Scientists Use AI to Look for Evidence of Early Fire Use in Israel

Israel Flint ToolsREHOVOT, ISRAEL—According to a statement released by the Weizmann Institute of Science, an international team of researchers led by Zane Stepka employed an artificial intelligence app taught to recognize flint tools exposed to fire through machine learning to identify possible evidence of fire use at a one-million-year-old camp site at Evron Quarry, which is located on western Galilee’s coastal plain. After the app identified flint tools exposed to temperatures of at least 700 degrees Fahrenheit, the team members also tested bone at the site for exposure to fire. The way the tools and bones were clustered at the site suggests that the early humans may have been controlling the fire, the researchers explained. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Proceeedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To read more about early uses of fire in the Levant, go to “Catching Fire and Keeping It.”


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