Badger leads archaeologists to secret caches of ancient coins

This creature was just looking for a nosh, not old story.

A hungry badger is believed to have helped uncover a stockpile of more than 200 Roman coins in a Spanish cave.

In a paper published last month by the Autonomous University of Madrid in the Journal of Prehistory and Archeology, researchers credit the mammal with locating a large portion of the coins that a man discovered near its nest. The man then brought the coins to the attention of the researchers, who went on to reveal 209 coins from 200 to 400 AD. On-site.

“We were shocked to find 90 coins right in the floor outside a badger’s nest,” archaeologist Alfonso Fanjul, who led the excavation for the coins, told USA Today. “We did not know how many could be underground or whether we could find more valuable items.”

How the coins came to be stored in the cave is still a mystery.

Fanjul believes that refugees hid them there. “We think it’s a reflection of the social and political instability that came with the fall of Rome and the arrival of groups of barbarians to northern Spain,” he told CNN. He plans to continue excavating the area in search of more historical relics.

badger cave roman coins
View of the excavation process.
Lent by Alfonso Fanjul Peraz

“We have taken out the first deposit, but we think there is a lot more to take out,” he said. “We think it’s an ideal place to learn more about the people who lived through this transition.”

Although no more artifacts are found, the current badger-assisted discovery represents the largest Roman treasure found from a Spanish cave.

“It’s a unique moment that you’re dreaming of from a young age,” Fanjul told CNN. “It’s a unique moment that you never think you will have as an archaeologist.”

Now that they are found, the coins have a bright future. They are being cleaned and prepared for display at the Spanish Archaeological Museum in Asturias.

badger cave roman coins
The excavated pit.
Lent by Alfonso Fanjul Peraz


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