Oldest bread known to man found at prehistoric site in the desert

  • 28 Jul - 03 Aug, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Fancy chowing down on some 14,400-year-old bread? The ancient charred crumbs, discovered in a desert in Jordan, could be the oldest bread ever baked. And scientists say that the find proves that bread making pre-dated the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years.

It is thought to have been made by hunter-gatherers from wild versions of einkorn wheat, barley and oats. Previously, the oldest known bread to be found came from a 9,000-year-old archaeological site in Turkey. The site in Jordan’s Black Desert, known as Shubayqa 1, was occupied by the ancient Natufian people long before the development of farming. Professor Dorian Fuller, a member of the international team from University College London, said, “Bread involves labour intensive processing which includes dehusking, grinding of cereals and kneading and baking. That it was produced before farming methods suggests it was seen as special, and the desire to make more of this special food probably contributed to the decision to begin to cultivate cereals.”