Lost on the Atlantic

2008, History  -  51 min Leave a Comment
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Most of us are fed the same historical narrative that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. One theory, however, poses a great challenge to this universally accepted recounting of history. Upon examination, American-bred tobacco seeds were discovered inside the mummified remains of Egyptian Pharaohs. Could this indicate that prehistoric Europeans had traveled to America and back thousands of years prior to the conquests of Columbus?

In 2007, an eager group of explorers set out to test this theory, and Lost on the Atlantic serves as a documentation of their efforts.

The argument against such a possibility lies in the turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean which have long been thought too perilous to travel across from west to east, particularly in the rudimentary boats that existed in prehistoric times. The expedition at the center of Lost on the Atlantic is led by German archeologist Dominique Gorlitz. Assisted by a team of nine additional crew members consisting of a biologist, skier, diver and student, Gorlitz sets out from a New York harbor on a journey which will encompass 1500 nautical miles.

Their sailing vessel has been meticulously crafted from materials which existed in the Stone Age, and which were likely the ingredients from which these prehistoric explorers would assemble their own craft for a similar expedition.

The crew is well aware of the risks involved, but they are anxious to take part in a potentially history-altering mission. From the beginning of their journey, they are at the mercy of the unpredictable winds. For a full ten days, the ocean remains calm and their boat remains stagnant. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, their expedition becomes endangered as their boat begins to disintegrate. The stern breaks down amongst the crashing waves. Emergency repairs ensure a temporary fix, but additional stressful weather conditions may doom the mission for good.

Will their boat ultimately survive the journey, and will the crew prove successful in their quest to redefine history? In tremendously effective and visceral form, Lost on the Atlantic places a viewer on the boat with the crew through every treacherous setback and incremental victory.