World’s oldest cheese discovery in Egypt


This video from Italy says about itself:

Farmer Follows Ancient Roman Recipe To Make Cheese – From the Milk of Endangered Goats

6 June 2018

This Sicilian farmer produces artisan vegetarian cheeses by following ancient Roman recipes. His cheese is made from the milk of endangered Girgentana goats – currently, there are only about 1300 of these goats left in the world. He uses vegetable rennet instead of animal rennet, which is taken from the stomach of the animals, which makes his cheeses purely vegetarian.

From the American Chemical Society:

World’s oldest cheese found in Egyptian tomb

August 15, 2018

Aging usually improves the flavor of cheese, but that’s not why some very old cheese discovered in an Egyptian tomb is drawing attention. Instead, it’s thought to be the most ancient solid cheese ever found, according to a study published in ACS’ journal Analytical Chemistry.

The tomb of Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis in Egypt during the 13th century BC, was initially unearthed in 1885. After being lost under drifting sands, it was rediscovered in 2010, and archeologists found broken jars at the site a few years later. One jar contained a solidified whitish mass, as well as canvas fabric that might have covered the jar or been used to preserve its contents. Enrico Greco and colleagues wanted to analyze the whitish substance to determine its identity.

After dissolving the sample, the researchers purified its protein constituents and analyzed them with liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The peptides detected by these techniques show the sample was a dairy product made from cow milk and sheep or goat milk. The characteristics of the canvas fabric, which indicate it was suitable for containing a solid rather than a liquid, and the absence of other specific markers, support the conclusion that the dairy product was a solid cheese.

Other peptides in the food sample suggest it was contaminated with Brucella melitensis, a bacterium that causes brucellosis. This potentially deadly disease spreads from animals to people, typically from eating unpasteurized dairy products. If the team’s preliminary analysis is confirmed, the sample would represent the earliest reported biomolecular evidence of the disease.

I blogged before on still older cheese; some 5700 years before Ptahmes; made in Poland. However, that cheese seems to have been not solid cheese. So, this recent discovery in Egypt is still the oldest known solid cheese.

Analysis of fatty residue in pottery from the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia revealed evidence of fermented dairy products — soft cheeses and yogurts — from about 7,200 years ago, according to an international team of researchers: here.

Although dairy pastoralism once made Mongolian steppe herders successful enough to conquer most of Asia and Europe, the origins of this way of life on the East Asian steppe are still unclear. Now an international team of researchers has uncovered evidence that dairying arrived in Mongolia as early as 1300 BC through a process of cultural transmission rather than population replacement or migration: here.

1 thought on “World’s oldest cheese discovery in Egypt

  1. Pingback: Ancient Egyptian tomb, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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