Thursday, November 1, 2012

The lemony secrets of an ancient garden

An ancient garden on the outskirts of Jerusalem yields a fascinating find about what was growing 2,500 years ago.
An aerial view of the ancient garden site
An intriguing archeology site perched on a hill two miles from the Old City of Jerusalem suggests that ancient powers at the time had a thing for opulent and exotic gardens. The discovery of an ancient royal garden a few years ago at Kibbutz Ramat Rachel stirred up the imaginations of researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Based on the intricate network of pools and irrigation channels, the researchers concluded that the 2,500-year-old site was home to an ancient and splendid royal garden. Since then they have been trying to figure out what was planted and growing in the garden.

The problem is that trees and plants don’t live through centuries. If pollen was preserved at the site, there just may be clues to what kinds of assemblages of trees and plants were present in this garden. But an early look at the pollen trapped in ground sediments proved to be futile. The pollen was oxidized and could not be studied.  -- Isarael Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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