Summer 2019 was unusually hot for Europe. These harsh conditions caused droughts throughout the continent. One result was that the Valdecanas Reservoir, built by the Spanish government in 1963 to feed a hydroelectric dam that still produces electricity, dried up revealing a 7,000-year-old monument, known as the “Spanish Stonehenge.” Uncovered for the first time in fifty years, was the circle of more than 100 large stones known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal. Occasionally, the tips of the highest standing stones were visible when water levels in the reservoir dropped. According to NASA, the entire monument was without water this summer for the first time since the lake was created.
Last June Spain had seven weather stations record their highest measured temperatures ever. August also saw above-average temperatures and dry conditions in the country.
In the 1920s a German archaeologist named Hugo Obermaier uncovered the Dolmen of Guadalperal. However, the research was not published until the 1960s, after the reservoir was built and the monument was flooded. Archaeologists speculate that the standing rocks were part of a closed structure with a huge stone cap. The site might have been used as a burial place, a trading post or a room for religious rituals.
Discoveries such as the Dolmens of Guadalperal prove that droughts and other extreme conditions caused by climate change can sometimes be a blessing. In most cases, climate change has the opposite effect, it threatens archaeological sites and requires major adjustments for all living things.
Where will the next Stonehenge be?