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Drought reveals lost cities, old treasures, and signs of bad things to come

As drought and record heat spread around the world, water bodies have dried up and history has come to light. Dozens of old cities, buried treasures, and sad reminders have been found for the first time in years or even decades.

Hunger stones in Czech Republic and Germany

“If you see me, weep,” reads a carving in a stone at the bottom of the Elbe River in the Czech Republic. 

The writings on the so-called "hunger stones" go as far back as 1616 and remember times when people were hungry. People in a town more than 400 years ago were able to write about how the lack of rain caused crops to fail because the river levels dropped.

This summer, when the Rhine River dropped because of drought, similar stones were found. Some of the stones from Germany were made as recently as the 1940s.

‘Spanish Stonehenge’

Scientists think that an oval of stones found near a shrinking lake dates back to 5000 B.C. It is called the Guadaperal Dolmen. An archeologist found it in 1929, but the government later built a dam on the Tagus River, and the stones were left on the bottom of the Valdecanas Reservoir, according to an article in the journal Science.

Spanish Stonehenge.
A drought in Spain revealed the Dolmen of Guadalperal, or the Spanish Stonehenge.

Some of the 100 or so stones are 6 feet tall, and they are set up in an oval shape that reminds me of Stonehenge in England. So, "Spanish Stonehenge" has been given to the formation in Spain.

The megaliths haven't seen the sun since 2018, and the Doleman have only come to the surface a few times since they went under. Before the water rises again, archaeologists are studying the stones.

Lost city found in Iraq

Archaeologists also worked quickly to dig up and write about a 3,400-year-old city on the Tigris River in northern Iraq. Due to a severe drought, the country had to drain the Mosul Reservoir to water crops, which exposed the ancient city. Scientists said in a press release that the reservoir was Iraq's most important place to store water.

The German and Kurdish archeologists in charge of the project think this could be Zakhiku, the center of the Mittani Empire, which ruled much of northern Mesopotamia and Syria from 1550 to 1350 B.C. They found a palace, huge walls, and towers that were used as defenses. They also found storage buildings with many floors that were full of pottery and tablets.

Archeologists also scrambled to excavate and document a 3,400-year-old city in Northern Iraq on the Tigris River.
Archeologists also scrambled to excavate and document a 3,400-year-old city in Northern Iraq on the Tigris River.
Universities of Freiburg and Tü

“It is close to a miracle that cuneiform tablets made of unfired clay survived so many decades underwater,” Peter Pfälzner, an archeologist with the University of Tubingen said about the discovery. 

According to a press release from the University of Tubingen, the researchers were surprised by how well the walls were kept since they were made of sun-dried mud bricks and had been underwater for more than 40 years.

The team put down plastic sheets and gravel to keep the water away from the site. The ancient treasure is now underwater because of the recent rain.

World War II bomb in Italy

On the growing banks of the River Po, a fisherman found a bomb from World War II. It weighed 992 pounds. Corriere Della Sera, an Italian newspaper, said that 3,000 people had to be moved out of the area before the bomb squad could move the American-made bomb and set it off in an 18-foot hole in a nearby quarry.

World War II shipwrecks in Serbia

FOX News said that bomb squads were also busy in Serbia, where low water levels on the Danube River showed dozens of German warships with weapons and explosives. During World War II, Germany sank hundreds of the ships as Soviet forces chased after retreating Nazi forces.

A kayaker paddles by the wreckage of a WWII German warship.
A kayaker paddles by the wreckage of a WWII German warship.
Darko Vojinovic/AP

Officials worried that the explosives pose a threat to shipping lanes.

Drought rediscovers WWII warships

Extremely low water levels due to drought on the Danube River, uncovered World War II warships on the sandy bottom.

600-year-old Buddha statues in China

A swimmer on the Yangtze River in China was surprised to see three Buddha statues that were made 600 years ago. The three people are on an island in the middle of a river.

"The lakes and rivers are drying up because it's so hot, and look what they found," said FOX Weather meteorologist Amy Freeze.

The man who found the statues was swimming when he lost his shoes. He was so amazed by what he saw that he walked on the 113-degree rocks without shoes to learn more about the ancient monuments. Check out the video shot by a drone of the find at the top of this article.

The giant Buddha below also grew because of drought and showed up in Leshan, China, in its whole form.

Because of the ongoing drought, the flow of the Dadu River, the Qingyi River, and the Minhe River in Leshan has dropped by a lot. The big Buddha has come out of the water all the way.

Dinosaur tracks in Texas

Dinosaur tracks were discovered in a Texas state park.
Dinosaur tracks were discovered in a Texas state park.
Paul Baker – Friends of Dinosaur Valley

Park visitors in one part of Texas got to walk in 113-million-year-old footprints. The ongoing drought dried up part of a river at Dinosaur Valley State Park, exposing the massive footprints of a 7-ton acrocanthosaurus and a 60-foot tall sauropoeidon.

Record Texas rainfall last week might have filled them in again with the water and sediment that usually keeps them hidden from view.

Dinosaur tracks uncovered in Texas amid drought

Amid a drought, the Dinosaur Valley State Park has discovered dinosaur footprints that have been historically covered by water and sediment. They date back more than 113 million years ago.

Have water levels been this low before?

In a study that was just published in the journal Nature, climatologists say that the last 22 years in the western U.S. have been the driest in over 1,200 years.

The World Meteorological Organization says that China just went through its hottest heat wave since records began being kept in 1961. China's Ministry of Emergency Management says that the drought cost China's economy 2.73 billion yuan in July alone.

Tourists take a boat to view the Leshan giant Buddha on August 20 in China.
Tourists take a boat to view the Leshan giant Buddha on August 20 in China.
Zhang Lang/China News Service via Getty Images

The European Drought Observatory and the Joint Research Center of the European Union said in a recent report that this is the worst drought in Europe in over 500 years. Nearly half of the European Union is under a drought warning, and another 17 percent is on alert.

The report says that this is also the worst drought in France's history. Portugal and Spain are limiting how much water they can use, and other countries, like Germany, France, Italy, Romania, and the U.K., have done the same.

The report says that low water levels in several countries are making it harder to make electricity.


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