In the wake of a drought, one of Europe’s main waterways is giving up centuries-old secrets for the first times as the Elbe River shrinks under the sun and fields all over Great Britain go dry and brittle in the horrible heat.

If You Can Read This…

The Elbe River is a main waterway for the Czech Republic and winds through multiple countries, making its way through Prague, Dresden, and Hamburg before it meets the ocean just south of Denmark. And in the European drought, it’s starting to dry up.

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While this is alarming, it’s also revealing a long-buried history that has the scientific community buzzing with excitement.

“When you see me, weep,” says the Hunger Rock, written in German.

This stone has been seen before in the river, but rarely, and the grim message is a harsh reality. When the Hunger Stone appears, the waters of the Elbe River are far too low.

This is a warning that soon, the fields will go dry and famine is inevitable.

On the stone, there is a record of every time the stone has ever appeared with its dire warning, all the way up to 1893. The first record of the stone’s appearance is in 1417. The stone wasn’t carved, however, until the second time it appeared in 1616.

But while these messages promise doom and gloom, the lowering banks of the river signal that another phenomenon is gripping Europe: the land is going dry. And under the sun, previously-lost history is suddenly easy to spot all over the continent.

Hidden History Resurfaces

The drought that has plagued Europe throughout the summer has brought with it an unexpected present: history is being revealed.

Throughout Great Britain and all over Europe, drones are being used to discover long-buried, once-hidden ancient sites that are newly-visible against the dry, dead fields and brittle grasses.

In Wales, a prehistoric (though possibly Roman) settlement has appeared against the dying landscape. This previously-hidden site has just been rediscovered, and what secrets it could reveal may just be epic.

In Ireland’s Boyne Valley, a henge that’s approximately 4,500 years old has been revealed for the first time in thousands of years. Not far from the prehistoric henge, a 5,500-year-old tomb was also found in the recent heatwave.

These discoveries, long slumbering underground, are suddenly surfacing against the harsh drought conditions thanks to a perfect storm of technology and opportunity.

Against browning fields, the drying grass and dead crops are revealing the outlines of ancient structures that have been previously lost to the ages. Drones and aerial photography have captured startling images of vivid outlines against the dry earth, stunning sights that clearly draw a map to the past.

The Reappearing Past

These structures probably stood out in earlier heatwaves as well, but in today’s age of drones and modern aerial photography, they’re much easier to spot than ever before in history. Significant discoveries are appearing all over Europe, an exciting and unexpected symptom of the intense drought conditions.

As the ground sizzles and the sun shines, more ancient structures are slowly appearing like magic against the browning landscape. As the drought continues, who knows what else lies beneath the surface just waiting to reveal itself to the eyes of the world?