From ‘Spanish Stonehenge’ to Nero Bridge: World Artifacts That Reemerged Due to Heatwave
15:26 GMT 25.08.2022 (Updated: 10:59 GMT 05.03.2023)
With temperatures regularly exceeding 40C (104F) in a number of cities across the globe, the current heatwave is described as the most extreme in six decades.
Scorching heat, which has already hit almost half of our planet, led to the lowering of river levels and the draining of reservoirs, which in turn resulted in an array of curious artifacts reemerging from the water. Here’s a look into some of them.
Three Buddhist statues was found after plunging water levels of the Yangtze River revealed a submerged island in China's southwestern city of Chongqing earlier this summer.
The trio, which is believed to be 600 years old, were discovered on the highest part of the island reef. One of the statues, called Foyeliang, shows a monk apparently sitting on a lotus pedestal.
Water levels of the Yangtze River, the third-longest in the world, have been falling swiftly due to a drought and a heatwave in China's southwestern region.
13 Million-Year Dinosaur Footprints
In Texas, a severe drought that dried up a river has exposed two ancient reptiles’ footprints in the Lone Star state’s Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Spokesperson Stephanie Salinas explained that “most tracks that have recently been uncovered and discovered at different parts of the river in the park belong to […] a dinosaur that would stand, as an adult, about 15 feet (4 meters) tall and (weigh) close to seven tons”.
© AFP 2023 / HANDOUTThis handout image obtained on August 23, 2022 courtesy of the Dinosaur Valley State Park shows dinosaur tracks from around 113 million years ago, discovered in the Texas State Park after a severe drought conditions that dried up a river
This handout image obtained on August 23, 2022 courtesy of the Dinosaur Valley State Park shows dinosaur tracks from around 113 million years ago, discovered in the Texas State Park after a severe drought conditions that dried up a river
© AFP 2023 / HANDOUT
In addition, archaeologists found traces of Sauroposeidon, which in its adult state reached about the height of 60 feet (18 meters) and weighed around 44 tons. Scientists believe the dinosaur footprints indicate that the reptile lived some 113 million years ago. According to representatives of the park, this is one of the world's longest dinosaur trails ever found.
The ancient Dolmen of Guadalperal, also known as “the Spanish Stonehenge”, has emerged from a reservoir near the capital Madrid as Spain faces its worst drought in 60 years.
The monument, believed to date back to at least 5,000 B.C., is currently fully exposed in one corner of the Valdecanas Reservoir, where the water level decreased to about 28% of capacity due to scorching heat.
Archaeologist Enrique Cedillo from Madrid's Complutense University told Reuters that seeing “the Spanish Stonehenge” is a “surprise” and “rare opportunity to be able to access it”. The monument features a massive circle of about 150 standing stones, with some more than 1.8 meters tall, taking the form of an open oval.
Ruins of Ancient Iraqi City
A 3,400 year-old city has emerged from the depths of the Mosul Reservoir due to an extreme drought in Iraq, allowing archaeologists to study the ruins for only the second time since a dam was built nearby in the 1980s.
Researchers think that the ruins may be of Zakhiku, a major hub for the Mittani Empire, which thrived on the banks of the Tigris River between 1,550 and 1,350 B.C. An international team of archaeologists discovered a large fortification with walls and towers, an industrial complex and a multi-story storage facility.
© Photo : University of TübingenZakiku
© Photo : University of Tübingen
They also found over 100 unfired clay tablets, imprinted with cuneiform, which archaeologists hope will offer them clues about the lives of the citizens of the Mittani Empire, or events when the city fell.
In heatwave-hit Rome, the Tiber River exposed the ruins of a bridge built under Emperor Nero, who ruled from 54 AD until his suicide in 68 AD.
© AP Photo / Alessandra TarantinoA boat passes by the ruins of the ancient Roman Neronian bridge, usually submerged by the Tiber, in Rome, Thursday, June 30, 2022
A boat passes by the ruins of the ancient Roman Neronian bridge, usually submerged by the Tiber, in Rome, Thursday, June 30, 2022
© AP Photo / Alessandra Tarantino
The bridge, which connected the Field of Mars with the opposite bank of the Tiber, was demolished in 500 to prevent the Goths from entering and vandalizing Rome. Since, it has been resting under the waters of the Tiber, reappearing only in rare cases when the river becomes critically shallow.
The current water level in the Tiber River has reached its lowest in about half a century due to the ongoing drought.‘
The unusually hot weather similarly led to so-called “hunger stones” resurfacing in some European rivers, including the Elbe and the Rhine.
© AP Photo / Petr David JosekOn of the so called "hunger stones" exposed by the low level of water in the Elbe river is seen in Decin, Czech Republic, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018
On of the so called "hunger stones" exposed by the low level of water in the Elbe river is seen in Decin, Czech Republic, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018
© AP Photo / Petr David Josek
The mysterious stones, which are visible only during periods of severe drought, have various messages about previous disasters caused by water shortages.
The oldest inscription on the "hunger stone" found in the Elbe River dates back to 1616 and reads, “If you see me, weep”.
Echo of War
The scorching heat also rode roughshod over the Danube River, where water levels plunged to record-law, exposing the hulks of more than 20 explosive-laden Nazi warships sunk during World War II near Serbia's port town of Prahovo.
The vessels were scuttled along the Danube by Nazi Germany's Black Sea fleet in 1944 when they retreated from advancing Soviet forces. Many of the warships reportedly contain metric tons of ammunition and explosives and pose a threat to shipping.