A diving team led by Tahsin Ceylan, an underwater photographer who has been documenting sites beneath Lake Van in Turkey, has discovered the remains of what may be a castle beneath the waters of the lake. It is about 1 kilometer (less than one mile) long. The story went viral in November, with media outlets claiming that a 3,000-year-old castle has been discovered underwater. Here's a look at what was found beneath Lake Van. [Read more about the underwater castle discovery]
Ceylan told Live Science that while he thinks the structure is a castle constructed by an ancient people known as the "Urartians" about 3,000 years ago, he is not sure. Furthermore, Ceylan said that his team did not include an archaeologist who, Ceylan says, would be the person qualified to determine what the structure is.
Live Science talked to a number of archaeologists who said that much of the structure appears to consist of medieval castle walls with some Urartian remains also visible. Archaeologists noted the existence of these ruins back in the 1950s and 1960s finding that the medieval castle builders had re-used blocks carved by the ancient Urartians.
This drawing found carved into stone may show a lion, Ceylan said. Archaeologists are not certain what it is, but say that it may date to the Middle Ages.
A history of the remains
The underwater remains were found by Tahsin's team in 2016, outside the harbor of Adilcevaz, a town in Turkey that has been inhabited for thousands of years. Tahsin's team eventually found that the walls go up onto the harbor. A report published in 1959 refers to a wall that starts on land and goes into the lake that has Urartian blocks. Other reports dating to the 1950s and 1960s say that medieval castle builders in the Lake Van region actually re-used blocks carved by the Urartians.
Calling for more exploration
Both the divers and archaeologists agree that more research is needed to help determine exactly what this underwater structure is.
Here, another view of one of the castle walls beneath the surface of Lake Van. Archaeologists are not sure if it was an actual castle or fortress, and they don't know when it was washed underwater. [Read more about the underwater castle discovery]
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.
Owen Jarus is a regular contributor to Live Science who writes about archaeology and humans' past. He has also written for The Independent (UK), The Canadian Press (CP) and The Associated Press (AP), among others. Owen has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto and a journalism degree from Ryerson University.