August 20, 2007

5,000 Years of Flavor

A 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum - one of the oldest ever to be discovered - has been found by a British archaeology student.

The discovery of the Neolithic gum, made from birch bark tar, was made by Sarah Pickin, 23, during a dig in Finland. The gum had tooth prints in it.

Trevor Brown, her tutor at the University of Derby, said: "Birch bark tar contains phenols, which are antiseptic compounds. It is generally believed that Neolithic people found that by chewing this stuff if they had gum infections it helped to treat the condition." He said it was particularly significant because of the well defined tooth prints.


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