Archaeology: Evidence of controlled heating of tools 300,000 years ago | Nature Human Behaviour | Nature Research

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Archaeology: Proof of regulated heating of tools 300,000 years earlier

Nature Human Behaviour

October 6, 2020

A brand-new analysis of 300,000-year-old stone tools discovered in a cave in Israel recommends that hominins in the Levantine region used fire at regulated temperature levels to make tools, according to a paper published in Nature Human Being Behaviour.

The use of fire to deal with basic materials was an important discovery made by early hominins. Previous research reported proof of organized flint tool production by hominins in the Levant throughout the Late Lower Palaeolithic (420,000 to 200,000 years ago), and the presence of burned flint artefacts showed that tools were exposed to fire in some way. Nevertheless, it was unidentified whether the direct exposure to fire was random or the residents had control over the fire to produce specific tools.

The Qesem Collapse main Israel is a key Levantine site during the Late Lower Palaeolithic era and has actually yielded lots of considerable finds, including the extensive and habitual usage of fire and extensive blade production. Aviad Agam, Filipe Natalio and colleagues took a look at 2 types of flint tools with evidence of fire exposure found in this cave. They utilized a mix of spectroscopy and artificial intelligence to approximate the temperature at which the artefacts were burned. They discovered that blades were heated up to a lower temperature level (259 ° C )than flakes (413 ° C), and that pot covers from the same cavern were exposed to an even higher temperature level (447 ° C). The authors then performed an experiment to duplicate similar heat conditions and discovered that controlling the heat levels of flint can enhance blade production.

The authors conclude that Levantine hominins might have actively heated products to different temperature levels in order to enhance the production of tools.

doi:10.1038/ s41562-020-00955-z