The 12th century burial site contains tombs of two Slavic lords along with a collection of artifacts, including a sword, bronze bowls, an ornate belt buckle and skeletal remains, that tell stories of a violent life, they said.
Credit for the find is being given to a badger that made its underground home on a farm in the town of Stolpe in Brandenburg owned by two sculptors who are also amateur archaeologists, Der Spiegel reported Tuesday.
Lars Wilhelm and Hendrikje Ring said they had planned to exhibit some of their work near the badger's burrow.
"We spotted a pelvic bone that had been dug up, it was clearly human," Ring said. "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."
Archaeologists working at the site found a total of eight graves from the first half of the 12th century, including two containing Slavic chieftains.
One of the two skeletons had evidently been a warrior, they said, as his body showed multiple healed wounds and a healed fracture suggesting he had fallen from his horse at some point.
"We hadn't found graves like that in Brandenburg before so it's an important discovery," Thomas Kersting, an archaeologist at the Brandenburg Department for Monument Protection, said.