Dolmen of Guadalperal fully exposed

A brutal summer has caused havoc for many many people in Spain, however, an unexpected side-effect of the drought has delighted the country’s archaeologists - the emergence of a prehistoric stone circle, usually covered by water, has emerged to the surface.

The structure known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal and dubbed the Spanish Stonehenge is a circle of dozens of megalithic stones that are believed to date back to 5,000 BC.

It currently sits fully exposed in the corner of the Valdecanas reservoir, in the central province of Caceres, where authorities say the water level has dropped to 28 percent capacity.

A rare site

“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to be able to access it,” archaeologist Enrique Cedillo from Madrid’s Complutense University said. He is one of many experts racing to study the circle before it gets submerged underwater again.

The megalithic structure was discovered by German archaeologist Hugo Obermaier in 1926, but the area was flooded in 1963 in a rural development project under Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. Since then it has only become fully visible four times.


Dolmens are vertically arranged stones usually supporting a flat boulder. Although there are many scattered across Western Europe, little is known about who erected them. Human remains found in or near many of them have led to an often-cited theory that they are tombs.

Local historical and tourism associations have advocated moving the Guadalperal stones to a museum or elsewhere on dry land.

Their presence is also good news for Ruben Argentas, who owns a small boat tours business. “The dolmen emerges and the dolmen tourism begins,” he told Reuters after a busy day spent shuttling tourists to the site and back. But there is no silver lining for local farmers, who are struggling because of the drought.