The very vintage cheese was buried alongside Ptahmes - Mayor of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis - whose resting place was rediscovered in 2010 after being lost under the desert sand.
The results revealed the sample was a dairy product made by mixing cow and goat or sheep milk, researchers said. The tomb is located south of Cairo in Saqqara, also known as the "City of the Dead", and houses ancient artifacts like amulets, clay vessels, and figurines. That said, even if evidences of cheese-making tools have been found in 7,000-year-old artifacts, the mass is the first and oldest large mass of solid cheese to be found. One contained a "solidified whitish mass" and a piece of canvas fabric they believe could have been to cover the jar or preserve what's inside it.
Archaeologists reckon they've uncovered the world's oldest cheese in Egypt, maturing for more than 3000 years in an ancient tomb.
Kindstedt said others have discovered traces of older cheese or yogurt (the two can be hard to distinguish), Kindstedt said.
"This is the oldest solid cheese ever found", Enrico Greco, a scientist with the department of chemical sciences at the University of Catania who co-authored the report, said. After dissolving a sample and extracting the protein constituents, they realized they had found the rudimentary remains of a hunk of cheese, once wrapped in canvas fabric and preserved in the earthenware jar. Unlike this sample, however, it was kefir cheese-a liquid dairy product that is traditionally drunk, rather than eaten.
Despite finding the cheese, scientists have not been able to find the mummified body of Ptahmes nor the rest of his family.
Adventurous eaters be warned: The cheese may not be cursed, but the analysis found evidence of a bacteria that causes brucellosis, an infectious disease that can cause fevers, headaches, muscle pain and other symptoms that can reoccur or never go away at all.
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