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300,000-year-old hearth discovered offers amazing window into life back then

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A 300,000 year-old hearth was discovered in a Qesem Cave by archeologists working on a site about seven miles outside of Tel Aviv. This is an important find, which offers a window into how the people back 300,000 years ago used fire, which is different than what was originally thought, according to the IBTimes on Jan. 27.

Dr. Ruth Shahack-Gross of the Kimmel Center for Archeological Science at the Weizmann Institute said:

“These findings help us to fix an important turning point in the development of human culture -- that in which humans first began to regularly use fire both for cooking meat and as a focal point -- a sort of campfire -- for social gatherings.”

Not only does this finding suggest that along with the utilitarian use of the fire, it was used socially, much like today. Shahck-Gross went on to say:

"They also tell us something about the impressive levels of social and cognitive development of humans living some 300,000 years ago.”

The findings around the hearth suggested the people cut up small animals and cooked the meat. Bone fragments found among the ash remnants gave evidence to this. The tools found near the hearth were indicative of cutting tools, like something they may have used to cut meat.

The way the hearth was situated and the evidence that it was used over and over again suggests people came back to the hearth, like a base camp of some sorts. Other types of tools that were shaped differently were found further away from the hearth. This suggested they had some sort of organization by keeping tools used for different purposes in different spaces.

This find suggests that people were a bit more advanced than traditionally thought 300,000 years ago. They appear to have been more advanced with their daily living activities and socially.

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