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A Cross-cultural Survey of On-site Fire Use by Recent Hunter-gatherers: Implications for Research on Palaeolithic Pyrotechnology

Published on Mar 12, 2020
· DOI :10.1007/S41982-020-00052-7
Brea McCauley1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
Mark Collard34
Estimated H-index: 34
,
Dennis Sandgathe18
Estimated H-index: 18
Abstract
  • References (64)
  • Citations (0)
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References64
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#1Lucia Leierer (ULL: University of La Laguna)H-Index: 2
#2Margarita Jambrina-Enríquez (ULL: University of La Laguna)H-Index: 3
Last. Carolina Mallol (ULL: University of La Laguna)H-Index: 19
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Middle Paleolithic lithic and faunal assemblages throughout Eurasia reflect short-term Neanderthal occupations, which suggest high group mobility. However, the timing of these short-term occupations, a key factor to assess group mobility and territorial range, remains unresolved. Anthropogenic combustion structures are prominent in the Middle Paleolithic record and conceal information on the timing and intensity and natural setting of their associated human occupations. This paper examines a con...
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#1Amanda G. Henry (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 18
#2Thomas Büdel (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 3
Last. Pierre-Louis BazinH-Index: 1
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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 to use and to create fire is still hotly debated, with some arguing for a sudden transformative event that was quickly followed by a biological and cultural dependence on fire, such as a reliance on the extra calories saved through cooking food and an external source of heat. Others suggest that the 'dome...
5 CitationsSource
#1A. C. Sorensen (LEI: Leiden University)H-Index: 1
#2E. Claud (University of Bordeaux)H-Index: 1
Last. Marie Soressi (LEI: Leiden University)H-Index: 24
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Fire use appears to have been relatively common among Neandertals in the Middle Palaeolithic. However, the means by which Neandertals procured their fire—either through the collection of natural fire, or by producing it themselves using tools—is still a matter of debate. We present here the first direct artefactual evidence for regular, systematic fire production by Neandertals. From archaeological layers attributed to late Mousterian industries at multiple sites throughout France, primarily to ...
7 CitationsSource
#1Harold L. Dibble (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 36
#2Dennis Sandgathe (SFU: Simon Fraser University)H-Index: 18
Last. Vera Aldeias (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 12
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Significant variability has been observed in the frequency of fire use over the course of the Late Pleistocene at several Middle Paleolithic sites in southwest France. In particular, Neandertals appear to have used fire more frequently during warm climatic periods and very infrequently during cold periods. After reviewing several lines of evidence and alternative explanations for this variability, the null hypothesis that these Neandertals were not able to make fire still stands.
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#1Nira Alperson-Afil (BIU: Bar-Ilan University)H-Index: 9
#2Daniel Richter (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 57
Last. Naama Goren-Inbar (HUJI: Hebrew University of Jerusalem)H-Index: 28
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This manuscript presents an attempt to evaluate the intensity of fire through spatial patterning and thermoluminescence methodology. Previous studies of Layer II-6 Level 2 at the Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov suggested that hominins differentiated their activities across space, including multiple activities around a hearth reconstructed on the basis of the distribution of burned flint artifacts. A transect of ~4 m was extended from the center of the reconstructed hearth of Level 2 to it...
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#1Dennis Sandgathe (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 18
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 standards of data collection and reporting, and the discovery of new sites with important fire residues in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. A major component of this new research has been to identify when “controlled use” and “habitual use” of fire developed among Pleistocene hominins. However, ...
12 CitationsSource
#1Sarah HlubikH-Index: 2
#2Francesco BernaH-Index: 25
Last. John W.K. HarrisH-Index: 21
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Some scholars explain the major anatomical characteristics that differentiate Homo erectus from its predecessor, Homo habilis, as the result of Homo erectus being adapted to use fire for cooking and other tasks. However, many scholars contend that the evidence of fire in Homo erectus sites is very scant and is not convincingly anthropogenic. This study presents a methodology to evaluate the evidence of fire associated with the 1.5-million-year-old Homo erectus site FxJj20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya. ...
16 CitationsSource
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, obligate...
6 CitationsSource
Most of the ethnoarchaeological literature on hearths is scattered within general works that target many different aspects of foraging or hunter-gatherer societies. Although these works are a good source of ideas and clues for the interpretation of macroscopically observable features of Paleolithic hearths, there is hardly any high-resolution ethnoarchaeological reference material with which to compare microstratigraphic evidence of archaeological fire. Our ethnoarchaeological research at this s...
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#1Harold L. Dibble (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 36
#2Aylar Abodolahzadeh (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 1
Last. Dennis Sandgathe (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 18
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Analyses of archaeological material recovered from several Middle Paleolithic sites in southwest France have provided strong corroborating data on Neanderthal use of fire. Both direct and indirect data show that Neanderthals in this region were frequently and/or intensively using fire during warmer periods, but such evidence declines significantly in occupations that took place during colder periods. One possible explanation for this pattern is that it reflects the inability of Western European ...
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