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Science. 1998 Jul 10;281(5374):251-3.

Evidence for the use of fire at zhoukoudian, china

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S. Weiner, Department of Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel 76100. Q. Xu and J. Liu, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Academica Sinica, Post Office Box 643, Beijing 100044, People's.


Zhoukoudian is widely regarded as having the oldest reliable evidence for the controlled use of fire by humans. A reexamination of the evidence in Layer 10, the earliest archaeological horizon in the site, shows that burned and unburned bones are present in the same layer with stone tools. However, no ash or charcoal remnants could be detected. Hence, although indirect evidence for burning is present, there is no direct evidence for in situ burning.

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