Human evolution

Tiny pieces of bread found from 14,500 years ago, predating known agriculture

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From Tobias Richter and Amaia Arranz-Otaegui at Sapiens:

The Natufian, dated to 11,700–15,000 years ago, is often described as an important cultural precursor to the Neolithic era. During the Natufian, the world’s earliest stone houses, grinding tools, and sickle blades appear in large numbers in the Levant, suggesting that the hunter-gatherers here included plants, cereals amongst them, more frequently in their everyday diet. Natufian hunter-gatherers were also more sedentary than preceding Paleolithic societies, which may have pushed them onto a road of no return toward plant cultivation and agriculture.

When Arranz-Otaegui told her that it was from a 14,500-year-old hunter-gatherer site in Jordan, it was Carretero’s turn to be stunned. The site was thousands of years older than Çatalhöyük.

With the discovery of bread at Shubayqa 1, we now know a little bit more about past foodways in southwest Asia. But this just leads us to ask new questions. Was bread already a staple food during the Natufian—or perhaps even earlier? Or was it a rare treat? Did people fall in love with bread, and did this spark their interest in producing more flour, perhaps incentivizing them to start cultivating plants? What were the effects of bread making and its consumption on Natufian and Neolithic societies? More.

Still searching for the Missing Link, ever further in the past…

Çatalhöyük.

Also: Stone tools put early hominids in China 2.1 million years ago “After learning how to make stone flakes sharp enough to slice meat off animals’ carcasses around 2.6 million years ago, African hominids may have had the survival skills to fan out into Asia and reach Shangchen by 2.1 million years ago, Dennell says.” (Bruce Bower) https://www.sciencenews.org/article/shangchen-stone-tools-put-early-hominids-china-earlier

See also: Alert! Common sense has invaded anthropology. Researcher claims: Chimps ‘r NOT us…

and

How did stone tools get to the Philippines 700 kya?

One Reply to “Tiny pieces of bread found from 14,500 years ago, predating known agriculture

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    You fixed the study by adding “known” to agriculture.

    The researchers seem to be confounded by the existence of bread before artifacts that would imply agriculture. From there they conclude that agriculture must have started developing later, in order to make more bread.

    Simpler conclusion: the existence of bread means that those people ALREADY HAD agriculture, and we don’t understand or haven’t found the evidence of agriculture.

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