A monolith recently discovered on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily appears to be 10,000 years old. It's makers, design, purpose and reason for disappearance are a mystery waiting to be solved.
The discovery of the monolith is described in detail in an article in the current Journal of Archaeological Science written by Zvi Ben-Avraham from Tel Aviv University and Emanuele Lodolo from the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste, Italy. It was found at a depth of 40 meters (131 feet) in the Sicilian Channel on a former island on what is known as the Pantelleria Vecchia Bank.
Found broken it two pieces, the monolith would have been 12 meters (40 feet) tall and weighed at least 15 tons. Lodolo says it was carved from a single block of stone – a feat that required sophisticated engineering skills to cut it, move it and stand it up. By whom?
Little is known about the people who lived on this island and no artifacts were found with the monolith. It’s assumed they fished and traded with other islands. Lodolo thinks the monolith, when standing, may have been used as a navigation tool like a lighthouse or as a mooring or anchoring post for boats. So far, no other similar stones have been found. Lodolo would like to see this underwater area studied further.
Almost everything that we do know about prehistoric cultures derives from settlements that are now on land. On the contrary, an extensive archaeological record of early settlings lies on the sea-floor of our continental shelves. If we want to trace the origins of civilization in the Mediterranean region, we must focus on the now-submerged shelf areas.
What caused the island to disappear 9,500 years ago? Blame the Last Glacial Maximum which raised the Mediterranean Sea and flooded numerous shallow areas.
If more monoliths are found, this could become a sunken Sicilian Stonehenge. In the meantime, it’s just another example of how little we know about even shallow underwater areas of our planet.