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The new study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, says the area was submerged about 9350 years ago (give or take 200 years) when the last Ice Age retreated. Before that time the area was believed to be something of an archipelago, with a string of islands linking Europe to North Africa via a shallow sea.
“It was cut and extracted as a single stone from the outer rectilinear ridge situated about 300 to the south, and then transported and possibly erected,” the study reads. ”From the size of the monolith, we may presume that it weighs about 15 tons.”
The researchers say the existence of the monolith — which features unusual holes drilled through its base — is forcing scholars to rethink the technological know-how of ‘primitive’ hunter gatherers.
The nearby island of Malta is home to a series of mysterious megalithic temples. These have been tentatively dated to some 5600 years ago.