At an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago. It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.
Baking bread would be, by any standard, a pretty good indicator of very sophisticated human behavior… especially if we found any minced garlic fragments nearby ; ). The controlled use of fire enabled us to unlock vastly more bioavailable nutrition with which to fuel advanced cognition while encouraging social cohesion and the transmission of oral information and culture.
I think the real leap forward was when they learned how to add some Asiago in with it.
This from David Reich, in the same magazine:
Controlled use of fire for cooking goes back at least a million years. I found this article most interesting because it gives an answer to why did human start cultivating plants. They were eating these plants for eons, they were making bread from wild plants 14,400 years ago. I bet it was the women of the group who said “those men didn’t gather enough wild oats today, so we are going to plant our own over here as an insurance policy”
The bread discovered in Jordan was made by a population called Natufians. http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2018/07/natufian-culture.html
Why do you call the animal bones found 1.4 million years ago “sacrificed remains”?
According to the Arabic meaning of the word Bethlehem, which is “House of Meat,” Bethlehem was an ancient site of animal sacrifice. The meat was eaten by the priests and those to whom they gave portions of the meat. This does not refer to 1.5 million years ago, however. Only to the types of animals that inhabited the area of Bethlehem. Sorry about the confusion.
Thank you. That makes it much clearer. Also can you point me to the current understanding of the status of Bethlehem as an inhibited town or city about 2018 years old?
Interesting. This person used images from my blog Biblical Anthropology where I talk about Sheep Cotes as sacred spaces. However, the one he used is in Anatolia, not Israel.
Joachim, the Virgin Mary’s father, was a shepherd-priest of the royal priestly line of Nathan. He was a shepherd priest of Bethlehem. Even those who rejected Jesus as Messiah recognized that Mary was the daughter of a ruler-priest. In the Talmud we read: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.” (Sanhedrin 106a)
The Protoevangelium of James says that Joachim kept flocks. The priests of old maintained shrines at water systems or wells where they watered their flocks. Moses tended the flocks of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. It was at Jethro’s well that Moses first met his future wife, Zipporah. Abraham’s servant found Rebecca at a well and Jacob first encountered Rachel at a well. Jesus encounters the first convert, a Samaritan woman known as Photini, at Jacob’s well.
There is a beautiful symmetry to the angelic announcement to the shepherds of Bethlehem that the Son of God has been born. Bethlehem was a Horite settlement (I Chronicles 4:4; 1 Chronicles 2:54), and it was to their ancestors in Eden that God first promised the Son/Seed (Gen 3:15). In God’s economy, which always gets the order of things right, the descendants of the people who first tasted paradise are the first to hear the news of deliverance and restoration.
Patrick, A 4,000-year-old tomb was discovered in Bethlehem during renovation of a local house. The tomb dates between 1,900 B.C. and 2,200 B.C., and the construction workers found it by crawling through a hole near the Church of the Nativity. The antiquities authorities documented the tomb and its contents, which were located about a meter below the surface. Pottery, plates and beads were retrieved from the tomb, along with the remains of two individuals.
Evidence of human habitation in the area of Bethlehem between 100,000-10,000 BC is well-attested along the north side of Wadi Khareitun where there are three caves: Iraq al-Ahmar, Umm Qal’a, and Umm Qatafa. These were shelters in a wooded landscape overlooking a river. At Umm Qatafa archaeologists have found the earliest evidence of the domestic use of fire in Palestine. There are 40 Paleolithic sites in the hills surrounding Jerusalem, many of them near Bethlehem.
Yes, and if you equate humanness to Homo Erectus, human habitation of the area of Bethlehem goes back at least 2 million years.
You were expecting otherwise?
My background in Arabic is extremely weak so my question comes more from my linguistics training. Is “House of Meat” as an Arabic translation of Bethlehem itself archaic because the “House of Meat” equivalent was published in English so long ago that the word meat still had its archaic meaning of “solid food” (as opposed to liquids like wine and milk)? That is, when English speakers today see the word meat, we assume it refers to the flesh of animals when consumed by humans. But a few centuries ago the English word meat simply meant solid food.
Accordingly, I am wondering if today’s lexicographers would still consider “House of Meat” (as in “House of animal flesh prepared for human consumption”) an accurate translation. I’m not insisting that it is not a good translation. I’m just prone to wonder about it because of what I’ve seen so often happen in the history of translation.
This kind of archaicism issue arises in Bible translation more often than I might wish. What was a good translation at the time of King James (as in the 1611 KJV Bible) can be misleading today but nevertheless continues to influence modern English Bibles. (Example: The general public virtually demands that the Hebrew word ERETZ in the early chapters of Genesis be translated earth [which risks misinterpretation as planet earth], just as it was translated in the KJV, even though the word land is far more accurate for today’s modern English.)
The Arabic for Bethlehem is Bēt Lahm, meaning “House of Meat.” It was a Horite Hebrew place of animal sacrifice.
Eretz can mean earth, land or territory. That is why it is perfectly sensible to read that the flood which Noah experience covered all the territory that he ruled.