Paleolithic People Were Baking Bread Inside This Cave Over 30,000 Years Ago

Deal with it, paleo dieters—this 30,000-year-old cave was once a bakery.

Researchers from the University of Florence have been exploring Grotta Paglicci, an ancient cave that was once a favorite haunt of Paleolithic peoples. Among the most interesting things they’ve been looking at is this pestle.


It may not look like much at first, until you learn what they found on it: a couple oat starch grains still attached. That in itself is a cool fact about ancient cooking, but further analysis revealed something even cooler. Before the grains were ground, they were baked, in the same process we still use to make flour today and, at over 30,000 years old, this is the oldest evidence of flour-making ever found.

This is far from the first study side-eyeing what it is that paleo dieters think the ancient diet consisted of—a previous study used some forensic genetics to trace the importance of carbs to our genetic development.


Taken together, these studies paint a picture of an ancient diet that’s much more varied than we thought it was—and perhaps much closer to some of our own than they’ve seemed.

Images: Stefano Ricci, University of Florence.


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