Severe drought in Europe is uncovering ancient artifacts from the “Spanish Stonehenge” to the bridge of Emperor Nero

Severe drought in Europe is uncovering ancient artifacts from the “Spanish Stonehenge” to the bridge of Emperor Nero

The Dolmen of Guadalperal, also sometimes known as

On July 28, 2022, the Dolmen of Guadalperal, also known as the “Spanish Stonehenge”, is seen above the water level at the Valdecanas reservoir.Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

An ongoing intense drought is abating, lakes, streams and reservoirs across Europe. An unexpected side effect: it is revealing long-submerged traces of the past.

Since the beginning of 2022, Europe has experienced a long period of unusually high temperatures and severe lack of rainfall. As of August, 47 percent of the continent was in drought alert conditions, which are marked by a lack of soil moisture and adverse effects on vegetation, according to the Global Drought Observatory. Andrea Toreti, a senior researcher at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center, told Sky News in August that the drought could be the worst in Europe in the past 500 years.

A growing body of research, including the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggests that droughts like the one that hit Europe are becoming more intense as climate change pushes temperatures to new extremes.

From megalithic monuments to ancient bridges, sites and artifacts continue to be unearthed by the 2022 drought in Europe.

The Dolmen of Guadalperal, also sometimes known as

The Guadalperal dolmen, normally underwater, in the Spanish Valdecanas Basin during a drought on July 28, 2022.Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

At the end of July, the drop in the water level in the Spanish Valdecanas Basin dropped to 28% per cent of its capacity, revealing the Dolmen of Guadalperal, nicknamed “Spanish Stonehenge,” Reuters reported.

“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to access it,” Enrique Cedillo, an archaeologist at the Complutense University of Madrid, told Reuters. Cedillo wants to study the re-emerged monument before it’s underwater again.

The Guadalperal Dolmen is made up of dozens of megalithic stones believed to date back to 5000 BC. It was discovered by a German archaeologist in 1926 and is normally underwater thanks to the creation of the basin in 1963. Since then it has only become fully visible four times.

“All my life, people have talked to me about the dolmen,” Angel Castaño, president of the local cultural association Raíces de Peralêda, told Atlas Obscura in 2019, when the monument last emerged due to low levels of the dolmen. ‘water. “I’ve seen parts of it emerge from the water before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in its entirety. It’s spectacular because you can enjoy the whole complex for the first time in decades.”

A view of the

A view of the “hunger stone”, which dates back to 1616, revealed by the low water levels in the Elbe River between the Czech Republic and Germany in 2018.REUTERS

In August, the Miami Herald reported that age-old boulders, known as “hunger stones,” reappeared as rivers in Europe dried up due to drought conditions.

One such stone has re-emerged on the banks of the Elbe River, which begins in the Czech Republic and flows through Germany. The boulder dates back to 1616 and is engraved with a German warning: “Wenn du mich seehst, dann weine” – “If you see me, cry”, according to a translation of a 2013 study.

In the study, a team of Czech researchers wrote that these boulders were “chiseled with years of difficulty”, adding that “the basic inscriptions warn of the consequences of drought.”

“He expressed that the drought had resulted in a bad harvest, lack of food, high prices and hunger for the poor,” the researchers wrote. “Before 1900, the following droughts are commemorated on the stone: 1417, 1616, 1707, 1746, 1790, 1800, 1811, 1830, 1842, 1868, 1892 and 1893.”

The barge was sunk during the Second World War by the Germans in 1943 and totally re-emerged due to the worst drought since the seventies that is affecting the Po river and the entire Po valley.

A WWII era barge that resurfaced in the River Po in Italy, seen on July 27, 2022.Nicola Marfisi / AGF / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Italian river Po, the largest in the country, is facing the worst drought in the last 70 years. In June, the lowering of water levels due to intense drought caused a sunken shipwreck of a WWII-era barge to re-emerge. The 160-foot barge, known as the Zibello, carried firewood during World War II and sank in 1943, CBS News reported.

Unexploded World War II bombs were seen on the dry waters of the Po River in Italy on August 4, 2022.

Unexploded World War II bombs were seen on the dry banks of the Po River in Italy on August 4, 2022.Nicola Ciancaglini / Ciancaphoto Studio / Getty Images

In late July, fishermen stumbled upon a previously submerged 1,000-pound bomb from World War II along the drought-stricken Italian river, according to Reuters.

“The bomb was found by fishermen on the bank of the Po River due to the drop in water levels caused by the drought,” a local official told Reuters. About 3,000 people living nearby were evacuated so that the bomb could be safely removed by military experts.

The ruins of the ancient Roman Nero bridge emerge from the bed of the Tiber river in Rome on Monday 22 August 2022.

The remains of an ancient Roman bridge emerged from the bed of the Tiber River in Rome on August 22, 2022.AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia

Severe drought in August also unearthed a bridge built during the rule of the Roman emperor Nero in the 1st century. The bridge is usually submerged by the waters of the Tiber River in Italy.

According to Anthony Majanlahti, a historian, the bridge is believed to have originally had four piers, but two were dismantled in the 19th century. One of the bridge’s piers can often be seen during the driest parts of the year. This year, however, two are visible, according to the Associated Press.

“Because the river’s water level is so low now due to widespread drought across Italy, we are able to see many more bridge pillars than we normally could,” Majanlahti told The Associated Press.

Overview of the ancient village of Aceredo which had been submerged in Spain.  Photo taken February 10, 2022.

Overview of the ancient village of Aceredo that was submerged in Spain on February 10, 2022.REUTERS / Miguel Vidal

This spring, a once submerged village re-emerged in Spain after a drought drained a dam on the Spanish-Portuguese border. The village of Aceredo, in Spain’s northwestern Galicia region, was flooded in 1992 to create the Alto Lindoso reservoir, and the recently unveiled ruins are attracting tourists who want to see the ancient village after decades underwater.

But some locals say it’s a worrying sign of what’s to come in a warming world.

“It’s like I’m watching a movie. I have a feeling of sadness,” Maximino Perez Romero, 65 from the area, told Reuters. “My feeling is that this is what will happen over the years due to the drought and everything in between, with climate change.”

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