Step aside, Twinkies. The most enduring snack just may be the pretzel, as evidenced by fragments of bakery castoffs discovered during an archaeological dig in Southern Germany. They are estimated to be around 250 tooth-breaking years old.
Reports the Guardian:
Dorothee Ott, spokeswoman for the Bavarian Office for Historical Conservation, said the pretzel fragments went on display this week at the Regensburg Historical Museum.
Ott said the pretzels and other baked goods found were badly burned, which is why they survived the centuries. Archaeologists believe they were discarded from a bakery that was once on the site.
Carbon dating places them between 1700 and 1800. Taking into account about 15% shrinkage, Ott says "it's a normal pretzel, maybe a little smaller than today."
Bavarian State Bureau for the Conservation of Historic Monuments archaeologist Silvia Codreanau-Windauer called the pretzel "an archaeological sensation" and declared it "definitely the oldest pretzel ever found."
The excavation also unearthed pieces of croissants and rolls, but as NBC notes, the pretzel holds particular cultural significance:
Last year, the European Union added the Bavarian pretzel to its "protected origins" list, meaning only pretzels made in Bavaria can be sold under the name "Bayerische Brezn" (Bavarian Pretzel).
Here's a close-up shot of the discovery, as historically remarkable as it is appetite-killing. Prost!
Images by BLfD, Thomas Stöckl, used by permission of the Bavarian State Conservation Office