Researchers Excavated A 4,000-Year-Old Remarkably Preserved Bowl Of Ancient Noodles In Northern China In 2005, Making Them The Oldest Noodles In The World

momo11353 - - illustrative purposes only

Noodles have a rich past that is mostly shrouded in mystery. This culinary delight is believed to have originated in East Asia many centuries ago, where it was a crucial part of the diet. Even today, noodles have a constant presence in our everyday lives.

For example, instant noodles are extremely popular and are often eaten as a late-night snack or as a quick meal. However, noodles back then looked very different from the kind you can now just conveniently heat up in the microwave.

In 2005, researchers unearthed a bowl of noodles at an archaeological site in northern China called Lajia, which is located in the upper reaches of the Yellow River between the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai.

The noodles date back 4,000 years ago, making them the oldest noodles in the world. Previously, the earliest evidence of the existence of noodles was a description of noodle preparation written in Chinese from 1,900 years ago.

The Lajia site was thought to have been destroyed long ago by an earthquake, triggering immense floods that wiped out the communities that lived in what is now known as the Qinghai province today.

A team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing was conducting excavations in the area when they discovered an earthenware bowl in good condition that had been flipped upside down. The bowl had been preserved all this time under layers of sediment.

In the bowl, they found the ancient noodles. An empty space between the rocks and the bottom of the bowl prevented the noodles from being crushed, tightly sealing them in and allowing for excellent preservation. When the bowl was picked up to reveal the noodles, the exposure to air caused them to crumble into dust.

However, scientists were still able to examine the remains. The noodles closely resembled the traditional hand-pulled Lamian noodles that are common in northern China.

After analyzing microscopic plant particles and the starch grains from the prehistoric noodles, scientists determined that they were made from millet, unlike the noodles of today, which are created from wheat. Wheat did not become a staple in China until the Han Dynasty (202 BCE to 220 CE).

momo11353 – – illustrative purposes only

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