Archaeologists Crack the Case of 1,700-Year-Old Roman Eggs
by Jason Daley/Smithsonian.com
When archaeologists excavated a 1,700-year-old settlement in central England, they got a literal whiff of the past after accidentally breaking open eggs dating back to the Roman occupation of Great Britain.
As the researchers report in a new monograph published by Oxford Archaeology, the team unearthed the chicken eggs at Berryfields—an ancient community located along a Roman road called Akeman Street—while conducting excavations between 2007 and 2016.
According to a press release, the eggs were among a trove of rare items recovered from a waterlogged pit. The gaping hole preserved organic items that would have otherwise deteriorated in the soil, including a rare wooden basket, leather shoes, and wooden vessels and tools.
Three of the four eggs were intact upon discovery, but two cracked during retrieval, releasing a pungent rotten egg smell. One of the fragile vessels emerged from the pit intact and is now being hailed as the only complete Roman egg ever found in Britain.
“There’s a very good reason it’s the first and only find in the U.K.,” dig project manager Stuart Foreman tells the Independent’s Chiara Giordano……