Civilization Achievements: 1,700,000-400,000 BCE

Throughout history, there are many achievements that have been made in regards to energy, migration, tools and anthropology. As more materials and sources of energy discovered by our ancestors, the more elaborate the tools and cultural advances became. In this article, you will learn theories pertaining to fire and more.


There are many theories that exist about the discovery of fire, but according to a professor from Harvard, in 1,900,000 BCE, East African ancestors found a way to use fire to cook some of their food sources. In 1,700,000 BCE, there is evidence that in East Africa, stone tools had been heated at high temperatures. It is thought that these ancestors came from the category of hominids known as Homo Ergaster. This is an important accomplishment because it shows how our predecessors were toying with controlling fire for their own use.


Evidence of regular use of fire was found at Koobi Fora and Chesowanja, which can be located in Kenya. This alluded to the fact that hominids were using fire at hearth sites when samples of baked earth was uncovered close to Home Ergaster/Erectus sites, dating back to 1,600,000 BCE. This date also marks the approximate moment when the first hominid (Home Erectus) to leave Africa is believed to have migrated to Asia, as well as to Europe.


By 1,500,000 BCE, a shift in tool can be observed. What seems to be a sort of tool kit was located, consisting of an array of bifaces, such as hand axes, picks and cleavers. In regards to the bifaces, it is thought that they served as a tool with many different functions, as well as something that could complete any task. These Acheulean artifacts are suspected to first leave a mark in Africa, but will continue to show up until 200,000 BCE.


500,000 years later, ancient hearths are discovered in South African caves called the Swatykrans, proving that Homo Ergaster/Erectus was still using fire at this time. A few fossils from this time also surface in Africa, as well as in Asia, which show that an ancient form of the Homo Sapien we see today is developing. In 800,000 BCE, a meteorite shower is indicated, marking a shift in tool making. Stone tools are found in the Bose Basin, located in the southern part of China. This event wiped out vegetation, revealing quartz, sandstone and quartzite deposits. In eastern Asia, this marks the earliest stone tools to be discovered.


So, you may think, where did some of my ancestors live? Evidence of the first constructed living space for humans dates back to 400,000 BCE. At Terra Amata, which is close to Nice, France, remains of oval huts have been uncovered. They measure 50×20 feet. During this time, different materials are being experimented with and the earliest known artifacts made from wood are created. Three spears, ranging from 2 ft 9 in to 7ft 6in are located. They are uncovered in a coalmine, alongside a variety of stone tools and broken animal remains. This find comes from Germany. Various uses are suspected of the finds, such as throwing and jabbing purposes. Another tool appears during this time: the burin. It is believed that the main purpose of this tool is to engrave and carve items, such as bone, wood or ivory.