The first solid evidence of human use of fire in Eurasia as early as 790,000 years ago has been found in excavations in Israel conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology.
The discovery was made in excavations, which have been conducted over seven seasons, at the Benot Ya’aqov bridge site along the Dead Sea rift in the Hula Valley of northern Israel. According to Prof. Naama Goren-Inbar, head of the Institute of Archaeology and director of the Benot Ya’aqov excavations, this is the best evidence yet found for human use of fire during the period of the Acheulian culture (from approximately 1.8 million years to 250,000 years ago).
An article on the discovery of this early use of fire appears in the current issue of the journal Science. The article details findings of burned fragments of flint, wood, fruit and grains, indicating that the early humans living at Benot Ya’aqov knew how to control fire and use it to process food. Additional concentrations of burned flint were also found in distinct areas of the site, suggesting that the inhabitants made hearths for cooking and possibly as a site for gatherings.
Prof. Goren-Inbar says that while earlier evidence of use of fire was found in Africa, the current findings from Benot Ya’aqov are definitely the earliest yet found for Eurasia and of a more definitive quality than some of the reported evidence from Africa. The waterlogged environment of Benot Ya’aqov has provided a unique site for preservation of prehistoric archaeological finds, she points out.
The manipulation of fire by early man was clearly a turning point for our ancient ancestors, says Prof. Goren-Inbar. Once “domesticated,” fire enabled protection from predators and provided warmth and light as well as enabling the exploitation of a new range of foods.
The evidence of use of fire has been unearthed in various layers of human occupation at the Benot Ya’aqov site, illustrating that once acquired, the ability to use fire remained with generations of early humans who occupied the area over the millennia.
Jerry Barach | Source: Hebrew University
Further information: www.huji.ac.il
More articles from Earth Sciences:
Deep-Sea Study Reveals Cause of 2011 Tsunami
06.12.2013 | McGill University
No Undo for Climate Change: Potential Pitfalls of Geoengineering
05.12.2013 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived.
Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually ...
A star is formed when a large cloud of gas and dust condenses and eventually becomes so dense that it collapses into a ball of gas, where the pressure heats the matter, creating a glowing gas ball – a star is born.
New research from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, shows that a young, newly formed star in the Milky Way had such an explosive growth, that it was initially about 100 times brighter than it is now. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The young ...
06.12.2013 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News
12.11.2013 | Event News