A Spanish “stonehenge” has resurfaced amid the country’s devastating drought, officials said.
Officially called the dolmen of Guadalperal, the historic marvel has only been visible four times, according to officials.
Experts believe that the striking circle of dozens of megalithic stones has been around since 5000 BC. However, it was first discovered by German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier in 1926 before flooding in 1963 as a result of a rural development project under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
Now the structure is located in a corner of the Valdecanas Reservoir in the central province of Caceres of the country.
As Spain faces its worst drought in 60 years, officials say the water level in the reservoir has fallen to 28% of capacity.
“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to access it,” said archaeologist Enrique Cedillo of the Complutense University of Madrid. Reuters.
The structure itself has an unknown maker, experts say.
Dolmens are vertically arranged stones that usually support a flat boulder or capstone, according to the New World Encyclopedia. How they were founded, however, remains a mystery.
Because it’s common to find human remains near or in dolmens across Europe, the structures are believed to have served as graves, New World Encyclopedia said.
The dolmen was last visible in 2019, when Europe suffered a drought, NASA said. This 2019 drought was the first time the entire structure became visible since the flood in 1963, according to NASA.
A petition by Asociación Raíces de Peraleda has been posted on change.org in 2019 to have the structure moved out of the reservoir. As of Thursday, it has more than 45,000 signatures.
“It is a megalithic dolmen of great value that is now, for the first time, and who knows if it will be the last time, fully accessible,” the petition reads.
The petition continues to read that the association is launching a “voice of alarm” to officials to move the dolman, “rescue” it and “take advantage of the current circumstances as it is still well preserved”.
The petition alleges that the structure is deteriorating as the rock has become porous and is cracking in places. It warns that if the structure is not moved, it may not be strong enough to move in the future.
The Iberian Peninsula where the dolman lives is at its driest in 1,200 years, and winter rains are expected to decrease further, according to a study published by the journal Nature Geoscience.
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