This has been one of the hottest and driest summers on record across Europe, and a drought across portions of the continent has devastated farmers.
But one good thing has come out of the drought weather: The discovery of a 5,000-year-old megaliths arranged in a circle. They were previously hidden underwater, according to The Local:
“The stones, that date from the second and third millennium BC, form the site of a sun temple on the banks of the River Tagus and were last seen by locals six decades ago before the area was flooded during the Franco-era to create a reservoir.”
“The collection of 144 stones, some of which reach two metres high and have engravings of serpents, are arranged in circles, but like Stonehenge, it is unclear exactly who put them there and for what purpose.”
Angel Castaño, who is part of the Raíces de Peralêda cultural association that is hoping to preserve the stones and site where they were found, noted:
“’Like Stonehenge, they formed a sun temple and burial ground. They seemed to have a religious but also economic purpose, being at one of the few points of the river where it was possible to cross, so it was a sort of trading hub.’”
The fact that the megaliths have serpents carved on them is also of particular importance, according to Castaño:
“‘(It) was ‘a dragon that protects the treasure, the guardian of the sacred zone’ that he says was of constant religious and economic importance because it coincides with the ford of Alarza, which was a strategic crossing on the Tagus.”
So who built this magnificent structure and the megaliths? Researchers say it was most likely the Celts who lived in Iberia about 5.000 years ago.
Unfortunately, there’s a race against time to save this incredible archaeological discovery. The rains will soon come, and that means the temple will likely be underwater yet again. Castaño explained why he and others are working quickly in the hope of guaranteeing the site is saved from being hidden once more, possibly for generations:
“‘If we miss this chance it could be years before they are revealed again,’ and because the stones are granite they are porous, and already they are showing signs of erosion and cracking, and says that if action is not taken now ‘it could be too late.’”