World’s Oldest Ham Has ‘Powerful Scent I Cannot Describe,’ Archeologist Says

An anthropology professor who specializes in 3-D scans had the chance to scan two of the world’s oldest foods

The scans will be used during the professor’s spring semester to explore the way humans have used plants and animals throughout history.

Bernard Means, an anthropology professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of World Studies “who specializes in 3-D scanning archaeological artifacts,” took advantage of the end of the semester to scan some particularly unusual items.

Means visited the Isle of Wight County Museum in Smithfield, Virginia, to perform a scan of the world’s oldest ham, from 1902, and the world’s oldest peanut, which was grown in 1890. After all, Means said in a press release, “How could one resist 3-D scanning the world’s oldest ham and world’s oldest peanut?”

Both scans will be used during Means’ spring classes to help his students understand the history of the human use of plants and animals. The ham, which has been featured three times on Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, “did have a powerful scent that I cannot describe.” Known as the world’s oldest ham, it has been kept as a testament to Smithfield’s method of smoking meat.


The scans will also be used by the museum, which may create a 3-D version of the ham for interested guests, since they visitors are not permitted to touch the ham.