September 19, 2021

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World News

Heatwave in Extremadura exposes submerged ‘Spanish Stonehenge’

The Dolmen of Guadalperal, aka the ‘Spanish Stonehenge,’ has once more been exposed, as seen in Peraleda de La Mata on Thursday, as the water levels of the local dam and the Tagus River dropped amid a heatwave and drought conditions in Extremadura.

The megalithic complex is more than 5,000 years old and made up of 140 granite stones. Discovered in 1926, it submerged in 1963 after the construction of one of dictator Francisco Franco’s famous reservoirs, the Guadalperal dam.

“The last time it was visible like we see it now, was in 2019,” said Juan Jose Gordon, chief of the Archeology Service of the Spanish Institute of Cultural Heritage.

“Why does it happen? Because of different factors, the main one is the weather, there’s less water in the river so the water in the dam goes down and you can see it.

But, obviously, it’s also related to the dam’s public service, which makes the water go up or down, depending on the needs of water supply, not only of the Spanish side but also of the Portuguese,” he explained. In a matter of weeks, the water will once again flood the dolmen, which is thought to have been a solar temple or a space for funerary rites between 2000 and 3000 BC.

On Thursday, Extremadura was on the government’s ‘red alert’ list due to the extreme heat.