Lost ancient temple in Mediterranean Sea points to underwater ‘city’

November 2nd, 2009 - 2:54 pm ICT by ANI  

London, November 2 (ANI): A British holidaymaker has uncovered what is believed to be a lost, ancient temple, which could be evidence of a submerged city dating back to 2nd century BC, while snorkelling in the Mediterranean.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Michael Le Quesne, was swimming off a popular beach in Montenegro with his parents and his ten-year-old sister Teodora when he spotted an odd looking ’stone’ at a depth of around two metres.

It turned out to be a large, submerged building which may have been the centrepiece of an important Greek or Roman trading post, swallowed up by the sea during a massive earthquake.

A British team of experts led by Dr Lucy Blue, presenter of BBC Two show Oceans, is to investigate the significant find in this largely unexplored corner of south east Europe.

Dr Blue said that if the discovery is confirmed to be an underwater temple it would “put Montenegro on the map”.

The discovery was made while Charles and Vera Le Quesne and their two children, from Princes Risborough, Bucks, was on a trip to their holiday home in the tiny Balkan country last month.

The family has been holidaying in Montenegro since 1994, but had never visited Maljevik, a small bay of sand and shingle, sheltered by pines, near the city of Bar.

Once his son reported the find, Charles Le Quesne, a professional archaeologist, fetched a snorkel and dived down to investigate.

He discovered fluted columns, 90cm in diameter, on plinths, which appeared to form part of an ancient Greek or Roman temple, basilica or major public building, similar to those at other archaeological sites around the Mediterranean.

On a clear day, the columns are visible from the surface of the water, but it appears that the remains, which include ancient pottery, have stayed untouched for thousands of years.

The potential size of the structure and the discovery of other architectural remains nearby suggest the ‘temple’ could have formed part of a large Greek or Roman settlement, dating back as far as the 2nd century BC.

No historical records exist of a major settlement on the site, although the Montenegrin coast is dotted with ancient ruins yet to be documented.

According to Charles Le Quesne, “If it is a monumental building, it is not going to be part of a small hamlet, but it is not a missing Atlantis, as we would already know about it. It remains a bit of a mystery.”

“The area was an important, ancient trading route, so it may have been a port,” he said. (ANI)

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