Scientists explore underwater traces of an ancient civilization

(ORDO NEWS) — At the bottom of one of the lakes in the center of Europe, the ruins of an “underwater Stonehenge” were discovered, which stretched for several kilometers in length, reports Vice.

Scientists believe that these ancient structures had some special purpose. They have several versions.

Archaeologists are trying to unravel the mystery of the ancient ruins at the bottom of Lake Constance – these are cairns that stretch for many kilometers.

The lake itself, located on the border of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, was formed thanks to a glacier.

Ancient stone piles discovered at its bottom were apparently created by people who lived about 5.5 thousand years ago, according to a study conducted in 2021.

These huge cairns were first described by specialists from the Lake Research Institute in Langenargen in 2015, and since then they have attracted everyone’s attention and even generated scientific discussion.

Approximately 170 of these underwater ruins lined up at the bottom of a shallow section of Lake Constance, more precisely, just a few hundred feet from its southwestern Swiss shore.

A team of scientists led by archaeologist Urs Leuzinger from the Museum of Archeology of the Canton of Thurgau has collected convincing evidence that these underwater formations were created by people who lived here during the Neolithic.

The width of these stone heaps is several tens of feet, and the height reaches six feet, as a result of which these archaeological objects are quite clearly visible.

Apparently, their construction took a lot of effort and time, but “the purpose of this group of prehistoric structures, stretching for ten kilometers, remains unknown.”

This is stated in a 2021 study published in the “Annual Review of Swiss Archeology” (Annual review of Swiss archeology).

The results of the research will be presented at the Archaeological Office of the Canton of Thurgau in an exhibition entitled “Bodensee Stonehenge” (which means Stonehenge on Lake Constance.

Leitzinger said in an email to Motherboard that the cairns were created by people “directly on the Neolithic coastline.”

“To date, as a result of climate change, the water level in the lake has risen by three to five meters,” Leitzinger added, noting that the coastline “depends also on seasonal fluctuations in lake levels and snow cover in the Alps.”

The study of the features of pyramidal stone structures located at the bottom of the lake continues. But a 2021 study presents evidence from analysis of sedimentary cores and samples taken from these rock piles, which can tentatively date them to 5500.

Most of the work was carried out mainly on the pyramid number 5. Currently, archaeologists are studying a new object, which scientists will talk about in the next article. In this new object, clues may well be found that clarify the methodology by which they were erected by ancient people.

“We are currently analyzing the second stone pyramid,” Leitzinger said. According to him, “it is very similar to pyramid No. 5”, in addition, “traces of stone axes” are visible on it.

Previously, archaeologists managed to unearth ancient piled buildings erected by Neolithic people in the swamps around Lake Constance several thousand years ago.

According to Urs Leitzinger, the inhabitants of many of these villages must have taken part in the construction of stone pyramids, since the size of these pyramidal objects is too large, and therefore they could hardly have been erected by the inhabitants of one settlement.

“Inhabitants of one village could hardly build all 170 stone pyramids in a row,” comments Leitzinger.

“The work must have been coordinated, and the ancient people who lived around the lake had a very strong desire to build these stone pyramids. The new finds are similar to the cairns that are also found on the northern coast of Germany!

Scientists have found that prehistoric people had to spend a lot of effort on the creation of pile structures, and therefore it can be assumed that in the eyes of an ancient person, these piles had some special purpose.

To explain, Leitzinger and his colleagues put forward several versions, including the so-called crannogs, i.e. artificial islands built in the lake.

Archaeologists on Leitzinger’s team have also speculated that the rock piles could be fishing platforms, burial grounds, frontier fortifications, a solstice-based calendar, or even some kind of construction related to some kind of religious cult based on astronomical phenomena.

“Personally, I think they had some kind of cult purpose,” Leitzinger said. “Why shouldn’t they be some kind of artificial islands related to the burial ceremony?

After all, so far we have not been able to find a single cemetery, and we do not know how death was perceived by the lake dwellers, but this is my personal hypothesis, I have neither facts nor evidence!

To solve this mystery, the team of archaeologists will have to make many more dives and rack their brains over the clues that they managed to find underwater.

Meanwhile, each visitor to the Bodensee Stonehenge exhibition was asked to bring some small stone from their area to build the 171st cairn in honor of the ancient builders of the pyramids.

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