The usage and regulation of fire have played a significant role throughout human history. Finding out when our relationship with fire started and how it changed over time, however, has historically proven to be challenging.
But at a site in Spain that dates to 250,000 years ago, some proof of the regulated use of fire by hominins has been discovered. As a result, the oldest indications of fire control in Europe are now 50,000 years older. Although there is much older evidence of hominins using fire, it’s possible that they just used the embers from a wildfire to prepare their food. Humans can use fire in controlled ways by starting it on purpose and controlling how big it gets. At the location in Spain evidence has been found to support this.
Although there is some early evidence of fire control, it can be challenging to demonstrate a direct connection between resources like wood fuel, actions like fire preparation, and intention—arguably a prerequisite for controlled fire.
The use of fire by hominins is generally acknowledged in Europe to have begun at least 350,000 years ago, with some theories linking the development of fire management to the spread of a particular stone tool technique known as the Acheulean.
The newly discovered data from the Spanish Valdocarros II site, which dates back roughly 250,000 years, provides a new standard for analysing our earliest interactions with fire.
Acheulean objects are related with distinctive resources, such as the sorts of wood needed to build isolated campfires, which are described in recently published data.
Choice of fuel
At Valdocarros II, the fossil record for mammals is extensive. As a result, hominins at this site exhibit all the essential skills for managing fire.
At Valdocarros II, hominins were in complete control of the fire. Neither the site nor the first incidence of controlled fire are the oldest.