Is this the world's oldest chewing gum?

One of the world's oldest chewing gumA 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."

Sini Annala, from the Kierikki Centre, said: "The actual material is some kind of tar, that was made by heating birch bark. After the tar was made ... it was boiled, and when it cooled, it became solid. "When it was heated again, it became softer, and it was used as some kind of chewing gum."

Source: Guardian Unlimited
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