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Romans' Beasts of Burden: Camels?

Archaeologists find animals' bones across northern Europe
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2012 3:57 PM CST
Romans' Beasts of Burden: Camels?
Camels likely lent a hoof in Roman times.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The Roman Empire may have brought camels a long way from home to serve as its beasts of burden, archaeologists say. Researchers have found Roman-age camel bones at 22 sites across northern Europe, USA Today reports. What's more, "antique literature and iconographical sources inform us about the uses of camels in the Roman Empire," the archaeologists write.

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The creatures "were bred as beasts of burden, both for military and trade purposes." Camel remnants have been discovered at military camps as well as towns. They may have "been originally pack animals linked with the traffic on the Roman road," the researchers note. The animals may also have been a "mascot for the Roman soldiers," the study says. (Read more camels stories.)

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