A metal monolith that appeared in a Romanian town just days after a similar structure disappeared in Utah has also mysteriously vanished.

The shiny triangular pillar was found on Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt in northern Romania last Thursday. 

It was spotted just yards away from the well-known archaeological landmark the Petrodava Dacian Fortress, a fort built by the ancient Dacian people between 82 BC and AD 106.

But overnight on Monday, the monolith suddenly disappeared as quickly as it arrived.

Robert Iosub of the Ziar Piatra Neamt newspaper, who had seen the structure, told MailOnline: ‘The 2.8 metre (9ft) tall structure disappeared overnight as quietly as it was erected last week.’ 

‘An unidentified person, apparently a bad local welder, made it… now all that remains is just a small hole covered by rocky soil,’ local reporters had discovered, he said. 

Its disappearance adds to the intrigue after a similar monolith was recently found in the Utah desert.

But it also vanished at the hands of an ‘unknown party’, with conspiracy theorists speculating that aliens could be behind the structures. 

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction novel by Arthur C Clarke, later made into a film with the same name by Stanley Kubrick. 

In the book, a monolith first appears on Earth in Africa three million years ago and appears to confer intelligence upon a starving tribe of giant apes to develop tools.  

The monolith is used as a tool by an alien race to investigate worlds across the galaxy and to encourage the development of intelligent life. 

In the book, the tribe approach the monolith, and unknown to them, their minds were being studied and their actions controlled by an alien race.   

The great apes use their tools to kill animals to eat meat to end their starvation, and to kill a predatory leopard. 

The next day, the main character, Moon-Watcher, uses a club to kill the leader of a rival tribe of apes, leading to an awakening of intelligence and the development of humans. 

The book explores technological innovation and traces the development of humans from great apes. It considers the evolution that has led to intelligent life. 

When 2001: A Space Odyssey was written, humans had not yet set foot on the moon. The book offers a glimpse of Clarke’s imagination of what space exploration might look like. 

Local Romanian mayor Andrei Carabelea said on Facebook: ‘There is no reason to panic for those who think there is still life in the universe.

‘My guess is that some alien, cheeky and terrible teenagers left home with their parents’ UFO and started planting metal monoliths around the world. First in Utah and then at Piatra Neamt. I am honoured that they chose our city.’

The mayor did say he would have preferred if the prankster had obtained a building permit but said he could be lenient if the monolith attracted tourists. 

Internet sleuths believe the monoliths could be inspired by the classic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

In the book The Sentinel by Arthur C Clarke, later made into the iconic film by Stanley Kubrick, a monolith first appears on Earth in Africa three million years ago and appears to confer intelligence upon a starving tribe of great apes to develop tools.   

The monolith is used as a tool by an alien race to investigate worlds across the galaxy and to encourage the development of intelligent life. 

In the book, the great apes use their tools to kill animals to eat meat to end their starvation, and to kill a predatory leopard. The next day, the main character uses a club to kill the leader of a rival tribe of apes, leading to an awakening of intelligence and the development of humans.

In Utah, the pillar, which protruded approximately 12 feet from the red rocks in southern Utah, was spotted last Wednesday by baffled local officials who were counting bighorn sheep from a helicopter.  

However the three-sided structure was removed by an ‘unknown party’ on Friday evening, the Bureau of Land Management Utah said in a statement. 

News of the discovery in Utah quickly went viral online, with many noting the object’s similarity to the strange alien monoliths that trigger huge leaps in human progress in Kubrick’s classic sci-fi film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ 

In Romania, the triangular structure had a height of about 13 feet and one side faces Mount Ceahlau, known locally as the Holy Mountain.     

It is one of the most famous mountains in Romania, and is listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the country.  

Romanian officials still do not know who was responsible for erecting the mysterious monolith. 

Neamt Culture and Heritage official Rocsana Josanu said: ‘We have started looking into the strange appearance of the monolith. 

‘It is on private property, but we still don’t know who the monolith’s owner is yet. It is in a protected area on an archaeological site.’

She added: ‘Before installing something there, they needed permission from our institution, one that must then be approved by the Ministry of Culture.’ 

The Utah monolith provoked arguments about tourists who drove huge distances to see the monolith and were accused of trashing the location, which authorities had tried to keep secret to avoid people getting lost.

But many tracked down the co-ordinates and published them – leading people to drive many hours through the night to reach the 12ft aluminium structure. 

And it was revealed that a similar version appeared nearly 20 years ago on New Years Day in Seattle.

However access to the site involved a 45-minute off-road drive on a dirt track many miles from any major town at 10mph – and then a 15-minute hike up a dry stream bed. 

Across the globe UFO spotters and conspiracy theorists became obsessed with the shiny, triangular pillar. 

Though the structure was only discovered by authorities this month, Google Earth images show it had been standing since at least 2015 or 2016.  

Lieutenant Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said it’s possible the structure had been there for ’40, 50 years, maybe more.’ 

‘It’s the type of material that doesn’t degrade with the elements. It may only be a few years old, who knows. There’s no real way based on the material it’s made out of how long it’s actually been there,’ he said on Tuesday.

Others pointed out the object’s resemblance to the avant-garde work of John McCracken, an American artist who lived for a time in nearby New Mexico, and died in 2011.

McCracken was known for his freestanding sculptures in the shape of pyramids, cubes, or sleek slabs.

The monolith most closely resembles McCracken’s plank-like sculptures featured at his exhibit at the David Zwirner art gallery in New York. 

On Tuesday a spokeswoman for David Zwirner said it was not one of McCracken’s works, but possibly by a fellow artist paying homage.

However later in the day Zwirner gave another statement which suggested the piece was indeed by McCracken, meaning it had lain undiscovered in the desert for nearly a decade.

 ‘The gallery is divided on this,’ Zwirner said. ‘I believe this is definitely by John.’

Utah has a history of ‘land art,’ unusual installations that cropped up far from population centers in the 1960s and ’70s.

The most famous, Spiral Jetty, a 1,500-foot-long coil by artist Robert Smithson in 1970 that’s composed entirely of mud, salt crystals and basalt. 

Located on the northeastern edge of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point, the jetty appears and disappears depending on water levels.

So far, no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the monolith, though.    

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