A 130-foot stone monolith has been discovered in the sea off of the Italian coast, that researchers say is at least 9,500 years old. The find was made during a high-resolution mapping survey of the seafloor off the coast of Sicily. The stone is in 40m (131 feet) of water, at a spot 60km (37 miles) south of the Italian island.

The regularly-shaped stone is 12m (39 feet) long and is estimated to weigh 15 tons. It has three 24-inch holes, two in it’s sides, and a third one at one end that passes completely through from one side to the other. While the monolith’s original function remains a mystery, one guess made by the researchers is that it may have been used as a lighthouse, with the hole in the end holding a torch as a beacon.

The researchers are dating the monolith’s age to approximately 9,500 BP, as the region was inundated by the sea at that time, due to the dramatic rise in global sea levels that followed the end of the last ice age. However, radiocarbon dating results from encrusted seashell deposits on the stone were dated to approximately 40,000 BCE. While this could simply mean that the original stone was taken from the sea by the monolith’s crafters, this does suggest that it’s construction could be much older.

This find, along with other sites such as Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, indicate that our ancestors were far more capable technologically than what is commonly accepted by mainstream science. The researchers address this in their publication: "The monolith found — made of a single, large block — required a cutting, extraction, transportation and installation, which undoubtedly reveals important technical skills and great engineering. The belief that our ancestors lacked the knowledge, skill and technology to exploit marine resources or make sea crossings, must be progressively abandoned."