Yes, you read that headline correctly. Rabbits really did unearth Stone Age treasures, assisting in a major archaeological discovery on Skokholm Island in Wales.
A Welsh bunny family was burrowing, building themselves a new home, and uncovered ancient pottery shards and tools from the Stone Age.
Skokholm Island curators Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle are the island’s only human inhabitants, and they were sure hoppy to find what their animal neighbors had dug up. Brown and Eagle captured images of the unique discoveries and then sent them to researchers to be evaluated and studied.
One of the finds was a 3,750-year-old bronze age burial urn (bottom image). The second artifact found was a “bevelled pebble,” an ancient tool that was likely made by hunter gatherers in the Mesolithic period about 9,000 years ago (top image).
The researchers got very excited about the unexpected finds, sharing that these relics are the first of their kind found on Skokholm Island. Jody Deacon, curator of prehistoric archaeology at Amgueddfa Cymru the National Museum Wales, and Andrew David, a prehistoric stone tools expert, have been studying the ancient relics.
Rabbits have had a long history and presence on Skokholm Island. The island was once used as a rabbit farm by Vikings in the late 10th century, and some of the rabbits living on the island currently may even be descendants of them.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales plans to conduct archaeological surveys of the island once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Until then some bunny is probably hard at work, uncovering more exciting artifacts for archaeologists to analyze one day.