A team of explorers working off the western coast of Cuba say they have discovered what they think are the ruins of a submerged city built thousands of years ago.
Researchers from a Canadian company used sophisticated sonar equipment to find and film stone structures more than 2,000 feet (650 metres) below the sea’s surface.
They say they still do not understand the exact nature of their discovery, and plan to start a thorough analysis of the site – off the tip of the Guanahacabibes Peninsula – in January.
Advanced Digital Communications is one of four firms working in a joint venture with President Fidel Castro’s government to explore Cuban waters, which hold hundreds of treasure-laden ships from the Spanish colonial era.
The explorers first spotted the underwater city last year, when scanning equipment started to produce images of symmetrically organized stone structures reminiscent of an urban development.
In July, the researchers returned to the site with an explorative robot device capable of highly advanced underwater filming work.
The images the robot brought back confirmed the presence of huge, smooth blocks with the appearance of cut granite.
Some of the blocks were built in pyramid shapes, others were circular, researchers said.
They believe these formations could have been built more than 6,000 years ago, a date which precedes the great pyramids of Egypt by 1,500 years.
“It’s a really wonderful structure which really looks like it could have been a large urban centre,” ADC explorer Paulina Zelitsky told the Reuters news agency.
“However, it would be totally irresponsible to say what it was before we have evidence.”