Archaeologists have discovered an underwater "Stonehenge-style" monolith in the Mediterranean basin, possibly made by one of the earliest civilizations in the region.
The monolith discovery, published in the Journal of Archaeologist Science
, was made in water 131 feet deep on what researchers believe is a sunken island in a channel off the coast of Sicily. Archaeologists said they believe the monolith was made by man about 10,000 years ago, according to Discovery News
"There are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements," said Zvi Ben-Avraham, of Tel Aviv University, and Emanuele Lodolo, of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste, Italy, writing in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
said the large monolith appeared to be 12 meters long and carved out of limestone. The huge stone was split in two and resting on its side on the bottom of the basin.
"The discovery of the submerged site in the Sicilian Channel may significantly expand our knowledge of the earliest civilizations in the Mediterranean basin and our views on technological innovation and development achieved by the Mesolithic inhabitants," said the researchers.
"The monolith found, made of a single, large block, required a cutting, extraction, transportation and installation, which undoubtedly reveals important technical skills and great engineering. The belief that our ancestors lacked the knowledge, skill and technology to exploit marine resources or make sea crossings, must be progressively abandoned," they said.
Located about 24 miles north of the island of Pantelleria, the Pantelleria Vecchia Bank – where the monolith was found – has been submerged about 9,500 years since a massive flood, according to Discovery News.
"The Sicilian Channel is one of the shallow shelves of the central Mediterranean region where the consequences of changing sea-level were most dramatic and intense," said the researchers.
"The gradual increase of the sea level caused the flooding of most of the peninsula, with the exception of some morphological highs that, until at least the Early Holocene, formed an archipelago of several islands separated by stretches of extremely shallow sea," thry said.
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