Badger Unearths Stash of Ancient Roman Coins

Archaeologists in Spain are grateful
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2022 11:10 AM CST
Archaeologists Credit Badger for Coin Find
Budding archaeologist?   (Getty/Coatesy)

Archaeologists in northern Spain have discovered the largest stash of ancient Roman coins ever found in the region. And they're giving all the credit to a hungry badger, reports the Guardian. Researchers found more than 200 coins, dating back to between the third and fifth century AD, in the northern region of Asturias. But as the BBC explains, the discovery didn't take much work: They found the coins out in the open, near the den of a badger. Their best guess is that the animal dug into a crack near its home searching for berries or worms during last year's harsh winter.

Instead of food, the badger apparently unearthed the copper and bronze coins, which are believed to have been forged as far away as Constantinople, in what is now Turkey. It's possible the coins were hidden from invading armies, though more research is planned to try to suss out the back story. In the 1930s, about a dozen gold coins from ancient Rome also were found in the area. "We want to know if it was a one-off hiding place or if there was a group of humans living there," archaeologist Alfonso Fanjul Peraza tells El Pais, via the BBCGuardian. (More archaeology stories.)

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