Last year, while digging a tunnel connecting Denmark and Germany, construction workers unexpectedly found a piece of chewing gum, which is now known to be 5,700 years old.
According to The New York Times, the gum belonged to an ancient hunter-gatherer who inhabited Southern Denmark during the early neolithic age.
These hunter-gatherers made “gum” by chewing on birch pitch (a sap-like substance to fix arrowheads and stone tools). When the birch pitch started to solidify, they chewed on it, like primitive bubble gum.
The “gum” might also give us insight into the life of neolithic hunter gatherers in Scandinavia. According to this report in Nature Communications, the wad contained an entire human genome. It is amazing that intact DNA has been preserved through saliva in a piece of gum. From this we can tell that said person was a female, had blue eyes, and probably couldn’t digest cows milk.
If archaeologist searched for more of this neolithic “gum,” we might discover interesting new things about our ancestors.
Photo Credit: The New York Times