Ancient Poop Shows People in Austria Drank Beer and Ate Blue Cheese 2,700 Years Ago

This image shows paleofeces samples from Hallstatt salt mines analyzed in this study. Credit: Eurac Research/Frank Maixner

Human feces don’t usually stick around for long—and certainly not for thousands of years. But exceptions to this general rule are found in a few places in the world, including prehistoric salt mines of the Austrian UNESCO World Heritage area Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut. Now, researchers who’ve studied ancient fecal samples (or paleofeces) from these mines have uncovered some surprising evidence: the presence of two fungal species used in the production of blue cheese and beer. The findings appear in the …