Past events

RAI Research Seminar: John Gowlett
Wednesday 08 October 2014, 05:30pm - 07:30pm
Hits : 1680
by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Archaeology on the track of earliest fire: the consequences for human life, and recent researches in Africa

Professor John Gowlett, Liverpool University

Wednesday 8 October at 5.30 pm

Fire plays a major part in human life, with both social and technological significance, but it also poses many questions about its evolutionary past. Fire's part in archaeology and anthropology varies greatly across the years: prominent in the nineteenth century, it scarcely features in some texts of the 1950s, but has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in recent years. Attitudes to fire are often ambivalent, as hearth fire brings safety and warmth, wild fire can bring terror. In recent years live fire has been largely built out of western environments, but its ritual and decorative aspects persist. An evolutionary perspective may cast light on some of these issues, but it presents its own problems - fire is difficult to investigate in the past because the evidence can easily disappear. I argue from the record that we can search for the evolutionary drivers for fire use, and that fire came to have a major social importance at least from the mid-Pleistocene.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to

Location 3