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What Archaeological Finds Have Been Revealed by Europe’s Drought?

Europe's drought has unveiled remarkable archaeological treasures, from prehistoric stone circles to sunken WWII relics. These finds offer a unique glimpse into our past, reshaping historical narratives. As rivers recede, history resurfaces, inviting us to reconsider what we thought we knew. What other secrets might the dry riverbeds be holding? Join us as we uncover the stories etched in time.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

Europe has experienced record high temperatures and widespread drought warnings this summer, a situation that the European Commission has described as "the worst in over 500 years." Some communities have been left without running water, while farmers struggle to irrigate fields and feed their livestock. Inflation is driving up prices for food staples, and the tourism industry is also taking a hit.

It's hard to find a silver lining in such dire circumstances, but here's one possibility – due to the drop in the water levels of Europe's waterways, numerous archaeological sites have been uncovered this summer.

Numerous waterways have dried up in this summer’s drought, exposing archaeological finds (such as the Dolmen of Guadalperal in Spain) across the continent.
Numerous waterways have dried up in this summer’s drought, exposing archaeological finds (such as the Dolmen of Guadalperal in Spain) across the continent.

One of the most notable is the 5,000-year-old stone circle known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal. Nicknamed the "Spanish Stonehenge," it has been submerged since 1963 when the area was flooded to build a dam. The Valdecañas reservoir is now at just 28% capacity, giving archaeologists a rare opportunity to study the stones, which are now visible again.

Drying out the past:

  • Similar reports have come from across Europe, including a Roman bridge from the 1st century BCE that became visible in Italy's Tiber River.

  • The medieval ruins of the Spanish town of Old Portomarín are now visible now that the Belesar reservoir has also receded.

  • The discoveries are far from all good news, though. In the Serbian town of Prahovo, at least 20 German warships from WWII, still packed with ammunition and explosives, were found in the Danube River, making journeys more dangerous and narrowing the stretch of navigable waterway.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

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    • Numerous waterways have dried up in this summer’s drought, exposing archaeological finds (such as the Dolmen of Guadalperal in Spain) across the continent.
      Numerous waterways have dried up in this summer’s drought, exposing archaeological finds (such as the Dolmen of Guadalperal in Spain) across the continent.