According to Reuters: Water levels in rivers and lakes across Europe have dropped to levels few can remember due to weeks of baking drought, revealing long-submerged treasures as well as some unwanted hazards.
Spain is experiencing its worst drought in decades, but this has actually been good news for archaeologists, who have been able to finally see the “Spanish Stonehenge” stone circle that has been hidden for decades beneath the waters of a dam.
The stone circle, known officially as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, is now completely exposed in a corner of the Valdecanas reservoir, in the central province of Caceres, where water levels have dropped to 28% of capacity, according to authorities.
Hugo Obermaier, a German archaeologist, discovered it in 1926, but it was flooded in 1963 as part of a rural development project under Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. Only four times since then have we seen it in all its glory.
The reemergence of so-called “hunger stones” along the Rhine in Germany has also brought back memories of previous droughts. In recent weeks, a large number of these stones have appeared on the banks of Germany’s most significant river.
Because they often include dates and people’s initials, their reappearance is being interpreted by some as a warning and a reminder of the hardships people endured in previous droughts. Stones in Worms, south of Frankfurt, and Rheindorf, close to Leverkusen, featured a variety of dates, including 1947, 1959, 2003, and 2018.
The drought has caused the Danube, another of Europe’s mighty rivers, to drop to one of its lowest levels in almost a century, revealing the hulks of more than 20 German warships sunk during World War Two near the Serbian river port town of Prahovo.
Low water levels still impede river traffic along the Danube where hundreds of ships were scuttled by Nazi Germany’s Black Sea fleet in 1944 as they fled from advancing Soviet forces.
A 1,000-pound World War Two bomb weighing 450 kilograms was discovered in late July in the slow-moving waters of Italy’s longest river, prompting the country to declare a state of emergency in the surrounding area.
Earlier this month, military experts defused and detonated the U.S.-made device in a controlled blast while evacuating about 3,000 people from the northern village of Borgo Virgilio, which is near the city of Mantua.
(Reuters TV reporting; Alex Richardson writing and editing; Jonathan Oatis proofreading)
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