ATLIT YAM - ISRAEL

 

OCEAN AWARENESS - UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY

 

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HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF: Ocean levels are rising as the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps melt from being warmed due to climate change, causing extreme weather events. Today, islands are sinking as we write. That is the legacy that we are creating, and must do our utmost to undo, to prevent more lost civilizations.

 

 

 

 

 

So many underwater complexes allege to be the oldest, but this one seems to have a definite claim to the title. Off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea, lies this Neolithic settlement, thought to be around 8,000 years old. Discovered in 1984, in 30-feet deep water, there are buildings, graves, even the odd skeleton. But the most amazing find must be the seven megaliths arranged in a circle, like an underwater Stonehenge. It is believed that an earthquake and subsequent tsunami resulted in the settlement becoming submerged. You can find out more by donning a wet suit and diving into Inner Space.

 

Atlit Yam is an ancient submerged Neolithic village off the coast of Atlit, Israel. It has been carbon-dated as to be between 8,900 and 8,300 years old. Among the features of the 10-acre site is a stone circle.

Atlit-Yam provides the earliest known evidence for an agro-pastoral-marine subsistence system on the Levantine coast. The site of Atlit Yam has been carbon-dated to be between 8,900 and 8,300 years old (calibrated dates) and belongs to the final Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period. In the 21st century A.D., it lay between 812 m (2540 ft) beneath sea level in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Bay of Atlit, at the mouth of the Oren river on the Carmel coast. It covers an area of ca. 40,000 square meters (10 acres).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underwater excavations have uncovered rectangular houses and a well. The site was covered by the eustatic rise of sea levels after the end of the Ice age. It is assumed that the contemporary coast-line was about 1 km (a half-mile) west of the present coast. Piles of fish ready for trade or storage have led scientists to conclude that the village was abandoned suddenly. An Italian study led by Maria Pareschi of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Pisa indicates that a volcanic collapse of the eastern flank of Mount Etna 8,500 years ago would likely have caused a 10-storey (40 m or 130 ft) tsunami to engulf some Mediterranean coastal cities within hours. Some scientists point to the apparent abandonment of Atlit Yam around the same time as further evidence that indeed, such a tsunami did occur.

Submerged settlements and shipwrecks have been found on the Carmel coast since 1960, in the wake of large-scale sand quarrying. In 1984, marine archaeologist Ehud Galili spotted ancient remains whilst surveying the area for shipwrecks. Remains of rectangular houses and hearth-places have been found. Also found was a well that currently lies 10.5 m (35 ft) below sea-level, constructed of dry-stone walling, with a diameter of 1.5 m (5 ft) and a depth of 5.5 m (20 ft) lower. The fill contained flints, artifacts of ground stone and bone, and animal bones in two separate layers. The upper layer contained partly articulated animal bones, which presumably, were thrown in after the well went out of use. Other round structures at the site may also be wells. Galili believes that the water in the wells gradually became contaminated with seawater, forcing the inhabitants to abandon their homes.

A stone semicircle, containing seven 600 kg (1,300 lb) megaliths, has been found. The stones have cup marks carved into them and are arranged around a freshwater spring, which suggests that they may have been used for a water ritual.

Ten flexed burials have been discovered, both inside the houses and in their vicinity. The skeletons of a woman and child, found in 2008, have revealed the earliest known cases of tuberculosis. Bone fish-hooks and piles of fish bones ready for trade or storage point to the importance of marine resources. The men are thought to have dived for seafood, as four skeletons with ear damage have been found, probably caused by diving in cold water. Anthropomorphic stone stelae have been found. The lithics include arrowheads, sickle-blades, and axes.

 

An excavation was mounted by the University of Haifa on October 1, 1987. A complete human burial, in an excellent state of preservation, was discovered under 10m of water on October 4 with the skeleton oriented in a flexed position and laid on her right side. Subsequent carbon dating of plant material recovered from the burial placed the age of the site at 8000 +-200 years.

Animal bones and plant remains also have been preserved. Animal bones come mainly from wild species. The plant remains include wild grape, poppy, and caraway seeds. Granary weevils indicate the presence of stored grain. Pollen analysis and the remains of marsh plants indicates the local presence of swamps. 

The settlement has been dated by three radiocarbon dates from submerged branches:

Lab-number   BP    date (approx.)   deviation

RT-2477/8    7605   6460 BC            55
RT-2479       7460   62706390 BC   55
RT-2489       7880   66606700 BC   55 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean literacy could be taught in schools, as part of an educational curriculum to raise awareness of just how important the subsea kingdom is for land dwellers.

 

What lost treasures might we discover as the mysteries of the deep unfold, armed with new underwater technology and an army of freshly educated researchers with an interest in the deep.

 

 

ATLANTIS - MEDITERRANEAN SEA

ATLIT-YAM - ISRAEL

BAIA - ITALY
DWARKA - INDIA

PAVLOPETRI - GREECE
PHANAGORIA - BLACK SEA
PORT ROYAL - JAMAICA

RUNGHOLT - DENMARK
THONIS-HERACLEION AND ALEXANDRIA - EGYPT

YONAGUNI JIMA - JAPAN


 

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  THE LOST CITY OF ATLIT YAM IS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA OFF THE COAST OF ISRAEL

 

 

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