Archaeological research at a site in Aylesbury, UK has unearthed an extraordinary find that is reshaping our understanding of the past. Excavated between 2007-2016 for a housing development, the Berryfields location has kept scientists busy well after initial fieldwork concluded.

In 2019, Oxford Archaeology published an in-depth report on decades of investigations at Berryfields, illuminating human activity there from the early Neolithic to post-medieval periods.

A large Romano-British feature offered especially intriguing discoveries – among items extracted from an ancient ditch were a cache of eggs.

Intriguingly, one egg survived intact while others cracked open, releasing a strong odor. Micro-CT scanning at the conservation lab of Dana Goodburn-Brown revealed the egg’s yolk remains entirely liquid to this day, with an internal air bubble also preserved.

Brought to the Natural History Museum, leading egg experts Douglas Russell and Arianna Bernucci were astounded by this one-of-a-kind specimen.

Only one other Romano-British egg is known to have survived intact, but it was empty – this egg is uniquely stable with unaltered contents.

Accompanied by archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology and the Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society, the experts confirmed this egg’s unprecedented state makes it globally singular.

Its survival sheds light on ancient egg biology and has scientists questioning prior assumptions.

Current research focuses on how to balance the egg’s scientific potential with long-term care. This extraordinary survivor demonstrates how archaeological discoveries can continue yielding insights even decades after initial discovery. At Berryfields, one small egg may rewrite what we know about the distant past.


Sources

Buckinghamshire Council | Oxford Archaeology


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