Your Voice, Our Headlines

Download Folkspaper App with no Ads!


A fast-growing newspaper curated by the online community.

Hungry badger accidentally excavates hundreds of ancient Roman coins in Spain

  • tag_facesReaction
  • Tip Bones

According to a new study, a hungry badger looking for food appears to have discovered hundreds of Roman coins in a Spanish cave.

In April 2021, archaeologists discovered six coins laying on the ground near the entrance to a small cave in the woods outside Grado, northern Spain. The coins were likely discovered by a European badger (Meles meles) from a nearby lair after a big blizzard deposited several feet of snow on the ground, making it difficult for animals to obtain food. The hungry badger most likely wandered inside the cave in search of food but instead discovered the coins.

According to the Spanish news site El Pais, after fully excavating the cave, experts discovered 209 coins ranging from the third to fifth centuries A.D. Further examination revealed that the coins, which were largely made of copper and bronze, were struck throughout the Roman Empire, including Constantinople (now Istanbul), Thessaloniki in Greece, and London. The team's findings were published in the journal Notebooks of Prehistory and Archeology of the Autonomous University of Madrid on December 21, 2021.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest treasure trove of Roman coins discovered in a cave in northern Spain," the researchers stated in their article. They referred to the item as an "extraordinary find."

In the late 1930s, the Chapipi treasure, a collection of 14 gold Roman coins, was discovered in the same woods. Locals may have buried their money to keep them safe during a period of significant political turmoil in the region, according to the experts. According to El Pais, the most recent coin in the newly unearthed Grado collection dates to A.D. 430, when the Suebi — a group of Germanic people originally from modern-day Germany and the Czech Republic — invaded and drove the Romans out of Spain in A.D. 409.

"With caution," lead researcher Alfonso Fanjul Peraza, an archaeologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid, told El Pais, "the accumulation of noteworthy artefacts could be regarded as a response to the violent fighting experienced in the border zone."

The experts believe the freshly discovered coins are part of a bigger trove and will return to the cave to dig for more coins and proof that the cave was also inhabited by displaced Romans. "We want to determine if it was a one-time hiding location or if there was a human community there," Peraza told El Pais.