Archaeologists find an intact 1,000-year-old chicken egg … and accidentally break it in the lab
It is an exceptional discovery: an intact chicken egg from 1,000 years ago, with contents inside. Unfortunately, someone broke it in the lab …
Few foods are more delicate than an egg. So find intact eggs from hundreds of years ago, is a unique discovery.
In excavations in Yavneh, Israel, archaeologists have found an intact chicken egg that is 1,000 years old. No other similar is known, according to the Israeli website Haaretz.
exist chicken egg fragments from 2,600 years ago, but they are just chunks. There are also older ostrich eggs, because they are thicker. Even decorated fragments from 65,000 years ago. But not a thousand-year-old chicken egg, much more delicate. And with the yolk inside:
How can you keep an egg intact for 1,000 years? It is a very special case, due to the anaerobic conditions of the place where it was found.
I was inside … a cesspool. Technically a 1.20 x 80 centimeter toilet. How I ended up there is anyone’s guess, but being hermetically sealed without oxygen and protected by soft materials, it has been able to survive intact for 1,000 years.
Archaeologists have been able to date the egg because stood next to a lamp and some carved wooden dolls from the late Abbasid period, that passed around the year 1,000 AD. That is why it has been granted that antiquity.
Unfortunately, while they were examining it in the lab the shell broke, spilling the millennial bud.
It has been possible to glue the broken shell and retrieve the yolk to analyze its DNA, so it is not a total loss. And as the archeologist Alla Nagorsky consoles herself: “surely sooner or later we would have to open it to examine its interior“But it will no longer be the only intact, ancient chicken egg that exists …
These accidents are more common than we think, although few come to light. Many archaeological objects appear intact when found, but become extremely fragile when in contact with air or light, to the point of turning to dust.