Gail gets credit for tipping me off to this.
“Several ancient date seeds were taken from an excavation at Masada, a historic mountainside fortress, in 1973. In A.D. 73 Jewish Zealots took their own lives at the fortress rather than surrender to the Romans at the end of a two-year siege.
Carbon dating indicates the seeds are about 2,000 years old.
Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer found the seeds and gave them to botanical archaeologist Mordechai Kislev at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
The seeds sat untouched in a drawer in Kislev’s office until last November, when Sallon asked if she could have a few to pass on to desert agriculture expert Elaine Solowey.
“I said, Thank you. What do you want me to do?” Solowey recalls. Told to germinate them, she said, “You want me to do what?”