Oldest cheese ever found uncovered on the neck of mummies

Creepy, but interesting

The cheese was found on the neck of mummies dating to 1615 BC, making it by far the oldest ever discovered.

The find came in China, and it’s said the cheese is in remarkably good shape considering its age.

"We not only identified the product as the earliest known cheese, but we also have direct evidence of ancient technology," Andrej Shevchenko told USA Today.

Shevchenko is the team leader; he credits salty, dry conditions in China’s Taklamakan Desert for preserving the cheese.

The New York Times says cheese makers from the era were accustomed to wrapping their dead in cowhide and pacing them under wood structures that resemble boats.

Scientists say that creates what amounts to a vacuum that is nearly air-tight, keeping them, and the cheese, very well preserved.

The work is published in the Journal of Archaeology and points out the cheese was based on bacteria and yeast. That made a low-lactose product that the area’s lactose intolerant population would have been able to eat without side effects.

More here.  

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.