Cheese from 3,200 years ago was found in an Egyptian tomb

The passage of time usually improves the taste of cheese, but in this case that is not what caught the attention of researchers. Several years ago, in one of the tombs of theoIn Egypt, archaeologists have come across shattered vessels filled with a fossilized, white substance. After chemical analysis, it turned out to be possibly the oldest piece of hard cheese ever found.

The vessels were found in the tomb of Ptahmes, the 13th century mayor of Memphis p.n.e. The tomb was discovered in Sakkara in 1885, but sandstorms caused its location to be lost. It was rediscovered in 2010. That’s when research work began, ktore led to the discovery of broken vessels.

A solidified white mass and a piece of lobe were found in one such vesselotna, whichore may have served as a cap on the vessel. Determining what the substance was was done by Enrico Greco of the University of Catania in Italy and Peking University. Along with the coohe researchers used a technique known as mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography to analyze a several hundred gram piece of white substance.

Peptides detected by these techniques show that proThe bka was a dairy product made from cow’s milk and sheep’s or goat’s milk. Features of the cloth plothin, ktor found near the shattered vessels indicate that it was suitable for storing a solid, not a liquid.

Based on these analyses, the researchers concluded that the vessel must have contained cheese. It happened that among theod of the things found in the tombs were also found foods, so the presence of cheese did not particularly surprise the Egyptologistow. Dating indicated that the cheese is about 3,200 years old.

Other traces found in the white mass suggest that proThe bka was contaminated with bacteria Brucella melitensis, ktore cause brucellosis. This potentially fatal disease spreads from animals to humans, usually through the consumption of unpasteurized productoIn milky.

– Oprocz milk and whey proteins, the cheese contained residual bacteria, whichore cause an infection known as brucellosis, which provesod to the fact that the ancient Egyptians may have struggled with the disease, Greco said.

If the team’s preliminary analysis is confirmed, probka will represent the earliest biomolecular evidence of the disease.

Researchers believe the cheese had a texture similar to cheeseoin a goat. – It was very acidic, could easily be spread and was not suitable for long-term storage of. It spoiled very quickly – said Paul Kindstedt, a professor at the University of Vermont, ktory studies the chemistry and history of cheese.