Il y a 400 000 ans : la domestication du feu, un formidable moteur d'hominisation

Henry de LUMLEY

fr Comptes Rendus Palevol 5 (1-2) - Pages 149-154

Published on 28 February 2006

This article is a part of the thematic issue Climates - Culture - Society in prehistoric times. From the appearance of hominids to the Neolithic.

400 000 years ago: Domestication of fire, an extraordinary motor of hominization

About 400 000 years ago, with the appearance of the first structured fire-places, a more organized social life may have developed around fire. Fire was an extraordinary motor of hominization. It illuminates and prolongs the day at the expense of the night; it allowed man to penetrate into caverns. It warms and extends summer at the expense of winter; it allowed man to invade the moderate cold zones of the planet. It enabled man to cook and thus to reduce parasitosis. It improves tool manufacture by allowing spear points to be hardened in the fire. But above all, it is a factor of conviviality. In fact, around hearths, a group spirit is strengthened and, without doubt, the first myths are born. The first regional cultural traditions emerge, as well as the first cultural identities, with the appearance of styles in the fabrication of certain tools, of designs.


Fire domestication, fire-places, Middle Pleistocene, Acheulean, prehistorical sites

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