A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
World’s Oldest Cheese Dates to 1615 B.C.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
DRESDEN, GERMANY—Analysis of the odd lumps found on the necks and chests of mummies from northwestern China’s Taklamakan Desert has shown them to be made of cheese. “We not only identified the product as the earliest known cheese, but we also have direct …evidence of ancient technology,” Andrej Shevchenko of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics told USA Today. The low-lactose cheese had been made by combining milk with a “starter” of bacteria and yeast—not the killing of a young calf, lamb, or kid for rennet. Shevchenko adds that the low cost of producing this cheese would have helped encourage the spread of herding throughout Asia.
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