Ancient cheese found in Egyptian tomb, but what did it taste like?

Credit: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Credit: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Don’t think this will qualify for cave-ripened cheese. Archaeologists said they have found what could be one of the oldest cheeses in an Egyptian tomb.

When the broken jar was discovered, the BBC reported experts said it was filled with a "solidified whitish mass."

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They said they figured it was food, but weren’t sure what it was.

Tests came back that indicated it was cheese, mostly made of sheep's and goat's milk, the BBC reported.

Fox News reported that it also contained cow's milk.

“The material analyzed is probably the most ancient archaeological solid residue of cheese ever found to date,” Dr. Enrico Greco said.

While Greco said he doesn’t know how such a mixture would taste, a cheese historian and chemistry professor may have an idea.

Paul Kindstedt told the New York Times that it probably had a "really, really acidy" bite.

"It would be high in moisture; it would be spreadable. It would not last long; it would spoil very quickly," Kindstedt said of the cheese.

Scientists also found a bacterium that can cause a disease called brucellosis that comes from eating unpasteurized dairy products.

The disease still exists and symptoms include fever, sweating and muscle aches.

The tomb, and the cheese, belonged to Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis. It was located near Cairo in the Saqqaara necropolis and was first found in 1885. It was rediscovered in 2010 after shifting sands covered the site, the BBC reported.

The cheese study was recently published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.