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"A fascinating and rare find": 8 ostrich eggs more than 4,000 years old were uncovered in the sands of Nitsana in the Negev | Israel today


The large eggs were discovered when they were broken near an ancient campfire in the agricultural area near Be'er Milka.

Eight ostrich eggs more than 4,000 years old were uncovered in the sands of Nitsana in the Negev, near an ancient fire pit.

The rare discovery, whose initial date ranges from 7,500-4,000 years before our time, was discovered during an archaeological dig by the Antiquities Authority in the agricultural area of ​​the settlement of Beer Milka, as part of the preparation of agricultural land and an initiative of the National Fund for Israel and the Ramat Negev Regional Council.

8 ostrich eggs more than 4,000 years old, photo: Emil Eljam, Israel Antiquities Authority

"We found a parking site, which extends over about 200 m, which was used by desert nomads since prehistoric times," says Lauren Davis, the director of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority.

"At the site we discovered burnt stones, flint and stone tools, and fragments of pottery, but the truly special find is a set of ostrich eggs. Although the nomads did not build permanent structures, this site certainly makes it possible to feel their presence in the desert. Sites of this type are quickly covered by dunes, and are exposed with movement the sands over the course of hundreds and thousands of years. This fact allowed for the exceptional preservation of the eggs, which are usually not preserved. Now, the excavation has provided us with a glimpse into the life of the nomads who roamed here at that time."

A rare discovery, photo: Emil Eljam, Antiquities Authority

The ostriches lived in our region from the early prehistoric times, until their extinction in the 19th century.

Their eggs are found in ancient sites from all periods, a fact that shows that ostrich eggs were an important raw material.

"We find ostrich eggs in archaeological sites related to burials and worship, and also as luxury vessels and as a kind of water for drinking liquids. Of course, they were also used as a source of food: one ostrich egg is equal in nutritional value to about 25 normal chicken eggs," says Dr. Amir Gorzalzani from the Antiquities Authority. who researched the subject. "Sometimes, evidence of decoration or engraving is even found on the ostrich eggs - which indicates their use as decorative objects."

"The excavation provided us with a glimpse into the life of the nomads", photo: Emil Eljam, Antiquities Authority

"The proximity of the eggs we uncovered here to the focus of a fire, and the way they were found on the site - in close proximity to each other, indicates that this is not a natural dispersion, but a deliberate collection made by people," says Davis. "One of the eggs was found right inside the focus of the fire, a fact that strengthens the explanation This is a gathering for food.

As far as we know, this is the first time in archeology that we have signs of egg cooking in this period.

The level of preservation of the site, which is almost on the surface, is rare, and the state of preservation of the eggs, even though they are broken, is also very good."

Its initial dating ranges between 7,500-4,000 years, photo: Emil Eljam, Israel Antiquities Authority

Davis adds that "Scientific tests after the excavation will be able to add information about the exact age of the site and the egg-laying season. Later, we intend to reconstruct the complete egg in a ghostly work, like a puzzle. The complete egg will be able to tell us what the eggs were used for. There are many other things in the eggs Ostriches can reveal things to us; nowadays you can even check what species of ostrich it is. For me, every shell is worth gold. I'm waiting with anticipation for the research phase in the laboratory. The best is yet to come."

According to Eli Escozido, director of the Antiquities Authority, "The assemblage of ostrich eggs from Be'er Milka is a fascinating and rare find. It seems that the ostrich eggs survived because they were covered in the dune sands for a long time, and also due to the climate in the area, which is relatively arid. The findings will go straight from the excavation to the analytical laboratories at the National Archeology Department of A "Yes, there it will undergo preservation and further research."

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Source: israelhayom

All tech articles on 2023-01-12

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