Archaeology: Badger finds coins from the Roman Empire in Spain

Animal treasure hunter: Badger in Spain apparently finds coins from the Roman Empire

Such a badger may have helped discover ancient Roman coins (stock image)

© Carsten Rehder / DPA

The discovery of hundreds of ancient Roman coins has caused a stir in Asturias, Spain. However, the discoverer has little to do with archaeology: apparently it was a badger that built its den right next to the treasure.

Researchers in Spain have discovered a real treasure: In the Principality of Asturias in the north-west of the country they came across 209 coins from the time of the Roman Empire. They apparently got help from a badger, who had made the find possible in the first place. As “The Guardian” reports, the researchers assume that the animal was desperately foraging for food after heavy snowfall in the region a few months ago. So he probably inspected the cracks of a small cave in the hope of finding berries or worms there.

Apparently, instead of a feast, the badger “only” encountered a pile of worn coins, thought to have been forged in far-flung places like Constantinople and Thessaloniki, archaeologist Alfonso Fanjul Peraza told El País newspaper.

Most of the coins uncovered by the badger are made of copper and bronze and are thought to have been made between the third and fifth centuries. In addition, a larger piece with a weight of about eight grams and a silver content of four percent was found. The scientists assume that this coin was made in London.

The find is the largest hoard of Roman coins ever found in caves in northern Spain, according to a recent report.

Archaeology: Finds from the Roman Empire are piling up in Asturias

It is not the first time that researchers have found valuable objects from Roman times in this area. Archaeologists found 14 gold coins from the Constantinian period 85 years ago. The reason for the accumulation of finds could possibly be due to the tensions in the border area at the time.

The Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 218 BC and ruled there until they were ousted by the Visigoths in the early fifth century. Researchers speculate that the recent coin find may have been part of a larger loot hidden there during politically and socially unstable times.

Sources: The Guardians, El País

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