Archaeological traces

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  • Hearth and home

Hearth and home

The clearest evidence of the occupation of a space by a human group are the remains of combustion, i.e. the remains left on the ground after a fire: ashes, coals, rocks, bones and burned sediment. The analysis of this evidence can show the level of technological efficiency of the groups: the study of coals can know the wood used in the ignition, the study of rocks and their distribution can be explained if the fire went on one or several times and which maximum temperature reached, the ground burned helps to calculate the minimum time on and the fat content of this sediment can indicate the food that was cooked.

The use and control of fire dates back to 350,000 years and from that time technically evolve. It will pass from the earliest remains of fires burning simply directly on the ground to hearths that respond to a variety of types in the Upper Paleolithic: with tiled background in bucket with edge stones, stone fill, etc.. Although for some time it was thought that every shape and structure is related to a particular task (cooking, heating, processing of tools), studies of the remains contained in the hearths of various Paleolithic sites show that in all food were consumed, so that they should have a complex application.

Hogar en el yacimiento del Paleolítico Medio de la Cova del Salt (Alcoi). Fotografía: Begoña Soler

Hogar en el yacimiento del Paleolítico Medio de la Cova del Salt (Alcoi). Fotografía: Begoña Soler

  • Reunidos al calor del fuego. Paleolítico. Ilustración: Andrés Marín


The Pastwomen Network co-organizes the International Seminar "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gender Archaeology" at the University of Tübingen.

July 4-10, 2022

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