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Scientists unearth 1700-year-old egg with naturally preserved liquid: 'Never seen anything like it'

An egg that is over a thousand years old still shows the presence of liquid inside and its potential has scientists thrilled.

Scientists unearth 1700-year-old egg with naturally preserved liquid: 'Never seen anything like it'
Cover Image Source: Twitter| @oatweets

Several archaeological finds continue to excite historians no matter how dusty, broken or even burnt they may be. So, imagine how enthralled they might be to find artifacts that have remained intact. CNN reported such a an event, when a Roman egg was found in Aylesbury, United Kingdom, that still had some presence of a “millennia-old” liquid found inside. 

Image Source: Pexels| Alesia Kozik
Image Source: Pexels| Alesia Kozik

Douglas GD Russell, senior curator of birds and nests at the Natural History Museum, was baffled by the discovery. He said, “This is the oldest unintentionally preserved avian egg I have ever seen.” He added that throughout his career, he had seen ancient eggs with contents still inside them, and even mummified ones. However, the liquid naturally preserved inside this particular egg is not only charming but also tickling to several historians. The egg was discovered in 2010 with three others during a charity Oxford Archaeology, according to Edward Biddulph, senior project manager at Oxford Archaeology. 


The manager added that they found other artifacts, which date back to the 3rd century AD and serve as evidence of the approximate age of the eggs. Biddulph mentioned that the eggs were found in a pit, which could indicate that they were some kind of offering. “These sorts of areas in the Roman world tend to encourage rituals… as offerings to the gods or good luck, just like people do today throwing coins into fountains,” he said. The four eggs were all intact at the time of discovery, but two unfortunately cracked while being moved from the site.

Dana Goodburn-Brown, a conservator, was assigned the task of scanning the egg and realized there were traces of yolk and white still prevalent in the decades-old egg. “I’ve never seen something like this before. It’s amazing. It looked so modern, it looked so new,” Biddulph said. “It will be very exciting to see if we can use any of the modern imaging and analysis techniques available here at the NHM to shed further light on exactly which species laid the eggs and its potential archaeological significance,” Russell added.

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Biddulph recalls having his “heart in his mouth” while handling the precious egg, unable to believe the magnitude of its contribution to history. Brown addmitted to being nervous about scanning, studying and maintaining the precious egg throughout the study. “Nobody has seen anything like this before, so every stage of the research into this is creating new moments of amazing potential. It’s exciting,” Biddulph remarked. He also pointed out that the team continues to pay attention to detail and try to find ways to study the liquid without disturbing or damaging the egg, which indeed is scrupulous. We will see what this egg will reveal!


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