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Underwater Pyramids near Japan

Diver near pyramid Images shown here are from Izanamis City - Photo Library

A structure thought to be the world's oldest building, nearly twice the age of the great pyramids of Egypt, has been discovered. The rectangular stone ziggurat under the sea off the coast of Japan could be the first evidence of a previously unknown Stone Age civilisation, say archeologists.

The monument is 600ft wide and 90ft high and has been dated to at least 8000BC. The oldest pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, was constructed more than 5,000 years later.

The structure off Yonaguni, a small island southwest of Okinawa, was first discovered 75ft underwater by scuba divers 10 years ago and locals believed it was a natural phenomenon.

Diver near pyramid

Divers located eight separate locations beginning in March 1995. That first sighting was equivocal - a provocative, squared structure, so encrusted with coral that its manmade identity was uncertain. Then, as recently as the summer of 1996, a sports diver accidentally discovered a huge, angular platform about 40 feet below the surface, off the southwestern shore of Okinawa. The feature's artificial provenance was beyond question.

Widening their search, teams of more divers found another, different monument nearby. Then another, and another. They beheld long streets, grand boulevards, majestic staircases, magnificent archways, enormous blocks of perfectly cut and fitted stone - all harmoniously welded together in a linear architecture unlike anything they had ever seen before.Clearly artificial and terraformed, these structures mimic other sites above ground on the islands of Japan. The last time these structures would have been above sealevel and inhabitable was at least 10,000 years ago, before the end of the last ice age caused them to slip beneath the sea.

Diver near pyramid

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