Toward a Long Prehistory of Fire

  title={Toward a Long Prehistory of Fire},
  author={M. Chazan},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={S351 - S359}
  • M. Chazan
  • Published 2017
  • History
  • Current Anthropology
This article explores a conception of the origins of fire as a process of shifting human interactions with fire, a process that, in a sense, still continues today. This is a counterpoint to the dominant narrative that envisions a point of “discovery” or “invention” for fire. Following a discussion about what fire is and how it articulates with human society, I propose a potential scenario for the prehistory of fire, consisting of three major stages of development. From this perspective… Expand
Towards an understanding of the costs of fire
Abstract The ability to produce fire at will and to maintain it for a long duration is considered one of the major advances in human evolution. The exact process by which hominins first learned toExpand
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, improvedExpand
Fire for a Reason
Qesem Cave is a Middle Pleistocene site in Israel occupied between 420 and 200 ka. Excavations have revealed a wealth of innovative behaviors most likely practiced by a new hominin lineage. TheseExpand
Fire in the round: A holistic approach to the Lower Palaeolithic record
Abstract Whilst several explanations have been proposed for the absence of fire-related behaviours at well preserved Lower Palaeolithic sites, much of the emphasis of previous research hasExpand
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 fireExpand
Geochemical Evidence for the Control of Fire by Middle Palaeolithic Hominins
The results suggest that the ability of hominins to manipulate fire independent of exploitation of wildfires was spatially variable in the MP and may have developed multiple times in the genus Homo. Expand
The ripples of modernity: How we can extend paleoanthropology with the extended evolutionary synthesis
It is suggested that incorporating key elements of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) into the authors' endeavors offers a better and more integrative toolkit for modeling and assessing the evolution of the genus Homo. Expand
‘Behavioral modernity’ as a process, not an event, in the human niche
ABSTRACT The search for ‘firsts’ is a common trope in the study of human evolution. Both popular books and scientific articles attempt to discern the key moments in evolutionary history that indicateExpand
Philosophical Urbanism of Walter Benjamin
This chapter is an overall introduction to the topic of this monograph, namely, the relationship between the urban environment and consciousness. Walter Benjamin had introduced the notion of ongoingExpand
A Cross-cultural Survey of On-site Fire Use by Recent Hunter-gatherers: Implications for Research on Palaeolithic Pyrotechnology
The ability to control fire clearly had a significant impact on human evolution, but when and how hominins developed this ability remains poorly understood. Improving our understanding of the historyExpand


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. Expand
Timing of the appearance of habitual fire use
It is argued that the available evidence better supports a significantly later appearance for the habitual use of fire (sometime near the end of the Late Pleistocene) and that before this fire, use was always sporadic and opportunistic. Expand
Fire for a Reason
Qesem Cave is a Middle Pleistocene site in Israel occupied between 420 and 200 ka. Excavations have revealed a wealth of innovative behaviors most likely practiced by a new hominin lineage. TheseExpand
Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory
In this study Clive Gamble presents and questions two of the most famous descriptions of change in prehistory. The first is the 'human revolution', when evidence for art, music, religion and languageExpand
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 forExpand
Traces of fire in the archaeological record, before one million years ago?
The earliest undoubted evidence for the controlled use of fire by humans comes from sites no more than a million years old. Recently, however, very tentative evidence for the presence of fire hasExpand
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 MiddleExpand
On the evidence for human use and control of fire at Schöningen.
It is concluded that the analyzed features and artifacts present no convincing evidence for human use or control of fire at Schöningen, and shows that a multianalytical, micro-contextual approach is the best methodology for evaluating claims of early evidence of human-controlled fire. Expand
The earliest evidence of hearths in Southern Europe: The case of Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain)
Abstract Most researchers agree about the importance of the fire during the Pleistocene. The controlled use of fire could allow advances in the ways of life, not only for its value as a constantExpand
Evidence for the repeated use of a central hearth at Middle Pleistocene (300 ky ago) Qesem Cave, Israel
Abstract A major debate in prehistory revolves around the time and place of the earliest habitual use of fire and the hominin species responsible for it. Here we present a newly discovered hearth atExpand