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:
NASA's Landsat Satellite Looks for a Cloud-Free View
23.05.2013 | NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA's SDO Observes Mid-level Solar Flare
23.05.2013 | NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
New indicator molecules visualise the activation of auto-aggressive T cells in the body as never before
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to examine individual cells and their activity directly in the tissue.
The development of new microscopes and fluorescent dyes in ...
A fried breakfast food popular in Spain provided the inspiration for the development of doughnut-shaped droplets that may provide scientists with a new approach for studying fundamental issues in physics, mathematics and materials.
The doughnut-shaped droplets, a shape known as toroidal, are formed from two dissimilar liquids using a simple rotating stage and an injection needle. About a millimeter in overall size, the droplets are produced individually, their shapes maintained by a surrounding springy material made of polymers.
Droplets in this toroidal shape made ...
Frauhofer FEP will present a novel roll-to-roll manufacturing process for high-barriers and functional films for flexible displays at the SID DisplayWeek 2013 in Vancouver – the International showcase for the Display Industry.
Displays that are flexible and paper thin at the same time?! What might still seem like science fiction will be a major topic at the SID Display Week 2013 that currently takes place in Vancouver in Canada.
High manufacturing cost and a short lifetime are still a major obstacle on ...
University of Würzburg physicists have succeeded in creating a new type of laser.
Its operation principle is completely different from conventional devices, which opens up the possibility of a significantly reduced energy input requirement. The researchers report their work in the current issue of Nature.
It also emits light the waves of which are in phase with one another: the polariton laser, developed ...
Innsbruck physicists led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller experimentally gained a deep insight into the nature of quantum mechanical phase transitions.
They are the first scientists that simulated the competition between two rival dynamical processes at a novel type of transition between two quantum mechanical orders. They have published the results of their work in the journal Nature Physics.
“When water boils, its molecules are released as vapor. We call this ...
23.05.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2013 | Health and Medicine
23.05.2013 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.05.2013 | Event News
15.05.2013 | Event News
08.05.2013 | Event News