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Well-aged (340 years) cheese surfaces in Sweden


A diving team excavating the wreck of a 17th-century Swedish warship in the Baltic Sea have come up with what they're pretty sure is very old cheese.

Found in a black tin jar on the seabed, it is said to resemble "granular Roquefort cheese." Lars Einarsson, researcher at the Kalmar County museum told that "It's a pretty good guess that it's some kind of dairy product, and we think that it is cheese."

He says that the gooey, thick substance smells like cheese and yeast, and is reasonably well-preserved. "I think it smells quite nice, because I like exotic food. But I wouldn't want to taste it."

The ship, named Kronan, sank on June 1, 1676, just before the fleet it was part of took part in a battle between Sweden and a joint fleet of Danish and Dutch ships. Over 800 died in the sinking, with 40 survivors. Over 20,000 relics have now been found at the site including jewelry and human remains.

And the cheese? It's being held at low temperature waiting for a scientific analysis of what it is and what light it can shed on 17th century shipboard life.

Photo shows gold ring and coins found at site and, center, the cheese. Photo by Lars Einarsson, Kalmar County Museum.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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