1000-year-old chicken egg preserved in human feces in an ancient cesspool excavated in Israel

0

A chicken egg that has been surrounded by human feces for 1,000 years in an ancient cesspool has been unearthed in Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Wednesday.

The complete egg was discovered in an industrial complex dating back to the Byzantine period, in what is now Yavne.

“Eggshell fragments are known from earlier periods, such as in the City of David and in Caesarea and Apollonia,” said Lee Perry Gal of the IAA, a leading expert on ancient poultry. statement.

‘But because of the fragile shells of the eggs, hardly any whole chicken eggs have been preserved.’

Also buried in the ancient human waste was a collection of bone dolls from the Islamic period known as Coptic dolls, which were used as toys.

A chicken egg that has been surrounded by human feces for 1,000 years in an ancient cesspool has been unearthed in Israel

A chicken egg that has been surrounded by human feces for 1,000 years in an ancient cesspool has been unearthed in Israel

The complete egg is about six inches high and had only a few cracks in the shell, but no pieces of the outer layer were missing when it was pulled from the cesspool.

Alla Nagorsky, an archaeologist at IAA, also noted that “Eggs rarely survive long in supermarket cartons even today. It’s amazing to think that this is a 1000 year old find!’

Though preserved, the shell was still very fragile and cracked in the IAA’s lab when researchers brought it in for further analysis.

“There’s not much left. It barely had any yolk in it, but it’s more or less empty,” Perry Gal told the… forward.

The researchers hope to extract the DNA in it to learn more about the ancient object.

“Eggshell fragments are known from earlier periods, for example in the City of David and in Caesarea and Apollonia,” said Lee Perry Gal of the IAA.

The complete egg is about six inches high and had only a few cracks in the shell, but no pieces of the outer layer were missing when it was pulled from the cesspool

The complete egg is about six inches high and had only a few cracks in the shell, but no pieces of the outer layer were missing when it was pulled from the cesspool

Also buried in the ancient human waste was a collection of bone dolls from the Islamic period known as Coptic dolls, which were used as toys

Also buried in the ancient human waste was a collection of bone dolls from the Islamic period known as Coptic dolls, which were used as toys

“We’re going to take the remains and extract some collagen to try to make DNA sequences.”

Poultry farming was introduced to Israel 2,300 years ago, during the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.

In the Islamic period, from the 7th century onwards, there has been a marked decline in the percentage of pig bones at sites in the region, due to the ban on eating pork.

“Families needed a ready-to-eat protein substitute that didn’t require refrigeration and preservation, and they found it in eggs and chicken meat,” explains Perry Gal.

The complete egg was discovered in an industrial complex dating back to the Byzantine period, in what is now Yavne.  is

The complete egg was discovered in an industrial complex dating back to the Byzantine period, in what is now Yavne. is

How the egg ended up in the cesspool is still a mystery to archaeologists, who admit they’ll probably never know the answer.

Also hiding in the pit of human excrement were three bone dolls that were probably toys 1000 years ago.

These Coptic dolls first appeared in Egypt and Palestine around the same time as the Arab conquest.

The excavations at Yavne are being conducted to pave the way for new housing construction and have been going on for months.

In April, the team discovered a colorful 1600-year-old mosaic that will soon be on display to the public in the square of the city's cultural center

In April, the team discovered a colorful 1600-year-old mosaic that will soon be on display to the public in the square of the city’s cultural center

The artifact is a colorful mosaic carpet decorated with geometric motifs

The artifact is a colorful mosaic carpet decorated with geometric motifs

Pictured is an aerial view of the excavation site

Pictured is an aerial view of the excavation site

In April, the team discovered a colorful 1600-year-old mosaic that will soon be on display to the public in the square of the city’s cultural center.

“We didn’t realize at first that the floor is multicolored,” said Dr Eli Haddad and Dr Hagit Torge, who are leading the excavations, in a statement. statement.

‘We assumed it was a simple white mosaic pavement from yet another industrial installation. But black spots around the mosaic suggested it was more than one color and prompted us to remove the whitish patina that had covered it for years.

The Conservation Director set to work cleaning the mosaic with a special acid,” they added, “and to our surprise, a colorful mosaic carpet decorated with geometric motifs was unveiled.”

.