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 Period||Geologic Epoch||Historic Age||What is happening?|
|3 million years ago||Lower Paleolothic Begins||Australopithecines create first known stone tools at Lomekwi 3|
|2.6 million years ago||Pleistocene Begins|
|2.4 million years ago||Homo habilis joins hunt|
|2 million years ago||Possibly the first controlled fire|
|1.6 million years ago||Homo erectus is born|
|1 million years ago||Stronger evidence for first controlled fire|
|430,000 years ago||Neanderthals Join the Fray. For sure, we have controlled fire!|
|315,000 years ago||Middle Paleolithic Begins||Homo sapiens appear|
|200,000 years ago||Acheulean hand axes|
|50,000 years ago||Upper Paleolithic Begins|
|23,000 years ago||Oholo II, we have grain processing!|
|14,400 years ago||Oldest Direct Evidence of Bread at Shubayqa 1|
|12,000 years ago||Neolithic Begins|
|11,700 years ago||Holocene Begins|