Scientists have discovered the remains of a bread that was baked 14,400 years ago in Jordan at a prehistoric site.
The remains of the world’s oldest bread were excavated in the Black Desert, located in northeastern Jordan. But this discovery did not come in one single piece, as scientists have found no less than 24 bread-like stone structures at two different fireplaces. Everything happened in a Natufian hunter-gatherer site, which is also called Shubaywa 1.
“The presence of hundreds of charred food remains in the fireplaces from Shubayqa 1 is an exceptional find, and it has given us the chance to characterize 14,000-year-old food practices,” said archeobotanist Amaia Arranz Otaegui from University of Copenhagen, who is also the first author of the report.
“So now we know that bread-like products were produced long before the development of farming,” Otaegui continued.
Additionally, it is believed that the bread production could have had a significant influence in the agricultural revolution that happened during the Neolithic period.
The flatbread that Neolithic people made – which can still be found today in the shape of the Arabic bread or pita – contained domesticated cereals, as well as club-rush tubers, as mentioned in a study that was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
Other similar findings of bread production were made in other Neolithic sites located in the Netherlands and Turkey. But these ones found in Jordan are, according to scientists, the first ones that indicate that bread production was a practice that happened more than 4,000 before the agricultural revolution.
“Natufian hunter-gatherers are of particular interest to us because they lived through a transitional period when people became more sedentary and their diet began to change,” said archeologist Tobias Richter from the University of Copenhagen, who also led the excavations.
Researchers have already succeeded in reproducing a flour similar to the ones used in the prehistoric recipe using the same type of tubers and it appears that the taste “is quite gritty and salty. But it is a bit sweet as well,” Otaegui said.