich All rights reserved

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