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Droughts are bringing ancient relics to the surface

Dried lakes and rivers are exposing artifacts from World War II.

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Dried lakes and rivers are exposing everything from World War II era bombs to human remains in several countries around the world.

The effects of global warming may cause the summer of 2022 to go down in history as one of the driest on record. As of August 16, a large portion of the world, including 41% of the United States and 47% of the European Union, was experiencing drought. The Horn of Africa, located on the continent’s easternmost point, is home to 22 million people who are struggling to make ends meet as a result of a protracted drought that has harmed crop yields and failed to produce the rains that would normally fall twice yearly. As this is happening, China is experiencing its worst drought on record. The country’s ability to generate hydroelectric power has been negatively impacted by low water levels in the Yangtze River. The provincial government of Sichuan announced that the province was at the highest warning level of “particularly severe” because the water flow to the province’s hydropower reservoirs had dropped by half.” Cloud seeding is a geoengineering technique that uses chemicals to artificially induce rainfall as a response.

Even other countries have severely diminished water supplies, and China is no exception. NASA satellite imagery reveals the devastation wrought by wildfires and the draining of reservoirs in the western United States. Less water in the world’s lakes and rivers and drier grassland are exposing historical relics and other hidden treasures.

A graveyard of World War II era warships laden with explosive ammunition was discovered near the town of Prahovo on the Serbian section of Europe’s Danube River. In 1944, these vessels were part of a Nazi Black Sea fleet that was sunk by Soviet forces. Local media report that there may be as many as ten thousand live explosives still buried in the rubble. In 2003, during a heatwave, these ships were last seen on land.

Around 5,000 BCE, a section of the Valdecanas reservoir in Spain revealed a circle of megalithic stones. The reservoir in the province of Caceres in central Spain is only 28% full. The Dolmen of Guadalperal was unearthed in 1926 by German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier, who coined the term “Spanish Stonehenge” to describe the site. It was wiped out in 1963 when the area was flooded as part of a rural development project ordered by Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.

“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to be able to access it,” Enrique Cedillo, an archaeologist at Madrid’s Complutense University, told Reuters. Cedillo is among the experts who are in a race against time to investigate the circle before it is submerged once more. Dolmens resembling these are constructed from vertically aligned stones that typically hold a boulder with a flat top. Some of these stone structures can be found all over Western Europe, but their builders remain a mystery. Dolmens are thought to be tombs or burial sites because human bones have often been found in close proximity to them.

More macabre discoveries have made headlines at Lake Mead, which straddles the state line between Nevada and Arizona. Five sets of human remains have been found in the western part of the reservoir, about an hour outside of Las Vegas, since May 2022. It has taken a long time for investigators to piece together what happened to these skeletons, but some Las Vegas experts have speculated that the city’s thriving organized crime scene may be to blame.

Professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Michael Green told the Associated Press, “If the lake goes down much farther, it’s very possible we’re going to have some very interesting things surface.” “If you asked me to put my house on the line, I wouldn’t say we’ll find out who killed Bugsy Siegel. But I would wager there are going to be a few more bodies,” Green said.

However, the price tag for all of these forensic and archaeological finds is quite high. Droughts are common in Earth’s history, but they can have disastrous consequences, such as the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, when millions of people were forced to leave their homes because of hunger. Droughts and other forms of extreme weather are here to stay, and experts continue to point to climate change as the main cause.