From the BBC (h/t commentor Scav):
Truly an ancient art, no-one really knows exactly when humans began making cheese.
But now milk extracts have been identified on 34 perforated pottery vessels or “cheese-strainers”, which date back 7,500 years that have been excavated in Poland.
It is unambiguous evidence for cheese-making in northern Europe during Neolithic times, scientists believe, and the findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature.
“We analysed some fragments of pottery from the region of Kuyavia [Poland] pierced with small holes that looked like modern cheese-strainers,” says Melanie Salque, a postgraduate student at the University of Bristol’s Department of Chemistry….
Ms Salque and her team then analysed lipid residues on the vessels and detected milk residues, which they say provides a link to cheese-making…
“I think we can say that it’s a key Neolithic innovation to be able to produce a storable product from something perishable and hard to handle like milk, and to do it routinely and repetitively, with continual refinement and that within a few millennia after the domestication of cattle, sheep, and goats we can talk about cheese production.”….
Speaking of cheese — what’s for dinner?