Do you know when was fire first discovered in India? It is a great and irreplaceable part of ancient Indian history dating back 50 to 55 thousand years ago. In fact, this is also a recent update made by scientists in 2020. Before that fire was believed to have originated in India around 18 to 20 thousand years ago. This discovery pushed back the use of fire by around 30,000 years. The more we dig, the more we discover, hence, let’s dig in to explore the journey of Fire in India.
What Do We Mean By Discovery of Fire?
Fire has always been around us being a force of nature. By some beliefs, it is considered as one of the elements of existence. Although it was always there and ancient human beings would also have witnessed it, the story of discovering fire is more about learning to control it. The age of using fire came after the human discovered how to initiate, propagate and extinguish a fire as per their requirements. They learned to master the ferocity of this natural power to develop a lot of things in the world.
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The First Evidence of the Discovery of Fire in India
Fire is believed to be discovered in India during the Upper Paleolithic Age, that is between 40,000 to 10,000 BCE. Or we can also say that the latest evidence of the use of fire in India dates back to this time. It can keep changing as we discover more.
The latest evidence for the earliest use of fire by humans was recorded at a site near Belan River Valley which is 80 km away from Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The sample studied was discovered from the sediments near the river. These plains are the earliest sources of such evidence.
Before the discovery of this new fossil, more hearths were found in the same valley. However, they were around 18,000 to 20,000 years old. Hence for quite a while, Indians believed that fire was discovered in India during that time. As new discoveries are being made, new chapters are unfolding as well.
To confirm or dig deeper into the history of the usage of fire in India, the IISER-Kolkata scientists experimented on the macro charcoals from six different archaeological sites. The names of the sites are Koldihwa, Deoghat, Mahagara, Chopani-Mando, Chillahia and Belan itself.
How Was Fire Discovered?
There is more than one theory about the discovery of fire. Some suggest that the human ancestors, Homo erectus learned to control fire while dealing with the wildfires etc. The evidence of fire usage is found to be nearly 2 million years old in Africa. The usage of fire there is seen for hunting and cooking.
On the contrary fire by ancient Europeans was majorly used as a source of warmth while living in cold caves. Thus, its usage was defined majorly by the climatic and geographical identity of the place early humans were using it.
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Benefits of the Discovery of Fire
Right now, we can count nearly a thousand uses of fire, however, while its potential was still being discovered by man fire had many restricted uses. Let’s look at various uses of fire that evidently change the course of history for humans.
- Fire was used as a source of warmth, which made temperate zones more adaptable for people.
- It increased the options of food by giving humans the ability to cook.
- It was also used to ward off wild animals and protect settlements or food from grazers.
- Fire also gave a means to see when the sun goes down.
- As time passed by fire became important as a multipurpose fuel. It was used to design inventions like the hot air balloon.
- Moreover, its ability to convert into energy was also used to design steam engines.
- For the longest time, ships, trains and many other complex machines and small factories ran on fire.
- It was also used for the purification of minerals from their ore.
- In India, it also started being used as a sacred entity for worship and to perform various rituals for its ability to burn impurities.
- Designs of major war weapons and ammunition fueled the major wars in the world.
- The investment of firecrackers for the entertainment of the people.
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