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300,000 year-old Hearth: Prehistoric human discovery

A 300,000 year-old hearth was found by a group of scientists and is the oldest in all of Israel. The fire pit was what prehistoric humans used to roast meats.

Ruth Shahack-Gross of the Kimmel Center for Archeological Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science said humans discovered fire about a million years ago, FOX News reports Jan. 28

“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,” Shahack-Gross said.

The 300,000 year-old hearth also shows the "impressive levels of social and cognitive development of humans" that lived during that time, Shahack-Gross added.

Qesem Cave near the central Israel town of Rosh Ha’ayin was where the ancient hearth was found. It was located under hardened and compressed wood ash buried in the center of the cave.

It was learned that prehistoric humans had bits of bone and soil heated at extremely high temperatures and mixed in with the wooden ash. Flint tools were also found around the 300,000 year-old hearth. They were used to cut meat and served as makeshift forks and knives. Other flints in different shapes were found as well.

Animal bones were included in the hearth discovery.