Rita Bay’s Blog in January will feature daily posts on Discoveries & Inventions. One of the earliest discoveries was the use of fire. Fire was used for light, heat, cooking, clearing, and to make stone tools and ceramics.
Excavation at Gersher Benot Ya'aqov
Despite the mythological story of man being given fire by Prometheus (who ended up tied to a rock getting his guts eaten every day by birds for his gift), certain evidence for the controlled use of fire dates from the Early Stone age about 400,000 years ago in Israel, China, and Europe. A recent discovery at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in Israel, however, evidently has set that date back to 750,000 years ago. Archaeologists discovered remains of burned wood, tiny flint pieces, bones with cut marks and a variety of grains.
The construction of stone hearths or fireplaces date much later to around 200,000 years ago and later. Ovens, whether banked hearths or clay domes, date even later to 20,000-40,000 years ago. Fuels included wood, peat, turf, animal dung or bone, seaweed, straw, or hay. Tomorrow, Early Inventions. Rita Bay
Modern Prometheus at Rockefeller
In Greek mythology, a hero was a strong and courageous individual who performed bold feats and embarked on dangerous exploits and was favored by the gods. Prometheus was the Titan god of forethought and crafty counsel who was entrusted with the task of moulding mankind out of clay. As a friend of man, he attempted to better the lives of men which brought him into conflict with Zeus. First, he tricked the gods out of the best portion of the sacrificial feast and gave the meat to man. Then, he stole fire from Zeus hidden inside a fennel-stalk and delivered it to mortals.
As punishment for his offenses, Zeus ordered the creation of Pandora (the first woman) as a means to deliver misfortune to man. She was given to Prometheus’s brother who had the care of a box. Pandora, of course, opened the box and released all the evils into the world onto man.
Zeus doubly punished Prometheus for his crime by having him bound to a rock on Mount Kaukasos where an eagle ate his liver every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. Many years later, the hero Hercules released Prometheus from his torture by killing the eagle.
Tomorrow, The Hero Hercules Rita Bay