Shubayqa 1 is a Natufian, epipaleolithic, archaeological site in Jordan (in Harrat Ash Shaam, the Black Desert) where the earliest recorded bread crumbs were found and dated to around 12,400 BC (14,400 BP) some 4000 years before the start of agriculture. The site was occupied between 14,600 and 12,000 BC.
A study by the University of Copenhagen published on 16 July 2018 analysed twenty four remains taken from two stone fireplaces. The crumbs were likely from a type of flatbread made from the wild ancestors of domesticated cereals such as einkorn wheat, barley, and oats and Bolboschoenus glaucus tubers (a kind of rush). These had been ground into flour, sieved and kneaded before cooking. Other food remains were found from birds and gazelles, as well as wild cereals and vegetables.
Archaeologist Tobias Richter, who led the excavations of Shubayqa 1 noted that "Natufian hunter-gatherers are of particular interest to us because they lived through a transitional period when people became more sedentary and their diet began to change."
Richter noted that the inhabitants of Shubayqa 1 domesticated dogs as early as 12,000 BC and built one of the earliest stone buildings in the world, including a paved, stone floor. They also produced art such as stone and bone figures. Richter said he had found "evidence for the presence of ritual specialists, Shamans or some kind of group leaders.”
Archaeobotanist Amaia Arranz Otaegui, who worked on the report described the bread as "a little sweet and a bit salty and had a gritty texture, but maybe that's because we didn't clean them well enough." Otaegui suggested that bread production was complicated, likely reserved for distinguished guests and may well have contributed to the start of the Neolithic Revolution.