Exploring the nature of the concentric half-rings in the Pantelleria Vecchia Bank (Sicilian Channel)

Emanuele Lodolo*, Luca Baradello, Zvi Ben-Avraham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Pantelleria Vecchia Bank, a fascinating shoal in the Sicilian Channel, exhibits enigmatic underwater morphological and geological features. These have led to speculation about the possibility that this site may once have hosted an ancient settlement, dating back to a time around 9000 years ago when this bank was still above sea level. In this paper, we focus on a previously little-explored area in the northeastern part of the shoal, where a sequence of regularly arranged concentric half-rings was found in water depths of 30–34 m, the origin and purpose of which is still unclear. Using multibeam echosounder bathymetry, high-resolution seismic profiles, underwater imagery and petrographic analysis, we are beginning a comprehensive investigation of these concentric semicircles. Analysis of the data and examination of their geometry and structure suggest an artificial rather than a natural origin, leading us to hypothesize various possible meanings and functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100892
JournalSocial Sciences and Humanities Open
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Ancient settlement
  • Concentric half-rings
  • High-resolution seismic profiles
  • Multibeam bathymetry
  • Pantelleria Vecchia Bank
  • Petrographic analyses
  • Underwater photos


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