Origin of Fire

Topics: Paleolithic, Prehistory, Control of fire by early humans Pages: 8 (2491 words) Published: May 21, 2013
The largest technological breakthrough in prehistory was the discovery of fire. The discovery of the technology to make and sustain fire. The discovery of fire, or, more precisely, the controlled use of fire was, of necessity, one of the earliest of human discoveries. Fire's purposes are multiple, some of which are to add light and heat, to cook plants and animals, to clear forests for planting, to heat-treat stone for making stone tools, to burn clay for ceramic objects. Until not long ago mainstream archeology thought fire making was discovered in current day China some 300,000 to 500,000 years ago. But more recent discoveries in the last few decades have suggested that the discovery of fire technology was made far before that time period. The original source of fire undoubtedly was lightning, and such fortuitously ignited blazes remained the only source of fire for aeons. In reality humans most likely made the discovery of fire making from spontaneous eruptions of earth gas, lightning strikes and vulcanic eruptions which were common in east Mid-Africa where Homo Sapiens and many other hominids lived in prehistoric times. In an ancient site in Israel called Gesher Benot Ya’aqov burned wood and seeds were discovered dating back to 790,000B.C. Findings in the Transvaal, South Africa, show that Hominids were making fire far before previously thought. The Homo Erectus, a predecessor to the **Homo Sapien that lived aproximately 1,5 million to 30,000 years ago, has been thought possible to have known how to use fire. But the ability to make fire was almost certainly not known by the **Homo Erectus. According to Ancient Folklore…

Many civilizations tell the story of the importance of the discovery of fire. Stories of hero’s and magical beasts that master the use of fire. In Greek mythology the hero Prometheus steals the fire from the gods and brings it to the humans. The discovery of fire making has almost certainly been made by Homo Sapiens as fire making objects such as fire stone and cave drawings suggest. Other hominids such as Homo Erectus probably knew about the existence of fire, they would have probably experimented with fire when they came across local bonfires that could have triggered their interest. The invention of fire making using tools such as creating sparks with fire stone and using strew and the rubbing of a wooden stick, creating friction and fire is expected to have been invented later somewhere around 400.000 years ago. Early man could have done this in several ways, although the sequence of the methods used is unclear. 1) The rubbing together of sticks

2) Chipping flint stones to create sparks which would fall onto hair or dry grass 3) Striking a piece of iron pyrite with flint stone to produce sparks This last method is believed to be rather recent as evidence of its use has been found in a Belgian cave with a date of only 10-15,000 years old For some years Peking man, about 500,000 BC, was believed to be the earliest unquestionable user of fire; evidence uncovered in Kenya in 1981 and in South Africa in 1988, however, suggests that the earliest controlled use of fire by hominids dates from about 1,420,000 years ago. Not until about 7000 BC did **Neolithic man acquire reliable fire-making techniques, in the form either of drills, saws, and other friction-producing implements or of flint struck against pyrites. Even then it was more convenient to keep a fire alive permanently than to reignite it. Evidence of Hominin Control of Fire at Gesher Benot Ya`aqov, Israel

The presence of burned seeds, wood, and flint at the Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya`aqov in Israel is suggestive of the control of fire by humans nearly 790,000 years ago. The distribution of the site's small burned flint fragments suggests that burning occurred in specific spots, possibly indicating hearth locations. Wood of six taxa was burned at the site, at least three of which are edible—olive, wild barley, and wild...
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