Lifestyle & Belief

Badger uncovers medieval graves of warriors in Germany


Badgers. The new archaeologists?


Michal Cizek

A badger has been credited for unearthing two medieval tombs near Berlin.

Archaeologists say the burial site contains eight 12th century graves of two Slavic lords, among others, and a number of important artifacts such as bowls, a sword, a belt buckle and skeletons.

The badger had apparently burrowed near the grave, which came to the attention of two sculptors who live on the farm where the findings were discovered.

The two also happen to be amateur archaeologists.

"We spotted a pelvic bone that had been dug up, it was clearly human," said Hendrikje Ring, one of the sculptors who discovered the graves.

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"It wasn't exactly surprising to us because a whole field of ancient graves had been found on the other side of the road in the 1960s. So we pushed a camera into the badger's sett and took photos by remote control. We found pieces of jewelry, retrieved them and contacted the authorities."

The tombs were excavated last fall but the findings were only announced this week.

It is said the artifacts spoke to a difficult and violent life of important warrior chiefs.

The bronze bowls showed that those buried had social stature while the skeletons had multiple sword and lance wounds.

The elegant belt buckle was said to be in the shape of the Greek letter "omega."

Another grave had the skeleton of a woman with a coin in her mouth - likely to pay the ferryman for the river crossing into the world of the dead.