This is an interesting one from the BBC–
Researchers from Israel say that mysterious clay and stone artefacts from Neolithic times could be the earliest known “matches”. Although the cylindrical objects have been known about for some time, they had previously been interpreted as “cultic” phallic symbols.
The researchers’ new interpretation means these could be the earliest evidence of how fires were ignited. “We have fire evidence in modern humans and Neanderthals, from charcoal, ashes and hearths, but there was nothing ever found that was connected with how you ignite the fire,” lead author Prof Naama Goren-Inbar of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem told BBC News. But on a visit to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Professor Goren-Inbar recognised the shape of structures discovered at the Sha’ar HaGolan archaeological site as that found in tools used for purposes other than simply cultural ones. “I saw this object and immediately it came to my mind that this was very, very similar to all the sticks that you see [used as] ‘fire drills’. I made the connection and it slowly developed,” she said.
Read the remainder. Sometimes, it seems, a match really is just a match.
- World’s earliest known matchsticks (boingboing.net)