New artificial intelligence technology has helped researchers identify what could be one of the world’s oldest cooking fires

Archaeologists and historians have long found it difficult to find places where ancient fires once burned. But new AI technology can now help uncover ancient fires and help unite the history of human evolution. Recently, scientists used it to help Israel discover a million-year-old fire that could be one of the world’s oldest known cooking sites.

Filipe Natal, an archaeologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Tel Aviv, wanted to find a way to detect invisible signs left by fire, such as changes in atomic composition. After research that revealed how bone changes when burned, Natal realized that burned bone absorbs infrared light at different wavelengths differently.

He and his colleagues have developed a program that reliably uses ultraviolet (UV) light to detect subtle patterns faster than a human can. Researchers used it on 26 flint tools dug from Evron’s quarry in northwestern Israel in the 1970s. Using the program, they were able to determine that the site is between 800,000 and one million years old.

(LR) Dr. Filipe Natalio, Ido Azuri and Zane Stepka. With the consent of the Weizman Institute of Science.

The extensive data sets used by DI have helped make it so effective, and researchers believe that having the right data is no reason why AI cannot be more widely used in this area.

“I think AI could be more widely used in archeology, cultural evolution and technological evolution,” Natalio told Artnet News. “One of the challenges is that there are no methodologies, and if we don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know how to interpret the data, and this project was the end point of four years of research that could take a step forward. “A step-by-step into the unknown, a small step in the transition to this methodology, which allows us to use artificial intelligence in archeology.”

So far, this technology cannot distinguish between accidental or man-made fires. But because homo erectus managed fires, this discovery may help date this early human stage more accurately than other methods currently used by archaeologists.

Given that elephant-like tusks covered with the same sediment from some tools, Natalius suggests that this may be a place to cook. It would become one of the oldest cooking places in the world with the Wonderwerk Cave.

“There are less than half a hundred sites in the world [evidence of] a fire more than 500,000 years old, ”said Dennis Sandgathe, a paleoanthropologist at Simon Fraser University. Science magazine. “It simply came to our notice then. So, it’s really important. ”

Sarah Hlubik, a paleoanthropologist at George Washington University, is more skeptical that the discovery is a controlled fire.

“In the age of this site, I’d say it’s unlikely, but not impossible,” she said. “We don’t really see heat treatment until much later, and if the technology has been experimented for for almost a million years, we’ll probably see it’s widespread sooner than we do.”

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Godfrey Kemp

"Bacon fanatic. Social media enthusiast. Music practitioner. Internet scholar. Incurable travel advocate. Wannabe web junkie. Coffeeaholic. Alcohol fanatic."

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