Les Gestes de la Préhistoire

An audiovisual encyclopedia to discover prehistory


Fire production

Upper Palaeolithic
44 000 to 14 000 years


A piece of pyrite, flint and a dried mushroom that served as tinder is found in every bag that the Onas continuously carried with them.
R. Lowie, traité de sociologie primitive. Paris, Union générale d’Editions. 1936.


Commentary : 

Pyrite occurs as small, very dense nodules composed of golden crystals with an easily recognisable metallic glint. This mineral is quite common in Europe.

When struck with flint, the crystals emit incandescent particles that can be used to start a fire.

During the Upper Palaeolithic and perhaps even before, the percussion of pyrite become part of the various techniques for starting fire.

At the heart of social life of most human groups, the mastery of the properties of fire generates an inexhaustible mythology: fire transforms materials and food, warms bodies, illuminates the darkness and wards off animals ,but beyond all its effects, it is a symbol of movement and life.

Technical informations

Length : 03:02

Resolution : Full HD / 1920x1080

Video format : 16 / 9