Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Longest Polish river reveals secrets amid drought
By Stanislaw Waszak
Warsaw (AFP) Sept 5, 2015

Archaeologists are having a field day in Poland's longest river, the Vistula, which because of a drought has hit a record low water level allowing them to uncover a treasure trove of ancient artifacts.

"There are pieces of marble and stoneware and fragments of fountains, window sills, columns, concrete slabs, cannonballs," said Hubert Kowalski, a researcher at Warsaw University's archaeological institute.

Dressed in orange and green rubber hip waders, the archaeologists slosh around the Vistula, whose level has fallen to just 40 centimetres (16 inches) in downtown Warsaw -- the lowest in over 200 years.

Armed with detectors of all sorts, sonars and sub-bottom profilers -- tools for identifying layers of sediment -- they search for curious objects from aboard their inflatable boat.

The large sandbanks poking out of the water give the river the air of a barren desert landscape. But for the archaeologists, it's paradise.

Even the bulldozers are able to follow them into areas that are normally off limits for the heavy machines.

Using water pumps borrowed from firemen, the archaeologists remove layers of sand and pebbles to retrieve their treasures, sometimes with the help of cranes when the objects prove too heavy.

"It's mainly fragments of carved stones that the Swedes tried to steal in the 17th century during their 1656 invasion," Kowalski told AFP.

"But they failed to get them out of the country because the Vistula's water level was too low" to keep their boats afloat.

- Obelisks and a moose -

Other items to emerge from the Vistula this summer include pieces of bridges and boats, as well as ceramic objects dating as far back as 700 to 400 BC.

They include obelisks and bases of columns that likely came from Warsaw's Kazimierz Palace, which was built in the 17th century and is today a Warsaw University building.

The Vistula is the EU member's largest river, as well as its longest at more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles), splitting the country in half and flowing into the Baltic Sea.

It is also "one of Europe's most capricious waterways," said Culture Minister Malgorzata Omilanowska, who visited the archaeologists on Thursday.

"Its bed consists of a layer of sand eight to nine metres (26 to 30 feet) deep and the river does what it likes with it, like piling it up into a massive mound only to dig a huge hole in the same spot the following year."

The Vistula's green riverbanks are a favourite with birds, pedestrians, cyclists and even sunbathers and campfire enthusiasts in the summer months.

Its water level usually averages 237 centimetres in the capital but reached a high of 787 centimetres in 1960. Records began in 1789.

The low water level of the river and its tributaries has hit the farm sector hard but has had no effect on the capital's supply of drinking water, which is sourced underground.

Historic finds have also surfaced elsewhere: the wreck of a Soviet military plane that crashed at the end of World War II turned up in the almost completely dried-up Bzura River.

Meanwhile a small patrol boat from World War I washed up in the San River in the country's southeast, complete with ammunition and three guns more than a century old.

But the surprises were not limited to sunken ships and ancient artifacts: a moose also wandered into the middle of the Vistula near downtown Warsaw last month to beat the heat, all to the media's delight.

Television stations showed hours of live feeds of the animal staring pensively off into space before police managed to catch it and release it into a greener area away from downtown.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

TES Satellite Instrument Gives New Insight into Water Cycle
Pasadena CA (JPL) Sep 04, 2015
Research using NASA satellite measurements has given scientists a better understanding of what happens to rain and snow that falls on land - how much runs off into rivers, lakes and aquifers; how much plants use; and how much simply evaporates. Among the new findings: plants around the world use less water than previous studies had indicated, and most freshwater passes more rapidly through ... read more

Russia Gets Ready for New Moon Landing

ASU chosen to lead lunar CubeSat mission

Russia's moon landing plan hindered by financial distress

Research May Solve Lunar Fire Fountain Mystery

ASU instruments help scientists probe ancient Mars atmosphere

Opportunity brushes a rock and conducts in-situ studies

Destination Red Planet: Will Billionaires Fund a Private Mars Colony

One year and counting: Mars isolation experiment begins

In Virginia, TechShop lets 'makers' tinker, innovate

New Russian Spaceship to Be Ready Ahead of Schedule

Annoying? US 'That Kissed the Moon' Has to Pay Russia for Space Flights

French woman wins disability grant for 'gadget allergy'

Progress for Tiangong 2

China rocket parts hit villager's home: police, media

China's "sky eyes" help protect world heritage Angkor Wat

China's space exploration potential has US chasing its own tail

First Dane in space begins long trip to repositioned ISS

ISS Crew Redocks Soyuz Spacecraft

CALET docks on the International Space Station

Astronaut Andreas to try sub-millimetre precision task on Earth from orbit

FCube facility enters operations with fueling of Soyuz Fregat upper stage

SpaceX delays next launch after blast

GSLV Launches India's Latest Communication Satellite GSAT-6

Preparations with both passengers ongoing at Kourou

Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

A new model of gas giant planet formation

Planetary pebbles were building blocks for the largest planets

Solar System formation don't mean a thing without that spin

Paper tubes make stiff origami structures

Long-sought chiral anomaly detected in crystalline material

Metallic gels produce tunable light emission

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.