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Home » 8,600-year-old bread residue found in Catalhoyuk, Turkey, potentially the oldest in the world

8,600-year-old bread residue found in Catalhoyuk, Turkey, potentially the oldest in the world

The discovery of an 8,600-year-old piece of bread at Catalhoyuk in south-central Turkey unveils fascinating insights into the culinary practices and lifestyles of early urban settlers during the Neolithic period. Catalhoyuk stands as one of the earliest known urban settlements globally, offering a window into the lives of its approximately 8,000 inhabitants and their remarkable ingenuity in adapting to their .

The remarkable find, unearthed within a structure resembling an oven in Catalhoyuk's “Space 66,” sheds light on the dietary habits and food preparation techniques of its ancient residents. This structure, characterized by interconnected adobe houses with roofs accessible from above, likely served as a communal cooking area where culinary traditions were shared and preserved.

The discovery of the palm-sized artifact containing wheat, barley, and pea seeds near the oven suggests its role in food preparation, possibly for communal meals shared among the settlement's inhabitants. The meticulous analyses conducted at the Science and Technology Research and Application Center (BITAM) of Necmettin Erbakan University in Konya unveiled the surprising revelation that the spongy residue identified as leavened bread dates back to 6600 BC.

Ali Umut Turkcan, Head of the Team at Anadolu University, underscores the significance of this discovery within the realm of archaeology, highlighting the emergence of food archaeology as a burgeoning field within modern archaeological practices. He emphasizes Anatolia's pivotal role in , particularly at Catalhoyuk, where meticulous documentation and detailed studies have enabled the identification of organic residues, such as the ancient bread.

Turkcan's assertion that Catalhoyuk holds the distinction of housing the world's oldest bread underscores the site's importance as a hub of innovation and cultural exchange during the Neolithic period. He draws parallels to other groundbreaking discoveries made at Catalhoyuk, including the unearthing of the world's first textiles and wooden artifacts, further solidifying its status as a cradle of .

Salih Kavak, a lecturer at Gaziantep University, expresses enthusiasm for his contribution to the analysis and evaluation of the Catalhoyuk Neolithic Period Bread Discovery, labeling it as the most exciting study in archaeo- to date. His detailed examination of plant residues reveals the presence of cereal residues, including barley, wheat, and peas, strengthening the that the artifact represents an early form of bread.

Kavak's emphasis on the need for chemical and physical analyses underscores the interdisciplinary nature of archaeological research, where collaboration between scientists from diverse fields enriches our understanding of and their cultural practices. The discovery's confirmation through advanced techniques such as SEM imaging and further validates its significance as a groundbreaking .

Yasin Ramazan Eker, BITAM's Deputy Director, underscores the center's role in advancing archaeological research through cutting-edge technology, enabling the accurate analysis and interpretation of archaeological findings. The discovery of the 8,600-year-old bread residue at Catalhoyuk exemplifies the transformative impact of technological advancements on our understanding of the past, reaffirming the importance of preserving and studying archaeological sites for future generations.