In the reading, Johan Goudsblom argues how fire was the first ecological force to be incorporated into the human society, allowing them to expand their population and territories, and facilitate their standard of living. Furthermore, it deserved to be ranked in front of agriculture and the domestication of animals, two factors commonly thought to be the “dawn of civilization.” According to the author fire, despite popular opinions, played a larger role in the early development of the human race, perhaps facilitating the creation of civilization.
The two most basic uses was cooking and warmth. When cooking food in fire, the majority of harmful bacteria are killed in the process, making ...view middle of the document...
One could also argue that the clearing of the land by fire would eventually create the slash and burn farming technique. Though not sustainable in the long run, such was the case of the Mayans according to scholars, the usage of fire was perhaps the first technique.
Aside from hunting, the domestication of fire gave them light and protection when dark. Even today, we use fire as a form of protection during camping at night, keeping the wild animals who are afraid of fire at bay. It also had another purpose in the lives of the primitive humans, one the author believes was the first symptom of civilization, for it provided a place of gathering and socializing. Taking care of the central fire place of the settlement was a group effort, requiring everyone to either gather and add fuel, and keep it dry. This gathering would have allowed them to exchange ideas, only possible if there was a common language, a characteristic of civilization.
In conclusion, fire had a bigger role in the early human development than popular opinions tends to admit. Fire not only gave warmth and light, but the social aspect related led to other human developments, such as cooking, agriculture, the creation of more sophisticated tools, and perhaps the domestication of animals. Which in returned allowed the primitive humans to explore new lands, and grow.
* Johan Goudsblom, “The Civilizing Process and the Domestication of Fire,”Journal of World HIsotry 3, no. 1 (Spring 1992).
* Cartwright, M. (2015, April 24). Maya Food & Agriculture. Retrieved January 20, 2016, from http://www.ancient.eu/article/802/