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Egg from Roman times found in England still contains liquid

Published February 13,2024

An egg from Roman times, which was found a few years ago in the town of Aylesbury in central England, was found to still contain liquid.

As Edward Biddulph, excavation manager at Oxford Archaeology, confirmed when asked by dpa, experts believe that it is an egg white and yolk that have combined to form a single liquid.

A CT scan showed the liquid, as well as an air bubble. The scan was carried out a few months ago in order to clarify how the egg, likely a chicken's, could best be preserved.

The egg was reportedly found in a water-filled pit from which water was once drawn for brewing. It may have been placed there as part of an offering between the years 270 and 300 AD.

Other eggs that were also discovered there broke after coming into contact with the air - a liquid with a penetrating sulphurous odour had emerged.

"The egg has huge research potential," said Biddulph.

The long-surviving egg raises the question of how such objects can be preserved, but also what type of chicken it was and questions about the keeping and utilization of chickens and birds in Roman times.

In addition to the eggs, a rare basket was also found during the excavations between 2007 and 2016, which may also have contained bread. Biddulph said it is possible that the objects were placed in the pit as an offering to the underworld as part of a funeral procession.