Archaeological Digs

The research offers new evidence that a Neandertal’s handball could strike a small piece of pyrite, creating a fire when they want it.

“Scientists already knew that the Neanderthals could control and use fire, but it’s not the same as controlling and starting fire,” said Andrew Sorensen, an archeology doctoral student at Leiden University, who is conducting the work.

“There is a debate going on in the field of early fire production research as to whether Neanderthals are dependent on natural resources, such as forest fires, which they can not or will not fire for themselves.

“Early people were burning fire by hitting the flint with steel or pyrite to create a spark. The sparks were falling on the kav and starting to burn for him. Later, they were putting a piece of this burning material on a bunch of hay, for example, and slowly they were singing. “

Sorensen wondered whether the Neanderthals could use a similar technique. In an attempt to answer this question, he tried to shoot himself in a copy of a hand-ax by hitting it with a piece of pyrite.

He then compared the surfaces of stone tools of 50,000 years old, found in various places in France, with the traces of his stone tools.

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Andrew Sorensen shows how the Neanderthals used a stone tool and a small piece of pyrite as a means of generating fire. C: Andrew Sorensen

Double-faced stone axes were tear-shaped and multi-purpose stone tools, as well as palms that functioned as a military knife for Neanderthals.

When they were going from one place to another, they carried these tools with them, and they were using the butchery operations to swim the animal’s skin, crush the minerals into dust and make other tools.

Sorensen says that the method of striking a two-faceted stone ax to a small piece of pyrite, although variable, is quite effective at producing sparks.

“Some strokes produce only one spark, while others can produce up to 10 sparkles.”

It also turned out that microscopic minerals traces of the self-produced faceted stone ball are similar to those found on the old surfaces studied.

Sorensen tried to use the stone tool for other purposes, such as grinding to make pigment and cutting another flint tool, to make sure that the traces on the stone tool did not emerge by other means of use.

Indeed, he found that the traces of minerals on old tools were the same as those that appeared when he drilled pyrite hard on the surface of his stone tool.

Trying to reconfigure the lifestyle of the hominids who lived 50,000 years ago is a difficult task, and it is clear that Sorensen’s experiments do not provide definitive proof that the Neanderthals used fire. It is always possible to have another explanation.

“The traces of pyridine were the most appropriate. However, other mineral materials that we can not imagine creating similar traces may be appropriate. “

Sorensen says that by the time someone shows this material, Neanderthals seem to be the best comment that they produce fever.

If this is the case, there is added evidence that Neanderthals and early modern human talents are not so different.

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