Archaeologists discover bread that predates agriculture by 4,000 years

July 16, 2018, University of Copenhagen
One of the stone structures of the Shubayqa 1 site. The fireplace, where the bread was found, is in the middle. Credit: Alexis Pantos

At an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago. It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen, University College London and University of Cambridge have analysed charred remains from a 14,400-year-old Natufian hunter-gatherer site—a site known as Shubayqa 1 located in the Black Desert in northeastern Jordan. The results, which are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide the earliest empirical evidence for the production of bread:

"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. The 24 remains analysed in this study show that wild ancestors of domesticated cereals such as barley, einkorn, and oat had been ground, sieved and kneaded prior to cooking. The remains are very similar to unleavened flatbreads identified at several Neolithic and Roman sites in Europe and Turkey. So we now know that bread-like products were produced long before the development of farming. The next step is to evaluate if the production and consumption of bread influenced the emergence of plant cultivation and domestication at all," said University of Copenhagen archaeobotanist Amaia Arranz Otaegui, who is the first author of the study.

University of Copenhagen archaeologist Tobias Richter, who led the excavations at Shubayqa 1 in Jordan, explained:

"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. Flint sickle blades as well as ground stone tools found at Natufian sites in the Levant have long led archaeologists to suspect that people had begun to exploit plants in a different and perhaps more effective way. But the flat bread found at Shubayqa 1 is the earliest evidence of bread making recovered so far, and it shows that baking was invented before we had plant cultivation. So this evidence confirms some of our ideas. Indeed, it may be that the early and extremely time-consuming production of bread based on wild cereals may have been one of the key driving forces behind the later where wild cereals were cultivated to provide more convenient sources of food."

Dr. Amaia Arranz-Otaegui and Ali Shakaiteer sampling cereals in the Shubayqa area. Credit: Joe Roe

Charred remains under the microscope

The charred food remains were analysed with electron microscopy at a University College London lab by Ph.D. candidate Lara Gonzalez Carratero (UCL Institute of Archaeology), who is an expert on prehistoric bread:

"The identification of 'bread' or other cereal-based products in archaeology is not straightforward. There has been a tendency to simplify classification without really testing it against an identification criteria. We have established a new set of criteria to identify flat bread, dough and porridge like products in the archaeological record. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy we identified the microstructures and particles of each charred food remain," said Gonzalez Carratero.

"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. All of this relies on new methodological developments that allow us to identify the remains of from very small charred fragments using high magnification," said Professor Dorian Fuller (UCL Institute of Archaeology).

Explore further: Archaeologists revise chronology of the last hunter-gatherers in the Near East

More information: Amaia Arranz-Otaegui el al., "Archaeobotanical evidence reveals the origins of bread 14,400 years ago in northeastern Jordan," PNAS (2018). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1801071115

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rrwillsj
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2018
"....So we now know that bread-like products were produced long before the development of farming. The next step is to evaluate if the production and consumption of bread influenced the emergence of plant cultivation and domestication at all,...."

I am of the opinion that this is another step possibly confirming my contention that agriculture began with the campsite latrines of roaming bands of hunter-gatherers.

Using and reusing the same campsites over centuries and millennia. A little bit here and a little bit there, it gradually adds up to convenience. When the mighty hunters failed to bring down the dangerous Megajackalope out of the ancient mists of cthonic prehistory.

That glorious day, when it would dawn upon the old women of the band, that here was a lush, year-around growth of food plants. They didn't have to chase until their feet fell off.

Civilization arising out of the cesspit. As today, it descends right back into the crap!
Jeffhans1
5 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2018
If they were able to produce bread, they could also produce beer. Some ancient gods were known for their brewing. This proves that we didn't necessarily need to have waited for the agricultural revolution for the bread and beer one to start. They could have been the inspiration for them in fact.
Shootist
5 / 5 (6) Jul 16, 2018
just another data point showing the absolute fail that is gluten free.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (4) Jul 16, 2018
I am of the opinion that this is another step possibly confirming my contention that agriculture began with the campsite latrines of roaming bands of hunter-gatherers
Willis you have yet to explain why people would be looking to harvest food from their least arable land. No, they shit where they dont grow food, usually.

Oh right youre just trolling like the psychopath that you are.
Parsec
5 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2018
I am of the opinion that this is another step possibly confirming my contention that agriculture began with the campsite latrines of roaming bands of hunter-gatherers
Willis you have yet to explain why people would be looking to harvest food from their least arable land. No, they shit where they dont grow food, usually.

