Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 29;108(13):5209-14. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018116108. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

On the earliest evidence for habitual use of fire in Europe.

Author information

1
Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands. w.roebroeks@arch.leidenuniv.nl

Abstract

The timing of the human control of fire is a hotly debated issue, with claims for regular fire use by early hominins in Africa at ∼ 1.6 million y ago. These claims are not uncontested, but most archaeologists would agree that the colonization of areas outside Africa, especially of regions such as Europe where temperatures at time dropped below freezing, was indeed tied to the use of fire. Our review of the European evidence suggests that early hominins moved into northern latitudes without the habitual use of fire. It was only much later, from ∼ 300,000 to 400,000 y ago onward, that fire became a significant part of the hominin technological repertoire. It is also from the second half of the Middle Pleistocene onward that we can observe spectacular cases of Neandertal pyrotechnological knowledge in the production of hafting materials. The increase in the number of sites with good evidence of fire throughout the Late Pleistocene shows that European Neandertals had fire management not unlike that documented for Upper Paleolithic groups.

Comment in

PMID:
21402905
PMCID:
PMC3069174
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1018116108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center