Archaeologists Stumped by Sea of Galilee Mystery

Next step: raise money to fund excavation

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted May 23, 2013 9:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – What Israeli archaeologists know: A bigger-than-Stonehenge structure submerged in the Sea of Galilee is man-made, made of stones that originated nearby, and weighs about 60,000 tons. What they don't know: Pretty much everything else. The AP revisits the mystery of the cone-shaped structure, which was revealed in an article published earlier this year. A routine sonar scan first pointed to its existence in 2003; now, archaeologists are trying to raise money to fund an underwater expedition, which the AP describes as a "painstakingly slow process" that could have a price tag into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The planned excavation would be the first in the Sea of Galilee, the archaeologists believe, and it would take them about 1,600 feet off the sea's southwestern shore. The formation lies between nine and 40 feet below the surface, its base covered in sediment. But money isn't the only hurdle: The sea has low visibility, and digging could stir up sediment, burying uncovered portions. But the lingering questions are too tempting for the archaeologists to ignore: Was it built on land or underwater? Was it a burial site—or a fish nursery? Was it built 2,000 years ago—or 12,000? Click for more.

A view of the Sea of Galilee.
A view of the Sea of Galilee.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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