THE heat wave that plagues them Spain had an unexpected side effect: the discovery of a prehistoric stone monument in a dam whose waterline receded after the country’s worst drought in decades. The circle, made up of dozens of megalithic stones, was formed in the Valdecanas reservoir in the Estremadura region of western Spain, where water levels have dropped to 28% of capacity, authorities said.
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“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to be able to access it,” said archaeologist Enrique Cedillo of Madrid’s Complutense University, one of the experts who rushed to study the circle before it goes underwater again.
Prehistoric rocks appearing in a droughtstricken dam
The Guadalperal Dolmen, also known as the Spanish Stonehenge, can be seen due to the receding waters of the Valdecanas reservoir on the outskirts of El Gordo, Spain. (via Portal)
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Spain’s prehistoric stones were originally 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, the archeological site has only become fully visible four times.
Cedillo estimates that the rock construction dates back to 5000 BC. BC. The complex has been dubbed the “Dolmen of Guadalperal” but also called the “Spanish Stonehenge” in reference to the similar monument composed of concentric circles of 5 meter high stones weighing almost 50 tons in England.
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Dolmens are vertically arranged stones, usually supporting a flat stone. While many are scattered across Western Europe, little is known about who built them. Human remains found near these complexes have led scholars to theorize that these constructions may have been tombs.
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The discovery is seen as an opportunity for entrepreneurs in the region who expect tourism and trade around the monument to intensify. Local history and tourism associations advocated moving the Guadalperal stones to a museum or other location on the mainland.
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However, the Drought that caused rocks to appear causing damage to local farmers, who say their crops have been ravaged by the hot weather.
Climate change has left the Iberian Peninsula to its driest state in 1,200 years, and winter precipitation is expected to continue to decline, a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience has shown.
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