Universiteit Leiden

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Beyond Prometheus

The research contained in this dissertation explores the origins of fire making in prehistory, focusing primarily on the fire use practices and fire production capacities of Neandertals.

Andrew Sorensen
13 December 2018
Publication in Open Access

Pursuing the origins of fire production among early humans

The dissertation is comprised of four peer-reviewed articles published in the journals Quaternary International, PLoS ONE, Journal of Archaeological Science and Scientific Reports, respectively, which are flanked by an introductory and synthesis chapter.

The early chapters confront the debate surrounding the prevalence of fire use by Neandertals and discuss avenues by which we, as archaeologists, can better understand how fire use manifests in the Palaeolithic archaeological record. The latter chapters seek to provide a means for identifying artefactual evidence for fire making by Neandertals, ultimately presenting a series of French Middle Palaeolithic tools that exhibit use traces suggesting they were employed as fire starters, making these the earliest evidence for the regular production of fire by humans currently known.

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