The recent discovery of several skeletons of prehistoric mammoths, as well as Roman tombs from the second and third centuries BC, the archaeological site of Viminacium near Kostolac has again attraction attention of international experts and media. This discovery is a worldwide sensation, because it is a mammoth cemetery that came into existence in the course of different periods of geological history. In addition to the skeletons, a total of 23 fossil remains of mammoths have been so far discovered in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. Ranka Pavlovic has more.
The mammoth cemetery has been discovered on the Nosak Hill, located in the area of the strip mine "Drmno" of the thermo power plant Kostolac. In early June, archaeologists first found the bones of a mammoth that apparently comes from the Ice Age (Late Pleistocene). The mammoth, named Nosko (Nosy), is younger than Vika, the female mammoth whose bones were discovered in 2009 two kilometers farther. In addition to being younger, the newly found mammoth is bigger than Vika, as evidenced by the 1.3 m long leg bone that has been unearthed, which means that the leg of the prehistoric animal reached or even exceeded the length of 2.5 meters.
In the vicinity of this site, very soon were discovered new bones, assumed to be part of the skeletons of five or six mammoths, also younger than Vika. Based on the sediments where the bones were found, paleontologists from the Natural History Museum, assume that these are woolly mammoths, which died out 10,000 years ago (Late Pleistocene). The body of these mammoths was covered with long, thick layer of shaggy hair , which, along with a thick layer of fat under the skin, protected them from the harsh climate. They reached height exceeding 3 meters, and had characteristic, up to 5 meters long spiral tusks. It is quite possible that during the excavation of skeletal remains, more bones will be found, which will enable archaeologists to find out whether the mammoths came there to die, just as elephants do today, or if they were victims of a natural disaster. As for the mammoth Vika, it was determined that it drowned and died in the swamp mud.
The new discovery of mammoths attracted much attention of foreign scientists. The Paris Museum of Natural History, one of the largest and most famous in the world, has invited archaeologists from Viminacium to participate in the global conference "The World of Mammoths and Their Relatives", in Anchorage, Alaska, in May 2013 and present this extraordinary discovery to their colleagues. In addition, the top Chinese experts in the geology of loess announced a late summer visit, for more comprehensive studies of the soil. It has been already suggested to open a paleontological park on this site, and talks with the U.S. experts have commenced.
Apart from the discovery of bones of prehistoric giants, Roman tombs dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. have been discovered at the foot of the Nosak Hill. Extremely valuable pieces of jewelry, oil lamps, and other antique objects have been found in the tombs. Archaeologists point out that at this newly discovered ancient graveyard, they once again found the deceased covered with lime. This has not been recorded in any other Roman necropolis, except in the Viminacium one, which was large and in use for some 500 years. Not far from this graveyard, the remains of a huge circular furnaces were discovered, the purpose of which is yet to be determined.