German archaeologists announced this week they have discovered what could be the world's oldest pretzel.
Unearthed during a large excavation on the "Donaumarkt" in Regensburg, an area nearby the Danube which was destroyed in the 1950-60s, the charred pretzel fragments are believed to be 250 years old. They were recovered beneath a floor in a structure long known to be a bakery.
"We found the remains of two pretzels, a piece of bread shaped like a croissant and three small bread rolls," Silvia Codreanu-Windauer, of the Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites, told Discovery News.
All the baked goods were totally carbonized, which is why they have been preserved for so long.
"We suppose the baker forgot the pieces in the oven and afterwards he threw them away in a hole under the floor," Codreanu-Windauer said.
Carbon dating showed the pastries were made between 1700 and 1800. Indeed, the archaeologists found written evidence that in 1753 a baker named Johann Georg Held was living at the site.
"As far I know these are the world's oldest pretzels, although we know from 12th century miniature pictures and from a pretzel shaped fibula that these dough products were baked since the early Middle Age," Codreanu-Windauer said.