Friday, 19 April, 2019


Curd of the Pharaohs: oldest cheese found in Egypt

World's Oldest Cheese Discovered From Egyptian Tomb Researchers Curd of the Pharaohs: oldest cheese found in Egypt
Patty Aguilar | 18 August, 2018, 18:32

While the sample from Ptahmes's tomb may have been diseased, ancient people actually used cheese as medicine, Dr Greco said.

It was in 1885 that the tomb of Ptahmes was first discovered. If the team's preliminary analysis is confirmed, the sample would represent the earliest reported biomolecular evidence of brucellosis.

The tomb in which the cheese was found belonged to Ptahmes, a high-ranking Egyptian official in the 13th century B.C. and the former mayor of the ancient city of Memphis, according to the paper.

Researchers resumed excavation work in 2010 and, three years later, were cleaning sand around the outer wall of the tomb when they came across a corner storage area with several broken jars.

Greco said not everything in the jar was cheese because the site underwent "a series of very high cyclical environmental stresses", contaminating the cheese with sand and soil.

"The archaeologists suspected it was a kind of food left for the owner of the tomb and they chose to ask for chemical analyses", said lead author Enrico Greco, a leader in the new field of ancient food discoveries known as 'archaeofood'.

Dr Enrico Greco, from the University of Catania, with colleagues from Cairo University in Egypt, analysed the substance in order to determine its identity. Kindstedt studies the chemistry and history of cheese.

In ancient Egypt, milk had to be consumed shortly after milking or else it would spoil without refrigeration, so it was often turned into cheese and other fermented products like yogurt.

The peptides detected revealed the cheese had been made with a combination cows' milk combined with sheep's or goats'.

"This is a very important find in the archaeological world", Greco said. Unlike this sample, however, it was kefir cheese-a liquid dairy product that is traditionally drunk, rather than eaten.

Among the study's significant findings were the signs of bacteria potentially causing the deadly disease brucellosis, caught through the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products.

The type of cheese was not identified in the study, but such a discovery would have been too gouda to be true.

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