Scientists: Pottery Shows Cheese Is At Least 7500-Years-Old

Fortunately, without smelling any 7500-year-old cheese

Ricotta cheese

Not 7500-years-old cheese, but probably not far from what it would have looked like. Photo credit: imafoodblog

In a discovery that had the potential to smell worse than whatever ancient artifacts are in the back of your refrigerator, scientists have recently come to the conclusion that 7500-year-old pottery discovered in Poland was used to make cheese. In case you’re wondering, various reports put the oldest wine somewhere between 1600 and 3000 years old – meaning the party didn’t really get started until quite a few centuries later.

Though there is no definitive test for cheese, Richard Evershed at the University of Bristol and colleagues found large amounts of fatty milk residue on the pottery shards compared to cooking or storage pots from the same sites. That suggests the sieves were specifically used to separate fat-rich curds from liquid whey in soured milk in a crude cheese-making process. {Huffington Post}

Apparently, lactose intolerance was a common trait among adults of the time, so cheese gave them the ability to get some of the nutrients with less of the lactose. Scientists believe the cheeses produced from the discovered pottery would have the consistency of a soft cheese like ricotta, and a strong stench. Which means there’s a good chance the phrase “who cut the cheese?’ has been part of human society longer than you ever could have imagined.

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