Shalom Life | April 21, 2014

Tel Aviv University Discovers Monument Beneath the Sea of Galilee

TAU researchers say structure is over 6,000 years old

By: Daniel Koren

Published: June 17th, 2013 in News » Israel

Tel Aviv University Discovers Monument Beneath the Sea of Galilee

Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have discovered an ancient structure deep below the Sea of Galilee in Northern Israel.

The cone-shaped structure is approximately 70 meters in diamater, 12 meters tall, and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons.

Researchers from TAU's Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, including Professors Shmulik Marco, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Moshe Reshef and TAU alumni Dr. Gideon Tibor of the Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute, came upon the monument while conducting a geophysical survey on the southern Sea of Galilee, home to several significant archaeological sites.

The team was originally searching to find the origins of alluvium pebbles - native to the Sea of Galilee - when they found the gigantic monument in their midst. Further inspection verified that the structure was erected with three-foot-long volcanic stones known as basalt stones.

The TAU researchers deciphered that the structure was built on dry land and is approximately 6,000 years old. Professor Marco noted that the stones that comprise the structure were arranged meticulously and according to a specific construction plan.

The site has since been detailed in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. "Stone-built installations that are thought to be ancient fish nurseries are well known in the Sea of Galilee. They are found near the shores at regular intervals," says the study.

Dr. Yitzhak Paz of the Antiquities Authority and Ben-Gurion University added that the site is similar to early European burial sites and was most likely constructed during the Bronze Age.

The TAU researchers plan to learn more about the structure, and are currently organizing an underwater excursion to discover its origins, and hopefully find other such artifacts as well. Professor Marco believes that the findings could shed light on the geological history of the region.

"The base of the structure – which was once on dry land – is lower than any water level that we know of in the ancient Sea of Galilee. But this doesn't necessarily mean that water levels have been steadily rising," he says.

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