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Serbia archaeologists use heavy machinery to move mammoth skeleton from open mine pit

  • A crane lifts the skeleton of a female southern mammoth named Vika at an open pit coal mine in Kostolac, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 11, 2014. Vika, a complete mammoth skeleton, discovered by Serbian archaeologists in 2009 inside the Kostolac open coal pit mine, was moved from the spot where it was found to a secure location because the pit mine threatened to endanger the safety of the remains. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A crane lifts the skeleton of a female southern mammoth named Vika at an open pit coal mine in Kostolac, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 11, 2014. Vika, a complete mammoth skeleton, discovered by Serbian archaeologists in 2009 inside the Kostolac open coal pit mine, was moved from the spot where it was found to a secure location because the pit mine threatened to endanger the safety of the remains. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • A crane lifts a complete skeleton of a mammoth, named Vika, secured in a specially made structure, at an open pit coal mine in Kostolac, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 11, 2014. Vika, a complete mammoth skeleton, discovered by Serbian archaeologists in 2009 inside the Kostolac open coal pit mine, was moved from the spot where it was found to a secure location because the pit mine threatened to endanger the safety of the remains. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A crane lifts a complete skeleton of a mammoth, named Vika, secured in a specially made structure, at an open pit coal mine in Kostolac, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 11, 2014. Vika, a complete mammoth skeleton, discovered by Serbian archaeologists in 2009 inside the Kostolac open coal pit mine, was moved from the spot where it was found to a secure location because the pit mine threatened to endanger the safety of the remains. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man drives tractor at an open pit coal mine in Kostolac, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 11, 2014. A complete mammoth skeleton, named Vika discovered by Serbian archaeologists in 2009 inside the Kostolac open coal pit mine, was moved from the spot where it was found to a secure location because the pit mine threatened to endanger the safety of the remains. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A man drives tractor at an open pit coal mine in Kostolac, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 11, 2014. A complete mammoth skeleton, named Vika discovered by Serbian archaeologists in 2009 inside the Kostolac open coal pit mine, was moved from the spot where it was found to a secure location because the pit mine threatened to endanger the safety of the remains. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

Serbian archaeologists have used heavy machinery to move a 1 million-year-old female mammoth skeleton from an open mine pit where it was unearthed nearly five years ago.

Workers in cranes and bulldozers worked carefully Friday morning at the Kostolac coal mine in eastern Serbia to transfer the mammoth — called Vika — to an exhibition area several kilometers away.

Chief archaeologist Miomir Korac told The Associated Press that preparations had lasted several months. He says that archaeologists have secured Vika in a 60-ton structure of rubber and sand to avoid any damage.

Vika is a so-called southern mammoth, or mammuthus meridionalis, that originated from northern Africa and didn't have fur. Another female mammoth skeleton, about 500,000 years old, was discovered in northern Serbia in 1996.