Scientists find oldest known evidence of humans in Europe using fires to cook

By | May 19, 2023

The Guardian reports:

Prehistoric humans in Europe might have been sitting round campfires built to toast snacks as early as 250,000 years ago – 50,000 years earlier than originally thought, researchers have suggested.

Human species have a long association with fire, with some sites suggesting its controlled use dates back more than 700,000 years in Africa and the Middle East and at least 400,000 years in Europe.

Now experts say they have found the earliest evidence in Europe for fires that could have been made for hanging out and heating food.

“This is the oldest evidence of human-controlled fire meant for cooking and social interaction,” said Dr Clayton Magill, an assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University and an author of the study.

Magill noted that prior to the new study, other evidence had suggested there were “organised” fires in Europe by 200,000 years ago, meaning there were signs they were laid out deliberately and used for particular purposes.

“We’ve now pushed that date back 50,000 years,” he said. [Continue reading…]