At 11,600 years old, this mountaintop archaeological site has been described as the world’s oldest temple — so ancient, in fact, that its T-shaped pillars and circular enclosures pre-date pottery in the Middle East.
The clues from Göbekli Tepe reveal that ancient humans relied on grains much earlier than was previously thought — even before there is evidence that these plants were domesticated. And Dietrich’s work is part of a growing movement to take a closer look at the role that grains and other starches had in the diet of people in the past.
There is evidence that people in the region have been eating bulgur for at least 4,000 years4. By boiling barley or wheat and then drying it for storage and quick rehydration later, “you could process the harvest in bulk and take advantage of the hot sun”, Valamoti says. “Then you can use it throughout the year. It was the fast food of the past.”