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Top 7: The most impressive construction site treasures

Gold coins, paintings, graves - construction work often brings to light true treasures from days long gone. This also applies to PORR projects. Here are our top 7.

7. The Gold Treasure of the Celts

In the district of Linz-Land in Upper Austria, something historically significant is found in the ground again and again. And so there are also some properties that are listed as historical monuments. This means that an excavation must take place before any construction work is carried out. And at the landowner's expense. Each find then belongs half to the finder and half to the owner. A man from Traun was lucky in 2016, as 44 Celtic gold coins from the second and first centuries BC were found on his listed property before the planned construction of a machine hall. The landowner donated them in their entirety to the state museum. More information - in German only - can be found here.

6. The Helmet of Oshere

A shopping centre was built in York, England, in 1982. In the process, the so-called Coppergate helmet, also known as the York helmet, from the eighth century was found. It features a dragon's head and a Latin inscription that translates as: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God; and to all we say Amen. Oshere." Oshere was probably the name of the soldier who owned the helmet, which can now be admired in the Yorkshire Museum.

Helmet in a display case in the York Museum

5. The Unwanted Treasures of the Eternal City

You can hardly dig anywhere in Rome without coming across treasures. However, the long and eventful history of the eternal city is both a blessing and a curse. Because as soon as pipes are to be laid, underground car parks or underground railways built, there is a good chance that nothing will come of it or the work will be delayed. The route of the Metropolitana Linea C alone had to be corrected 45 times. One station on this line is San Giovanni. Construction took ten years - six more than planned. The treasures found during the work are now on display here: antique plates, pipes from an irrigation system, amphorae and so on and so forth. According to Mayor Roberto Gualtieri, the "most complex and ambitious underground station in the world", Piazza Venezia, is currently under construction. It will also house an archaeological museum. The cost: EUR 700 million.

Construction site with cranes in front of the Colosseum

4. The Hidden Painting in the Luxury Boutique

When a former office in Paris was converted into an Oscar de la Rente boutique in 2018 and the craftsmen uncovered a 19th century wooden ceiling, they also discovered a 3 x 6 metre oil painting. Arnould de Vuez, a Dutch court painter to Louis XIV, had painted it in 1674. It depicts the French ambassador Charles-Marie-Francois Olier with his entourage, who visited Jerusalem in 1673. The painting was probably hidden from the Nazis during the Second World War and then forgotten.

17th century oil painting with horsemen on a hill in the foreground and Jerusalem in the background

3. The Tusks of the Prehistoric Mammoth

During the construction of the A5 North motorway in Lower Austria, an attentive PORR excavator operator came across two fully preserved, 2.5-metre-long tusks from a prehistoric mammoth around one million years old. Experts from the Natural History Museum Vienna uncovered the sensational find in a six-day excavation. What was particularly extraordinary was how well preserved the tusks were. However, the discovery of mammoth remains in this area is not at all unusual: tusks and bones have been found since the time of Maria Theresa and especially during the Gründerzeit, when there was a lot of building activity. Only recently, mammoth remains were found during remodelling work in a wine cellar in Gobelsburg, Lower Austria.

Palaeontologists excavate the tusk of a mammoth
Palaeontologists excavate the tusk of a mammoth

2. The Bones of the Triceratops

It is no coincidence that the 1.5-mile hiking trail in Golden near Denver, Colorado, is called the Triceratops Trail. Several fossils have already been found in this area. In 2019, construction workers discovered the bones of a dinosaur near a retirement home. Palaeontologists from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science soon realised that it was a 68-million-year-old Triceratops. Two years earlier, the remains of a Torosaurus, a relative of Triceratops, were found. They are among the last dinosaurs. Like all so-called non-avian dinosaurs, it became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period around 66 million years ago.

Researchers excavate bones of a Triceratops

1. The Tomb of the King

Richard III died at the age of just 32. Killed at the Battle of Bosworth against the Tudors in 1485, his story lives on to this day. More than a hundred years after the death of the English king, William Shakespeare wrote the drama "The Tragedy of Richard the Third", or "Richard III" for short. The monarch, who was the last English king to die on the battlefield, was buried in an inconspicuous grave in Leicester. However, the royal skeleton was long thought to be missing. Until it was discovered under a car park in the summer of 2012. DNA analyses with Michael Ibsen, a direct descendant of Richard's sister Anne of York, who was previously unaware of his royal lineage, confirmed the sensational find. The excavation work was initiated by amateur historian Philippa Langley. The film "The Lost King" tells her story with Richard III. On 26 March 2015, the king's remains were reburied in Leicester Cathedral after a week-long ceremony. Rest in peace, Richie.

Skeleton of King Richard III in a pit

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