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The World’s Oldest Cheese is 3,600 Years Old

The World’s Oldest Cheese is 3,600 Years Old

Grab a baguette and a little vintage 1600 BC wine from the ancient wine cellar, and start enjoying the latest ancient culinary discovery, the world’s oldest cheese.

The cheese was found around the heads and necks of Chinese mummies that date back as early as 1615 BC. It’s the oldest cheese known. How did cheese, which usually goes bad so quickly, survive so many years?

The people from the Bronze Age who buried the mummies interred “their kin underneath what looks like large wooden boats. The boats were wrapped so snugly with cowhide that it’s as if they’d been “vacuum-packed.”

Andrej Shevchenko, an analytical chemist from Germany, who helped to analyze what was found on the mummies and confirmed it was cheese, says it isn’t known exactly why they were buried with cheese. Perhaps it was food for the afterlife. (If I got to choose which foods I wanted in the afterlife, cheese would definitely be among them.)

This cheese, like the ancient wine found or the 3,000-year-old butter recently discovered, isn’t actually edible anymore. But, it does provide some evidence of the cheese making process of the ancient people. It’s believed that this cheese was made by mixing dairy with a kefir starter (a mix of bacteria and yeast) as opposed to a rennet starter (a substance from animal guts).

Article by Robin Shreeves

Image by _gee_



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Kara, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally – all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.


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8:18AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Thank you Kara, for Sharing this!

7:31AM PST on Mar 7, 2014


8:06AM PST on Mar 6, 2014

Thank you.

5:34AM PST on Mar 6, 2014

Thanks for sharing :)

1:45AM PST on Mar 6, 2014

Made in China :)

7:15PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

Very interesting article.

Who would have guessed that cheese was an item produced in B.C?. I wouldn't have. I thought it was discovered by Arabs.

2:09AM PST on Mar 4, 2014


10:59PM PST on Mar 3, 2014

This was interesting...thanks

6:08PM PST on Mar 3, 2014

It is often quite fascinating what is found from societies of so very long ago. An interesting find of extra old cheese and wine.

Mrs. S, if you try and use it in a sandwich, it will certainly be 'well aged,' but sadly that particular cheese along with the wine and butter that has also been found is not edible any longer but that cheese might taste better than those pretend cheese slices wrapped in plastic.

3:28PM PST on Mar 3, 2014


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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