‘Spanish Stonehenge’ emerges from drought-stricken dam

Cáceres, Spain, Aug 18 (Reuters) – A harsh summer has caused chaos for many in rural Spain, but an unexpected side effect of the country’s worst drought in decades has delighted archaeologists, the emergence of a prehistoric stone circle. in one of the dams. Water line receded.

Officially known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal but by the Spanish name Stonehenge, the circle of dozens of rock-cut stones is believed to date back to 5000 BC.

It is currently completely exposed in one corner of the Valdecanas Reservoir, in the central province of Cáceres, where authorities say the water level has fallen to 28% of its capacity.

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“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to get to it,” said archaeologist Enrique Cedillo of the Complutense University of Madrid, one of the experts racing to study the circle before it was flooded again.

It was discovered by German archaeologist Hugo Obermayer in 1926, but the area was submerged in 1963 in a rural development project under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

Since then it has only been fully visible four times.

Dolmens are vertically arranged stones that usually support a flat rock. Although there are many scattered throughout Western Europe, little is known about who set them up. Human remains that have been found in or near many places have led to the much-cited theory that they are tombs.

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Local historical and tourist associations have called for Guadalperal stones to be moved to a museum or elsewhere on dry land.

Their presence is also good news for Ruben Argentas, who owns a small boat tour business. “The dolmen appears and dolmen tourism begins,” he told Reuters after a day full of tourists he spent transporting tourists to the site and back.

But there is no silver lining for local farmers.

“There hasn’t been enough rain since spring… There is no water for the livestock and we have to move them,” Jose Manuel Comendador said. Another, Rufino Guinea, said the sweet pepper crop was destroyed.

A study published in the journal Nature Geoscience shows that climate change has left the Iberian Peninsula dry in 1,200 years, and winter rains are expected to dwindle further.

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Additional reporting by Susana Vera, written by Ana Valderrama and Andre Khalil; Editing by John Stonestreet

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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