Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fire Out Of Africa: A Key To The Migration Of Prehistoric Humans

Date:
October 28, 2008
Source:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Summary:
The ability to make fire millennia ago was likely a key factor in the migration of prehistoric hominids from Africa into Eurasia, according to an archaeologist studying the findings at the Gesher Benot Ya'aqov archaeological site in Israel.

Excavations at the Gesher Benot Ya'qov site.
Credit: Photo: Prof. Naama Goren-Inbar

The ability to make fire millennia ago was likely a key factor in the migration of prehistoric hominids from Africa into Eurasia, a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology believes on the basis of findings at the Gesher Benot Ya’aqov archaeological site in Israel.

Earlier excavations there, carried out under the direction of Prof. Naama Goren-Inbar of the Institute of Archaeology, showed that the occupants of the site – who are identified as being part of the Acheulian culture that arose in Africa about 1.6 million years ago -- had mastered fire-making ability as long as 790,000 years ago. This revelation pushed back previously accepted dates for man’s fire-making ability by a half-million years.

The Gesher Benot Ya’aqov site is located along the Dead Sea rift in the Hula Valley of northern Israel.

Dr. Nira Alperson-Afil, a member of Goren-Inbar’s team, said that further, detailed investigation of burned flint at designated areas in all eight levels of civilization found at the site now shows that “concentrations of burned flint items were found in distinct areas, interpreted as representing the remnants of ancient hearths.” This tells us, she said, that once acquired, this fire-making ability was carried on over a period of many generations. Alperson-Afil’s findings are reported in an article published in the most recent edition of Quaternary Science Reviews.

She said that other studies which have reported on the use of fire only verified the presence of burned archaeological materials, but were unable to penetrate further into the question of whether humans were “fire-makers” from the very early stages of fire-use.

“The new data from Gesher Benot Ya’akov is exceptional as it preserved evidence for fire-use throughout a very long occupational sequence. This continual, habitual, use of fire suggests that these early humans were not compelled to collect that fire from natural conflagrations, rather they were able to make fire at will," Alperson-Afil said.

The manipulation of fire by early man was clearly a turning point for man’s ancestors, Once “domesticated,” fire enabled protection from predators and provided warmth and light as well as enabling the exploitation of a new range of foods.

Said Alperson-Afil: “The powerful tool of fire-making provided ancient humans with confidence, enabling them to leave their early circumscribed surroundings and eventually populate new, unfamiliar environments.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Fire Out Of Africa: A Key To The Migration Of Prehistoric Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027082314.htm>.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (2008, October 28). Fire Out Of Africa: A Key To The Migration Of Prehistoric Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027082314.htm
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Fire Out Of Africa: A Key To The Migration Of Prehistoric Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027082314.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Millions Of Historical Public Domain Photos Added To Flickr

Millions Of Historical Public Domain Photos Added To Flickr

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Historian Kalev Leetaru uploaded a large collection of historical photos, images that were previously difficult to collect. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A mammoth skeleton was discovered in a gravel pit on Wayne McEwen's Texas farm back in May. It's now being donated to a museum. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins