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Representational image of Neanderthals by a fire. Source: Jeff Whyte / Adobe Stock

Reevaluating Neanderthals: Are They Actually the Same Species as Us?

Neanderthals have been recognized as a species distinct from modern humans for quite some time. But if a trio of researchers from universities in Portugal, Italy and Spain get their way, this...
Jwala Ji Temple, India. Source: Nswn03 / CC by SA 3.0.

India’s Jwala Ji Temple Has a Flame That Has Been Burning for Over 100 Years

In the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh lies a marvel that eloquently blends natural phenomenon with spiritual fervor – the Jwala Ji Temple , famed for its eternal flame. Home to a so-called eternal...
Representational image of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. Source: Ryan / Adobe Stock

Details of 586 BC Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem Revealed in Fire Analysis

A team of Israeli archaeologists recently completed a study of a large building that was apparently obliterated by fire during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 BC. This research was unique,...
Temple of Bel, an ancient temple in Palmyra, Syria. The temple was destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Source: Janos/Adobe Stock

History Erased: The 6 Most Heartbreaking Archaeological Destructions

Have you ever wondered how the destruction of our past affects our future? World history is full of incredible stories of innovation, achievement, and triumph, but it is also full of tales of...
Were ancient humans hanging out by the fire pits like people do today?         Source: Viks_jin/Adobe Stock

People Were Hanging Out by Fire Pits 250,000 Years Ago

Until now, the use of controlled fires for cooking, in Europe, was thought to have begun around 200,000 years ago. However, scientists in Spain have discovered a set of small prehistoric fire pits or...
Left; May Queen at Beltane Fire Festival 2010 – Edinburgh. Right; Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night) by Falero.  Source: Left; Martin Robertson/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Right; Public Domain

What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Beltane and Walpurgis Night?

Beltane and Walpurgis Night are festivities with deep histories that occur in the springtime, and the two are being celebrated in various European lands this weekend. With fire being a main feature...
Parmesan cheese on a smoky background. Source: AnneMarie / Adobe Stock

Samuel Pepys Rescued His Parmesan Cheese During Great Fire of London

As the Great Fire of London swept through the city in 1666, destroying over 13,000 houses in its wake, the now-famed diarist Samuel Pepys was on a mission. On the third day of the fire, while London...
Researchers have found evidence in South Africa that Homo naledi used controlled fire within caves. Insert: Homo naledi facial reconstruction.  Source: Brilliant Eye / Adobe Stock, Insert; Cicero Moraes (Arc-Team) et alii, CC BY 4.0

Shocking Evidence Homo Naledi Used Fire 230,000 Years Ago

Ground-breaking new evidence has emerged from South Africa that suggests that Homo sapiens may not have been the first species to use controlled fire. Fossil remains of Homo naledi were discovered in...
A small fish being cooked over a fire. Evidence of cooking fish has been found from 780,000 years ago.	Source: Nicolas VINCENT/Adobe Stock

Cooking Timeline Just Got Burned: Hominins Were Cooking 780,000 Years Ago

Researchers in Israel have found evidence of cooking fish dated to roughly 780,000 years ago. This pushes back the beginnings of humans being able to control fire and cook their food over 600,000...
The famous moai statues of Easter Island have been damaged by a fire that is under investigation. Source: Municipality of Rapa Nui

700-Year-Old Moai Statues Irreparably Damaged by Fire on Easter Island

A shocking case of possible arson, still officially being called a forest fire, has caused irreparable damage to the ancient moai statues on Easter Island. The iconic towering stone heads and other...
Alexander driving off elephants with war pigs and musical instruments in a detail from a French illuminated manuscript from 1420’. Source: The British Library / CC BY 4.0)

War Pigs: A Flaming History of Nature’s Cutest Creations in Battle

Throughout human history, animals have been effectively domesticated and used as an extension of the territorial desires of human beings. While dogs and cattle became effective elements in the...
Firewalking over hot coals. Source: Tatyana / Adobe Stock

