Top: A diver examines megaliths at Atlit Yam. Bottom: Artist’s reconstruction of stone formation. Image source: Wikimedia
Another significant structural feature of the site is the stone-built well, which was excavated down to a depth of 5.5. metres. At the base of the well, archaeologists found sediment fill containing animal bones, stone, flint, wood, and bone artifacts. This suggests that in its final stage, it ceased to function as a water-well and was used instead as a disposal pit. The change in function was probably related to salinization of the water due to a rise in sea-level. The wells from Atlit-Yam had probably been dug and constructed in the earliest stages of occupation (the end of the 9th millennium BC) and were essential for the maintenance of a permanent settlement in the area.
An Italian study led by Maria Pareschi of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Pisa indicates that a volcanic collapse of the Eastern flank of Mount Etna 8,500 years ago would likely have caused a 40 meter high tsunami to engulf some Mediterranean coastal cities within hours. Some scientists point to the apparent abandonment of Atlit Yam around the same time, and the thousands of fish remains, as further evidence that such a tsunami did indeed occur. However, other researchers have suggested that there is no solid evidence to suggest a tsunami wiped out the settlement. After all, the megalithic stone circle still remained standing in the place in which it had constructed.