I’m not going to repeat the news, but given the frightening photos of the heat wave and the creepy photos of the drought, it is clear that we are indeed having a catastrophic summer in terms of climate change. But if we look at the positive (because the negative is that we’re all going to die soon), the drought has revealed incredible things that had been buried for years. If we don’t have a livable planet, we will now have a planet full of history…
1. Buddhist statues in China
This incredible discovery was made by the city of Chongqing, in the province of Sichuan. With the drying up of the Yangtze River, an island submerged until then appeared, revealing three Buddhist statues at its top. They would date from the 17th century, either from the Ming or Qing dynasties. Admit it, it makes you want to decorate your house in a Zen atmosphere. Nope ?
2. Nazi ships in Serbia
Due to the drought affecting the Danube in particular, around twenty carcasses of German warships were revealed at the port of Prahovo in Serbia. These ships, dating from the Second World War, are filled with explosives and ammunition dangerous for river traffic. Already in March 2022, the Serbian government launched an appeal for donations to begin the removal of these explosives and the recovery of the hulls. These boats would belong to the Nazi Black Sea fleet that sank in 1944 while trying to escape the Soviets. The story is crazy.
3. Famine Stones in Germany and the Czech Republic
The drying up of the Elbe has allowed “famine stones” to resurface in Germany and the Czech Republic. These stones, scattered all along the river, were engraved during periods of severe drought to warn future generations of the consequences. You can read inscriptions like “If you see me, cry” or “When this stone is submerged, life becomes colorful again”. There are a total of nearly 25 stones, dated over several centuries, the oldest known dating back to 1417. Well, if they could quickly return to the fleet, that would make us very happy all the same.
4. Dinosaur footprints in the United States
In the United States too, the drought has revealed incredible traces of the past. In a Texas natural park, dinosaur footprints, usually buried in a river, have been revealed. About 13 million years old, these footprints would be those of an Acrocanthosaurus, a dinosaur that could measure up to 5 meters and weigh up to 7 tons. A little deg more to be able to meet him, but hey…
5. The Dolmens of Guadalperal in Spain
Our Spanish neighbors were also surprised to see vestiges of the past emerge. A dried up dam in Extremadura has brought to light the dozens of prehistoric monoliths of Guadalperal. Discovered in the 1920s and submerged in the 1960s when the Valdecanas dam was built, these stones date back to 3000 to 2000 years BC. They had only been visible a few times since their submersion.
6. A ghost town in Spain
Also in the capital of tapas, a ghost town, usually submerged, has recently emerged thanks to the drought. This former Spanish village called Aceredo, located in Galicia, was wiped off the map when the Alto Lindoso dam was put into operation in 1992. You can now walk between the 70 houses and see an old abandoned car and crates of empty beer bottles. Ah, they knew how to have fun back then.
7. An ancient city in Iraq
With the retreat of the Tigris, an entire Mesopotamian site emerged thanks to (or because of) the drought. The ancient city of Kemune, in Iraq, had found itself buried under water when the Mosul dam was built 40 years earlier. Once called Zakhiku, this Bronze Age city is already 3,400 years old. The site was first excavated by archaeologists in 2018, before it was submerged by rising waters. A palace of the Mittani kingdom, dated from 1550 to 1350 BC, had been discovered there.
8. A WWII bomb and boat in Italy
The very low water level of the Po river caused a bomb dating from the second world war to emerge, near the village of Borgo Virgilio, in northern Italy. Discovered by fishermen, this homemade bomb had been submerged for 70 years and contained nearly 240 kilos of explosives. Nearly 3,000 civilians living nearby were evacuated so authorities could detonate the bomb. And it goes bim, bam, boom. A few weeks earlier, the Zibello, a boat transporting wood during the Second World War, had also surfaced because of the drying up of the Po river.
9. Traces of a fortified city in France
You were waiting for it, here it is! The info that says yes, in France too, we discovered fifou stuff with the drought. And more particularly the traces of a fortified city, which appeared at the beginning of August in the middle of a field of alfalfa on the archaeological site of Vix, in Burgundy-Franche-Comté. This city of about 50 hectares dates from 500 BC, during the First Iron Age. Thanks to the drought and the roots of alfalfa which were able to find water deep down, we can thus distinguish the traces of a large enclosure which protected a building. Maybe an old UGC who knows?
10. Emperor Nero’s Bridge in Italy
Italy’s drought has not revealed remains of margherita pizzas dating back to antiquity, but rather an ancient bridge, the Pons Neronianus, located near Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican City. This old bridge, although bearing the name of Emperor Nero, would in fact have been built during the reign of his predecessor, Caligula, from the year 37 to 41. If the building had already resurfaced before, it is the first time that the remains of this construction are also visible.
11. A mummified chamois in Austria
Yes, it’s not just rivers and rivers that suffer the consequences of heat waves (ok, it’s not really drought in this case, but it still counts). The melting of the Gepatschferner glacier, in the Austrian Alps, enabled a group of glaciologists to discover the horns of a chamois emerging from the ice at more than 3,300 meters above sea level. Mummified, the animal, a female two years old when it died, would have lived around 500 years ago. So, still up for a short hike?
12. Corpses in the United States
Finally, not surprisingly, the drying up of certain rivers reveals in broad daylight corpses that we would have done without. This is what happened near Las Vegas where a skeleton was discovered due to the drought affecting Lake Mead. Discovered by boaters in a rusty container full of mud, the body would be that of a person shot in the head by the mafia in the 80s. I can’t wait for the Seine to empty.