A monolith was found on the seabed of the Mediterranean, approximately 60 miles off the coast of Sicily. The monolith structure – which is approximately 40 feet long and estimated to weigh 15 tons – sheds light on the engineering of early civilizations that dwelled in the Mediterranean basin.
Discovery News on Aug. 8 wrote: “Broken in two parts, the monolith has a rather regular shape and features three holes of similar diameter. One, which can be found at its end, crosses it completely from part to part, the others appear at two sides of the massive stone. Such features leave no doubt that the monolith was man-made some 10,000 years ago.”
Scientists that examined the underwater monolith – defined as any large single upright stone or rock, especially one that is shaped into serving as a pillar or monument – concluded that the 12-meter long structure was carved some ten millennia ago. The rock may have been stand-alone, or as part of a group of similar monoliths.
The discovery was summarized by Zvi Ben-Avraham, of Tel Aviv University, and Emanuele Lodolo of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste, Italy, in the Journal of Archaeological Science, published in ScienceDirect.com.
The abstract says that “morphological evidence, underwater observations, and results of petrographic analysis testify that the monolith is man-made.”
The monolith was located on a one-time island called Pantelleria Vecchia Bank in the Sicilian Channel. It was likely constructed by island inhabitants a few hundred years prior to the region being flooded approximately 9,500 years ago, after the Last Glacial Maximum – a concluding period in Earth’s climate history when glacial ice sheets were at their greatest extension, causing an abrupt rise in sea levels.
“This discovery provides evidence for a significant Mesolithic human activity in the Sicilian Channel region,” the report says. “It is well known that the Mediterranean Sea is a unique basin from a historical and archaeological perspective, since it was an important means of communication among human communities living on its shores. These ancient civilizations have left numerous imprints along the former coasts, such as production and town structures, landing places, and ports.”
The scientists said that many structures “that are today submerged can provide fundamental information to support the reconstruction of the ancient coastlines.”
To that end, the presence of the monolith suggests a thriving prehistoric civilization.
“The monolith found, made of a single, large block, and 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,” the abstract concluded.
As to the purpose of the monolith? Dr. Lodolo said, “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.”