Burnt remains of a flatbread baked about 14,500 years ago discovered in a stone fireplace at a site in northeastern Jordan, about 130 miles northeast of the Jordanian capital of Amman, offered an unexpected information: people began making bread millennia before they developed agriculture.
The previous oldest evidence of bread came from a 9,100-year-old site in Turkey. The actual discovery was detailed on Monday. The discovered flatbread was fashioned from wild cereals such as barley, einkorn or oats, as well as tubers from an aquatic papyrus relative. It was made by a culture called the Natufians, who had begun to embrace a sedentary rather than nomadic lifestyle, and was found at a Black Desert archeological site.
Archaeological site in Jordan
Evidence from the site indicated the Natufians had a meat and plant-based diet. Prior to these findings, evidence of bread production was found in late Neolithic sites in Turkey and the Netherlands. The charred remains in Jordan are the first direct evidence that bread production preceded agriculture. The authors of the report noted that cereal-based foodstuffs were difficult to make. 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.” Hunter-gatherers may have considered them luxury foods "employed to impress invited guests and secure prestige for the hosts."