Archaeologists claim objects are earliest 'matches'

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PostWed Aug 08, 2012 10:05 am » by One-23


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The tell tale scratches on the "matches" led researchers to believe they were used to start fires

Researchers from Israel say that mysterious clay and stone artefacts from Neolithic times could be the earliest known "matches".

Although the cylindrical objects have been known about for some time, they had previously been interpreted as "cultic" phallic symbols.

The researchers' new interpretation means these could be the earliest evidence of how fires were ignited.

The research was published in the open access journal Plos One.
Fire starters

Although evidence of "pyrotechnology" in Eurasia is known from three quarters of a million years ago, this evidence usually takes the form of remnants of fire itself.

"We have fire evidence in modern humans and Neanderthals, from charcoal, ashes and hearths, but there was nothing ever found that was connected with how you ignite the fire," lead author Prof Naama Goren-Inbar of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem told BBC News.

But on a visit to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Professor Goren-Inbar recognised the shape of structures discovered at the Sha'ar HaGolan archaeological site as that found in tools used for purposes other than simply cultural ones.

Source and further reading http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19168047
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