Finding the First Loaf Timeline

When taking a look at bread, and the search for the first loaf, it is important to know the history of the people that made this bread, as well as understand the advent of the tools that were created in order to make the staple food.

When did bread first appear?

The first direct evidence for bread was found in a pit oven of the Natufian Era in what is now the country of Jordan, about 14,400 years ago. In archaeology we can generally assume that if something shows up in the material record, it was most likely used prior to that time. How much prior is unknown.

For this evidence, we need to have tools to manipulate the grain, fire to cook it, and the knowledge and skills to bring the two together. I believe that we have this confluence show in the archaeological record as early as 23,000 years ago in the Oholo II site. However, there is less direct evidence that grain could have been turned into bread much earlier.

For a more complete look at the history of bread, and the first load, check out my podcast and full article.

Timeline of the Creation of Bread

Below is a timeline of breads creation showing some of the most important archaeological finds that lead us to the first loaf.

Time PeriodGeologic EpochHistoric AgeWhat is happening?
3 million years agoLower Paleolothic BeginsAustralopithecines create first known stone tools at Lomekwi 3
2.6 million years agoPleistocene Begins
2.4 million years agoHomo habilis joins hunt
2 million years agoPossibly the first controlled fire
1.6 million years agoHomo erectus is born
1 million years agoStronger evidence for first controlled fire
430,000 years agoNeanderthals Join the Fray. For sure, we have controlled fire!
315,000 years agoMiddle Paleolithic BeginsHomo sapiens appear
200,000 years agoAcheulean hand axes
50,000 years agoUpper Paleolithic Begins
23,000 years agoOholo II, we have grain processing!
14,400 years agoOldest Direct Evidence of Bread at Shubayqa 1
12,000 years agoNeolithic Begins
11,700 years agoHolocene Begins


Jae is a high school history teacher for an online school. After using bread as an example for a few lessons he realized that bread increased engagement in his class. After a lot of research he was able to add even more bread related lessons. Now most of his research is around bread and the history and culture related to bread.

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