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Hunger stones, shipwrecks and bones: Europe’s drought brings the past to the surface – The Guardian

TThe warning couldn’t be more clear. If you see me, cry (“If you saw me, you cried”), the grim inscription reads on a rock in the Elbe River near the town of Děčín in northern Czechia, near the German border.

As Europe’s rivers dry up in a devastating drought, scientists say they may prove it Worst in 500 yearsThe receding waters reveal long-hidden artifacts, from Roman encampments to ghost villages and World War II shipwrecks.

The so-called “hunger stone” at Děčín is one of dozens of rivers in central Europe that have been inscribed to mark their levels during historical droughts – and to warn future generations of the famine and hardships that will likely follow each time they become visible.

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The “Hunger Stone”, one of the oldest hydrological monuments in Central Europe, in Děčín. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Czech researchers in 2013 Describing the stone as “carved with years of hardship and the authors’ initials lost to history,” he said it “expresses that drought has caused bad harvests, food shortages, high prices and hunger for the poor.”

The first year that can be read on a Děčín stone is 1616. Traces of inscriptions related to previous droughts, including 1417 and 1473, have been greatly eroded over time. Ten dry years later, between 1707 and 1893, are also recorded.

Stern’s reminder of the dire consequences of drought, most of the hunger stones were found in the Elbe River, which flows from the north of what is now Czech Republic He passed through former Bohemia and then Germany before reaching the North Sea near Hamburg. Others appear on the Rhine, Danube and Moselle.

The bank of the Elbe River dried up after a long drought in Dresden, eastern Germany.
The bank of the Elbe River dried up after a long drought in Dresden, eastern Germany. Photo: Jens Meyer/AP

One, near Bleckede in Germany“When this happens, life will be colorful again,” she says. Elbe stones in particular have appeared more regularly – particularly during the 2018 drought in central Europe – since the dam was built in the 1920s.

But it’s not the only artifact that has seen daylight again in this year’s drought.

Italy’s longest river, the Dry Po River, whose water level has fallen to its lowest level in 70 years, has yielded the remains of an ancient small village in Piedmont. Latest effects Out of the river, the wreck of the Zibello, a 50-meter cargo barge sunk during World War II, and a Nazi tank, near Mantua, includes a 450 kg (1,000 lb) bomb, the discovery and detonation of which required the evacuation of more than 3,000 more people from their homes.

In Lombardy, the foundations of Bronze Age wooden buildings emerged from the bottom of the Uglio River, while a 100,000-year-old deer skull and remains of hyenas, lions, and rhinos emerged on dry parts of Lake Como.

Remains of a bridge over the Tiber near the Vittorio Emanuele II Bridge in Rome.
Due to a heat wave and drought, the remains of a bridge over the Tiber appeared near the Vittorio Emanuele II Bridge in Rome. Photo: Minichiello/AGF/Rex/Shutterstock

In Rome, the decline of the Tiber was revealed bridge ruins It is believed to have been built during the first century for Emperor Nero so that he could more easily visit his possessions on the right bank of the river, including the villa of his mother Agrippina.

In Spain, villages that have been flooded for a long time have become unlikely tourist attractions. Aceredo, a small town near the border with Portugal flooded Near the Lima River in 1992 to make way for the Alto Lindoso Reservoir, but it reappeared this spring.

An aerial view of the ghost village reappears from under the Lima River in Spain
An aerial view of the ghost village has resurfaced from under the Lima River in Spain. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The evaporating reservoir of As Conchas also revealed the Aquis Querquennis, a Roman fortress built between AD 69 and 79 but abandoned around AD 120. The site disappeared under water in 1949 but the entire 2.4 hectares (5.9 acres) area has now been exposed.

Also in Galicia, the falling waters of the Belisar Reservoir, built in 1963 and with a capacity of 39% at present, revealed Submerged old village of Portomarine, allowing visitors to roam their homes. In Estremadura, a 15th-century bridge appeared under the roof of the Segara reservoir, as did the entire 11th-century church of Sant Roma de São in Catalonia.

Far to the north, the remains of Berich, an entire submerged village near Waldeck in Germany that has been 12 meters underwater since 1913 and usually referred to by divers as Edersee-Atlantis, can now be visited on foot.

The foundation walls of the village of Berich on the bank of the Edersee Reservoir near Waldeck, Germany
The foundation walls of the village of Berich on the bank of the Edersee Reservoir near Waldeck, Germany. Photo: Tim Reichert/Reuters

In Switzerland, melting glaciers have caused this to happen Uncover more shocking secrets, including two groups of unidentified human remains on an ancient road crossing the Schesgen glacier in the southern canton of Valais. And in Norway, retreating ice has revealed an Iron Age cardigan, Roman-style sandals, and an arrow estimated to be 1,300 years old.

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