Scientist have found an unexplained cache of fossils in an area where there should be none in a 2900-year-old site in the City of David in Jerusalem. They extracted it 80km away from where these fossils would be expected to be found. There is no proof of why the cache was assembled, but it may be that the 80 million-year-old teeth were part of a collection, dating from just after the death of King Solomon.The same team has now unearthed similar unexplained finds in other parts of ancient Judea.Presenting the work at the Goldschmidt Conference, lead researcher, Dr Thomas Tuetken said that these fossils are not in their original setting, so they have been moved. They were valuable to someone they just don’t know why, or why similar items have been found in more than one place in Israel.
The teeth were found buried in the material used to fill in a basement before conversion to a large Iron-Age house. The house is located in the City of David, one of the oldest parts of Jerusalem, found nowadays in the largely Palestinian village of Silwan. They were found together with fish bones thrown away as food waste 2900 years ago, and other infill material such as pottery. They were found with hundreds of bullae items used to seal confidential letters and packages implying a possible connection with the administrative or governing class at some point.
The archaeological material is dated according to the circumstances from where it is extracted. In the beginning, they assumed that the teeth were contemporary with the rest. Dr Tuetken said that researchers assumed that the Shark teeth were remains of the food dumped nearly 3000 years ago. When they submitted a paper for publication, one of the reviewers pointed out that one of the teeth could only have come from a Late Cretaceous Shark that had been extinct for at least 66 million years.
That sent us back to the samples, where measuring organic matter, elemental composition, and the crystallinity of the teeth confirmed that indeed all Shark teeth were fossils. Their strontium isotope composition indicates an age of about 80 million years.