Earliest evidence of eggplant seeds in Israel unearthed in City of David

A 1,100-year-old refuse pit unearthed in Jerusalem by the Antiquities Authority has provided the earliest evidence of eggplants in Israel.

The discovery has also shed light on the dietary habits of residents in the Early Islamic period.

During a recent excavation under a stepped street in the City of David, eggplant seeds dating between 750 and 940 CE were identified in the ancient garbage depository, the Authority said on Thursday.

“These seeds, the earliest evidence of eggplants known in this country, were found alongside thousands of grape seeds, olives, Christ’s thorn jujube pits, black mulberries, lentils, figs and more,” it said.

According to IAA excavation director Nahshon Szanton, the eggplant seeds, which originated in Persia – compounded by the thousands of other preserved seeds discovered – provide invaluable insights for researchers.

“Archaeological findings from the refuse pit… provide valuable information about the diet, lifestyle and economic and trade connections of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and neighboring countries 1,000 years ago,” he said.

“The discovery of the earliest eggplant seeds in this country, and dating them to the Abbasid period, provides important information about how eggplant first became part of local agriculture.”

Read more at The Jerusalem Post (Daniel K. Eisenbud)

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