An Unusual Window Into the Ancient World…

Most of us probably don’t grow up declaring that we want to study ancient poop when we get older. But it’s a good thing that some people do actually end up making this their life’s work. Ancient poop – called Paleofeces – has given us a window into the ancient world and can show us what people used to eat, how they found their food, what types of bacteria they encountered and more.

Recently, researchers from the Natural History Museum in Vienna, led by Kerstin Kowarik, have been studying paleofeces found in salt mines of the Hallstattt-Dachstein UNESCO World Heritage area in western Austria. They have found two specific fungal species. These species indicate that people ate both blue cheese and beer during the Iron Age in Europe.

Their findings allowed for some important observations. It allows us to understand more about fermentation during this time period and that people were already working on food preservation then. It also shows that blue cheese was already being produced 2700 years ago.

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Certainly, there is a lot to learn from the study, as explained on CNN and to explore from the analysis of poop samples from ancient times. Who knew?


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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