Recent archaeological research conducted in the former Roman provinces of Raetia, Noricum and Upper Pannonia has established that mules appeared in the lands beyond the Alps thanks to the ancient Romans.
The specialists carried out their work in eight research points. These provinces covered the areas of modern countries: eastern Switzerland, Austria, and southern Germany. The research material consisted of preserved remains of equine animals (teeth, bones). As it turns out, DNA results indicate that none of the mules’ remains in this area date back to before the arrival of the Romans.
Mules were highly prized animals by the Romans, mainly for their stamina and strength; they were primarily used as draft animals. In Roman times, in the northern Alps, one in six equids in Roman times was a mule; this proves that in everyday life they were very willingly used.
Before the arrival of the Romans, the horse was mainly used for transport and draft work.