They call them “hunger stones” — rocks inscribed with dire warnings from days past when droughts struck Europe.
“If you see me, then weep,” read one with an inscription dating to 1616 that emerged along the Elbe River near the town of Děčín in the Czech Republic near Germany, according to The Guardian.
The stones are making an appearance due to a drought that is sweeping Europe.
“We haven’t analyzed fully this year’s event because it is still ongoing, There were no other events in the past 500 [years] similar to the drought of 2018. But this year, I think, is worse,” Andrea Toreti of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center said, according to The Guardian.
Hidden ‘Hunger Stones’ Reveal Drought Warnings From The Past https://t.co/VfnkvetsQN
— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) August 16, 2022
As a result, hunger stones are emerging — a macabre relic of days when stones were engraved at times rivers fell due to major droughts.
The stones — dating from subsistence farming days when much of the world relied on the crops planted in nearby fields to eat — carry warnings of grim times.
Czech researchers in 2013 said the stone was “chiselled with the years of hardship and the initials of authors lost to history” and “expressed that drought had brought a bad harvest, lack of food, high prices and hunger for poor people.”
The researchers said that there were inscriptions on the Děčín stone in 1417 and 1473, as well as ten from between 1707 to 1893.
Another on the Elbe in the German town of Bleckede read: “When this goes under, life will become more colorful again.”
These ominous ‘hunger stones’ are being uncovered along the Rhine River as drought hits large parts of Europe. The reappearance of the stones used to serve as a warning for famine pic.twitter.com/f0vQeSC2go
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 18, 2022
As river levels drop, more than just hunger stones are revealed.
In Lombardy, foundations of bronze-age buildings have been found in the River Oglio. A 100,000-year-old skull of a deer was found in Lake Como.
As the Tiber River’s level drops, a bridge that may date from the reign of Roman Emperor Nero has been found.
In pictures: Drought in Europe exposes sunken ships, lost villages and ominous ‘hunger stones’ https://t.co/I4yP0eHGlo
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 21, 2022
Newer items have also been found. What’s left of 20 German warships from World War II were scuttled on the Danube in what is now Serbia.
Elsewhere, unexploded World War II bombs have been found, including one in the River Po that led to evacuations of nearby residents until it was detonated, according to Euronews.
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