Substance in dug up Egyptian jar 'most ancient' cheese

Substance in dug up Egyptian jar 'most ancient' cheese

The cheese was found wrapped with canvas inside a broken jar.

The explorers unearthed a jar containing a solid, whitish mass from the tomb, which was first dug up in 1885 but covered under drifting sands until 2010.

A team of experts, led by chemical scientists Enrico Greco from the University of Catania, conducted a thorough analysis on what this whitish mass was.

The peptides detected by these techniques showed the sample was a dairy product made from cow milk and sheep or goat milk. The team dissolved the white glob, purified its protein constituents, and analyzed them using a process that separates different parts of a liquid called liquid chromatography.

The canvas further supports the cheese theory as the fabric type suggests the container was once home to a solid.

Dr Greco said: "The material analysed in this study is probably the most ancient archaeological solid residue of cheese ever found to date".

No word on how it tastes, but we reckon that 3000-years-old is perhaps a little too aged for our liking.

More news: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne facing three months on sidelines

The sample was excavated at the Saqqara necropolis near Cairo between 2013 and 2014.

"While cleaning the sand around the southern outer wall of the tomb, in an area corresponding to one of the lateral storehouses, a big number of broken jars were found".

The characteristics of the cloth indicate it was suitable for keeping a solid rather than a liquid.

Greco said not everything in the jar was cheese because the site underwent "a series of very high cyclical environmental stresses", contaminating the cheese with sand and soil.

Eating the world's oldest cheese may prove deadly as scientists believe that it has been contaminated with the bacterium known as Brucella melitensis, which is easily transmitted from animals to humans through the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products.

'The sample was accurately collected in order to avoid any kind of contamination'.

Should archeologists unearth ancient crackers that'll pair well with sarcophagus juice and diseased cheese, all we'll need is a ouija board for the ultimate cursed game night. It is also thought that cheese was included in feasts buried alongside wealthy Egyptians.

Related Articles