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    The massive circular structure appears to be an archaeologists dream: a recently discovered antiquity that could reveal secrets of ancient life in the Middle East and is just waiting to be excavated.

    It's thousands of years old -- a conical, manmade behemoth weighing hundreds of tons, practically begging to be explored.

    The problem is -- it's at the bottom of the biblical Sea of Galilee. For now, at least, Israeli researchers are left stranded on dry land, wondering what finds lurk below.

    The monumental structure, made of boulders and stones with a diameter of 230 feet, emerged from a routine sonar scan in 2003. Now archaeologists are trying to raise money to allow them access to the submerged stones.

    "It's very enigmatic, it's very interesting, but the bottom line is we don't know when it's from, we don't know what it's connected to, we don't know its function," said Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa who is one of several researchers studying the discovery. "We only know it is there, it is huge and it is unusual."

    Archaeologists said the only way they can properly assess the structure is through an underwater excavation, a painstakingly slow process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if an excavation were to take place, archaeologists said they believed it would be the first in the Sea of Galilee, an ancient lake that boasts historical remnants spanning thousands of years and is the setting of many Bible scenes.

    In contrast, Israeli researchers have carried out many excavations in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

    Much of the researchers' limited knowledge about this structure comes from the sonar scan a decade ago.

    Initial dives shortly after that revealed a few details. In an article in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology published earlier this year, Nadel and fellow researchers disclosed it was asymmetrical, made of basalt boulders and that "fish teem around the structure and between its blocks."
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