Monday, April 15, 2024

Scientists Find 1700-Year-Old Roman Egg With Completely Intact Yolk

Scientists Find 1700-Year-Old Roman Egg With Completely Intact Yolk

During an Aylesbury excavation spanning 2007-2016, scientists unearthed a singular treasure

Talk about a yolk surprise! In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists found the world’s first intact chicken egg, preserved for 1,700 years, complete with its liquid contents. 

During an Aylesbury excavation spanning 2007-2016, scientists unearthed a singular treasure: an intact chicken egg, hailed as a “genuinely unique discovery.” Sadly, three other eggs met their demise and released a “potent stench,” highlighting the rarity of this survivor.

Oxford Archaeology believes the unearthed waterlogged pit functioned as a Roman wishing well, drawing parallels to similar ancient structures.

A technological peek inside reveals the incredible: the egg isn’t empty! Micro scans show it still holds yolk and egg white, making it likely the only intact survivor from its era.

Oxford Archaeology’s senior project manager Edward Biddulph, who oversaw the excavation, said: “We were blown away when we saw the contents in there, as we might have expected them to have leached out.” 

Conservator Dana Goodburn-Brown, who had taken the egg for further analysis at the University of Kent, carried out the recent work. 

“It produced an amazing image that indicated that the egg, apart from being intact – which is incredible enough – also retained its liquid inside, presumably deriving from the yolk, albumen etc,” said Biddulph.

BBC reported that the egg was taken to London’s Natural History  Museum and the experts consulted Douglas Russell, the senior curator of the museum’s birds, eggs and nests collection, regarding the best ways to conserve the egg and remove its contents. 

As we found out when we visited the Natural History Museum, [it] appears to be the oldest known example in the world,” said Biddulph.

The archaeologist has accepted that it was “a bit daunting walking around London with a 2,000-year-old egg”.

“And it was a bit hairy on the Tube – although it was well protected – it’s not like I was carrying it around in my pocket,” they added. 

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