Mammoth Bones Discovered in Wine Cellar

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.22 - 2024 12:59 PM CET

A routine renovation project led to a sensational archaeological discovery, unearthing mammoth bones in a wine cellar.

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Winemaker Andreas Pernestorfer was in the process of renovating his wine cellar when he stumbled upon bones buried beneath the earth.

Recalling his grandfather's tales of mammoth bones, Pernestorfer promptly notified the Federal Monuments Office. His hunch was correct: the bones were indeed ancient.

The Austrian Archaeological Institute (ÖAI) was brought in to investigate the discovery.

What began as a suspected handful of bones has revealed itself to be a much larger cache.

"The finding, which was initially thought to be a few individual mammoth bones, turned out after a short excavation to be a large layer of bones that came from parts of at least three different animals," the ÖAI told Kurier.

This layer includes bones from at least three distinct mammoths.

Historical Context

This isn’t the first time the region has revealed such treasures. Over 150 years ago, Count von Wurmbrand and archaeologist Hugo Obermaier documented a thick bone layer alongside cultural artifacts, including flint tools, decorative fossils, and charcoal. Their excavations, which cleared out entire cellars, were among the earliest efforts to explore these ancient deposits.

Unfortunately, many comparable sites in Austria and neighboring countries were extensively excavated over a century ago and are largely lost to modern research.

The current find presents a unique opportunity for contemporary science.

With advanced technology and methods at their disposal, researchers can now analyze the bones and surrounding materials in ways that were not possible during earlier excavations.

"This presents a unique opportunity for research, allowing modern science to uncover the secrets held by these ancient remains," the ÖAI added.

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