April 3, 2012
2010 AIA Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology winner and Boston University professor, Paul Goldberg co-authored a paper published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America regarding the earliest known discovery of man-made fire.
This evidence, discovered in Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa pushes back the date of the first known man-made fires 200,000 years to one million years ago. Goldberg and lead author Francesco Berna used the geoarchaeological, micromorphologic, and microstratigraphic techniques for which Goldberg won the AIA’s Pomerance Award for in order to prove the existance of fire and confirm that it was created by humans. Analysis proved that the sediment samples taken from the cave contained burned animal bones and wood ash and that the evidence of fires were in close association with hominin occupation of the cave.