Aged cheese is one thing, but how about ancient cheese?
Archaeologists digging in the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis recently announced a shocking discovery. They discovered what is now being called the world’s oldest solid cheese.
The researchers, who are from Catania University, Cairo University and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, say that the cheese could have been derived from cows, goats or sheep.
The cheese was found in the tomb of Ptahmes, who was the mayor of Memphis in the 13th Century BC. Although the tomb was first discovered in 1885, it was lost after it was covered by drifting sand. The tomb of Ptahmes was not unearthed again until 2010. In the years following, researchers have carefully collected valuable data from this ancient historical site.
The researchers also discovered something else interesting about the cheese: It could have been deadly for the people who ate it back then. They say that they detected the presence of Brucella melitensis, a bacteria that can cause brucellosis, a potentially deadly disease which spreads from animal to people, generally via the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products.
So, what do researchers think the cheese would have tasted like?
“It would be high in moisture; it would be spreadable,” Paul Kindstedt, a professor at the University of Vermont, told the New York Times. “It would not last long; it would spoil very quickly.”
He added that it probably would have tasted very acidy.
In addition to the world’s oldest cheese, other researchers have also recently stumbled about something else: The world’s oldest tattoos. Researchers at the British Museum in London used infrared imaging on two ancient Egyptian mummies in their collection. The male mummy was found to have a bull and a sheep on his upper arm, while the female mummy was found to have linear and S-shaped designs on her body.
This is just one of many exciting discoveries that archaeologists have made lately. Australian archaeologists recently came across a tomb on the Giza Plateau in Egypt which they believe was the burial spot of a high-ranking princess named Hetpet. The historical site was a very rich and important find, including very rare wall paintings.
“The tomb is in very good condition,” says Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. “There are colored depictions of traditional scenes: animals grazing, fishing, bird-catching, offerings, sacrifice, soldiers and fruit-gathering.”