Three mammoth skeletons discovered in a wine cellar

Three mammoth skeletons discovered in a wine cellar

A winemaker’s restoration project in Goebelsberg, Austria, has led to the discovery of massive bones dating back up to 40,000 years, providing potential new insights into Upper Paleolithic hunting practices.

A seemingly routine renovation in Gobelsburg, Austria has led to a remarkable paleontological and anthropological discovery. Winemaker Andreas Bernstorfer found the massive bones in March while updating his wine cellar. He reported the discovery to the Federal Archaeological Office, which forwarded it to the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), according to a report. press release.

ÖAW archaeologist Hanna Barrow Suchon (right) explains the location of the bones to a local councilor (center) and crypt owner Andreas Bernestorfer (left).
picture: ÖAW-ÖAI/w. Innogerr

Since the beginning of May, a team of archaeologists has been investigating and uncovering a large layer of mammoth bones lying on top of each other. The bones are believed to be between 30,000 and 40,000 years old, making it the most important discovery of its kind in more than a century. ÖAW says most similar sites in Austria and neighboring countries were excavated more than 100 years ago and, as a result, are forever lost to modern research techniques.

ÖAW archaeologist Hanna Barrow-Suchon, who is leading the excavation, highlighted the rarity of such a dense layer of bones, saying it is “the first time we have been able to examine something like this in Austria using modern means – a unique opportunity for research.” Researchers are now documenting the site with 3D mapping technology. According to To the history blog.

The team is working in the basement.

The team is working in the basement.
picture: ÖAW-ÖAI/H. Baro Suchon

This discovery raises many questions about Upper Paleolithic hunting practices. “We know that people hunted mammoths, but we know very little about how they did it,” Baru-Souchon said. Archaeologists speculate that the site could be where the animals died naturally or where people set a trap for them.

Remarkably, bones from at least three different mammoths were found at the site. This discovery is consistent with a nearby site where flint artifacts, jewelry, fossils and charcoal were found 150 years ago, suggesting that both sites are related to each other and from the same time frame. Once the excavations are completed, the finds will be handed over to the Natural History Museum in Vienna for restoration. Hopefully Pernerstorfer can avoid finding any more big bones, finish his renovations, and enjoy some good wine.

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