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Archaeologists have found a cache of the time of the king in Israel

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A cache of the remains of fossilized sharks from the time of King Solomon was found in Israel

Researchers have found a collection of fossilized shark teeth – contemporaries of dinosaurs.

Scientists from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Germany), the Zinman Institute of Archeology at the University of Haifa (Israel) and the Minya University (Egypt) have discovered in the City of David – the oldest inhabited area outside the southern walls of the Old City of Jerusalem – a collection of 10 thousand fish remains, including number of ancient sharks.

The artifacts were discovered at an archeological site 2,900 years old, according to Naked science.

The cache was found in a building near Gijon, a spring in the Kidron Valley, dating back to the Second Iron Age. The rectangular structure measuring 10 by 15 meters served as a pool for collecting water. It was carved in a wall of limestone, it had straight, almost vertical rock walls. It was probably part of a complex groundwater system during the Bronze Age.

At the end of the 9th century BC, the pool was transformed into a private house: it was filled with large limestone boulders and soil to raise the floor level by three meters and make floors.

Archaeologists have also found more than six tons of pottery and several hundred broken clay seals known as bulls. They were used to seal letters or packages, and discarded after printing.

The found fish remains belonged to representatives of 14 families. Most of them came from the Mediterranean. Nearly 40 central vertebrae and teeth belonged to sharks and stingrays. In addition, researchers found the teeth of several species of sharks, including squalicorax, a genus of extinct Cretaceous sharks in the family Anacoracidae, which belongs to the modern group of lamnoids. Squalicorax reached an average of five meters in length, ate carrion and did not survive the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.

“At first we assumed that the shark’s teeth were leftover food thrown away almost 3,000 years ago. However, when preparing the article for publication, our reviewer pointed out that one of the teeth comes from the late Cretaceous period. That is, the shark became extinct at least 66 million years ago and was a contemporary of the dinosaurs. We re-analyzed the samples: measurements of organic matter, elemental composition and crystallinity of the structure confirmed that all teeth were fossils. The isotopic composition of strontium showed that they are about 80 million years old. Moreover, they did not just rest in the native rock below the site: they were brought from afar – possibly from the Negev desert, “- said the study’s lead author Thomas Tutken.

Later, scientists were able to find several more shark teeth in different parts of Israel. Because the remains of the fish were found near bulls, scientists believe they were associated with the administrative or ruling class. Probably, in those days the collection of fossils was popular among the upper strata of society.

“Our hypothesis is that the teeth were collected by collectors. But we have no evidence. At the same time, we did not find any signs of wear and tear, which would indicate that the teeth were used as tools. There are no drilled holes to indicate that they were jewelry. The market for shark teeth still exists today, so it is possible that in the Iron Age there was a tendency to collect such items, ”the scientists concluded.

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