Israeli archaeologists have found a 1,000-year-old whole chicken egg perfectly preserved in human feces inside a cesspit.
The rare find was uncovered during an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) salvage excavation in Yavne, which was undertaken before a new neighbourhood development, according to a report by The Times of Israel.
During the excavation, the archaeologists first discovered an Islamic-era cesspit that dates back to the Byzantine Period.
Inside it, they found a fragile and ancient chicken egg, which was perfectly preserved by being covered by soft human poop. Interestingly, the egg was whole.
Alla Nagorsky, an archaeologist with IAA, said that it’s very rare for eggs to survive that long.
“Even today, eggs rarely survive for long in supermarket cartons. It’s amazing to think this is a 1,000-year-old find!” she said.
Adding: “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.”
Experts have said that only ancient ostrich eggs have been found intact as their shells are thicker.
This particular one was a regular chicken egg with a small crack in it, suggesting some of the white parts inside might have leaked out. Incredibly, the yolk part was still present.
Pictures of the egg were shared on Facebook by Isreal Antiquities Authority.
“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,” said Lee Perry Gall of IAA.
The team of archaeologists added they are not yet sure how the egg managed to end up in the cesspit. Besides the egg, they also found three bone dolls that date back an estimated 1,000 years.
“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,” added Gall.