The world's oldest known bread was unearthed in Jordan recently, according to The Jerusalem Post. Made from wild grains such as barley, einkorn or oats, and also tubers from an aquatic papyrus relative, the ingredients were ground into flour and made into a bread that was probably unleavened, a flatbread resembling modern-day pita bread.

What's important about this discovery is that the remains of the charred bread are more than 5,000 years older than the bread that last held the oldest-bread-ever-discovered title, found on a site in Turkey. That ancient bread was about 9,100 years old. The bread found in Jordan is about 14,500 years old.

The recently discovered bread made by a group called the Natufians was baked more than 4,000 years before cultures starting cultivating plants. A nomadic lifestyle doesn't lend itself to farming, but the Natufians seem to be one of the first to live a stay-in-one-place life.

This discovery poses some questions about the origins of agriculture. It was previously believed that bread came after people started cultivating plants. Now, it's more of a chicken-or-egg type question. Which came first, bread making or agriculture? Did farming lead to bread making? Or, did some culture, perhaps the Natufians, figure out how to make bread and upon the first bite feel the same way about bread that Oprah does?


Did the joy of bread inspire them to stay put and farm?

As anthropologists, archeologists, historians and food scientists try to figure out that answer, one thing is probably for sure. Someone is going to decide that since this is the oldest bread known to man, it's the purest, cleanest, most ancient form of eating. So, get ready for the Aquatic Papyrus Tuber Diet. Just wait and see.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Even 14,000 years ago, we loved bread
Discovery hints that bread making predates agriculture, and raises more questions.