'Spanish Stonehenge' Resurfaces Amid Europe's Brutal Summer; Archaeologist Says It's A Rare opportunity!

'Spanish Stonehenge' Resurfaces Amid Europe's Brutal Summer; Archaeologist Says It's A Rare opportunity!

Updated on August 20, 2022 08:50 AM by Andrew Koschiev

The sizzling summer has caused havoc for many in rural Spain. Still, one unexpected side-effect of the country's worst drought in decades has delighted archaeologists, the emergence of a prehistoric stone circle in a dam whose waterline has receded.

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Spanish Stonehenge:

The historical marvel officially called the Dolmen of Guadalperal but dubbed the Spanish Stonehenge, the circle of dozens of megalithic stones is believed to date back to 5000 BC.

It sits fully exposed in one corner of the Valdecanas reservoir in the central province of Caceres, where authorities say the water level has dropped to 28% of capacity.

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Experts say the structure itself has an unknown creator:

"It is a surprise; it's a rare opportunity to be able to access it," said archaeologist Enrique Cedillo from Madrid's Complutense University, one of the experts racing to study the circle before it gets submerged again.

German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier discovered it in 1926

before it became flooded in 1963 in a rural development project under Francisco Franco's dictatorship. Since then, it has only been fully visible four times.

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The dolmen tourism begins!

Dolmens are vertically arranged stones usually supporting a flat boulder. Although many are scattered across Western Europe, little is known about who erected them. Human remains found in or near many have led to an often-cited theory that they are tombs.

Local historical and tourism associations have advocated moving the Guadalperal stones to a museum or elsewhere on dry land.

Their presence is also good news for Ruben Argentas, who owns a small boat tours business. "The dolmen emerges and the dolmen tourism begins," he told Reuters after a busy day spent shuttling tourists to the site and back.

But there is no silver lining for local farmers.

Spain's worst drought:

Jose Manuel Comendador said, "There hasn't been enough rain since the spring...There is no water for the livestock and we have to transport it in."

Another, Rufino Guinea, said his sweet pepper crop had been ravaged.

Climate change has left the Iberian peninsula at its driest in 1,200 years, and winter rains are expected to diminish further, a study published by the Nature Geoscience journal showed.

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