10 Surprising Discoveries Involving Ancient Pottery

9. Mystery Meal


Another 2016 find saw archaeologists in Denmark pull a unique pot from a refuse pit. What made it one of a kind had nothing to do with the cauldron’s design or unusually preserved state. The content was strange. Usually, charcoaled plant matter remains behind in old cooking vessels. But during the cleaning process, instead, a light yellow crust popped up.

It defied identification, and test results on the 3,000-year-old froth provided some clues but no solid answers. The substance appears to be a mix of bovine fat, oil, and sugar—a rare find as far as ancient meal traces go. Researchers can only tag its true identity once the future turns up something similar. However, one thing is certain. The attempt, possibly to make some cheese, met with such failure and a terrible smell that the cook chucked the pot away immediately.

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