By Sharon St Joan
In the book, Underworld, by best-selling author and explorer, Graham Hancock, he devotes several pages to underwater explorations off the coast of India. In March of 1991, three divers with India’s National Institute of Oceanography, went down to a depth of 23 meters (75 feet) to explore one of three large structures under the waves. They only had enough oxygen to investigate the central structure, which they described as a large horseshoe shaped object, one to two meters (three to six feet) high. A second NIO dive down to the horseshoe shape took place in 1993 and careful measurements were taken.
It was 5 kilometers (three miles) off shore. The distance between the two arms of the horseshoe is 13 meters (42 feet). The structure is made of rock; it is covered with layers of sediment and marine organisms. Masonry present between the rocks provides a convincing indication that the structure was man-made.
Due to lack of funding, the NIO has made no further dives in this area. In February of 2001, Graham Hancock traveled to Bangalore to visit S. R. Rao, one of India’s most distinguished archaeologists, founder of the Marine Archeology Center at the NIO, who led the Poompuhar survey. Graham Hancock, in his book Underworld, provides a transcript of his conversation with S.R. Rao, who stated that dating the rock itself is not possible “we have only stone which cannot be dated in any meaningful sense.” He appeared, however, to be entirely open to the possibility that it may be extremely ancient.
Given that the now underwater site must have been built when the land was above sea level and out of the water, and that it was 75 feet down, Graham Hancock asked S.R. Rao for his views on this, mentioning that sea level rises as great as 23 meters had taken place at the end of the last Ice Age.
S.R. Rao agreed and then raised the question of where the origins of Indian civilization may have taken place – since the Indus Valley civilization already had a well-developed script and cities with advanced planning, something must have taken place much earlier than that. He went on to refer to the long-held Indian tradition of extensive lands, off the coast, known as Kumari Kundam, believed to have sunk beneath the seas around ten or eleven thousand years ago. This event would have been at the end of the Ice Age, when the sea level rose dramatically due to the melting of glaciers.
Of course, 8 or 9,000 BCE is generally considered by archeologists to be far too early for any civilization to have existed, but this is precisely the point of Graham Hancock’s research all around the world, which points to a far older human civilization, as yet unrecognized.
Of these ancient ruins from the far distant past, S. R. Rao commented , “It must have existed…we have photographed it. It is there, anybody can go and see.”
The manmade horseshoe structure, encrusted in barnacles, 23 meters under the waves of the Bay of Bengal, stands in silent testimony to the presence of these unknown ancient builders, over 10,000 years ago.
© text and photos, Sharon St Joan
Top photo: The sea, off the coast of Poompuhar.
Second photo: A shrine on the beach at Poompuhar.