A large jar of eggs was unearthed by a team of Chinese archaeologists in an ancient tomb and they believe it dates back to around 2,500 years ago.
According to experts, there were 20 eggs in the jar and their shells were colored greenish blue.
The eggs were stored in a clay jar with a closed lid when they were found in an excavation site in eastern China’s Shangxing Town on Sunday, according to Yangzi Evening News.
Drawing comparisons to a staple Chinese delicacy, century eggs, these ancient eggs, however, go back much farther to the country’s Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC) or more than two millennia ago.
In terms of size, the eggs are similar to modern-day free-range eggs.
But experts believe that the contents inside the eggs have likely degraded over time and only the shells, which are formed largely by calcium, are the only remnants left.
Apart from the eggs, archaeologists also found several porcelain cups, pots, plates, and other cookware in the same tomb. The site is located near the city of Nanjing which is one of ancient China’s capitals.
Zhou Hengming, one of the archaeologists, told Nanjing-based Modern Express: “(The containers) were covered by mud, and the jar (with the eggs) were found above the mud. We opened the lid, and saw there were eggs.”
The jar was excavated from a multi-level ancient tomb complex composed of 38 tomb chambers that experts believe belong to a clan.
The tomb complex has a total of six layers and the eggs were located in a chamber on the second to the lowest level.
The tomb chamber’s owner was likely an important figure in the family as a full set of cookware and dinnerware were present in the chamber, experts told Nanjing-based Modern Express.
They believe that the family members of the tomb’s owner wouldn’t have wanted him or her to starve in the afterlife which is why they buried a large number of containers and lots of food.
Archaeologists from the Nanjing Archaeological Institute and the Liyang Museum made the find.
The eggs are expected to undergo additional lab tests.
Last September, a pot of wine was discovered in another ancient tomb by archaeologists in central China’s Luoyang that is supposedly more than 2,000 years old.
The tomb is thought to belong to a local official in the ancient capital of Luoyang in central China.
A total of 3.5 liters of the liquid was stored in a bronze vessel and is thought to date back to China’s West Han Dynasty (202 BC – 8 AD).
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