Ancient Brick From 2,900 Years Ago Turns Out to Be a DNA Time Capsule

By Bo Beard | May 17, 2024

2,900 years ago

In a groundbreaking achievement, scientists have successfully retrieved DNA fragments from an ancient clay brick, showcasing how these historical building materials can offer insights into the plant life of the era.

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Crafted around 2,900 years ago in what is now northern Iraq, the brick's creation process likely involved a mixture of Tigris riverbank mud with substances like chaff, straw, or animal excrement.

Ancient brick

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Within this ancient brick, small plant remnants mingled with straw and animal waste have remained preserved over millennia. Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK, along with the National Museum of Denmark and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, have demonstrated this remarkable preservation.