Archaeologists have excavated in Shiga Prefecture what they believe are the oldest remains of a melon ever found.
Based on a radiocarbon analysis, researchers estimate the half-rounded piece of fruit to be about 2,100 years old, Shuji Yamazaki, an official in the city of Moriyama, said.
The remains are believed to be the oldest of a melon that still has flesh on the rind, Yamazaki said. Previously, the oldest such find was believed to be remains found in China that date back to the fourth century A.D.
The melon might have been so well-preserved because it was in a vacuum-packed state in a wet layer below the ground, an environment hostile to microorganisms that might otherwise have broken down the remains, Yamazaki said.