Oh right youre just trolling like the psychopath that you are.


Or maybe its a little rare bit of humor from the dude heh. I agree the actual concept is far fetched, but the idea is not completely absurd. And in fact, people DO shit where they eat. Even in modern times, human feces is a common crop fertilizer.

Further, it would definitely make sense, at least for some locations, to have seasonally occupied camps which are revisited from time to time. And those places fertilized by people would be the most productive places to find edible volunteers.
Alenano
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 16, 2018
All that matters is that Negroes didn't accomplish it.
kurtwm2010
not rated yet Jul 16, 2018
Sounds very much like the bread from my local grocery store
rrwillsj
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2018
"The only difference between bread and beer? Is how liquid it is when you consume it."

Ohh and otto? What Parsec said!

Sorry otto, I keep forgetting that you kneejerk like a galvanized frenchman to all those big words I use.
richdiggins
5 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2018
Lets not forget that Gobeki Tepe has evidence of beer brewing / fermentation and dates to at least 11Kyr.

Secondly, 14Kyrs would have placed this during the last ice age so the desert landscape was probably alot different.

And thirdly, South american natives were also busy figuring out agriculture and fermentation at around the same time.
richdiggins
1 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2018
Lets not forget that Gobeki Tepe has evidence of beer brewing / fermentation and dates to at least 11Kyr.

Secondly, 14Kyrs would have placed this during the last ice age so the desert landscape was probably alot different.

And thirdly, South american natives were also busy figuring out agriculture and fermentation at around the same time.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jul 17, 2018
maybe its a little rare bit of humor from the dude heh. I agree the actual concept is far fetched, but the idea is not completely absurd. And in fact, people DO shit where they eat. Even in modern times, human feces is a common crop fertilizer
Naw willis is as serious as a psychopath troll can be.

But since you took the bait, explain please the mechanism since he apparently cant. This is not night soil being used as fertilizer, this is collecting seeds for replanting from turd piles, as opposed to collecting the best of them from where crops are normally planted.

IOW willis thinks they should be shitted out before replanting.

"No honey, get the good stuff that grows in the latrine. As usual."
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2018
The real explanation

"Psychopaths are notorious for not answering the questions asked them. They will answer something else, or in such a way that the direct question is never addressed. They also phrase things so that some parts of their narratives are difficult to understand. This is not careless speech, of which everyone is guilty at times, but an ongoing indication of the underlying condition in which the organization of mental activity suggests something is wrong. It's not what they say, but how they say it that gives insight into their true nature.

"But this raises, again, the question: if their speech is so odd, how come smart people get taken in by them? Why do we fail to pick up the inconsistencies?"

-I find the easiest way is to check their 'facts', expose them as lies, and ask them to explain themselves. Then try to sidestep the flood of fertilizer.

It won't stop their bullshit, but it tells us what we are dealing with.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2018
BTW I always quote from this excellent paper

"THE PSYCHOPATH - The Mask of Sanity
Special Research Project of the Quantum Future School"
https://www.cassi...path.htm
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2018
Okay ottogimli, I accept the challenge. Now have someone help you use your fingers and toes to count to twenty paces.

Defining a nice campsite. Most important, protectable! Difficult for a predator to sneak up on without being detected. Water and firewood close but not too close.

Today, tomorrow, a year or a lifetime from now, a nice campsite.

otto, I realize you are the product of poor toilet training. Must of been very embarrassing for you through High School. With your mommy following you around waving a roll of TP, While yelling"Ottosnookums! The job isn't finished until the paperwork is done!"

Nice campsite, nice fire going. Roots baking, a hot rock frying mashed grains and nuts into hotcakes. On a good day, some meat cooking. And eventually everybody has to crap.

You don't let them go out into the brush. Probably one of the old women had dug a slit trench, downwind but in full sight of the rest of the band. For mutual protection.

- cont'd -

rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2018
- cont'd -
The band stays a week or two, then moves on. Wandering around, usually sticking to familiar routes. Maybe following the wild herds. Maybe seeking out a shoreline to harvest when the usual game animals are scarce. Maybe a familiar fishing river when during the annual spawning.

Always moving around, sometimes returning to a previous campsite a couple of times a year.

