The Guadalperal dolmen begins to submerge little by little in the waters of the Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres). It is a slow agony that has begun a few days ago without the autumn rains. The swamp begins to recover its flow due to the end of the transfer period that every year during the summer establishes the Albufeira agreement committed between Spain and Portugal for the sustainable use of water between the watersheds of both countries.

After a wide and controversial debate since the dolmen appeared on the surface (in August and due to the great drought in the area), the Ministry of Culture and the Junta de Extremadura reported on September 19 that this megalithic jewel around 7,000 years old did not move from its place of origin. So it was a matter of time before the waters began to cover it until it returned to the depths. That way, the authorities assured that the one known as the 'Spanish Stonehenge' was going to be "valued" and that the procedures for the opening of the valuable megalithic complex as a Cultural Interest Asset (BIC) began. In addition, a working group has been set up whose purpose will be the "design, direction and monitoring of an action plan that will allow the recovery of this megalithic group", according to Culture. "All experts have considered that the transfer of the megalithic complex at this time would mean an irreversible loss of the historical-archaeological context , " said the Ministry.


However, when the waters began to cover a good part of the land, bathing the 144 stones (between 0.60 and 2 meters; half already on the ground) all the alarms have jumped. At the moment, at a glance, the appearance of a greenish layer of seaweed on the stones. But what has attracted the most attention is the placement by the ministerial part of bricks in the lower part of the orthostats, as denounced by Angel Castaño, president of the Cultural Association Roots of Peraleda, collective from the first moment defended to take the historic site out of the Swamp to protect it and put it in value.

The Ministry, in a statement, has justified this action: "The intervention has consisted of improving the bases of the orthostats with successive rows of tile brick, a material that, by its geometry, allows the configuration of stable structures to alleviate the possible sliding of the pieces "and defends that" its use does not alter the set and makes it possible to easily reverse the performance in the future, without affecting the site ". Other experts and geologists put their hands on their heads for this decision.

Ángel Castaño says that "few similar fudges will have been seen in the world of archeology and restoration as those loose bricks that have come close to the base of orthostats weighing one or more tons. Seeing that, that is the only thing we have seen until Now, we can get an idea of ​​how they are doing everything. "

Some of the stones are already in an unfortunate state, according to the association's complaint. In fact, they have launched a campaign to collect signatures on the platform: "From the main menhir, one of the fine grain granite, which resists the water much better, we can see that of all its engravings only there are slight remains. Those of fat granite are very eroded, cracked and even flaked, if not already broken, "says Castaño

In his opinion, the fundamental fact is that when the dolmen is submerged the stones will not remain in the water without more "but exposed to the continuous ups and downs of the swamp, so they will be continually changing from an aqueous and cold environment to an aerial and very hot one, and those changes are the main factor of destruction. "

In fact, he considers that "if it were always (the site) under water, the damage would be much slower, but in this state of change the damage is rapid and, as the geologist Francisco Fernández said, this type of damage is exponential, so that the damage that has occurred in the last 50 years could be doubled in just five, so it is incredible - he says - that the experts of the Ministry never allude to this factor, which is the fundamental one and only insist that of water the stones will be very well, forever and ever. "


The Ecological Association of Extremadura (AGEx) has also issued a report this month in which it assures that of the whole of this dolmen - which is located in the municipality of El Gordo (Cáceres) - practically half of the stones will no longer hold Two or three years ago, your current situation without being intervened and that the ravine on which it sits is collapsing. "The platform where the set is based, sits on a terrace of the river, formed by little cemented and easily eroded bowling, gravels and sands. Under these conditions, the ground of support of the megalithic constructions, is being gradually dismantled by effect of hydraulic dynamics, "said the report.

In this sense, Raices de Peraleda says that "the ravine is falling apart, that it has already lost between 5 and 10 meters from its original position and that it has already eaten clearly part of the edge of the dolmen and will continue to eat more and more."

The Ministry insists that tastings have been made "have confirmed the stabilizing role of the crust that covers the surface of the stone, which acts as a natural protection and thus prevents the deterioration of the structure. The state of the stone is directly linked with its lithological nature and no notable alterations in the quartzitic materials have been found , while the deterioration of the granites and metagrauvacas is very heterogeneous, with multiple causes that require differentiated treatments. "


The historic site was discovered and investigated by the German Hugo Obermair in 1925, although it was but it was the Leisner marriage who in 1960 published the studies and the existing material on that date about the Dolmen. Three years later, in 1963, and following the commissioning of the Valdecañas reservoir, the megalithic group was submerged when it was below the level of the normal maximum level, until it reappeared this past August due to the persistent drought. His 'appearance' this summer has gone around the world and international media have made numerous reports on this dolmen and even the BBC prepares a documentary series on it .

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