Archaeologists Find Evidence Of 3,000-Year-Old Cheesy Cooking Disaster

Image courtesy of Museum Silkeborg

Have you ever left a pan on the heat a bit too long while cooking, resulting in a hardened, inedible mess that even the strongest scrubbing sponge can’t clean? You’ll be glad to know that Norsemen living 3,000 years ago are just like us: archaeologists say they’ve unearthed evidence of a cooking disaster involving burnt cheese.

Archaeologists found an intact Bronze Age clay pot with the charred residue of what was once like a kind of cheese at a dig site north of Silkeborg in Denmark.

“It’s a glassy, foamy substance, a lot like when you’ve had a fire and the ashes have been burning so hot that they sometimes cinder together, forming a crumpy texture,” Kaj F. Rasmussen, head archaeologist from Silkeborg Museum, tells NPR’s The Salt. “It seems to be related to myseost from Norway, a brown whey cheese.”

We might never have felt such cheese compassion for the ancient wannabe chef if not for the vessel it was cooked in.

“Luckily, this [dig] is on a hilltop and the pit [where we found the pot] was dug into a clay deposit,” Rasmussen explains. “Not much water got to it… and oxygen access wasn’t that great, either.”

It appears that the ancient wannabe cook reacted to his culinary disaster the same way a modern person might when confronted with stinky burned cheese: he got rid of the evidence.

“My guess is that this vessel was smoking and stinking the place up, so somebody had to get rid of it,” Rasmussen says. “The easiest way was to carry it outside and deposit it upside down in the pit and then cover it — done with that, no more messy kitchen!”

3,000-Year-Old Cooking Fail Found At A Danish Dig Site [The Salt]

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