EGYPT (CBS Local) – It’s believed that ancient Egyptians took their treasured possessions with them when they were mummified. What’s treasure to some, of course, may be something else to else. In one case, it looks like one Egyptian took a snack with him after archeologists say they’ve discovered the world’s oldest piece of cheese in an ancient tomb.
According to a study, published in Analytical Chemistry, researchers found a jar containing a “solidified whitish mass” in a 13th century BC tomb. The tomb is believed to belong to Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis in Egypt and first discovered in 1885. The tomb was reportedly lost under drifting sands and wasn’t unearthed again until 2010.
Scientists from Italy and Egypt dissolved the white mass, revealing it was made out of proteins which turned out to be cow milk and sheep or goat milk. A canvas fabric the ancient milk was wrapped in led researchers to conclude this was a block of solid cheese left in Ptahmes’ tomb.
Although some cheeses increase in flavor with age, no one will be snacking on this rare find. The study added that the ancient cheese was likely contaminated with Brucella melitensis, a potentially deadly bacteria which is spread from animals to people through eating unpasteurized dairy products.
If confirmed, it would be the oldest discovery of the disease brucellosis ever recorded.