This ancient olive tree, located in Aegina, Greece, is actually 2,700 years old. Recent DNA analysis has not only confirmed the age but also the variety. I found this tree in 2012 and the first thing I did was curl up
in its “womb” and I called it my Mama tree.

Athan in the belly of the olive tree

Athan in the belly of the olive tree

The variety is the AEGEAN THROUBA which is most common on the island of Thassos. My mother’s village is right across this island on the mainland in Northern Greece. This is where we got our supply of early harvest medicinal olive oil as we used to call it back then. It was produced on this island from this specific variety. I remember it because my grandmother used to rub it on my sore inflamed gums and the inflammation, caused by teething, would go away. But I hated it! The taste was bitter and peppery and it also made me cough. Before
even beginning my journey into High Phenolic olive oil (EVOO), I was there and then in the womb of its history. I couldn’t realize it back then, even though it was right under my nose the whole time.

Major discovery regarding the variety of 5,000 year old olive trees

Major ancient olive oil discovery is revealed from DNA analysis

While studying the DNA results, it was not only found that this particular tree is 2700 years old but also that it is the exact same variety as the 5,000-year-old tree in Naxos and the 2500-year-old tree in Athens called “Pisistratous olive tree”. Another striking discovery was that all three ancient olive trees weren’t grafted onto existing olive trees, which is the customary practice. They must have been cultivated in a nursery, subsequently transported, and then planted throughout the regions of the Aegean and Attica. Let’s do the math: for at least 2,500 years, the Hellenes had been carefully choosing their olive tree varieties from nurseries!

My Norwegian fiends who accompanied me to gather the leaves for DNA testing

My fellow DNA hunters: Sigmund Hagen and his daughter Louise Hermanrud Hagen who were ready to catch me if I fell.

The remarkable thing about this experience was that I was drawn to this particular tree without any prior knowledge of its significance. It actually connected my childhood experiences of using early harvest olive oil as a medicine with high phenolic EVOO with a health claim.

The variety of olive tree the olive oil of my youth was produced in northern Greece on the island of Thassos that I remembered so vividly I rediscovered on the island of Aegina.

It is also a remarkable discovery about ancient Hellenic olive grove management. They chose this variety to cultivate seedlings was their medicine, just like it was ours enemy village. There is a sense of greater purpose that runs through my life guiding me from one experience to the next. This greater purpose I call Rational Embodiment. It is the best way I found to describe this consciousness that drives me deeper and deeper into the world of ancient wisdom, verified by modern science. Yes there is a book coming if I ever stop living my life so I can sit down and write it.

May it become your guide too into a heightened sense of living.
This essentially means that this olive tree can be regarded as a result of its initial cultivation and I had the good fortune to discover it. Oh yes, it yields olives and olive oil naturally rich in phenolic compounds. Dedicated to my mother Angela who left us way too soon 48 years ago.

May you now rest in peace, mama. I have returned home in my heart and spirit if not physically.

May it become your guide into a heightened sense of living.

With love Athan