Mysterious New Stonehenge Shocks Scientists

The face of the earth has changed dramatically
over time, and most people know that once the whole world was one single supercontinent-
pangea. Yet what might surprise you is just how much
the earth has changed in the time that humanity has been around, a relative blink of the eye
in geologic time scales. While that’s not enough time for massive continental
shifts, it is more than enough time for weather and natural events to dramatically change
territory that today seems familiar, but a hundred thousand years ago may have been completely
alien to you. Humans too though are capable of dramatically
changing our environment, and many coastlines today look nothing like they did before humans
starting expanding landmasses through dredging. The same goes for many of the world’s lakes
and rivers, with some rivers having been completely re-routed from the routes they once flowed
for millions of years! Many lakes and reservoirs now dot the landscape
that would not exist naturally, and in Spain, one such reservoir has kept a long-hidden
secret safely sunken away from prying eyes under dozens of feet of water. Yet mankind is also changing the environment
in another way- global warming. With temperatures rising, water levels in
many natural and unnatural lakes and even rivers have begun plummeting, while global
oceans rise. After years of record-setting high temperatures
in Europe, Spain has suffered a severe drought which has ravaged the nation economically-
but recently, it has also revealed a stunning archaeological secret hidden for over fifty
years. Spain’s interior is no stranger to droughts,
and much of its heartland is made up of very arid territory. In order to help farmers provide water for
their crops and expand farmable land into the interior of the nation, the Valdecanas
Reservoir was built in 1963. The quickly growing reservoir of water however
soon swallowed up an archaeological site known as the Dolmen de Guadalperal- or “treasure
of Guadalperal”. Internationally it was known as the Spanish
Stonehenge, and it was discovered by German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier, though at the
time of its discovery it received very little fanfare. It wasn’t until the reservoir covered the
site that Obermaier’s study of the site was actually published. And thus the ancient monument lay forgotten,
with only the very tops of the tallest stones poking above the water line when water levels
fluctuated. That all changed however as global warming
intensified the effects of drought, and now the monument lies entirely bare, allowing
archaeologists to study it once more. A circular monument made up of 150 large granite
stones known as orthostats, the resemblance to Stonehenge is rather uncanny. Unlike Stonehenge though, many scientists
believe that this formation once was enclosed with a roof. The main part of the monument is an ovoid
chamber five meters in diameter, with an access corridor that’s 21 meters long and 1.4 meters
wide. At the entrance to the main chamber stands
an elaborate stone two meters high that is adorned with a snake carved on it and several
cups, where it’s assumed that ritualistic fluids would have been poured or held in reserve. The snake figure may have been some form of
protective figurehead, guarding the site and possibly of religious importance to its builders. The main chamber itself is known to have been
built by the inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula around 2000 to 3000 BC, as it resembles the
same type of construction as found at other sites west of the Iberian peninsula. Around the entire structure stood another
circular ring of stones, with the inner part of the monument buried under dirt and gravel. Scientists believe that the site could have
been a solar temple, dedicated to the worship of a sun god type figure. It was also likely used as a burial chamber,
perhaps for figures considered noble or important to the tribal society that built the site. Modern archaeologists also discovered plenty
of evidence however that they were not the first archaeologists to visit the site, with
the discovery of many Roman implements indicating that their Roman predecessors had also excavated
the monument. The roman excavators however may have been
more looters and less archaeologists, as scientists found 11 axes, various ceramics, flint knives,
and a copper punch in a nearby Roman trash heap- clearly discarded for not being valuable. Sadly all the years spent submerged have not
been kind to the site, and the water has severely eroded many of the stones. Runes and other engravings on the stones themselves
are all but illegible now, only deepening the mystery of who built this structure and
why. Luckily German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier
and his team had made reproductions of some of the engravings, and today a Spanish archaeological
society has requested the reproductions for study. The future of Spanish Stonehenge however is
up in the air, as it’s expected that the site will eventually flood again as the drought
recedes. Many spanish archaeologists have requested
for the site to be protected, though that would likely require it be physically moved
from its current location and placed on higher ground- something that’s unlikely to happen. If the effects of global warming are not addressed,
then the reservoir will likely remain so low that archaeologists will not have to worry
about the monument being lost forever under the waves. Who do you think built the Spanish Stonehenge? Should this site and others threatened by
climate change be moved for their protection? Let us know in the comments! And as always if you enjoyed this video don’t
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