An incredibly large stone structure in Israel has gone undiscovered until now. Located about 8 miles northwest of the Sea of Galilee in Israel, the structure has been dated between 3050 B.C.E. and 2650 B.C.E.
It occupies more than 500,000 cubic feet and is nearly 500 feet long. How does something this large go undiscovered? Scientists believed the stone structure was part of a city wall in ancient times.
Ido Wachtel, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, made the discovery. He found that there was no city near the ‘wall,’ and soon realized it was a monument.
The structure had a crescent shape and was very prominent. Wachtel told Live Science the shape could have been symbolic as the lunar crescent is a symbol for an ancient god named Sin.
Plus, it could have helped mark the borders of a nearby ancient town called Bet Yerah. The town’s name translates to ‘house of the moon-god’ and was just a day’s walk from the monument. The distance from any nearby living center also supports the notion it’s not a fortification. It’s not known if the town went by that name in ancient times, but the name has been recorded in old Jewish texts going back more than 1,500 years.
“The proposed interpretation for the site is that it constituted a prominent landmark in its natural landscape, serving to mark possession and to assert authority and rights over natural resources by a local rural or pastoral population,” Wachtel wrote recently in a summary of a presentation at the International Congress on the Archaeology of Ancient Near East.
The stone structure is about 66 feet wide at its base and is preserved to a height of 23 feet according to Wachtel.
How long would such a structure take to build? Wachtel told LiveScience estimates range between 35,000 and 50,000 working days. Building time would have ranged from months to years depending on the number of workers.
Image credit: Ido Wachtel via Ancient Origins