Archaeologists may often rely on research or hunches to lead them to a discovery. But it seems two archaeology hobbyists in Germany needed only the assistance of a helpful badger.
In a striking find last autumn that was publicized this week, a badger unearthed medieval graves in the eastern state of Brandenburg.
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Lars Wilhelm, who lives on a property near the site, explained to Spiegel Online that he first realized the badger had uncovered something of significance when he spotted what appeared to be a pelvic bone jutting out from the ground near the animal's den.
"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," Wilhelm told the publication. "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."
Among the 12th-century findings, archaeologists discovered two well-preserved skeletons, one of which was likely a warrior because of the condition of his bones and the placement of a sword at his side. Researchers also believe two of the graves belong to noblemen, since bronze bowls were found at their feet.
While badgers are known for their excellent digging skills, this may be the first time one of the striped mammals has actually "helped" excavate a tomb. Last year, badgers-turned-grave-robbers became a big problem for one British cemetery after the creatures burrowed under coffins, upset graves and toppled headstones.