Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste, Italy, have discovered a mysterious Stonehenge-style monolith in the sea off the coast of Sicily, shedding new light on the earliest civilizations in the Mediterranean basin.
The 3.2-foot-long, 15-ton monolith is broken in two parts and features three holes of similar diameter. The holes leave little doubt that the monolith was human-made some 10,000 years ago. The once single large block required cutting, extraction, transportation, and installation.
“There are no reasonable known natural processes that may have produced these elements,” writes Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham of TAU’s Department of Earth Sciences and Emanuele Lodolo of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, in a study published in the most recent Journal of Archaeological Science.
The monolith was found 131 feet underwater on what was once an island in the Sicilian Channel called Pantelleria Vecchia Bank. The island was located some 24 miles north of the volcanic island of Pantelleria and was submerged during a massive flood about 9,500 years ago. According to the study, “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.”
“This discovery reveals the technological innovation and development achieved by the Mesolithic inhabitants in the Sicilian Channel region,” Prof. Lodolo said. The monolith’s function is not known, nor whether it was part of a larger complex.
For more, read the story in Discovery News: “Underwater ‘Stonehenge’ Monolith Found Off Coast of Sicily”.