What is the mysterious object found in the Sea of Galilee?
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A mysterious structure, with a diameter greater than the length of a 747 jet has been discovered under 30 feet of water, underneath the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The circular structure was first discovered in 2003 when they used sonar to survey the bottom of the lake, but they published their findings only recently.
"We just bumped into it," said Shmuel Marco, a geophysicist from Tel Aviv University who worked on the sonar mapping project. "Usually the bottom of the lake is quite smooth. We were surprised to find a large mound. Initially we didn't realize the importance of this but we consulted with a couple of archaeologists, and they said it looked like an unusually large Bronze Age stature."
The structure is made of basalt rocks, arranged in the shape of a cone. It measures 230 feet at the base, and is 32 feet tall. It is estimated to weigh 60,000 tons and is twice the size of Stonehenge in England.
The size and location of the object could indicate that it was constructed underwater as a type of fish nursery, but archeologists think it is more likely that it was built on dry land and later submerged by a growing lake.
"From a geophysical perspective, it is also important to the history of the lake, because it means the water level was lower than it was today," Marco said.
Being underwater, the site is difficult to study, said one of the archeologists who led the study, Yitzhak Paz.
"If the site was inland, it would be much easier to investigate. By now we would have excavated, but because it's submerged we haven't yet been able to. It is a much harder process, both physically and financially. It is very expensive to raise support for such an enterprise."
The structure's exact age is difficult to pinpoint, but calculations based on the six to ten feet of sand that covers the base of the structure leave an estimate between 12,000 and 2,000 years old.
Dani Nadel, an archeologist from the University of Haifa, who has led numerous archaeological expeditions in the area says that it's just as hard to find what the structure used to be.
"This is such a huge structure that it truly is something unusual. It could have been a big ceremonial structure, or a ramp. There could have once been statues on top of people in certain rituals. I mean, I'm really going wild here. The truth is we don't know how it was constructed, what its exact age is, how it was used, or how long ago it was used. We have several speculations, but we don't know much except that it's there and it's huge."
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