World’s Oldest Bread Found in Turkey, Dating Back 8,600 Years

It was determined that the organic residue was 8,600-year-old

In a groundbreaking discovery, archaeologists in Turkey unearthed what they believe to be the world’s oldest bread. The find dates back to an impressive 6600 BC and was located at Catalhoyuk, an archaeological site in southern Turkey’s Konya province. 

The bread residue was found near a partially destroyed oven structure in an area called “Mekan 66,” surrounded by ancient mudbrick houses. According to a press release from Turkey’s Necmettin Erbakan University Science and Technology Research and Application Center (BITAM), the bread appears to be a round, spongy remnant and was identified through analysis.

It was determined that the organic residue was 8,600-year-old, uncooked, fermented bread, CNN reported. 

“We can say that this finds at Catalhoyuk is the oldest bread in the world,” archaeologist Ali Umut Turkcan, head of the Excavation Delegation and an associate professor at Anadolu University in Turkey, told Turkish state news outlet Anadolu Agency Wednesday.

“It is a smaller version of a loaf of bread. It has a finger pressed in the center, it has not been baked, but it has been fermented and has survived to the present day with the starches inside. There is no similar example of something like this to date,” he added.

Microscopic analysis confirmed the team’s suspicions. Images from a scanning electron microscope revealed air spaces and identifiable starch granules within the sample. Salih Kavak, a biologist at Gaziantep University in Turkey, explained in the press release that this finding “eliminated our doubts” about the bread’s authenticity.

Further analysis revealed the chemical makeup of the sample, including both plant material and indicators of fermentation. This suggests that flour and water were combined to create the dough, which was then prepared near the oven and likely stored for some time.

“It is an exciting discovery for Turkey and the world,” Kavak said.

A thin layer of clay encasing the structure acted as a preservative for organic materials like wood and bread, explains archaeologist Turkcan.

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