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Badger finds Spain's 'biggest-ever' stash of Roman coins
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 @ 6:43 PM

PROBABLY the largest haul of Roman coins ever unearthed in Spain, the finder of an Ancient treasure trove in Asturias was not even human, historians say.

Studies have just concluded on a collection of 209 coins which are thought to have come from at least three different countries and their use spanning over 200 years.

“Aren't I clever?” Not the same badger, but one of the original treasure-hunter's relatives at the opposite end of the country, photographed by the provincial government or Diputación in Málaga

Discovered in the La Cuesta cave in Berció, near Grado, in the northern coastal region in April last year, they date back to between the third and fifth centuries CE (AD).

Archaeologists who were called out when local resident Roberto García stumbled upon this historic gem in the open air whilst out walking have said some bear the mark of a mint in London and in Antioch, to the south of central Turkey in the Hatay province, which was under Greek rule.

It was not unusual for Spain's Roman inhabitants to bury large stashes of money and valuables when the Germanic Suebi tribes invaded the country from around the year 409 AD, in order to keep it safe from being plundered – but, given that such coin and treasure deposits are now being dug up in the 21st century, clearly their owners never went back for them.

This is thought to be the case with the La Cuesta cave hoard, and as the grotto is located deep in the banks of the river Nalón, it would have been a safe hiding place.

Except if badgers were on the prowl, searching for elusive food sources.

“They'll never find them here!” (The Suebi invaders might not, but beware of hungry badgers). This and the next two photos by Asturias' regional government heritage department

This time last year, Spain was buried in blankets and quilts as 'Storm' Filomena turned large swathes of the mainland into a tundra, motorways were only accessible on foot – with sturdy shoes, ski poles and spades – and even on the Mediterranean and south coasts, daytime temperatures were dropping into low single figures.

Badgers live on berries, worms and other creepy-crawlies, which would have been hard to find in one of the coldest parts of the country during the coldest part of 2021, so avoiding starvation would have involved some serious and deep digging.

As for how the archaeologists know it was a badger who excavated the coins, they were apparently right next to a sett, with scrape-marks and disturbed earth, and some of them were actually inside the burrow itself.



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