‘Built on dry land’
Scientists first made the discovery by accident in 2003 using sonar to survey the bottom of the lake but published their findings only recently. The structure is comprised of basalt rocks, arranged in the shape of a cone. It measures 230 feet (70 meters) at the base of the structure, is 32 feet (10 meters) tall, and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons. It is twice the size of the ancient stone circle at Stonehenge in England.
Its size and location, says Shmuel Marco, a geophysicist from Tel Aviv University who worked on the project and who also took video of the structure during a scuba dive to examine it, indicated it could have been constructed underwater as a type of fish nursery. However archaeologists think it more likely it was built on dry land and later submerged by the lake.
‘Even more enigmatic’
The exact age of the structure has been difficult to pinpoint, but calculations based on the six to ten feet (two to three meters) of sand that have accumulated over the bottom of the base — sand accumulates an average of one to four millimeters per year — as well as comparisons to other structures in the region, put the estimate anywhere between 2,000 and 12,000 years old. The possible purpose of the structure is even more enigmatic.
Dani Nadel, an archeologist from the University of Haifa, who partnered on the site, and who has led several prehistoric excavations in the region, notes it shares similarities with communal burial sites, though he’s quick to discourage anyone from drawing a definitive conclusion.
What do you think could have been the purpose of this mysterious ancient structure? Feel free to share your own speculations with us!
Source: Daisy Carrington, CNN