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

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.