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Global Wildfires

Satellite image from NASA Earth Observatory.

NASA satellite imageThis is a beautiful image from the NASA Earth Observatory ( showing satellite data for wildfires during the month of August 2014.  This image is a nice counterpoint to the familiar images of earth at night, with urban areas lit up by electric light.  I chose this image because it illustrates fire as an aspect of the natural environment.   For me the question facing archaeologists is not to find a point of origin, the human ‘invention’ or ‘discovery’ of fire, but rather to track the shifting interactions between humanity and this natural force, an interaction that has had a profound influence over the course of human evolution and which continues today.

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Participant: Michael CHAZAN
Dept. of Anthropology | University of Toronto
Presentation: "Temporal Trends in the Use of Fire in Relation to the Broader Archaeological and Paleoanthropological Record"