The "slab" was owned by the mayor of Memphis Ptahmes in the 13th-century BC. It has been lying around in his tomb all this time. Put in with the official at the time of his death, it was carefully wrapped in canvas.
Though it was identified as cheese. Whether it was made from cow, goat or sheep milk is not known. If anyone had eaten it they would have become very ill because it contained the bacterium of the deadly disease brucellosis.
Dr Greco also identified the most ancient Italian olive oil and the earliest wine. Research continues in the Egyptian tomb of Ptahmes. The search for food of the past is called archaeofood. It is a growing field of archeology.
Aged cheeses might appeal 3,200-year-old sample popular dairy product found Egypt little — diseased — dedicated cheese connoisseurs.
cheese found tomb 3th century BC mayor Memphis, Egypt
tomb unearthed late 800s, lost shifting sands desert 2010
cheese contaminated deadly disease brucellosis
cheese found tomb Ptahmes, 3th-century BC mayor Memphis, Egypt, according study journal Analytical Chemistry probably ancient solid cheese ever discovered.
" sample wrapped canvas broken jar," lead author Enrico Greco, Italy's University Catania.
" archaeologists suspected kind food left owner tomb decided ask chemical analyses."
team used unconventional scientific techniques identify remains solid cheese made cow milk sheep goat milk.
found signs bacterium causes potentially deadly disease brucellosis, spreads animals people unpasteurised dairy products.
researchers' suspicions confirmed, 3,200-year-old sample provide world's oldest reported biomolecular evidence brucellosis.
Brucellosis today, present Australia — last year concern disease spreading pigs humans dogs Queensland New South Wales.
Cheese ancient medicine
While sample Ptahmes's tomb diseased, ancient people actually used cheese medicine, Dr Greco said.
several examples mural paintings barter scenes cheese represented certainly used Egyptian medicine Ptolemaic period," said.
" really part daily life ancient Egyptians."
Researchers quite ancient cheese tasted though.
" information taste be, made mostly sheep's goat's milk, me really hard imagine specific flavour," Dr Greco said.
"I'm Italian, love cheese change flavour appearance differences ingredients process."
Dr Greco, part burgeoning field archaeofood, involved ancient food discoveries.
"During last year found oldest wine world (now become second) oldest Italian olive oil."
team continue examine materials found tomb Phtames, first unearthed 885 lost shifting sands desert again 2010.
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