Hungry badger accidentally discovers hundreds of ancient Roman coins in Spain

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A European badger (Meles meles). (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A hungry one Badger The search for food seems to have uncovered hundreds of people Roman Coins in a Spanish cave, according to a new study.

In April 2021, archaeologists first discovered several coins lying on the ground at the entrance to a small cave in the woods outside Grado in northern Spain. The researchers suspect that the coins were unearthed by a European badger (Meles meles) from a nearby cave after a severe storm threw several feet of snow on the ground, making it more difficult for animals to find food. The hungry badger probably ventured into the cave in search of something to eat, but stumbled upon the coins instead.

After the cave was fully excavated, the researchers collected 209 coins from the third to fifth centuries AD, according to a Spanish news site El Pais. A further analysis revealed the coins, which mainly consisted of copper and bronze, was found in various places all over the Roman Empire including Constantinople (now Istanbul), Thessaloniki in Greece and London. The team published its results in the magazine on December 21, 2021 Prehistory and Archeology Notebooks of the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Related: The Most Amazing Coin Treasures Discovered in 2021

“To this day, this is the largest treasure trove of Roman coins that was found in a cave in northern Spain,” the researchers write in their paper. They described the discovery as an “extraordinary find”.

In the late 1930s, a collection of 14 gold Roman coins known as the chapipi treasure have also been found in the same forests. The researchers believe that locals may have buried their coins to protect them during a time of intense political instability in the area. The youngest coin in the newly discovered Grado collection dates from AD 430 after El Pais.

“The accumulation of significant finds could be viewed – with caution – as a response to the intense conflict in the border area,” senior researcher Alfonso Fanjul Peraza, archaeologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid, told El Pais.

The researchers suspect that the newly discovered coins are part of a larger treasure and will return to the cave for further excavations to look for more coins and evidence that the cave may also have been inhabited by displaced Romans. “We want to know if it was a one-time hiding place or if a group of people lived there,” Peraza told El Pais.

Originally published on Live Science.

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