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Science

HUMANS MADE BREAD 4,000 YEARS BEFORE DISCOVERING AGRICULTURE

Carlos López/ San Sebastián/ About 14,000 years ago, groups of hunters and gatherers in northeastern Jordan produced the first breads of humanity, 4,000 years before the invention of agriculture and the exploitation of domestic animals made it possible to grow cereals for food.

If up until now the origins of such a symbolic and emblematic staple food as bread have been associated with the appearance of the first crops, an investigation into 24 remains of charred food recovered in the site of Shubayqa 1 (Jordan), led by the archaobotany Basque Amaia Arranz Otaegui, from the University of Copenhage, has begun to dismantle this idea.

A discovery, published by the prestigious American scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academic Science” (PNAS),in which experts from the University College of London and the University of Cambridge have also taken part.

Amaia Arranz Otaegui, a postdoctoral researcher who studied at University of Basque Country (UPV-EHU), relates now, in statements to Efe, about the moment she became aware that, among the remains of charred food recovered in the excavations of Subayqa 1, were found vestiges of the first breads made by the human being.

“Until recently- the expert explains- the archaebotany has focused on the analysis of seeds and coals, ignoring that in the sites there is another type of evidence that must be studied, such us the remains of food” which “cintribute more direct information to know the diet of our ancestors.”

Aranz admits that these findings “are not easy to recognize” in the excavations because “they are literally amorphous, ugly” and “in the eyes of someone who is not a specialist”, they can be confused with remains of manure, tubers or charred wood in very bad condition.”

“When I was in Jordan, I realized that I had materials that I could not classify as seeds, tubers, woord or manure and that’s why I called them remains of processed plants,” the researcher says, who confess that she did not really begin to suspect the importance of what she had in hand until she decided to visit her friend of the UCL and co-author of the investigation, Lara Gónzalez Carretero.

“When she saw the samples on a table- she describes-, Lara told me that they were very similar to other rests of bread that she had investigated in the Neolithic site of Catalhüyük (Turkey).”

“We almost fell to the ground- she recalls- when we realized that we had in front of us the oldest bread remains that are known and that were at least 4,000 years before she had studied to do her doctoral thesis, which, precisely, is entitled “The origins of bread””.

Now, the interdisciplinary research developed on these food remains constitute “the earliest empirical evidence” known up until now of “the preparation of bread-like products by hunter-gatherers belonging to the Natufian culture (Middle East).

For this, they used some of the species considered later as the “founding crops” of agriculture, such as wild wheat (“Triticum boeoticum”), as well as tubers of the family of chufa and papyrus (Ciperaceae).

“The remains suggest that they probably produced flat bread, of the type known as pita bread,” says the Basque researcher, who, however, clarifies that, although this product currently “constitutes a staple food”, probably in the Natufian culture it was not “consumed regularly” and did not become general until the domestication of cereals and the emergence of agriculture.

Arranz remembers that before her discovery other authors already raised the possibility that some foods like bread and beer arose before agriculture and that their consumption and production could accelerate the process of domestication. “But what was it before: the chicken or the egg?” In the opinion of the Basque researcher, the data provided now by her discovery suggest that bread arrived before agriculture. (July, 2018, EFE/PracticaEspañol)

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Question 1
El texto trata sobre...
A
La relación entre la agricultura y el pan.
B
El descubrimiento de los primeros restos de pan en la historia.
C
La dieta de nuestros antepasados que incluía la ingesta de pan.
Question 2
La investigación de Amaia Arranz Otaegui cuestionó teorías pasadas.
A
Verdadero.
B
No se cita.
C
Falso.
Question 3
El trabajo de investigación de Arranz es...
A
individual.
B
realizado con su compañera Lara González Carretero.
C
ninguna de las propuestas.
Question 4
Los descubrimientos son...
A
como cualquier otro descubrimiento.
B
muy difíciles de encontrar.
C
fáciles de encontrar.
Question 5
Arranz ya había estudiado los orígenes del pan.
A
Falso.
B
Verdadero.
C
No se cita.
Question 6
El vídeo muestra los criterios para elegir la mejor baguette de París.
A
Falso.
B
Verdadero.
C
No se cita.
Question 7
Según el vídeo, una de las teorías acerca de la invención de este tipo de pan es...
A
que se inventó en las campañas napoleónicas.
B
que se inventó en la Primera Guerra Mundial.
C
que se inventó en la Segunda Guerra Mundial.
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