A team of archaeologists has recently stumbled across a Stonehenge-style monolith in the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Sicily. According to experts, the mysterious stone artifact could provide valuable information about the earliest civilizations from the region. Believed to be twice as old as the Neolithic Stonehenge, the 12-meter (40-foot) long structure has been confirmed as man-made, thanks to its remarkably regular shape and design.
It was discovered in September, 2014, by archaeologists working in the Strait of Sicily, stretching between Sicily and Tunisia. Now broken into two smaller parts, the limestone monolith was originally found, using a hull-mounted sonar system, at around 40-meter (131-foot) below the water surface. The findings have been published by Emanuele Lodolo, of Italy’s National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, along with Zvi Ben-Avraham, a professor of Earth science at Tel Aviv University, in this month’s issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. Lodolo said:
Considering its shape and length, it can be called a Stonehenge-type monolith, but its age is remarkably older… From the data we have here presented and analyzed, it can be inferred that the monolith discovered in the PVB is not a natural feature, but man-made. There are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements.
10,000 years ago, the Mediterranean Basin was home to an archipelago of several low-lying islands, one of which was the Pantelleria Vecchia Bank (PVB). Situated around 60 km (37 miles) south of present-day Sicily, the region was inhabited by Mesolithic humans, until an enormous flood swallowed the entire island nearly 9,350 years ago. With the rise in water levels during the Last Glacial Maximum, much of the land got submerged, thus forcing the ancient people of the area to relocate elsewhere. The paper states:
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. 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.
It is currently not known if the structure was part of a larger complex, similar to Stonehenge. Weighing up to 30,000 pounds, the monolith was craved from a single, giant block of rock. According to the researchers, however, to cut, shape, transport and install such a piece would have required some truly advanced technical skills. This debunks the former notion that the early Mediterranean people were a primitive group, lacking in knowledge and skill. Lodolo added:
This discovery reveals the technological innovation and development achieved by the Mesolithic inhabitants in the Sicilian Channel region. Such an effort undoubtedly reveals important technical skills and great engineering. Most likely the structure was functional to the settlement. These people were used to fishing and trading with the neighboring islands. It could have been some sort of a lighthouse or an anchoring system, for example.
Via: Discovery News