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Israel: New Date Plants From Ancient Seeds

Israeli researchers revealed last week that they successfully grew extinct date plants from ancient seeds found at archaeological sites in the Judean Desert. Six saplings grew from 32 seeds sown and the plants have been dubbed Adam, Jonah, Uriel, Boaz, Judith, and Hannah. Dozens of seeds were gleaned from archaeology collections gathered at locations in the Dead Sea area, including the Masada hilltop fortress built by King Herod the Great and the ancient site of Qumran, famous for the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s. “Germination of 2000-year-old seeds of Phoenix dactylifera from Judean desert archaeological sites provides a unique opportunity to study the Judean date palm, described in antiquity for the quality, size, and medicinal properties of its fruit, but lost for centuries,” said researchers. "The Kingdom of Judah (Judea) that arose in the southern part of the historic Land of Israel in the 11th century B.C. was particularly renowned for the quality and quantity of its dates,” the researchers noted. “These so-called ‘Judean dates’ grown in plantations around Jericho and the Dead Sea were recognized by classical writers for their large size, sweet taste, extended storage, and medicinal properties.” (Times of Israel/VFI News)