‘Oldest solid cheese ever found’ discovered in Egyptian jar

The world's oldest cheese has been found in a 3,200 year-old Egyptian tomb

The world's oldest cheese has been found in a 3,200 year-old Egyptian tomb

After dissolving the sample, the team purified its protein constituents and analysed them with liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The 3,200-year-old cheese was found to be made from a mixture of cow milk and that of a sheep or goat.

Additionally, the absence of certain other compounds suggested that it was in fact solid cheese.

It was riddled with a bacteria called Brucella Melitensis, which is potentially deadly and can cause stomach ache and a fever as well as other symptoms.

If the findings, published in the journal Analytical Chemistry, are confirmed it would represent the earliest reported evidence of the disease.

To the untrained eye, the ancient cheese looks like little more than an unappetizing mass of white mush, more like wet concrete that an edible dairy product. One of those broken jars contained a solidified whitish mass inside along with a canvas fabric that could have covered the jar originally.

Researchers have found the world's most ancient solid cheese in a 3,200-year-old Egyptian tomb, as well as evidence of a potentially deadly disease.

Researchers say they may have discovered the world's oldest known solid cheese in an Egyptian tomb that dates back to the 13th century BC.

But researchers believe the original piece of cheese weighed hundreds of grams, said Greco, who was a doctoral candidate at the University of Catania in Italy at the time.

"It would be high in moisture, it would be spreadable", he said. A few years later archaeologists found broken jars at the site.

'The constituting material was a dairy product obtained by mixing sheep or goat and cow milk'.

Dr Greco said: 'The tomb of Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis and high-ranking official under the Pharaohs Sethi I and Ramses II (1290-1213 B.C.) of the XIX dynasty was rediscovered in 2010 after a part of it was revealed in 1885 and lost under the sands at the end of the 19th century.

'The characteristic of the canvas made it unsuitable for containing liquid or, in general, non solid-materials. It is also thought that cheese was included in feasts buried alongside wealthy Egyptians.

The sample was excavated at the Saqqara necropolis near Cairo between 2013 and 2014.

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