The Chinese cheese dates back as early as 1,615 B.C., making it by far the most ancient ever discovered. The combination of dry desert air and salty soil prevented decay.
“We not only identified the product as the earliest known cheese, but we also have direct evidence of ancient technology,” says study author Andrej Shevchenko, an analytical chemist at Germany‘s Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.
It’s not clear why people were buried with bits of cheese on their bodies, Shevchenko said, though perhaps it was food for the afterlife.
By Lee Shin-young, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)