The Atlantic

The Mystery of How Neanderthals Got Fire

Fifty-thousand-year-old tools suggest that modern humans weren't prehistory's only pyros.
Source: Nikola Solic / Reuters

The first step to re-creating 50,000-year-old technology is to collect a bunch of rocks. So began Andrew Sorensen’s plan to study a great mystery in archaeology: how Neanderthals controlled fire.

Sorensen, an archeologist at Leiden University, collected a special kind of rock called flint off the beaches of England. If you hit it in just the right ways, flint will break to expose sharp edges that can

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