Friday, September 16, 2016

Somewhere where there's ... cheese!

A recent archaeological discovery in Denmark is believed to confirm that cheese was being made there in the Bronze Age. 

This article from discusses the discovery of a 3,000-year-old ceramic pot in central Jutland that was found to contain "a white-yellow crust" that the archaeologists had not seen before. Lab analysis tentatively identified bovine fat in the substance. From this, the archaeologists theorize that the crust is the remains of cow's milk that was being heated to make cheese, but had been overheated and burned, sticking to the pot. They also suggest that this kitchen accident is the reason the pot was discarded intact (and it remains intact even today)--so the guilty party would not be blamed for ruining an otherwise perfectly good pot. 

This incident reminds me of the burnt pretzel discovery that confirmed the making of pretzels in 18th century Bavaria. It goes to show that archaeology can often learn more about the material culture of the past from its trash than from items that were lovingly preserved.

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