Nine Millennia Old Monolith Discovered On Mediterranean Sea Floor
Archaeologists have discovered a nine-millennia-old, twelve-meter, fifteen-ton monolith on the ocean floor of the Mediterranean Sea. The stone totem lies in two pieces in the Sicilian Channel between Tunisia and Sicily. It was cleaved from a rocky protuberance 300 meters away at a time when the Mediterranean Sea was a dry basin. Today, the monolith sits 40 meters under water.
Published in the September issue of Journal of Archaeological Science, the study posits the Monolith’s subaqueous existence began some 9350 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. It was written by Zvi Ben-Avraham, from Tel Aviv University, and Emanuele Lodolo, from the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste.
“It was cut and extracted as a single stone from the outer rectilinear ridge situated about 300 meters to the south, and then transported and possibly erected,” the study states.
“From the size of the monolith, we may presume that it weighs about 15 tons.” Like so many discoveries, the monolith questions our understanding about the technological expertise of hunter-gatherers.
“This discovery provides evidence for a significant Mesolithic human activity in the Sicilian Channel region,” according to the research paper. Scientists believe Sicily was first settled between 17,000 and 27,000 years ago when a land bridge linked it to the Italian mainland.
Ben-Avraham and Lodolo point to certain evidence that the monolith is man-made, such as attention to detail and mysterious holes drilled into the structure. The discovery is important to our knowledge about the evolution of human society.
“The discovery of the submerged site in the Sicilian Channel may significantly expand our knowledge of the earliest civilisations in the Mediterranean basin and our views on technological innovation and development achieved by the Mesolithic inhabitants,” the report reads.
Images from Shutterstock and Journal of Archaeological Science