For generation after generation over tens of thousands of years. Slowly the refuse accumulates, rots, germinates and propagates in the campsites. Maybe the original nomads have moved on? A good campsite will be sought out by new peoples migrating into the area. And they will eat and crap in their turn.

Endless repetition. And eventually the good campsites are a source of food without the risk of searching the brush.

When you flush otto? Do you think it's magic fairies carrying away your crap?

Time otto, it's all about the span of time. And yours is up.
barakn
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 17, 2018
Oh right youre just trolling like the psychopath that you are. -TheGhostOfOtto

A real psychopath would have no problem misapplying the diagnosis 'psychopath' to people he or she considers to be enemies on the internet despite having no qualifications to make said diagnosis and despite short internet comments being completely unreliable material for psychological diagnoses. Of course a victim of the Dunning–Kruger effect would also have no problem misapplying the diagnosis 'psychopath.'
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2018
careful barakn, you don't want to stick your hand in that cage. No matter how sympathetic you might be towards the obvious fear and distress of the miserable critter.

As I tell everyone else distressed by the incivility and outright viciousness in these commentaries....

This site keeps all us kooks and cranks and nasty codgers away from pestering and disrupting communications between real scientists.

With the additional benefit of providing material for the psych & social sciences grad students who monitor these futile commentaries.

Please don't spoil it for them. Some of the most ridiculous comments are dissertation gold!

Otherwise? Are you so sadistic that you would require some naive and innocent grad student to have to interview any of us in person?

"Hello, Clarice..."
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jul 18, 2018
A real psychopath would have no problem misapplying the diagnosis 'psychopath' to people he or she considers to be enemies on the internet despite having no qualifications to make said diagnosis and despite short internet comments being completely unreliable material for psychological diagnoses. Of course a victim of the Dunning–Kruger effect would also have no problem misapplying the diagnosis 'psychopath.'
-Except that in your dealings with me you know I take great pains to research and present facts. So much so that I find you for one, easy to shut down most of the time with only a little googling.

And unlike willis and gkam I am obviously here to talk about said facts and not myself.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2018
Im sure willis has seen this

The twenty traits on the Hare Psychopathy checklist are:
pathological lying
glib and superficial charm
grandiose sense of self
need for stimulation
cunning and manipulative
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow emotional response
callousness and lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
impulsivity
irresponsibility
failure to accept responsibility
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

"Most therapy programs only provide them with new excuses for their behavior as well as new insights into the vulnerabilities of others. Through psychotherapy, they learn new and better ways of manipulating. What they do NOT do is make any effort to change their own views and attitudes."

-A cribsheet for psychopaths. Willis however seems a slave to his compulsions.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jul 18, 2018
For generation after generation over tens of thousands of years. Slowly the refuse accumulates, rots, germinates and propagates in the campsites. Maybe the original nomads have moved on?
"Ah home sweet home. Hey lets go over and shit on all that good food."

"Most people are able to combine ideas that have consistent thought themes, but psychopaths have great difficulty doing this. Again, this suggests a genetic restriction to what we have called the Juvenile Dictionary. Not only are they using extremely restricted definitions, they cannot, by virtue of the way their brains work, do otherwise."
barakn
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 18, 2018
No, they shit where they dont grow food, usually.- TGOO1923
"Humans have been repurposing their feces for thousands of years—some more safely than others. Often known by its euphemistic name "night soil," the most famous example of raw human waste application might be China, where human excrement was used for centuries in an attempt to close the nutrient cycle in their fields, something that agricultural scientist F.H. King cited in the early 20th century as the reason behind China's seemingly perennial fertility." "Almost 50 percent of biosolids created in the United States are applied to land, with the majority being used in agriculture." https://modernfar...tilizer/
barakn
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 18, 2018
-Except that in your dealings with me you know I take great pains to research and present facts. So much so that I find you for one, easy to shut down most of the time with only a little googling.
No, you don't take any pains at all. Just look at this thread. I'm not certain why you think I'm "easy to shut down." Maybe it's because when I've won an argument, I leave the field of victory.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jul 19, 2018
Yeah I already mentioned night soil. Plants were domesticated by purposefully taking seeds from the best plants and replanting them in arable soil. The idea that the occasional seed that made it through the human digestive tract, was buried in a turd along with all these purposefully-selected seeds, and THIS became the driver of domestication, is ludacrous.

