The lost city of Kane, which is said to have been positioned on an island off the coast of Turkey, is mentioned numerous times in ancient Greek literature, perhaps most notably as the site of a great sea battle between Athens and Sparta near the end of the Peloponnesian War. The only problem is, archaeologists have been unable to locate the island, which appears to have vanished from maps since the late Middle Ages.

So where did it go? An international team of archaeologists and geophysicists investigating in the region believe they may have finally solved the mystery, reports National Geographic.

Part of the puzzle is that ancient Greek texts place Kane on one of three islands in the Arginusae chain, which are now called the Garip islands. But today there are only two Garip islands, neither of which show evidence for being the site of Kane. What happened to the third island?

Since the islands are so close to the mainland, researchers looked to a particular peninsula that today jettisons out into the sea with suspicion. Could this peninsula represent a land bridge which formed between the once-fabled island and shore? To investigate, researchers drilled into the ground of the peninsula to examine the rock that formed it. Sure enough, the rock was made up of loose soil and sediment, indicating that the peninsula formed as a result of alluviums.

This means that soil deposits must have built up in the narrow channel between the ancient island and the shore over time, eventually creating a land bridge and effectively turning the island into the peninsula. Researchers guess that these deposits were result of earthquakes or the erosion of mainland agricultural fields.

“It was not clear that these lands were actually the Arginus islands that we were looking for until our research,” explained Dr. Felix Pirson, one of the researchers on the team, to the Turkish newspaper Zaman. “By examining the geological samples obtained through the core-drill method, we recognized that the gap between the third Arginus island and the mainland was indeed filled with loose soil and rock, creating the existing peninsula.”

The team also found the submerged remains of an ancient harbor from the Hellenistic period nearby, another indication that the peninsula was once an island. But to confirm their findings, the team plans to use radiocarbon dating to determine the ages of the geological layers in the peninsula, which will give them a better idea of how and when it formed.

Bryan Nelson ( @@brynelson ) writes about everything from environmental problems here on Earth to big questions in space.

Researchers discover lost Greek island that was once a great ancient city
The lost island is believed to be the location of Kane, the site of a major battle in the Peloponnesian War.