The New Oldest Stuff

Archaeologists find evidence of human ancestors controlling fire 1 million years ago.

Prometheus stole fire for the Greeks 4,000 years ago. Archaeology is stealing it back.

Prometheus stole fire for the Greeks 4,000 years ago. Archaeologists are stealing it back.

One reliable thing about Brain Burgers is that you won’t miss the newest old stuff that’s discovered. But archaeologists have thrown the Burger a curve by finding new evidence of the oldest of old stuff – fire.

While fire is known to have been used by hominids to cook food (prot0-burgers) as long as 1.9 million years ago, it wasn’t thought to have been under control by our apey grandparents until a mere 700,000 years ago. In other words, up till then we had been bringing the burger to the fire, rather than bringing the fire to the burger.

You could park fifty falafel carts side-by-side in Wonderwerk cave but the cavemen preferred meat.

You could park fifty falafel carts side-by-side in Wonderwerk cave – but the cavemen preferred meat.

Last week, though, archaeologists announced the positive dating of some microscopic grass and wood ash found in South Africa’s Wunderwerk Cave to about 1 million years ago. This evidence was found far enough inside the cave that it could not be the spent fuel of naturally occurring fires blown or washed in by the elements. Though it’s not thought to have been created by pre-human hands, the fire must have been found outside and brought in by them to prepare their food, keep them warm, and give them something to argue about.

Accompanied by evidence of burned bones (but no discarded Spam cans), this new discovery is widely accepted by experts as evidence of the earliest uses of controlled fire in the world – ONE MILLION YEARS AGO. Wow, that’s some old stuff!

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.

3 other million-year-old discoveries at the Wonderwerk fire:

  1. Remnants of earliest scented candle, unimaginatively named “Stick”.
  2. Lack of cutter-wheel stone tool conclusively proves these hominids did not have frozen pizza as a dietary staple.
  3. Wire coat hanger fragment evidence that early humans tried to improve reception while staring into the fire.
Chris Everheart is author of the thriller
THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

Available Now
Read my new author interview at Chompasaurus!
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Categories: archaeology, Hidden Archealogy, History, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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