Mexican anthropologists say they have found two human-built pits dug 15,000 years ago to trap mammoths.

Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said Wednesday the pits were found during excavations on land that was to be used as a garbage dump.

The pits filled with bones from at least 14 mammoths were found in the neighbourhood of Tultepec, just north of Mexico City. Some of the animals were apparently butchered.

The pits were about 1.70 metres deep and 25 metres in diameter. The institute said hunters may have chased mammoths into the traps. Remains of two other species that disappeared in the Americas — a horse and a camel — were also found.

It was unclear if plans for the dump would proceed.

These are some of the remains of at least 14 mammoth specimens found in the traps. (Jose Mendez/EPA-EFE)