Oldest Evidence of Bread Recently Discovered

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. prehistoric / ˌpriːhɪˈstorɪk / (adj) – existing or occurring before written records were created

    Archeologists have discovered remains of prehistoric animals in a cave.

  2. edible / ˈɛdəbəl / (adj) – can be eaten

    Some mushrooms are edible, while others are poisonous.

  3. precede / prɪˈsiːd / (v) – to occur or come before something else

    Using textbooks for learning preceded using tablets.

  4. inclined / ɪnˈklaɪnd / (adj) – having a tendency to do something

    People are inclined to eat food they like and have access to.

  5. insight / ˈɪnˌsaɪt / (n) – a deep understanding of something

    The study’s results present new insight into the culture of other people.


Read the text below.

Researchers have found the earliest evidence of bread at a dig site in Black Desert, northeastern Jordan.

The evidence that included 24 pieces of burnt bread-like products in stone fireplaces turned out to be around 14,000 years old. After conducting a microscopic analysis of the products, the researchers found that these bread-like pieces were produced with water and flour made from wild wheat, barley, and powdered plant roots. Additionally, the pieces displayed hints of processes like grinding and kneading.

According to the researchers, prehistoric people who lived in the area where the dig site is were hunter-gatherers. These people hunted small animals for meat and collected edible plant-based food items like nuts and fruits. The researchers believe that bread was used to wrap meat, like how bread is used in sandwiches. They also think that prehistoric people prepared bread during feasts or celebrations.

Previously, scientists theorized that agriculture began before baking. As people grew grains, they eventually used these staples for bread. However, the recent discovery suggests that baking preceded agriculture by around 4,000 years, although bread became the main part of prehistoric people’s diet only when farmers started to depend on growing grains for food. Moreover, prehistoric people might have been inclined to grow wheat and barley because these types of grain were already part of their diet.

The discovery can also shed light on how bread developed and evolved in different cultures through the years. Furthermore, researchers are hopeful that the findings can give additional insight into prehistoric diets that are still largely unknown, particularly the plant-based diet.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What do you think is the importance of learning about prehistoric people’s diets? Discuss.
• What would you like to know more about prehistoric people’s diets (e.g. food preparations, storage, cooking tools)? Explain.

Discussion B

• What are some factors that affect what people eat (e.g. occupation, age, culture)? Explain.
• If you were to conduct a study about food, what would you like to know? Discuss.