See the Amazing Lost Relics Uncovered by Drought as Water Levels Receded

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An aerial view shows the remains of the submerged Gary Qasruka village, which was abandoned in 1985 and had partly resurfaced recently following a large drop in water level of the Dohuk Dam due to drought, in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk in the autonomous Kurdish region on August 28, 2022. Ismael Adnan/AFP/Getty

Extreme drought gripped the world this year, fueling wildfires, draining rivers, reducing harvests. Amid the climate hardships are artifacts of thousands of years of lost history once buried or flooded, now reappearing due to plummeting water levels. From a sunken WWII-era landing craft in Nevada to an abandoned village in Iraq to a medieval horse bridge in England and undersea prehistoric stone monuments in Spain, here are sites that silently witnessed and documented historic climate change.

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A sunken World War II-Era Higgins landing craft that used to be nearly 200 feet underwater is being revealed near the Lake Mead Marina as the waterline continues to lower on July 01, 2022 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty

D-Day Debris
Lake Mead, Nevada

The fast-receding waters of Lake Mead exposed a sunken World War II-era vessel—a Higgins boat used for beach landings. The rusted craft once surveyed the Colorado River; after being sold to a marina decades ago, it got stuck in sediment nearly 200 feet underwater. Before the boat was uncovered, the megadrought resurfaced bodies of more recent homicide victims and left a white "bathtub ring" of mineral deposits around the lake.

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Tracks of a 60-foot dinosaur have been discovered at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas due to excessive drought conditions this past summer, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Press Office. Courtesy of Dinosaur Valley State Park

Footsteps of Carnivores
Glen Rose, Texas

Recently revealed footprints at Dinosaur Valley State Park, show 15-foot-tall carnivorous dinosaurs trod this spot in Texas 113 million years ago. Usually hidden underneath the Paluxy River and filled with sediment, these tracks appeared this summer when the river completely dried up. Eventually rain will likely bury them again. The prints belong to Acrocanthosaurus, bipedal dinosaurs with three toes and claws on each limb. The last time the prints were visible was in 2000.

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The Dolmen of Guadalperal, sometimes also known as "The Spanish Stonehenge" is seen above the water level at the Valdecanas reservoir, which is at 27 percent capacity, on July 28, 2022 in Caceres province, Spain. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty

Spanish Stonehenge
Cáceres, Spain

The past reemerged when water levels plummeted to 28 percent at the Valdecañas reservoir in western Spain in August.The Dolmen of Guadalperal, known as the "Spanish Stonehenge," dates back to 5000 B.C. Who erected these 140 prehistoric boulders—or their exact use—remains a mystery. Archaeologists speculate that the dolmen could have been a collective burial site, a trading hub and the oldest realistic physical map in the world. It has become fully visible four times since the 1960s.

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Low water levels at Baitings Reservoir reveal an ancient pack horse bridge as drought conditions continue in the heatwave on August 12, 2022 in Ripponden, United Kingdom. Christopher Furlong/Getty

Bridge Across Time
Ripponden, United Kingdom

A prolonged drought during this scorching summer lowered water levels at Baitings Reservoir so much that remains of a sunken village appeared in northern U.K.—including an ancient packhorse bridge that linked Yorkshire and Lancashire. The reservoir, created to supply the nearby cities with water, flooded the village in the 1950s. With levels significantly lower than normal, Yorkshire Water has applied for permits to impose water-conservation measures.

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A prolonged drought lowered the level of the Elbe River so much that the so-called Hunger Stone, one of the oldest hydrological monuments in Central Europe, appeared in Decin, Czech Republic on August 18, 2022. Vit Cerny/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Hunger Stones
Decin, Czech Republic

"Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine" ("If you see me, weep"), reads the ominous inscription on a rock in the Elbe River that begins in Czech Republic and flows through Germany. Records of hardship, the hunger stones—with engraved words warning future generations of drought—were embedded into rivers during drought and famine years from the 15th to 19th centuries to mark water levels. Nearly 80 have resurfaced in recent years.

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The wreckage of a WWII German warship is seen in the Danube river near Prahovo, Serbia, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Darko Vojinovic/AP

Rusty Explosives
Danube River, Serbia

A historic drought parched the Danube and unveiled a graveyard of more than 20 German warships. Part of Nazi Germany's Black Sea Fleet that sank in 1944 while fleeing Soviet forces, these giant, rusted vessels are believed to still carry 10,000 explosive devices, posing a threat to water quality and the local fishing industry.

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An aerial view shows the remains of the submerged Gary Qasruka village, which was abandoned in 1985 and had partly resurfaced recently following a large drop in water level of the Dohuk Dam due to drought, in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk in the autonomous Kurdish region on August 28, 2022. Ismael Adnan/AFP/Getty

Village Ruins
Dohuk, Iraq

The village of Gary Qasruka, a Kurdish village in northern Iraq abandoned in 1985, once housed 50 families. They resettled as the Dohuk dam construction began, leaving the village engulfed by water and its stone walls eroded and painted by algae. The square city walls have resurfaced four times in the past three decades due to drought.

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Receding water levels in China’s city of Chongqing reveled ancient Buddhist statues. Courtesy of People’s Daily China via Facebook

Emergent Buddha
Chongqing, China

It's almost like an ancient myth; when drought persists and water recedes, the Buddha emerges from the river, praying for rain. That is just what happened this summer in the longest river in Asia. Plunging water levels in the Yangtze River resurfaced a reef island, on top of which sits three Buddhist statues. Likely built during Ming and Qing dynasties, the statues are believed to be 600 years old.