PHOTO: Ancient Chicken Egg Preserved for 1,000 Years Without Being Broken

by Shelby Scott

We always hear about different fossils and vegetation found well-preserved around the world, but have you ever heard of a fossilized chicken egg? No? Us either. Nevertheless, an archaeological team in Israel uncovered an almost perfectly preserved ancient chicken egg.

While even modern-day grocery store eggs don’t last long in our refrigerators, it’s a wonder that this egg in particular was dated 1,000 years old. Despite archaeologists’ claims that it’s not extremely unusual to find ostrich eggs this old still in-tact, unearthing an entire hen’s egg is almost unheard of on an international scale.

In addition to the ancient egg discovery, the scientists found that there was actually a hairline fracture in the bottom that allowed some of the yoke to drain out. However, some of that same yoke still remains in the egg and the team is excited to have the little bit left sent in for DNA scanning at a later date.

What Preserved the Ancient Egg?

Worldwide, fossils are a major interest for both children and adults alike. During primary school, science teachers spend a lot of time explaining the preservation process of animal and plant species alike. However, this find presents an interesting case. The excavation was led by the Israel Antiquities authority in the city of Yavne.

What makes this case a little different is that the team was digging in a Byzantine-era cesspit. Unsure of what that is? It’s basically a big hole in the ground for human excrement; one shared outside toilet if you will. So essentially archaeologists have ancient poo to thank for the well-preserved condition of the egg.

The egg’s location is definitely strange, and scientists were unsure why it was located in the confines of a four-foot human cesspit. Seemingly, someone placed the egg there long ago, but ancient finds often leave major holes in their story.

Other Strange Cesspit Finds During the Dig

In addition to the egg, the archaeologists also found three dolls made of bone. The scientists determined these typical throughout the entirety of the Abassid period. This era dates from the seventh to the late 11th century.

One article stated the archaeologists found an ancient oil lamp from the same period in the cesspit as well. An interesting location for the lamp too. However, it was only made in the late Abassid period which was about 1,000 years ago. Based on the lamp’s age, archaeologists dated the egg to this period as well.

To come to terms with what readers might consider digging in human feces, the archaeologists didn’t have much to say on the matter. They explained that the cesspit is absolutely ancient. The excrement is broken down completely, and, therefore, safe to explore. “They’re simply digging in dirt,” the writer stated.