Europe’s drought exposes ancient stones, WWII ships as water falls

Europe’s drought exposes ancient stones, WWII ships as water falls

August 20 (Portal) – Weeks of prolonged drought across Europe have caused water levels in rivers and lakes to drop to levels few can remember, exposing long-buried treasure – and some unwanted dangers .

In Spain, which is suffering from its worst drought in decades, archaeologists have been delighted at the emergence of a prehistoric stone circle dubbed the “Spanish Stonehenge,” usually submerged by water from a dam.

The stone circle, officially known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, is currently fully uncovered 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.

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It was discovered by German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier in 1926, but the area was flooded in 1963 as part of a rural development project under Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. Since then it has only become fully visible four times. Continue reading

In Germany, too, memories of past droughts are being awakened by the reappearance of so-called “hunger stones” along the Rhine. Many such stones have become visible on the banks of Germany’s largest river in recent weeks.

Marked with people’s dates and initials, their reappearance is seen by some as a warning and reminder of the hardships people faced during previous droughts. Dates visible on stones in Worms south of Frankfurt and Rheindorf near Leverkusen were 1947, 1959, 2003 and 2018.

Another mighty river in Europe, the Danube, has fallen to one of its lowest levels in almost a century as a result of the drought, exposing the wrecks of more than 20 German warships that sank near the Serbian riverport city of Prahovo during World War II .

The ships were among hundreds sunk by Nazi Germany’s Black Sea Fleet along the Danube in 1944 as they retreated from advancing Soviet forces, and still obstruct river traffic at low tide. Continue reading

Italy has declared a state of emergency for areas around the Po River and in late July a previously submerged 450kg World War II bomb was discovered in the low-flowing waters of the country’s longest river.

Around 3,000 people living near the northern village of Borgo Virgilio, near the city of Mantua, were evacuated while military experts defuse and performed a controlled explosion of the US-made device earlier this month.

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Portal TV coverage; writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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