7 Of The Oldest And Best Preserved Foods Discovered By Archaeologists

No, we’re not talking about the pizza you discovered tucked away in your fridge and promptly ate. We’re talking centuries old food, like, older-than-your-grandmother’s-mother old.

And seeing as food isn’t something that is known for its ability to last long, these finds are really a miracle.

Here’s the short, and undeniably unappetizing menu.

1. 5,500-Year-Old Burnt Bread

When you burn bread, you get rid of the evidence. If you don’t, it’s going to get discovered 5,500 years later and then you’ll get laughed at 5,500 years later.

This hunk of bread was burned so bad that scientists originally mistook the find for charcoal. But once they stuck it under a microscope, they could see ancient grains of barley.


2. 2,400-Year-Old Bone Soup

It’s true that some of the best archaeological finds come from tombs, but archaeologists in China were a little surprised when they found a bronze cooking pot containing a ready meal.

Yup. Nothing quite like a 2,400-year-old bone soup.

I mean yeah it’s turned green, but hey – it’s still liquid, and the bones are still floating on top.


3. 3,000-Year-Old Butter

Thousands of years ago, butter was better and a lot more valuable. So what would an ordinary dude do if he had a bit of butter and no time to eat it all?

Bury it in a bog of course – only one Irish farmer did exactly that, and then forgot about it.

Sadly, no one will ever know what it tastes like because according to The National Museum of Ireland conservator Carol Smith, “It’s a national treasure”.


4. Nearly 1,700-Year-Old Bottle Of Wine

Here’s another fun find from a tomb.

Archaeologists (and possibly alcoholics) were delighted to find the oldest unopened bottle of wine during the excavation of a Roman nobleman’s tomb near Speyer, Germany.

It is almost 1,700 years old and survived the fall of Rome, and also, all the wars that subsequently followed.

Olive oil poured in the bottle and a thick wax seal helped preserve the contents, but as wine professor Monika Christmann warns, “it would not bring joy to the palate.”


5. 2,000-Year-Old Beef Jerky

A mysterious black substance was found in an ancient tomb in Shaanxi Province, China, that turned out to be the world’s oldest beef jerky. The beef jerky was sealed in a bronze pot to feed the tomb’s inhabitants on their journey to the afterlife.

Except if they were to taste the carbonized meat today, it would kill them, but you know, they’re like already dead.


6. 4,000-Year-Old Noodles

The beautifully preserved, long, thin yellow noodles were found inside an overturned bowl buried at Lajia.

The most probable explanation for this find is a likely flooding of the Yellow river that caused an unfortunate diner (an impoverished college student, perhaps?) to abandon his bowl of millet grass noodles and run for it.


7. 106-Year-Old Chocolate

These discoloured chocolates might lack in taste, but not in history. Probably the oldest in the world, they were made to mark the Coronation of King Edward VII on June 26, 1902.

They were presented to schoolgirl Martha Greig in that same year who unlike other schoolgirls, resisted the urge to gobble down the chocolates, and kept them as a souvenir instead.

She eventually passed it on to her daughter who in turn gave it to her own daughter, Freida McIntosh, who has now passed the confectionery into the safe hands of the St Andrews Preservation Trust.


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