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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bigger than Stonehenge, heavier than a battleship, and old as the pyramids.

Archaeologists want to know what lies beneath a tremendous stone structure under the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The structure was first detected by sonar survey in 2003 and has baffled archaeologists ever since.

A map showing the location of the mysterious mound.

A map showing the location of the mysterious mound.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Sea of Galilee, structure, cairn, ancient, mystery


HAIFA, ISRAEL (Catholic Online) - It's twice as wide as Stonehenge in England, weighs as much as a battleship, and is about 4,000 to 5,000 years old, meaning the structure would have been ancient even in Jesus' time. It's circular and appears to be made of boulders piled atop one another, some a full meter in diameter. The pile of stones is about 10 meters high.

The purpose of the structure and what could lie beneath, remains a mystery.

A sonar survey discovered an anomalous structure under the Sea of Galilee in 2003 and divers were sent to investigate. They took a few photographs and reported a massive pile of rocks, littering the sea floor in a circular pattern. They described the structure as a cairn.

The structure is obviously man made, but its purpose remains unclear. It is known that when it was built, the Sea of Galilee was shallower and did not cover the area in which the structure was placed. That means its builders constructed it on land and the sea only covered it later.

The surrounding area is littered with ancient and prehistoric settlements, most notably the settlement of Bet Yerah, which would have been just a mile to the south of the structure. Did the people of Bet Yerah build the cairn?

That city was, during its time, the most powerful fortified city in all of Israel, meaning it likely had the population, knowledge, and means of constructing a major monument. Throughout the area are also other stone monuments raised by ancient peoples for reasons sometimes known only to them.

Archaeologists suspect the cairn could cover a burial mound, however that is speculation. Until a team of divers is sent with equipment to actually excavate the mound, its true purpose will probably remain a mystery.

Of course, such an expedition would also be very costly and labor-intensive, so it will be difficult to manage. However, if an expedition is made, it will hopefully discover artifacts which can accurately date the structure and provide a clue as to its true origin.

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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
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