Archaeologists have discovered broken jars containing ancient cheese inside the tomb of Ptahmes that dates back 3,200 years. Ptahmes was a high ranking official, specifically the mayor of Memphis, under pharaoh Seti I and his successor Ramessess II during the 13th century BC. Apparently, the dairy mixture was made using a combination of different animals’ milk, more than likely from sheep, goats and cows. It has officially been designated the world’s oldest cheese.
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The initially discovery was unearth back in 1985, but the scientists were unaware of the product, seeing as the original find was actually covered up by sand. Finally, over two decades later, the jars were found again. The Tomb of Ptahmes is a sepulcher, which is defined as “a small room or monument, cut in rock or built of stone, in which a dead person is laid or buried.” It’s located in the necropolis of Saqqara, Egypt. A necropolis is defined as “a large, designed cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments.” The tomb is on the side of the Pyramid of Unas, which is part of a pyramid field near Cairo, and was built during the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire.
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This July the study’s findings were published in the science journal Analytical Chemistry. The cheese was a “solidified whitish mass” that was unveil inside of a canvas-like fabric which is assumed to have been the cover of the jar. The substance was analyzed by the University of Catania’s Dr. Enrico Greco who used a scientific method known as “liquid chromatography” to determined that it was, in fact, a dairy product.
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