Aerial view of the sunken structures. Image Credit:

Sunken Ancient Civilization Investigated in Europe

Massive structures, up to 10 kilometers in length and dating back some 5,500 years are being investigated by researchers.


An underwater trail of ancient rock piles, or cairns, that stretch for miles beneath Lake Constance, a glacial lake located between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is being studied by archaeologists to unravel its mystery. According to a study published in 2021, these cairns appear to have been built some 5,500 years ago by humans. Initially discovered by the Institute for Lake Research in Langenargen in 2015, the huge cairns have attracted public attention and expert debate. Several hundred feet from Lake Constance’s southwest Swiss shore, there are approximately 170 of these rock formations. The Neolithic rock formations in the Canton of Thurgau were crafted by humans during the Neolithic period, according to an archaeology team led by Urs Leuzinger.


10 km long

According to a study published in the Annual Review of Swiss Archaeology in 2021, the piles are several dozen feet wide with a height of up to six feet. This makes them impressive structures that would have taken a great deal of time and effort to construct. However, “the purpose of this 10-kilometer-long prehistoric feature remains unclear.” Leuzinger told Motherboard that humans erected the cairns directly at the Neolithic shoreline. Currently, the lake level is three to five meters higher due to climate change, he noted, adding that the shoreline “also depends on seasonal fluctuations in the lake level and snow levels in the Alpine range.”


An ancient civilization?

While investigations into the underwater cairn site continue, the 2021 study presents sediment core samples and other evidence suggesting the cairns are 5,500 years old. It has been reported that Cairn 5 has received most of the attention. However, the researchers are currently studying a new formation that may contain clues to their construction. The results of this analysis will be detailed in a new study. Thousands of years ago, Neolithic people built stilt-house settlements known as pile-dwelling settlements around this lake over the marshlands. Since the formation is too large for one settlement to have constructed it alone, Leuzinger believes that many of these villages were involved in its construction. Could it have been an ancient civilization? It remains to be seen.

Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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