Sunday, April 24, 2016

Swiss Cheese--older than we thought?

A new article from Science Daily reminds us that cheese making in ancient times was not limited to the Romans.

The article, which may be read here, describes a study of Iron Age pottery finds from six locations in the Swiss Alps. The study, conducted by a group of archaeologists spearheaded by the University of York and Newcastle University, concludes that the pots bear chemical residues which indicate that milk was heated in them.  The heating of milk, of course, is a necessary step for the making of most cheeses.   The pots date from the first millennium BCE.  A PLOS ONE article that gives technical information about the study may be read here. It notes that in the Swiss lowlands, similar evidence for cheese making dates back to the Neolithic, i.e. around the fourth millennium BCE.  

We cannot tell whether the cheese made tasted anything like Emmenthaler or Gruyere, two cheeses that are commonly thought of today when one considers Swiss cheese making, but the study results do demonstrate that the Swiss have engaged in cheese making for a long time. 

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! The things we can learn using modern technology are truly amazing.