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Mammoth tusk dug up in Schaerbeek

© Urban.Brussels
© Urban.Brussels

Workers on a building site in the Rue d’Aerschot near the Brussels North station have uncovered the tusk of a prehistoric mammoth. The find was immediately inspected by archaeologists, who put its age as “at least 150,000 years,” according to the VRT. The tusk is about 50-60cm long, said Ann Degraeve of Brussels Heritage. The find was actually made back in November, but the heritage organisation is only now making the news known, after having carried out its own thorough investigation.

“Sadly we did not find any other parts of the mammoth’s skeleton,” she said. “But this in itself is highly exceptional. It’s not something you come across every day. The last such find was in 1972, during the work on the Brussels metro, when bones and a tusk were uncovered.”

The evidence shows that a number of mammoths must have lived in the area where Brussels now stands, yet few remains have come to light. “That’s because this sort of find lies very deep,” Degraeve said. “It’s only modern infrastructure works that allow us to go so deep, giving us access to the lower layers.”

The tusk’s final destination is not yet decided. “The piece is very fragile, since it’s ivory,” Degraeve said. “It requires careful treatment. Later we will see where the tusk ends up”.

Elsewhere last week, works on the building that will replace the landmark Parking 58 in the city centre have uncovered pottery and a wooden spoon, the Dernière Heure reports. The former parking garage was constructed on land where the River Senne used to flow, which would have been one of the first sites in the area for settlement. Work on the construction was not stopped by the find, the city of Brussels told the paper.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

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