Hot Trot: The Fascinating Ancient Practice of Firewalking

If you’ve ever seen firewalking in person or online, you may have been amazed by the control and skill of individuals performing such a risky act. Since ancient times, the ability to walk barefoot...
Wood burning, human fire use could date back a million years. Source: nikkytok/Adobe Stock

Human Fire Use Over A Million Years Ago Seems More Likely

There is no smoke without a fire, or so they say, and a group of scientists are applying this thinking to develop new methods to seek out when and where the earliest fire use was. And they have come...
An arson attempt at Malmesbury Abbey was stopped by heroic locals. Source: Lukas Gojda / Adobe Stock

Local Heroes Save Historic Malmesbury Abbey from Fiery Ruin

Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire, England, was attacked by arsonists on Friday evening. The 12th century center of learning would have been entirely lost, if it were not for the brave actions of “heroic...
There are stories of ever burning lamps throughout history and in different parts of the world. Source: Kanea / Adobe Stock

The Ancient Mystery of the Ever-Burning Lamps

Fire is only produced when certain materials – a combustible material, an oxidizer, and a source of heat – are present in the right proportions. The absence of one or more of these elements would...
Weekly Top Stories: A Quick Catch Up On What You May Have Missed

Weekly Top Stories: A Quick Catch Up On What You May Have Missed

In last week’s top stories, we had a shock revelation that the Hopewell culture collapsed after a comet strike, prehistoric cave dwellers were unbelievably clever about where they placed their fires...
Reconstruction of ancient human cave dweller in the Lazaret Cave, France, showing the hearth at the side of the cave. 	Source: De Lumley, M. A. / Public Domain

Ancient Cave Dwellers Managed Fire to Reduce Smoke Exposure

An enlightening new study conducted by prehistoric archaeologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel has revealed how early humans cave dwellers who lived 150,000 to 170,000 years ago managed the...
The altar of the Ateshgah Baku fire temple in the capital of Azerbaijan. Source: vadim.nefedov / Adobe Stock

The Ateshgah Baku Fire Temple: Built On an Azerbaijan Natural Gas Vent

The Ateshgah Baku fire temple, located in the capital of Azerbaijan, was built over a natural gas vent, and constructed between the late 17th and early 18th centuries AD. There is evidence, however,...
Paleolithic cave dwellers used torches, lamps, and fireplaces. Source: Gorodenkoff /Adobe Stock

Conquering the Dark: Finding the Light Behind Paleolithic Cave Art

Fascinating scientific experiments at Isuntza 1 Cave in the Basque region of Spain have attempted to replicate Paleolithic lighting conditions. The work is inspired by a desire to understand and...
Scottish Crannog Fire Wipes Out Recreated Iron Age House in Minutes

Scottish Crannog Fire Wipes Out Recreated Iron Age House in Minutes

Overnight, 5,000 years of design skills that were invested in a recreated Iron Age house at the Scottish Crannog Centre in Perthshire, Scotland, have been engulfed in a fire. One onlooker said the...
How Our Ancient Noses Drove Many Species to Extinction

How Our Ancient Noses Drove Many Species to Extinction

Could it be that the key to the survival of early humans lay in their ancient noses? A new book claims that early humans had an evolutionary advantage over their rivals thanks to their ability to...
Changes in Human Hunting Practices May Explain Human Brain Development

Changes in Human Hunting Practices May Explain Human Brain Development

Two researchers from the archaeological department at Israel’s Tel Aviv University have come up with an all-inclusive theory to explain the physiological and historical development of human brain...
Phoenix bird

Symbolism of the Mythical Phoenix Bird: Renewal, Rebirth and Destruction

Ancient legend paints a picture of a magical bird, radiant and shimmering, which lives for several hundred years before it dies by bursting into flames. It is then reborn from the ashes, to start a...
Wicker Man

The Fearsome Wicker Man: An Eerie Way Druids Committed Human Sacrifice

The wicker man is purported to be one of the means by which the ancient druids made human sacrifices. According to a number of classical authors, the druids partook in human sacrifice, though these...

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