10,000-Year-Old Man-Made Submerged Monolith Found

The underwater monolith.

After seeing the monolith appear on the high-resolution maps, the researchers sent divers underwater to get photos and video of the peculiar object. Notice the large hole at its end with diameters of about 16, 20 and 24 inches. It's likely these holes were man-made, the researchers said. (Image: via Emanuele Lodolo, Zvi Ben-Avraham)

A man-made submerged monolith has been discovered 131 feet (12 meters) below the waters of the Sicilian Channel between Tunisia and Sicily. It weighs approximately 30,000 pounds (15 tons), is 40 feet (12 meters) long, and it’s believed to date back at least 10,000 years.

The archaeologist’s discovery offers new insight into historic Mediterranean civilizations. The stone shows traces of prehistoric civilization and would have required skills that are not often associated with ancient societies. It also suggests not only human activity on the Pantelleria Vecchia Bank, but also organized and skilled cooperation.

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“This discovery reveals the technological innovation and development achieved by the Mesolithic inhabitants in the Sicilian Channel region; there are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements,” Zvi Ben-Avraham, from the Department of Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University, said.

“It was found by a group of researchers that were surveying the area. An analysis of the monolith suggests that it was made of unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders.”

The submerged monolith

The submerged monolith was cut and moved as a single piece of rock, but it is now lying on the seabed in two pieces.

The scientists say the block was cut and extracted as a single stone from the outer rectilinear ridge that was about 300 meters to the south, and then transported and possibly erected.

Underwater composite photographs taken from divers, showing the discovered submerged monolith and some details.
Underwater composite photographs taken by divers showing the discovered monolith and some details. Top: full lateral view. Bottom: full view from above. (Image: via Emanuele Lodolo, Zvi Ben-Avraham)

According to ibtimes, it is not known what purpose the submerged monolith served, or whether it was part of a larger structure, but Lodolo said the structure likely served a functional purpose, as those settled on the island engaged in fishing and trade with people on neighboring islands. “It could have been some sort of a lighthouse or an anchoring system, for example,” Lodolo said.

“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 an extremely shallow sea,” the researchers said.

One of those islands was the Pantelleria Vecchia Bank, where the massive submerged monolith was found, and where an ancient civilization thrived. These ancient people possibly colonized and settled the various islands of the archipelago, attracted by a suitable climate and a geographical position between Europe and Africa, wrote Dnews.

A 3-D view of the monolith site. (Image: via Emanuele Lodolo, Zvi Ben-Avraham)

The age of the submerged monolith dates back to the beginning of the Mesolithic era (about 10,000 B.C. to 5,000 B.C.), and the report says that the discovery 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,” RT reported.

The new study, which was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, said the monolith was made of a single, large block, and required cutting, extraction, transportation, and installation, which undoubtedly reveals important technical skills and great engineering.

The belief that our ancestors lacked the knowledge, skills, and technology to exploit marine resources or make sea crossings must be progressively abandoned. The recent findings of submerged archaeology have definitively removed the idea of “technological primitivism” often attributed to hunter-gatherers coastal settlers.

What an exciting discovery. It will be interesting to see what else they find.

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