Wine and Stinky Shipwreck Cheese, Anyone?

Not really sure of best pairing for gooey 340-year-old 'dairy product' from Swedish warship
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2016 4:32 PM CDT

For 340 years, the Swedish ship Kronan has languished at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, the 126-gun warship's permanent resting place after it was sunk right before a 1676 skirmish with Denmark and the Netherlands, Atlas Obscura reports. It was found in 1980, and since then it's presented more than 20,000 artifacts to divers, including jewelry, gold coins, and even brain matter from some of the deceased crew (around 800 men died and 40 survived, per the Local). But a recent two-week diving expedition turned up a new find that's "pure gooey grossness," Atlas Obscura notes: "some kind of dairy product" crammed in a small black container, researcher Lars Einarsson tells the Local, adding, "We think it is cheese."

The could-be cheese resembles "granular Roquefort," he continues, noting the yeasty aroma wafting from the jar. Einarsson and his diving partners presented the nose-wrinkling victual Tuesday at Sweden's Kalmar County Museum as part of an entire haul of items pulled up from the waters around the island of Oland. But while Einarsson admits he finds the odor somewhat "exotic," he adds he has no plans to sample the wreck's wares. "It's reasonably well preserved, but at the same time it has been at the bottom of the sea for 340 years—we're not talking Tutankhamun's burial chamber," he says. For now, the stinky snack is being kept chilled so it can be further examined for clues as to its makeup and perhaps even regarding how sailors lived onboard warships during that time period. (An odd item was recently found at the site of the Antikythera shipwreck.)

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