300-Year-Old Camel Skeleton Found Buried Beneath Cellar in Austria (Video)

April 3, 2015 Updated: April 3, 2015

Back in the days when the Ottoman Empire was sending its armies far and wide to claim more territory, troops often traveled with camels specially bred to perform transport and combat tasks.

In 2006, archaeologists digging in Tulln, Austria discovered an intact skeleton of one such animal believed to be approximately 300 years old. Just recently, they published a report on their find in the journal ‘PLOS One.’

Though individual camel bones have been found throughout areas of central Europe targeted by the Ottomans, this is the first time a complete set has been unearthed apart from a find near Istanbul. It was dug up from a site that was being readied for the building of a shopping center and was found amidst a collection of discarded items such as ceramics and other animal bones.

How it ended up there and intact is largely a mystery, but researchers believe its presence is connected to the failed 17th century Ottoman attempt to gain control of the town.

Among the plausible explanations is that the Ottoman army traded it or just left it behind. As it would have been deemed as a rare curiosity by the townspeople, they probably kept it as is rather than taking it apart for use as food. 

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