‘Large’ mammoth bones found in Austria’s wine cellar: photos

A homeowner in Austria has unearthed a “huge layer of bones” from three prehistoric animals during renovation work, archaeologists said.

Photo of the municipality of Langenlois

A homeowner’s renovation project turned into an archaeological dig after he unearthed the “big” bones of prehistoric animals. Photos show the “sensational find” in Austria.

Andreas Pernestorfer, a vintner who lives near Langenlois, was renovating his wine cellar when he “unexpectedly came across large bones,” the Austrian Archaeological Institute said in a May 17 press release.

Pernestorfer had heard stories from his grandfather about discoveries of mammoth bones, the institute said. He alerted officials who sent a team of archaeologists.

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Archaeologists began excavating the wine cellar and soon realized that this was a ‘sensational find’.

Archaeologists dig up the mammoth bones in the wine cellar. Photo by OeAW-OeAI / H. Parow-Souchon via the Austrian Archaeological Institute

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“What was initially thought to be a few individual mammoth bones turned out to be a huge layer of bones, taken from the parts of at least three different animals,” the institute said. Photos show the “dense layer” of prehistoric bones.

The mammoth bones are probably between 30,000 and 40,000 years old, the municipality of Langenlois said in a press release. Archaeologists hope to determine the exact age using preserved charcoal.

The prehistoric mammoth bones found in a wine cellar. Photo by OeAW-OeAI / H. Parow-Souchon via the Austrian Archaeological Institute

Mammoth bones were found in a nearby wine cellar about 150 years ago and in other parts of Austria about 100 years ago, the institute said. These older excavations used less sophisticated techniques and as a result ‘have been largely lost to modern research’.

The bones found in the Pernestorfer wine cellar are a “unique opportunity” for archaeologists to use modern excavation techniques, the institute said.

People stand in the wine cellar in Langenlois. Photo of the municipality of Langenlois

Archaeologists plan to continue excavating the wine cellar in the fall, city officials said.

Langenlois is a city in northern Austria, about 72 kilometers northwest of Vienna.

Google Translate was used to translate the press release from the municipality of Langenlois.

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Aspen Pflughoeft delivers real-time news for McClatchy. She graduated from Minerva University, where she studied communications, history and international politics. She previously reported for the Deseret News.