Bread fragment - ROM2018_16363_1


Bread fragment

Medium:Emmer wheat
Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 2055-2004 BC
Period: Reign of Mentuhotep II, 11th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom
13.4 × 7.9 × 2 cm
Object number: 907.18.22
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt
DescriptionThe Egyptians had begun to make bread from wheat by Predynastic times. The earliest bread, rather like this example which may date to the Eleventh Dynasty, seems to have been thin, pliable loaves, very like today’s pita or ‘aish shamsy. Neolithic specimens of bread found at the site of el-Badari were quite porous, indicating that some levening was practiced. During pharaonic times, many varieties of bread were made by the Egyptians for daily use, for festivals, and as offerings for the gods and for the dead.

The Egyptians made bread from many different grains. Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum) was one of the first crops domesticated in West Asia, and was the main grain grown in ancient Egypt. It generally produces a bread that is darker and more flavourful than ordinary wheat breads. This particular piece of round bread had a very spongy texture, and may have been a sourdough flatbread. It has many seeds – a truly whole wheat bread.

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