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Monday 20 January 2020 – Dr Rob Davis

Monday 20 January 2020 - Dr Rob Davis
Transforming lives: the first use of fire in Europe

Fire-use is one of the most fundamental technological developments in human evolution, providing a multitude of advantages including warmth, protection, widening the range of edible food resources through cooking and boiling. Not least it provided a social hub after dark, which was critical for building social relationships, developing communication and strengthening group memory. As a landmark it was arguably one of several fixed structures that began to enculturate landscapes. Yet the timing and development of fire-use is one of the most controversial debates in Palaeolithic research. This talk will focus on some of the earliest evidence for human fire-use in Europe, provided by a group of sites in central East Anglia visited by humans approximately 400,000 years ago.

Dr Rob Davis is a Palaeolithic archaeologist at the British Museum, working on the Pathways to Ancient Britain Project. Having initially trained as a site engineer, he left the construction industry to begin his studies in archaeology at UCL in 2005, going on to obtain a PhD in Archaeology from University of Reading. He has subsequently worked on the Fragmented Heritage Project at University of Bradford and the Breckland Palaeolithic Project at Queen Mary University of London. Specialising in Lower Palaeolithic technology, Rob’s current work is focused on the early human occupation of northwest Europe.