Today I Learned… Hungerstein, Hunger Stones Artifacts

These artifacts are found in Germany and German settlements throughout Europe in rivers, streams and other bodies of water.  Submerged so that they only appear when the water level drops to very low points, they are meant to warn those that see them that the last time they were visible, famine hardship occurred.

The usually bear a date and message. One notable one in the Elbe River, was inscribed to read, “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine” (lit. “If you see me, weep”).  Some dates back to the 12th century.  Many more may be lost or yet to be uncovered.

I find this both fascinating and horrifying.  It also makes me wonder what sort of of “hunger stones” our culture could leave behind for future humanity (assuming that is an option).  Perhaps slabs of stone where polar ice once covered the land?


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