Archaeologists reckon they've uncovered the world's oldest cheese in Egypt, maturing for more than 3000 years in an ancient tomb. The sample was excavated at the Saqqara necropolis near Cairo between 2013 and 2014.
Archaeologists have just discovered the most ancient and intact cheese that has ever been found anywhere in the world, and it was recovered from the Egyptian tomb of Ptahmes, the mayor of Memphis, after being left there 3,200 years ago. After most of its treasures were looted by European excavators, eventually finding their way into museums many thousands of miles away, the tomb itself was lost beneath drifting desert sands.
In one of the broken jars, researchers found a "solidified, whitish" mass, wrapped in a piece of canvas, researchers said. In his tomb scientists found the remains of a hard cheese that had been maturing for 3,300 years.
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The jar had been covered in a canvas to preserve the cheese.
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The highly infectious disease of cattle can spread to humans - typically from consuming raw, unpasteurised milk and other dairy products. Identifying B. melitensis represents the first biomolecular evidence of the disease from the Pharaonic Period.
To cut the researchers some slack - but not the cheese (I'm sorry) - Ptahmes's tomb is over 70 meters long and features an impressive assortment of chapels.
To date, only indirect signs of brucellosis have been discovered on Egyptian bones that date back to 750 BCE.
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