There is nothing more human, nor more iconic of what it means to be human, than the process of making fire. First, Peter Groom, of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, taught us the theory of fire – how it naturally occurs, what we can use it for (including many ideas which we might have forgotten), and what materials you would want if you lived as our prehistoric ancestors had and needed to make it.
We learnt in the classroom in the morning but then we got to go outside and really try our hand at the practical side too. After several hours trying different materials, working patiently, protectively and relentlessly – I created a spark; I nurtured it and then grew the little bundle of heat into warmth and into light. Achieving the most basic but essential of skills – making fire without matches – is a truly rewarding feeling.
Maya Hoole – MSc(R) Archaeology