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'Spanish Stonehenge' Reappears in 50-Year First

Dolmen of Guadalperal was last seen in full in 1963
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2019 12:53 PM CDT
The Dolmen of Guadalperal is pictured on July 28, 2019.   (NASA)

(Newser) – For a limited time, you can feast your eyes on "Spanish Stonehenge"—which has been unseen in full in more than 50 years. The ancient monument officially known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal—a circle of 150 stones up to 6 feet tall on Spain's Peraleda de la Mata coast—was excavated in the 1920s but submerged in 1963 when Spain flooded the region to build the Valdecanas Reservoir. Portions of the monument, apparently built to showcase the summer solstice on the shores of the Tagus River up to 7,000 years ago, have pierced the water's surface under dry conditions in the years since, reports Live Science. But now, owing to a months-long drought, the stones are fully exposed, as shown in images captured by NASA's Landsat 8 satellite in July.

"It's spectacular because you can appreciate the entire complex for the first time in decades," Angel Castaño, the president of the local cultural association, tells Atlas Obscura. "All my life, people had told me about the dolmen" so "when we saw it … it felt like we had discovered a megalithic monument ourselves." The dolmen long ago lost its top, which would've ensured a dark inner chamber where death rituals likely took place. But more stones have fallen and some others have cracked since the monument was last seen. Castaño is one of 43,000 people urging the Spanish government to move the monument, believed to be thousands of years older than England's Stonehenge, while it has the chance. (Read more Spain stories.)

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