250-Year-Old Pretzels Reveal Germany’s HIstory

Archaeologists in Germany have discovered the remains of two very old pretzels, estimated to be around 250-300 years old. They were found in a dig at the banks of the Danube River in Regensburg, and although, you wouldn’t want to eat them, the discovery is still unique and exciting for many reasons.

The two pretzels are quite similar to those currently produced all over Germany in modern beer halls, suggesting that the way they are made hasn’t changed much over the centuries. The one difference is that they might have been a bit smaller in size when compared to those made and sold today.

The pretzels were found alongside a 1,200-year-old, wooden house, as well as fragments of other pastries, such as three little cakes, a burned bread roll and croissant, in the area where the Museum of Bavarian History now sits. Prior to that, there had been several bakeries over the centuries located in that spot.

According to an official from the Bavarian Bureau of the Conservation of Historic Monuments, the pretzels are the oldest that have ever been discovered, dating back to the 18th century. Spokesperson Dorothee Ott also stated that the pretzels, along with the other finds, will be placed on display this week at the Regensburg Historical Museum, serving as an important glimpse into Germany’s past. The mayor of the town of Regensburg, Joachim Wolbergs, agrees that the discoveries provide significant clues about normal, everyday life in the 18th century.

Today, the pretzel is considered a southern Germany and Austrian delicacy. In Bavaria, it is even a common part of a good breakfast served with white sausage and sweet mustard. The type of pretzel found in the dig, however, is meant to stand for a monk’s crossed arms, which does add a bit more history to the find, as the monk is a symbol of Germany’s capital, Munich. The archaeological site will also serve as the location for the future construction of a Bavarian history museum, which will mark the anniversary of the area’s position in 2018 as a free state.