Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) for this:
A lengthy drought in Europe has exposed carved boulders, known as “hunger stones,” that have been used for centuries to commemorate historic droughts — and warn of their consequences.
The Associated Press reports that hunger stones are newly visible in the Elbe River, which begins in the Czech Republic and flows through Germany.
“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,” the AP writes.
One of the stones on the banks of the Elbe is carved with the words “Wenn du mich seihst, dann weine“: “If you see me, weep.”
A team of Czech researchers described that stone in detail in a 2013 paper about the history of droughts in Czech lands.
The stone is also chiseled with “the years of hardship and the initials of authors lost to history,” the researchers wrote:
“It expressed that drought had brought a bad harvest, lack of food, high prices and hunger for poor people. Before 1900, the following droughts are commemorated on the stone: 1417, 1616, 1707, 1746, 1790, 1800, 1811, 1830, 1842, 1868, 1892, and 1893.”
That particular stone is now a bit of a tourist attraction; it’s one of the oldest hydrological landmarks in central Europe. Also, because of a dam on a tributary of the Elbe, it’s seen more often now than it used to be, according to a Decin tourist site — although the current river levels are still exceptional…
Read the whole story here.