New findings from the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science at the Weizmann Institute suggest that prehistoric humans used fire at will. They drew their conclusion from studying a cave in Israel that dates back 300,000 years. The identified thick deposits of wood and ash in the center of the cave. By testing the micromorphology of the ash, they found evidence of a hearth that was used repeatedly over time. Bits of bone and soil in the ash, along with flint cutting tools around the hearth area, suggests they used the fire for cooking. The researchers said this find reveals a turning point in the development of human culture that began about 400,000 years ago.
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