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Spanish researchers find traces of food elaborated millennia before growing cereals
Bread was invented before wheat was grown .Spanish researchers have identified remains of bread produced 14,400 years ago, several millennia before cereals were domesticated. The discovery overturns the dominant account of the origin of such a basic food for the history of many civilizations and of agriculture itself.
The discovery occurred in the Black Desert in northeastern Jordan . In the fireplace of a small village, scientists have found thousands of organic remains of plant origin. The majority belonged to a tubercle associated with tiger nut. In smaller quantities, they also identified oat seeds, barley and Triticum monococcum, a wild wheat. But the most striking were 24 small burnt parts.
“Do you have a toaster at home? Because these 24 are very similar to the remains of bread that remain in it, “says researcher Amaia Arranz-Otaegui, University of Copenhagen, the study’s lead author. “The binocular microscope [the conventional optics] shows that there is something different, like fouling. But with the scanning electron microscope [which uses electron beams instead of light], we can see that they are plant cells, cereal cell cells, “adds researcher Lara González Carretero of University College London (UCL), co-author of work.
The Natufians made bread with grains of wild cereals
The study, published in the journal PNAS , describes it as flat, unleavened, unleavened bread made from flour and water. Under the microscope, a similar structure, although less inflated, can be observed than many present breads. The voids, the empty spaces, hardly occupy 16%, against 40% to 70% of the current, with yeast. It looks more like pita bread than a form. The carbon radiation dating considers this bread as the oldest ever found. So far, this post was occupied by a bread found by Gonzalez herself at Çatalhöyük, an archaeological site on the Konya plateau in Turkey. According to his estimates, it would be 9,000 years old. The identified one was now roasted about five millennia before.
The crumbs of 14,400 years were found by a team of archaeologists at the University of Copenhagen in Shubayqa (1), one of the oldest deposits of Natuvian culture, present throughout the Middle East, from northern Iraq to the Sinai peninsula in the modern Egypt.”The Natufians were the last hunter-gatherers [in the Middle East] before the arrival of the Neolithic farmers,” recalls Arranz-Otaegui, who participated in the excavations of the Black Desert for four years. That village already had domesticated dogs , had abandoned the nomadic life and counted on stones, pylons and a whole lithic industry to, among other things, make bread.
Ref. Prose Verse and Art