In this Timewatch special, historian Bettany Hughes unravels one of the most intriguing mysteries of all time.
She presents a series of geological, archaeological and historical clues to show that the legend of Atlantis was inspired by a real historical event - the greatest natural disaster of the ancient world.
She is tracing the origins of the Atlantis myth and presenting evidence that the Thera eruption inspired Plato's account of the mystical land.
2,400 years ago Greek philosopher Plato wrote of an ancient island civilization of unparalleled wealth and splendor, which was struck by earthquakes and floods and was swallowed up by the sea in one grievous day and night.
"But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island." (Plato, as translated by Benjamin Jowett).