A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen recently found remains of what they believe to be the earliest examples of bread. Dr Tobias Richter, who worked with colleagues from Denmark and the UK, wrote about the findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He revealed that the excavations took place between 2012 and 2015 at a site in the Black Desert in north-east Jordan.
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The bread was resting in a pair of ancient fireplaces, which were believed to be used by Natufians, a group of hunter-gatherers who foraged for wild grains. The archaeologists utilized radiocarbon-dating to show that the small, burnt pieces were from over 14,000 years ago. This is incredibly significant because it suggests that bread was prepared much earlier than the dawn of agriculture.
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Richter said, “Bread has been seen as a product of agriculturist, settled societies, but our evidence from Jordan now basically predates the onset of plant cultivation … by at least 3,000 years, so bread was being made by hunter-gatherers before they started to cultivate any plants." They were able to analyze the remains and identify many of the ingredients, as well as the potential methods used to cook the bread.
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It goes without saying that if this recipe, which included various plants, legumes and ground wheat and barley, was recreated today it wouldn't exactly resemble what we currently consider bread. In regard to the preparation, the researchers think it was baked on a hot stone or in the ashes of the fire. The last bread discovery like this was made in Turkey at the site of Çatalhöyük, but only dates back to around 9,100 years ago. Check out the video below to learn about other interesting finds like this…