Only in the world of Wodehousian humour has one found a guy calling his lover an “outstanding old egg”, but the expression seems apt for a seriously astounding discovery recently. 

Believe it or not, archaeologists have unearthed an egg that is both old and outstanding. It was found among a host of other artefacts — a woven basket, pottery vessels, coins, leather shoes, an animal bone and more eggs — by people digging for a new housing estate in Aylesbury, England. Archaeologists determined the findings to be 1,700 years old. 

All but one of the eggs broke, “emitting an incredibly sulphurous smell”, says a blog of the Buckinghamshire Council. The sole unbroken egg was placed in a museum. 

Dana Goodburn-Brown, a heritage scientist, conservator and founder of DGB Conservation, did a micro CT scan of the egg. The finding was startling — the ancient egg, likely that of a chicken, was “still full of liquid and an air bubble”. 

Scientists are excited by this unique research opportunity. “We were all amazed to hear that the egg is even rarer than we had realised, and with its intact liquid centre is the only known example of its type in the world,” the blog says. 

The next step is to find out how the liquid stayed intact in the egg without leaching out and how we can emulate that kind of packaging skill.