Archaeology, like any science, is a slow, careful process. It’s not all about brushing away dust: today, cutting-edge techniques are often used to reveal details hidden from view for millennia.
The act of discovering buried treasure, however, seems largely based on luck. Not too long ago, a farmer’s tractor fell into the roof of a Minoan burial chamber of some kind in Crete. Back in 2016, a dinosaur fossil fell out of a cliff near a walking route in Wales.
The latest addition to this collection comes courtesy of Czech Radio, which reports on the story of one man – a Mr Frankota – and his dog, Monty, out for a walk near the village of Kostelecke Horky. As it turns out, this was a Very Good Doggo, one that managed to dig up several fascinating Bronze Age artifacts while out for his meander.
Far from being a qualified archaeologist himself, Monty appears to have stumbled across the treasure trove of items through serendipitous means. Frantically flinging soil all over the place, said pup managed to find 13 sickles, 3 axes, some bracelets, and a pair of spearheads.
Mr Frankota then called in the help of the Museum and Gallery of Orlicke Mountains, home to several archaeologists. They dated the objects to be around 3,000 years old, and suggested that they once belonged to a people that had a predilection for large burial grounds featuring urns and ritualistic funereal objects, like those found by Monty.
Martina Beková, one such archaeologist, explained that “the fact that there are so many objects in one place is almost certainly tied to an act of honoration, most likely a sacrifice of some sorts.” She added that such objects are often melted or highly fragmented, but these were in a surprisingly good condition.
Such practices were part of the so-called “Urnfield Culture”, which first appeared in northern Italy and east-central Europe around the 12th century BCE. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in what is suspected to be a movement associated with folk migrations, these bone-filled urns appeared all over the continent over time, from France and the Iberian Peninsula to Ukraine.
As you’d expect, Mr Frankota received a reward for finding the treasure, one that’s worth around $360. Hopefully, much of that goes to treating Monty, who clearly deserves an honorary degree in archaeology from Czechia’s Charles University.
Monty is not the first dog to achieve such a feat, mind you. In fact, the competition’s quite steep.
In 2014, a Californian couple walking their dog found around $10 million of Gold Rush-era coins sticking just out of the ground. Although it’s not clear who spotted it first, there’s no doubt that their dog helped the recovery efforts.