TIVERYA (AP) – The massive circular structure is estimated to be many centuries old — a manmade conical behemoth weighing hundreds of tons, practically begging to be explored.
The problem is that it’s at the bottom of the Kinneret. For now, at least, Israeli researchers are left stranded on dry land, wondering what finds lurk below.
The monumental structure, made of boulders and stones with a diameter of 230 feet, emerged in a routine sonar scan in 2003. Now archeologists are trying to raise money to allow them access to the submerged stones.
“It’s very enigmatic, it’s very interesting, but the bottom line is we don’t know when it’s from, we don’t know what it’s connected to, we don’t know its function,” said Dani Nadel, an archeologist at the University of Haifa who is one of several researchers studying the discovery. “We only know it is there, it is huge and it is unusual.”
Archeologists said the only way they can properly assess the structure is through an underwater excavation, a painstakingly slow process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if an excavation were to take place, archeologists said they believed it would be the first in the Kinneret.
In contrast, Israeli researchers have carried out many excavations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
The cone-shaped structure is at a depth of between nine and 40 feet beneath the surface, about 1,600 feet from the sea’s southwestern shore. Its base is buried under sediment.
The structure is thought to be manmade, of stones that originated nearby, and it weighs about 60,000 tons.
The rest is a mystery.