| 6 September 2019
Drought reveals long lost megaliths in Spain
Low water levels in a reservoir on the River Tagus near Peraleda de la Mata, about 160 kilometres west-southwest of Madrid, have revealed the long submerged Grand Dolmen of Guadalperal. Last seen before the area was flooded in 1963, it dates from the Bronze Age - 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.
The 144 granite stones define a ringed oval burial chamber 5 metres in diameter, an outer ring of stones that supported the tumulus, and an entrance corridor. Some of the stones stand 2 metres high, others have fallen. They are almost completely surrounded by the vestiges of a broad tumulus. At the end of the 21 metre long corridor is a menhir carved with a wavy line and several cup marks - the only stone on which carvings can now be seen.
Archaeologists know the site was damaged by Roman soldiers two millennia ago.
The dolmen stood neglected until the 1920s, when a German priest and archaeology enthusiast excavated the site and took whatever treasures could be moved back to Germany where they are displayed in a museum in Munich. Obermaier's drawings were published in 1960 by Georg and Vera Leisner.
Angel Castanyo, a local resident leading an effort to preserve the site before the rains come, says, "We grew up hearing about the legend of the treasure hidden beneath the lake and now we finally get to view them." He believes the serpentine line on one stone is a map of the river.
One of the few points where it was possible to cross the river, a sizeable town on the opposite side had to be demolished when the dam was built, and the remains of two Roman temples in the old town relocated to a small park by the new bridge.
Edited from The Local (22 August 2019), La Vanguardia, Ancient Origins (23 August 2019), El Español (24 August 2019)
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