Archaeologists Discover and Crack an Intact, 1,000-Year-Old Chicken Egg
Israel Antiquities Authority has discovered a fully intact 1,000-year-old chicken egg during recent excavations in a town named Yavne.
The archaeologists said the thousand-year-old egg was perfectly preserved by being initially pillowed in soft human poop inside the cesspit.
According to IAA, “the egg had a small crack in the bottom so most of the contents had leaked out of it. Only some of the yolk remained, which was preserved for future DNA analysis”.
The archeologists said that despite the extreme caution with which the egg was removed, the shell of the egg was cracked by picking it up. However, in the IAA’s organics laboratory, a conservationist restored the egg to the state in which it was found.
“Eggshell fragments are known from earlier periods, for example in the City of David and at Caesarea and Apollonia, but due to the eggs’ fragile shells, hardly any whole chicken eggs have been preserved. Even at the global level, this is an extremely rare find,” says Dr. Lee Perry Gal,” said Dr Lee Perry Gal of the IAA.
Gal said, “In archaeological digs, we occasionally find ancient ostrich eggs, whose thicker shells preserve them intact”.
“The egg’s unique preservation is evidently due to the conditions in which it lay for centuries, nestled in a cesspit containing soft human waste that preserved it,” IAA said.
According to Gal, ancient chickens found in the region, as well as their eggs, were smaller than modern ones. “Chickens were domesticated in southeast Asia relatively recently, around 6,000 years ago, but it took time for them to enter the human diet,” Gal noted.
Alongside the egg, three typical Islamic-period bone dolls used as playthings were also discovered, Gal added.