Under a historic heat wave and drought, lakes and rivers across Europe have begun to dry up, revealing a mysterious thousand-year-old site in Spain.
There “megalithic monumentemerged from the dry lake bed of the Valdecañas reservoir in western Spain, photos by Associated Press photographer Manu Fernández showed on August 13.
“Spanish Stonehenge” is officially known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, Reuters reported.
When first built around 7,000 years ago, the circular monument was likely enclosed – a large domed rock supported by hundreds of vertically placed rocks, known as a menhir, said historian Primitiva Bueno Ramirez at Atlas Obscura. The rock structure created a narrow entrance hall leading to a central chamber. Sculptures and decorations might have lined the walls, illuminated by passing visitors with torches, Ramirez said.
The monument could have been a tomb, a ritual site or even a trading post; archaeologists remain uncertain, the BBC reported.
One thing is certain: the construction in 1963 of a nearby dam flooded the area, creating the Valdecañas reservoir and submerging the site in its aquatic depths, Reuters reported.
The site first resurfaced in 2019, during another drought, before disappearing under water again, El Español reported then.
Today the reservoir dropped to 28% of its capacity, Reuters reported.
The monument is visible again – a collection of about 100 dusty brown rocks arranged in concentric circles on the drought-stricken ground, Fernández’s photos show. Only a few carvings remain — a person and a wavy snake-like shape — Ramirez told Atlas Obscura.
Other historic sites – like the Elbe ‘hunger stones’ – have reappeared in dwindling waterways across Europe as the region suffers a drought and heat wave amplified by human-induced climate change.
The Iberian Peninsula, a region comprising Spain and Portugal, is the driest in 1,200 years, Reuters reported, citing researchers.
Similarly, Europe’s drought is on track to be the worst in 500 years, scientists from the European Drought Observatory have told Sky News. About 64% of Europe is under drought alert or drought warning, according to data from the observatory.
Italy, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and France are all grappling with drought, but conditions show no signs of improving anytime soon, the European Drought Observatory has said. . On the contrary, “we have estimated a worsening situation across most of Europe,” scientists told Sky News earlier this month.
The Valdecañas reservoir is about 185 km southwest of Madrid.