Drought reveals submerged ‘treasures’ in Europe and China; see images

The decrease in river levels in European countries and China, as a result of the drought that hits the northern hemisphere this summer, has revealed regional archaeological “treasures”.

Finds range from ships lost in World War II to “hunger stones” — reminders made by people of the consequences of a lack of water.

In Serbia, the remains of more than 20 German ships were exposed. The river has lowered to one of its lowest levels in nearly a century as a result of the drought, which has made the sunken carcasses visible near the Serbian port city of Prahovo (see photo above).

The ships were among the hundreds of ships sunk along the Danube.

In Spain, a prehistoric stone circle has become apparent again. The country, which is suffering its worst drought in decades, has again seen the “Spanish Stonehenge” – a reference to rocks located in England.

Officially known as the Guadalperal Dolmen, the stone circle is currently fully exposed in a corner of the Valdecanas reservoir in the central province of Cáceres, where officials say the water level has dropped to 28% of its capacity.

The Dolmen was discovered by German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier in 1926, but the area was flooded in 1963 in a rural development project under the Francisco Franco dictatorship.

Since then, it has only been visible in full four times.

Dolmen from Guadalperal, Spain, exposed after Valdecanas reservoir drops - REUTERS/Susana Vera - REUTERS/Susana Vera

Dolmen of Guadalperal, Spain, is exposed after the Valdecanas Reservoir sinks

Image: REUTERS/Susana Vera

In China, lowering river levels revealed 600-year-old Buddhist statues. The retreat in the water level of the Yangtze River revealed a submerged island in the southwestern city of Chongqing, on which the three statues are arranged.

They were found on the highest part of the island’s reef called Foyeliang, initially identified as a construction of the Ming and Qing dynasties. One of the statues shows a monk seated on a lotus pedestal.

Rainfall in the Yangtze basin has been about 45% lower than normal since July, and high temperatures are expected to persist for at least another week, according to official forecasts.

Up to 66 rivers in 34 counties in Chongqing have dried up, state broadcaster CCTV said on Friday.

600-year-old Buddhist statues appear after historic downtown Yangtze River in China - THOMAS PETER/REUTERS - THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

600-year-old Buddhist statues appear after historic downtown Yangtze River in China


Germany again sees “hunger stones”, warnings left by people in the past. The memory of past droughts was revived with the reappearance of the so-called “hunger stones” along the Rhine River. Many of these stones have become visible on the banks of the largest river in recent weeks.

With dates and people’s initials, its reappearance is seen by some as a warning of the hardships people faced during ancient droughts. The dates visible on the stones from Worms, south of Frankfurt, and from Rheindorf, near Leverkusen, include 1947, 1959, 2003, and 2018.

The year 1947 is marked in this "hunger stone" in Worms, Germany, as a warning for the consequences of drought written 75 years ago - MAXIMILIAN SCHWARZ/REUTERS - MAXIMILIAN SCHWARZ/REUTERS

The year 1947 is marked on this “hunger stone” in Worms, Germany, as a warning to the consequences of drought written 75 years ago.


*With information from Reuters

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