Sunday, June 12, 2005

AN ANCIENT DATE SEED FROM MASADA has been coaxed into growing:
After a 2,000-Year Rest, a Seed Sprouts in Jerusalem

Published: June 12, 2005

JERUSALEM, June 11 - Israeli doctors and scientists have succeeded in germinating a date seed nearly 2,000 years old.


The plant is now 11.8 inches tall and has produced seven leaves, one of which was removed for DNA testing. Radiocarbon dating in Switzerland on a snip of the seed showed it to be 1,990 years old, plus or minus 50 years. So the date seed dates from 35 B.C. to A.D. 65, just before the famed Roman siege.

Three date seeds were taken from Level 34 of the Masada dig. They were found in a storeroom, and are presumably from dates eaten by the defenders, Dr. [Sarah] Sallon says.


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