Mammoths once roamed through Brussels


While laying the groundworks for a new metro station in the centre of Brussels, archaeologists found two mammoth femurs and part of one’s tusk. Based on the fact that they were found eight to nine metres underground, they probably date back to the last ice age, in other words the bones could be between 11,700 and 120,000 years old.

The mammoth remains, which were found together with the bone of a wild horse, deer antlers and a lower jaw that probably belongs to a giant deer, are a rare but not unique find. As far back as 1972, archaeologists working on the north-south metro line discovered a mammoth tusk at around 13 metres underground, more bones were found in the ‘80s at Midi station, and another tusk was unearthed in Schaerbeek as recently as 2018.

These latest bones were found on the future site of the Toots Thielemans metro station, to be located between Place Rouppe and the south train station. The new stop, named after the legendary harmonica player who was born in Brussels and brought us classics such as Bluesette, will be part of the upcoming metro line 3.

This discovery just goes to show again that our city on the Senne is chock full of surprises, whether it’s new cultural events or mammoth bones from the last ice age.