Earliest fire in Africa: towards the convergence of archaeological evidence and the cooking hypothesis

  title={Earliest fire in Africa: towards the convergence of archaeological evidence and the cooking hypothesis},
  author={John A J Gowlett and Richard W. Wrangham},
  journal={Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa},
  pages={30 - 5}
  • J. Gowlett, R. Wrangham
  • Published 1 March 2013
  • Environmental Science
  • Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
Issues of early fire use have become topical in human evolution, after a long period in which fire scarcely featured in general texts. Interest has been stimulated by new archaeological finds in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and also by major inputs from other disciplines, including primatology and evolutionary psychology. Evidence for fire is, however, often disputed, especially with regard to the early cases in Africa. Interpretations often struggle to take into account the implications… 
The early use of fire among Neanderthals from a zooarchaeological perspective
Identifying and Describing Pattern and Process in the Evolution of Hominin Use of Fire
Although research relating to Paleolithic fire use has a long history, it has seen a particular resurgence in the last decade. This has been fueled in part by improved analytical techniques, improved
Fire and the Genus Homo
Employing fire as an adaptive aid represents one of the most important technological developments in the course of hominin evolution, and, not surprisingly, research into the prehistoric use of fire
On the evidence for human use and control of fire at Schöningen.
Middle Pleistocene fire use: The first signal of widespread cultural diffusion in human evolution
This work interprets the archaeological signal of fire use from around 400,000 y ago as representing the earliest clear-cut case of widespread cultural change resulting from diffusion in human evolution, and suggests a form of cultural behavior significantly more similar to that of extant Homo sapiens than to the authors' great ape relatives.
Aboriginal Use of Fire in a Landscape Context
A case study from western New South Wales, Australia, illustrates the age, preservation, and distribution of late Holocene heat-retainer hearths that are abundant in the semiarid archaeological
Burning the Land
Archaeological indications for off-site burning by late Pleistocene and early Holocene hunter-gatherers present intransigent interpretive problems; by contrast, burning practices by recent
Control of Fire in the Paleolithic
According to current evidence, Homo sapiens was unable to survive on a diet of raw wild foods. Because cooked diets have large physiological and behavioral consequences, a critical question for


On the earliest evidence for habitual use of fire in Europe
The review of the European evidence suggests that early hominins moved into northern latitudes without the habitual use of fire, and 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.
What's new is old: Comments on (more) archaeological evidence of one-million-year-old fire from South Africa
The essential roles of fire in human evolution and in humanity's technological mastery of the natural world are disproportional to its earliest domestication, and ancient fire lacks the tangibility of prehistoric stone tools.
Traces of fire in the archaeological record, before one million years ago?
Was the Emergence of Home Bases and Domestic Fire a Punctuated Event? A Review of the Middle Pleistocene Record in Eurasia
The concept of a home-based land use strategy is fundamental for studying recent and prehistoric foraging populations. A proposed datum for the emergence of this behavior is set during later Middle
From Africa to Eurasia — early dispersals
A Methodological Approach for Identifying Archaeological Evidence of Fire Resulting from Human Activities
Abstract The identification of unequivocal evidence of humanly-controlled fire is extremely problematic in archaeological contexts where obvious remains, such as charcoal and ash, have not been
Continual fire-making by Hominins at Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, Israel
Fire and its roles in early hominid lifeways
Discovery of the uses and later the invention of fire-making are fundamental to humanity. Following reports over the last decade of traces of fire found on Lower Pleistocene archaeological sites in
African and Asian perspectives on the origins of modern humans.
  • J. D. Clark
  • Geography
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1992
The intellectual and behavioural revolution, best demonstrated by the 'Upper Palaeolithic' of Eurasia, seems to have been dependent on this linguistic development - within the modern genepool - and triggered the rapid migration of human populations throughout the Old World.