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Making fire in the Stone Age: flint and pyrite

Abstract

Flint implements with rounded ends, excavated at several Late Palaeolithic sites in Denmark and the Netherlands, are described and interpreted as strike-a-lights used in combination with pyrites. Experiments were carried out; the use-wear traces on the experimental pieces are similar to those occurring on the prehistoric specimens. It is concluded that the pyrite technique for fire production most probably predated wood-on-wood techniques, both in Europe and Greenland.

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Stapert, D., Johansen, L. Making fire in the Stone Age: flint and pyrite. Geologie en Mijnbouw 78, 147–164 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1003802432463

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  • Europe
  • experimental archaeology
  • flint implements
  • fire production
  • Greenland
  • pyrite
  • Stone Age
  • use-wear traces