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Centuries-Old 'Hunger Stones' Reappear in European River

'When you see me, cry,' reads one
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 24, 2018 8:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Due to this summer's drought in Central Europe, boulders known as "hunger stones" are reappearing in the Elbe River. The low water levels in the river that begins in the Czech Republic then crosses Germany into the North Sea has exposed stones on the river bed whose appearances in history used to warn people that hard times were coming. Over a dozen of the hunger stones, chosen to record low water levels, can now be seen in and near the northern Czech town of Decin near the German border, reports the AP.

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One stone, considered the oldest hydrological landmark in Central Europe, bears a chiseled inscription in German that says: "When you see me, cry." NPR cites a 2013 paper on that stone that noted it also bears the years of past droughts prior to 1900: "1417, 1616, 1707, 1746, 1790, 1800, 1811, 1830, 1842, 1868, 1892, and 1893." (Read more drought stories.)

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