Ancient Science… delicious!

Pottery shards are likely from an ancient sieve, used in the step to strain the solid curds from the liquid whey.
Discovered pottery shards are likely from an ancient sieve, used in the step to strain the solid curds from the liquid whey.

Here is a little taste of breaking science news to share around the snack table at your holiday party: scientists have recently discovered evidence of cheesemaking from over 7,000 years ago. An analysis of fatty acids on pottery shards from ancient ruins in Poland indicate dairy processing. This pottery resembles a strainer and is thought to have been used in the separation process of removing whey from the cheese curds. For more information on how and why cheesemaking may have developed, check out the story at the New York Times or BBC News. And in case you’re wondering, there is also evidence of winemaking dating back from more than 7,000 years ago, though the discovery of winemaking is generally considered to be accidental– resulting from the fermentation of grape juice by the naturally occurring yeast cells on the grape skin. In synopsis, this new evidence suggests that ancient science may have allowed the ‘wine and cheese’ party to be a quite a long standing tradition.

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