Making the most of record low waters levels due to drought, historians are recovering relics from the 17th century at Vistula river in Warsaw on 3 September 2015 Photo: Janek Skarzynski / AFP Photo

By Stanislaw Waszak
4 September 2015

Warsaw (AFP) – 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 historic 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. […]

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. [more]

Longest Polish river reveals secrets amid drought



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