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by Archaeology Newsroom

Ethnology and the lighting of fire in prehistory

Fire plays an important role in the history of mankind. There are not a few who think that man distinguished himself from the animals the moment that he put fire at his service. In order to achieve this objective, man invented various methods and used multiple techniques. Regardless of the purpose for which a fire is lit (ritual, domestic or magic), the methods applied are three, those of percussion, friction and compression. There are variants of the first two methods, depending on the geographical area of the planet in which they occur. Muscular strength or techniques in application are adjusted to the basic methods. Apart from the interest taken by international bibliography in the religious and social character of fire, we succeded, through Experimental Archaeology (University of Montpellier), to have a complete picture of the technique and matter required for lighting a fire with means of the past.