Archaeology & History
Cheese discovered in 340-year-old shipwreck
By T.K. Randall
July 29, 2016 · 14 comments
The ship and its cargo were well preserved. Image Credit: Cornelis Verbeeck
A container of foul-smelling cheese has been recovered from the site of a sunken 17th-century gunship.
The centuries-old dairy produce was one of several items of cargo being carried by the Kronan - the largest ship of its time - when it sank beneath the Baltic Sea back in 1676.
When marine archaeologists opened the container they knew straight away what was inside.
"When it was opened the first time, it was really overwhelming, in a positive way," said Lars Einarsson who described the smell as being like a mix of yeast and Roquefort.
"It was smelling 'live,' as opposed to dead organic material, which doesn't smell very nice."
It is believed that the low salinity of the Baltic Sea, combined with the fact that the ship had sank in clay, would have helped to preserve the cheese over the centuries.
"I don't know if anyone is going to taste it," said Einarsson. "We are quite optimistic about getting an analysis of the chemical makeup of the product though."
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