Deep below a European lake lies a man-made monument that scientists have called the “Swiss Stonehenge”. The mysterious stones rest 15 feet below the surface on the Swiss side of Lake Constance which is a 207-square-mile body of water that borders Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. They were initially discovered in 2015 by the Institute for Lake Research in Langenargen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
The Neolithic relic consists of 5,000-year-old stones with some of the stones measuring as wide as 100 inches and was laid out in a way that they were situated parallel to the Swiss shoreline. A ship with a digger removed seabed materials that had gathered beside the stones in order to study them further. A spokesman at the Archaeology Office of the Swiss Canton of Thurgau said that the discovery was a “sensational” find.
The Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany created an underwater georadar to study the stones in hopes of finding out their origin and why they were put there in the first place. It has been determined that the stones were put there by humans and not created naturally by nature.
Since there had been a glacier in that area 18,000 years ago, it was first thought that the stones may have been made by nature, but that hypothesis has been disproven. “It is obvious that the stones of up to 40 centimeters in size rest on the post-glacial, banded lake deposits and clearly above the underlying upper edge of the moraine [a glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris]”, the Archaeology Office wrote, adding, “Thus, it is now scientifically proven that the cairns did not originate naturally from the glacier, but were piled up by human hands.”
It’s still unclear as to why the stones were put there in the first place, but several theories have emerged, such as that they were used as weirs, burial mounds, and signposted transportation routes. Urs Leuzinger, who works as a researcher on the project, believes that the stones were put either along the shoreline or in shallow water during the time of its construction.
“I’ve never really experienced anything like this. Whenever we dig something up, we usually know what it’s all about,” he said. He continued on by stating, “Our 170 cairns of 500 cubic meters of stones each does bring quite a decent amount to the shores of Lake Constance.”
An international team of researchers will conduct further studies in the upcoming months to learn more about these fascinating stones. Several pictures of the stone monument called “Swiss Stonehenge” can be seen here.