E.in construction projects in Israel – it’s like walking on raw eggs, whether politically, legally or archaeologically. Sometimes this is even true in the literal sense. During explorations for a new district in Jawne, a 1000 year old and largely preserved chicken egg has now been found, as the antiquity authorities announced on Wednesday. The egg survived the times in a septic tank from Byzantine times, which is said to have been in what was then an industrial area. The nature of the environment, which was once swampy due to human excrement, has apparently prevented the ice from decaying.
Due to a crack in the shell, however, only a small amount of yolk is left, which is now to be determined more closely using DNA tests. Archaeologists glued the egg back together. “This is a very rare find even on a global scale,” said archaeozoologist Lee Perry Gal. “Fragments of eggshells are known from earlier times, but because of the thin shells of the eggs, hardly whole chicken eggs have survived.” Every now and then, preserved ostrich eggs with thicker shells have been found, but the chicken egg is a rarity.
According to the researchers, poultry farming has been known in the area of present-day Israel for 2,300 years. It was introduced in the Hellenistic and early Roman times. During the Islamic period from the seventh century onwards, the proportion of pork bones in finds fell sharply, which is due to the culturally determined renunciation of the consumption of pork. Eggs and poultry served as protein substitutes.