Ancient dromedary remains discovered in Tongeren

Archaeologists came across the skull of an adult male dromedary from Roman Times in Tongeren (Limburg province). The excavations took place in 2014 and 2015, but the news has only been released now as it first had to be determined which animal the bone fragments were from.

The remains include fragments of the skull and two well-preserved upper jaws. They were discovered in a small water furrow embedded in a third-century Roman wall. Further research will be done by the Vienna University to determine its exact age.

"DNA research determines the age and the sex of the animal. We are talking about a relatively big and strong animal, which suggests this was an adult, male dromedary. But we can only be a 100 percent sure after further DNA research, because you also had hybrids at the time", says Peter Cosyns of the Brussels University VUB. "At that time, Romans had camels mate with dromedaries to get stronger animals." 

"Remains of camels or dromedaries are very scarce in the West Roman Empire. They are mostly found on busy commercial routes. The Tongeren dromedary probably had to transport goods along the trade link between Cologne and Boulogne-sur-Mer, or between Nijmegen and Metz. 

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