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AI-Powered Archaeology Draws Out Hidden Evidence of Fire Use by Early Humans

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Ancient artifacts first recovered from Israel's Evron Quarry archaeological site in the mid-1970s were analyzed with advanced computational models that have revealed evidence of the use of fire

Credit: Evron Quarry Excavation Archive

Researchers at Canada's University of Toronto and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science and Hebrew University used artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover evidence that ancient humans used fire at least 800,000 years ago at the Evron Quarry archaeological site in Western Galilee.

The researchers examined artifacts that lacked visible evidence of heat due to the degradation of ash and charcoal over time.

They developed advanced computational models that could determine whether the chemical and molecular structures of the materials had experienced a change like that produced by fire.

An analysis of 26 flint tools showed that they were heated to a range of temperatures topping 600 degrees Celsius.

The researchers also identified heat-related structural changes in an elephant tusk.

Said Weizmann's Ido Azuri, "The advantage of AI is that it can find hidden patterns across a multitude of scales."

From University of Toronto News (Canada)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2022 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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