Back in the 1960s several ancient Judean date palm seeds were collected near the remains of boy, man and a woman on the historic site of the Masada seige. The seeds were stored for forty years and finally planted three years ago. And some of them sprouted! Can you believe it? From the
Three years ago, a team of Israeli researchers took an ancient date seed collected from one of King Herod's palaces and planted it in a small pot.
It sprouted, and Methuselah, as they dubbed the sapling, is now 1½ metres high. Radiocarbon dating shows the seed was 2,000 years old, by far the oldest ever to have germinated, the scientists report in today's edition of the journal Science. The researchers say they hope the plant will help resurrect a long-extinct species known in biblical times for the sweetness of its fruit.
Isn't that amazing? 2000 year old seeds sprout and thrive! It's a testament to the power of green life. And even though it's from a Biblically important area and not very pagany it's still a fascinating story. Masada, where the seeds were found, is the site of a Jewish mass murder and suicide that was preferred by those under seige to being captured and enslaved by the Romans. I like to think that even though those ancient Jews felt they had no other option that at least something good came out of it. This particular kind of date palm had gone extinct ages ago but may now be able to thrive again. Imagine if these seeds could sprout what else could be brought back to life?