The earliest evidence for cheese making in the Mediterranean has been found in pottery from Croatia's Dalmatian coast, according to a new study. But you won't want to eat this cheese. After all, it's 7,200 years old. And it's not even cheese anymore but the fatty residue left over from making fermented dairy products. It was found inside pottery designed to make and hold soft cheeses and yogurt.
Though "oldest cheese" isn't exactly a coveted title, the finding has serious implications for the history of the area, according to the study, published in the journal PLOS One on Wednesday.
"This pushes back cheese-making by 4,000 years," Sarah B. McClure, study author and associate professor of anthropology at Penn State, said in a statement.
It's the earliest documented lipid residue evidence for fermented dairy in the Mediterranean region and among the earliest documented anywhere to date, according to the study. Before this direct evidence, there were only a few recovered tools and literary references to cheese.
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