Why does British Museums have decorated Ostrich Egg? Researchers claim to know the answer!


A team of researchers from the University of Bristol is close to finding out the reason for the mystery behind a 5000-year-old Ostrich egg. The mystery surrounds the ancient trade and production of decorated Ostrich egg.

Even before the decorative luxury of Faberge, ornate ostrich egg was still owned by only the elites. This occurred during the Iron and Bronze time period. But little do we know about the supply chain behind these luxury possessions.

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Where does the Egg come from?

Dr. Tamar Hodos from the University of Bristol is leading the team. The team is examining the ostrich eggs from the British Museum’s collection. The team has found out some details about their origin and how they came into existence. They have access to a very powerful electron microscope.

Dr. Caroline Cartwright, a Senior Scientist at the museum is able to map the egg’s chemical structure. But she does this because it helps to find to pinpoint their origin. The study points reveal exactly how these eggs are made. But the study, published in the journal- Antiquity, also shows the complex system behind ostrich egg production.

So now there is clear evidence of all Ostrich egg origin as well as their nature. Like whether the ostrich was wild or in captivity. The materials used by artisans in specific areas help decode the manufacturing process. “The entire system of Ostrich Egg decoration is much more complicated than easy“, says Dr. Hodos.

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Dr. Hodos and his team believe the eggs belonged to wild birds. But this is despite the evidence that Ostriches were also under captivity around this period.

This study is a part of a lucrative research deal with a company of ancient luxury goods, Globalising Luxuries.

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