WWII relics and hunger stones emerge in European drought

Lake Mead and Lake Powell aren’t the only bodies of water suffering from drought. In addition to the American Southwest, parts of Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands, may be facing the worst drought in 500 years.

The water levels of major rivers and lakes have dropped dramatically and relics of the past have appeared. People can now see the dreaded Hunger Stones and a bomb left over from World War II.

Read more: Shipwrecks and lost cities rise to the surface of Lake Mead

hunger stones

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Hunger stones are a common marker in some European rivers. From the German word, huntingstein, hunger stones mark water levels during a severe drought. They remind and warn future generations of hardships endured in the past since you can see the sculpted years of past droughts.

A notable Hunger Stone has resurfaced in the Elbe near Děčín, Czech Republic. Above is a warning, “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine”, which means “If you see me, cry.” until 1417 and 1616. The most recent dates from 2018, during a massive heat wave.

WWII relics

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Lake Mead isn’t the only body of water drying up to reveal an artifact dating back to World War II. As the Po — the longest river in Italy — dries up, a unexploded world war 2 bomb resurfaced. Fishermen discovered the 1,000 pound bomb near Borgo Virgilio.

The Italian military skillfully removed the American-made bomb and moved it to a detonation site 30 miles from where it was found and evacuated the area for safety reasons. Nearly 3,000 people had to leave the area, and although there was some pushback, all eventually left.

The Italian military managed to detonate the bomb, claiming it contained over 530 pounds of explosives.

The decrease in Po also revealed the Barge Zibelloa World War II vessel used by the Germans before sinking in 1943. While past droughts exposed the bow of this vessel, the barge is now almost visible from bow to stern.


(Credit: makasana photo/Shutterstock)

Just like the ghost town of St. Thomas, Nevada, which was submerged after Lake Mead was created by the Hoover Dam, some European cities were submerged when reservoirs were created. These cities haven’t seen the surface in decades – until now.

The village of Aceredo, Spain was flooded in 1992 when the Alto Lindoso reservoir was filled. Now, with the reservoir at 15% capacity, the former inhabitants of this ghost town have returned to see the remains of their homes. While it was possible to see the roofs of houses in the village flooded during the dry season, the whole village is now fully exposed.

With the ruins of Aceredo, the ruins of the church of Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire have emerged. The church spire remained standing after the reservoir was filled in 1940, but was knocked down in 1947 for safety.

Guadalperal Dolmenor the “Spanish Stonehenge” also emerged in the Valdecanas Reservoir in Spain. After its discovery in 1926 by Hugo Obermaier, a German archaeologist, it was submerged in 1963 due to development projects. It has come to the surface at least four times since then, but researchers are scrambling to study it.

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