Broken in two parts, the 3.2-foot-long monolith has a rather regular shape and features three holes of similar diameter. One, which can be found at its end, crosses it completely from part to part, the others appear at two sides of the massive stone.
Such features leave no doubt that the monolith was man-made some 10,000 years ago.
“There are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements,” Zvi Ben-Avraham, from the Department of Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University, and Emanuele Lodolo, from the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste, Italy, wrote in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The monolith was found at a depth of 131 feet, on what was once an island in the Sicilian Channel. Called Pantelleria Vecchia Bank, the island was located some 24 miles north of the volcanic island of Pantelleria and was submerged during a massive flood about 9,500 years ago.
Indeed, the entire geography of the Mediterranean Basin was radically altered by the increase in sea level following the Last Glacial Maximum.
“The Sicilian Channel is one of the shallow shelves of the central Mediterranean region where the consequences of changing sea-level were most dramatic and intense,” the researchers wrote.