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Scientists Reveal Secrets of World’s Oldest Uncracked Egg

World’s Oldest Uncracked Egg
The world’s oldest uncracked egg from 1,700 years ago. Credit: Oxford Archaeology

Scientists discovered an ancient chicken egg, estimated to be around 1,700 years old. They found it during a dig in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire between 2007 and 2016. This egg is thought to be the only one of its kind in the world, as it still contains liquid.

When archaeologists were digging, they broke three other eggs. They reported that the broken eggs had a bad smell. However, one egg remained intact and didn’t break.

Experts at Oxford Archaeology explained that the wet pit where the egg was found might have been used as a wishing well by the Romans.

Moreover, the pit was initially used for malting and brewing. This hints at a potential link to rituals or offerings related to fertility and rebirth.

Researchers have talked about the symbolic importance of eggs in Roman religious ceremonies. There’s a thought that eggs might have been placed as offerings to please gods or ensure good fortune.

A recent micro scan revealed that the egg still had both the yolk and egg white inside. This makes it the only intact egg from that time period to be found.

Edward Biddulph, who was in charge of the excavation, expressed his surprise, saying, “We were absolutely blown away when we saw the contents in there, as we might have expected them to have leached out.”

Further analysis of the egg at the University of Kent

Conservator Dana Goodburn-Brown conducted further analysis of the egg at the University of Kent.

Biddulph commented, “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.”

The egg was also brought to London’s Natural History Museum. Douglas Russell, the senior curator of the museum’s birds, eggs, and nests collection, was consulted on how best to preserve the egg and extract its contents, as reported by The Independent.

Biddulph mentioned that during their visit to the Natural History Museum, it became apparent that the egg seems to be the oldest such known example worldwide.

He admitted feeling a bit nervous carrying a 2,000-year-old egg around London. He stated, “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.”

The egg is currently housed at Discover Bucks Museum in Aylesbury. Researchers are working hard to figure out how to extract the contents without damaging the fragile shell.

Biddulph stated, “There is huge potential for further scientific research and this is the next stage in the life of this remarkable egg.”

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