Archaeologists find rare ostrich eggs more than 4,000 years old in the desert

Archaeologists have discovered fragments from eight ancient ostrich eggs at the Nitzana sand dunes in the Negev Desert, Israel.

Lauren Davis, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said the eggs were laid near a fire pit in a campsite used by nomads since prehistoric times. They date from 4,000 to 7,500 years ago.

Lauren Davis holds a fresh ostrich egg to simulate the broken ancient eggs on the side. (Photo: AFP)

Finding ostrich eggs near the source of fire, along with flints, stone tools, burnt stones and pottery shards, suggest that they were cooked.

“One of the eggs was found right in the fire pit, reinforcing speculation that the ancients used them as food,” Davis stressed.

In the past, ostrich eggs have also been unearthed at various archaeological sites from various periods, revealing they were used as decorations, funerary items and water containers. This proves them to be valuable as a material.

Close-up of fragments of ostrich eggs in the Negev desert. (Photo: AFP)

The IAA says wild ostriches roamed the Negev desert before becoming extinct in the 19th century. The new discovery could provide clues to the mysterious lives of ancient nomads in the region, who did not. leaves much tangible evidence preserved over time.

“Nomads did not build permanent structures in the Negev, but the findings allow us to sense their presence in the desert,” Davis added.

Ancient ostrich. Illustration

Although not intact, the broken egg fragments are still well preserved and will be subjected to further examination to determine a more precise date for its location and function.