The World's Oldest Cheese Has Been Found On A Mummy's Chest

Dating as far back as 1650 BCE, fragments of purpose-fermented dairy were discovered sprinkled on the chest and neck of a miraculously well preserved mummy in China's Taklamakan Desert.

Thanks to the dry climate and salty soil, the ancient bodies and their possessions deteriorated very little, with skin and hair still remaining on the bodies as well, despite the centuries of decay. The cheese was found in small clumps on the body and was chemically tested, finding yeasts and proteins that proved the food was cheese as opposed to milk or butter. It is believed that the cheese was placed on the bodies to feed them into the afterlife.

Finely aged cheeses are all the rage among foodies, but these almost impossibly ancient crumbs of mummy cheese make today's artisanal dairy goods look like child's play.

To read more about mummies and cheese, check out Atlas Obscura!

Read the original story on USA Today.

h/t Strange Remains

Image Credit: USA Today