from is likely that fire was first observed as a result of lightning or volcanoes, rather than direct invention by hominids. There is evidence, discovered in Kenya in 1981 and South Africa in 1988, that controlled use of fire by hominids dates from c.1, 420,000 years ago. It is believed that actual fire making techniques were only developed by Neolithic man c.7000 BC. Whilst earlier hominids would have maintained blazes caused by fortuitous ignition, Neolithic man ignited fires with friction producing tools such as drills or saws or with sparks generated from pyrite struck against flint. It is not known how Neolithic man discovered ignition techniques, it is supposed that the discovery was borne from observations such as the impact of flint on pyrite caused a spark and that the actions of sawing or drilling promoted heat. Flint, pyrites and fire drills have been recovered from Neolithic sites in Europe. Even though Neolithic man had the ability to ignite fires the techniques were still difficult and unreliable, especially in damp conditions, and it was common practice to keep fires burning permanently rather than re-ignite them.

from Rock painting of a dance performance, Tassili-n-Ajjer, Algeria., attributed to the Saharan period of Neolithic hunters (c. 6000-4000 BC).

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