Cheese found in Egyptian tomb is at least 3,200 years old

White tumor showed signs of bacteria that caused brucellosis, an infectious disease

Perhaps the oldest known solid cheese was found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

Made from a mixture of cow’s milk and sheep’s or goat’s milk, the cheese filled a broken clay pot that had been excavated since the 13th century BC. The grave of Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis, was reported by researchers online on July 25 in Analytical Chemistry.

Chemist Enrico Greco, who worked at the University of Catania in Italy, and his colleagues examined the ancient cheese using mass spectrometry – now a soapy white lump weighing “a few hundred grams.” From milk and whey protein, cheese contains remnants of a bacterial infection called brucellosis, proving that the ancient Egyptians may have fought off the disease, Greco says.

Cheese production is thousands of years older than the newly discovered one, but canned cheese is scarce (SN: 01/26/13, p. 16). Archaeologists have found older pieces of curd in China wrapped around the necks of Bronze Age mummies, another group of researchers reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science in 2014. “There are other product samples available. dairy in the literature, but not solid cheese in the strict sense, ”Greco said.

He said he didn’t smell like cheese, but due to its deterioration it was unlikely to emit a pleasant or unpleasant odor.

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