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News: Turkey
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Some of the castle walls are 3 or 4 metres high. Photo Credit: National Geographic/Science Alert.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Huge castle discovered at the bottom of Lake Van

Probably dating back about 3,000 years

A team of archaeologists and divers exploring Lake Van in Turkey found an immense castle preserved underwater dating back about 3,000 years. The archaeologists who made the announcement are from the Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.

The castle is about a kilometre wide and its walls are 3 or 4 metres high. It is exceptionally well preserved due to the alkaline waters of the lake. Researchers think it is an Iron Age castle, probably of the lost Urartu civilisation, also called the Kingdom of Van. They thrived in the region from the 9th to the 6th centuries BCE, when the water levels of the lake were much lower. Other parts of the settlement which are higher, above the current shoreline have already been discovered and are being studied by archaeologists.

The team are working at the bottom of the lake following traces of various civilisations and people who had settled around the lake. So far they have found a variety of relics such as gravestones from the Seljuk era, a Russian ship which probably sunk in 1948, and a very large field of stalagmites.

So far the team have identified the location of the castle and taken photographs. It is not clear yet how deep the castle walls are buried in sediment but further research will shed more light to this and other aspects of the relic.

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