Archaeologists Find 3,200 Year Old Cheese With Highly Infectious Disease

Photo Courtesy of the University of Catania and Cairo University


If you're such a cheese lover that you'd want to get buried with it, you have something in common with a 3,200 year old Egyptian chief.

Some tomb raiders (archaeologists) dug up the tomb of an Egyptian mayor known as Pthames in 2010, and as the researchers uncovered things about the old high ranking official, they recently found a jar filled with a white substance that was identified as cheese, with the findings  published to the journal of Analytical Chemistry.


Researchers knew it was some sort of food, and eventually discovered it to be a cheese made of both sheep and goat's milk.

Ironically enough, they also might have found a dairy-based bacteria that causes a deadly infection called brucellosis. If confirmed, they might have inadvertently found a 3,000 year old form of food poisoning, pre-Chipotle. While rare, brucellosis is still an active disease that causes fever, anorexia, pain in muscles and joints, lasting from weeks to several months. Hell, the brucellus bacteria was even weaponized after World War II, when the U.S. tested forms of biological weapons.

While researchers continue to uncover more from the tomb of Pthames, at least we know this old cheese will make for a good trivia question. We can only hope that the findings make their way to the forthcoming billion dollar, 5.2 million square-foot Grand Egyptian Museum, so we can someday take a look at the cheesy discovery ourselves.