But it shows where willises imagination prefers to dwell.

"One very interesting aspect of the psychopath is his "hidden life" that is sometimes not too well hidden. It seems that the psychopath has a regular need to take a "vacation into filth and degradation" the same way normal people may take a vacation to a resort where they enjoy beautiful surroundings and culture."

Evidence abounds.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2018
No, you don't take any pains at all. Just look at this thread. I'm not certain why you think I'm "easy to shut down." Maybe it's because when I've won an argument, I leave the field of victory
No, you usually just drop a bunch of 1/5s. But when you do counterpost it's usually an ad hom phrase or 2, and when I take the time to follow up you never respond.

This is not winning unless you consider trolling is winning.

In fact I think this is the longest dialogue we've had. What - 4 posts?

Must've hit a nerve.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (3) Jul 19, 2018
poor otto, the perfect example of a faux-human exhibited as a Klein Jar.

If he ever pulls his head out of his own rectum and actually reads his original comments? Not the self-revelations of inferiority from all the plagiarized works he posts. In the delusion that he is revealing anyone but himself.

Purpose-driven human selection of seeds, cuttings, breeding stock actually occurred well after the establishment of agriculture upon the ancient latrines of nomadic ancestors.

At your age and you still cannot emotionally deal with your natural bodily functions? I pity the orderly who has to put up with your tantrums trying to keep you cleaned up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2018
"The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period"

-Wild grains. Pre-domesticated.

Willis finds his sphincter more attractive than his navel to gaze in. Hard to differentiate eh? Real truths only come from his ass.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (2) Jul 19, 2018
otto, When I realized that you are advocating for Lysenkoism? You embracing the all to common delusion that function follows form. I had to laugh. Cause otto my boy, Lysenkoism is just a variant on creationism.

All your blustering fulminations against creationist fraud is arguing against yourself.

Indeed otto you are a laugh riot!
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 19, 2018
Ahhh, so archaeologists have finally been to McDonalds!
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2018
otto, When I realized that you are advocating for Lysenkoism? You embracing the all to common delusion that function follows form. I had to laugh. Cause otto my boy, Lysenkoism is just a variant on creationism.

All your blustering fulminations against creationist fraud is arguing against yourself.

"psychopaths are good imposters. They have absolutely no hesitation about forging and brazenly using impressive credentials to adopt professional roles that bring prestige and power. They pick professions in which the requisite skills are easy to fake, the jargon is easy to learn, and the credentials are unlikely to be thoroughly checked."

-Well hey - YOU like big words, dont you willis?

Who you trying to kid you loser?
katesisco
1 / 5 (1) Jul 23, 2018
I think maybe cannibalism drove the establishment of grain eating.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jul 23, 2018
I think maybe cannibalism drove the establishment of grain eating
Both cannibalism and eating low quality foods are the result of overpopulation.

But please explain your logic. Burgers need buns maybe?
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 23, 2018
If they were able to produce bread, they could also produce beer.

Not sure this follows. Making bread from wild cereals does not require a sedentary lifestyle. Making beer is more complicated (takes more time) and is not something you can easily do on the go.

the most famous example of raw human waste application might be China, where human excrement was used for centuries in an attempt to close the nutrient cycle in their fields

You don't need to go that far back. It seems that this practice is still alive in North Korea (for lack of nitrogen fertilizer). It's a reason why they keep finding parasites in the guts of escaped North Koreans.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 23, 2018
You don't need to go that far back. It seems that this practice is still alive in North Korea (for lack of nitrogen fertilizer). It's a reason why they keep finding parasites in the guts of escaped North Koreans.
heck, you don't even need to point to poverty-stricken North Korea, to tell the truth

it's even being taught in certain "green" forums for self-sufficient lifestyles ... https://humanurehandbook.com/

Kweden
not rated yet Jul 24, 2018
Is anyone else suspicious of how they conclude that this happened before farming, since they found farm implements and tools at the site, and the site was a kitchen for a small town?
More strange than that...in the archeology I studied it was well accepted that agriculture began before civilsation in the form of cities (which is generally accepted to be 12500 yrs ago in this region, but mayve been as much as 10000 earlier) and their have been farm lands discovered estimated to be from 20000, 40000, and some possibly from 60000 years ago.
What are the heck are they calling "agriculture"?
Or is this a religiously censored and edited version of archeology because of the region it came from or the editors in charge?

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