Thursday, December 6, 2018

Neanderthal Fire Making

In July, archaeologists published findings that they believe Neanderthals, in France, 50,000 years ago, had the ability to create fire at will.  Before then, they knew they had fire, but speculated it may have been gathered from nature - wildfires or lightning strikes.  There was evidence they could collect and maintain it, but the skills to create fire was considered lacking.  Scientists studying dozens of handaxes and flint tools, from various sites, found evidence of percussions marks and mineral traces.  It appeared that Neanderthals were were using flint tools to strike iron pyrites - to produce hot sparks, to make fire.  What this points to is the cognitive ability of Neanderthal peoples to use advanced technologies to survive and thrive in their environment. In this accompanying video I demonstrate striking a marcasite pyrite core, with a flint striker, to create tiny imperceptible sparks.  These are caught on tinder fungus, transferred to a tinder nest of jute fibers, and blown into flame.  (Video 1:35)

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