Ancient Mystery Monolith Found Off Sicily's Coast

It dates back 10K years, was submerged in flood
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2015 3:02 PM CDT
Ancient Mystery Monolith Found Off Sicily's Coast
A beach in Sicily.   (Shuttersotck)

Archaeologists have made quite the find off the coast of Sicily: a monolith that dates back about 10,000 years. It's broken in two now and on its side, but the block would have stood nearly 40 feet tall in its heyday, before a massive flood submerged it (along with its home island) some 9,500 years ago. The find is intriguing because of its age, explains a post at Evoanth. It predates "civilization as we know it," but the monolith clearly would have required a large number of people working on it—it weighs an estimated 15 tons—suggesting "they were already shifting towards our modern way of life." Indeed, the researchers write, "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."

As with Stonehenge, the monolith's purpose is unclear, but archaeologists are certain it's manmade because of the work that went into it—including three holes of similar size, "one at its end which passes through from part to part, the others in two of its sides. ... There are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements," they write in the Journal of Archaeological Science. One of the researchers tells Discovery it might have been part of a lighthouse or an "anchoring system" of some kind. More hunts at similar areas in the Mediterranean could shed more light on the origins of civilization there, he adds. (Another new archaeological find drawing comparisons to Stonehenge is in Britain.)

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