Subject: 17th Century War Camel Found in Austrian Cellar
From: Alex Kemp
Date: Thursday, 02 April 2015 12:12:34 +0100
To: Oliver Kemp, Micaela Kemp, Liisa Kemp, Davin Kemp

The first ever complete war camel skeleton has been found in an Austrian cellar:

Camel Skeleton found during Archaeological Excavations in Tulln, Austria, prior to Shopping Centre construction

Austria has been criss-crossed by armies throughout history. Indeed, the very fact that I (and thus Davin, Micky & Ollie) exist is because of eddies & swirls within the tides of war.

Recently (2006/7), the town of Tulln, Austria (a little up-river on the Danube from Vienna) decided to authorise the construction of a new Shopping Centre. Building was scheduled to take place within the medieval town but--as so often now occurs--before construction could begin archaeological excavations were authorised upon the site. An ensemble of buildings was specified as the historically mentioned tavern called “Auf der Rossmühle” near the large market place. As the archaeologists dug down through the layers of this site they found near the bottom an abandoned, filled-in cellar.

I’ve worked with builders and know their ways. Getting rid of building spoil costs money, so they are adept at using any nearby hole as a dump (archaeologists love this fact). Sure enough, those ancient Austrians had back-filled this cellar with all sorts of household rubbish, and that helped to date the cellar to the end of the 17th Century (a Rechenpfenning coin, which depicts the countenance of King Louis XIV of France, was dated from 1643 to 1715, whilst a medicinal bottle, made of lead and containing the remedy “Theriacum” was produced in the chemist’s shop “Apotheke zur Goldenen Krone” (approximately 1628/1665) in Vienna).

So far, so normal for an archaeologist. However, when the back-fill was removed & they began to excavate the original soil of the cellar they struck paydirt:- the skeleton of (what at first they believed to be) a horse. A very large horse! In fact, and confirmed by DNA analysis, the animal is a camel. Specifically, a hybrid between a one-humped, dromedary mother and a two-humped, Bactrian father (so:- how many humps did it have?).

A Bactrian camel; these ones are pictured a very long way away from Austria

The most likely source for the camel is the 1683 Battle of Vienna, which saw Turkish forces from the Ottoman empire attack Austria & Hungary. These attacks (south-to-north, along one of the Silver lines of the planet) were a regular occurrence around this time:-

In 1683 the military forces surrounded Tulln, although the town was never conquered. Those forces are the most likely source for the animal. The animal shows zero signs of being butchered, so it is likely that it was buried intact. All in all, a remarkable find.

Alex Kemp