Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BS (Bachelor of Science)

Session and Year of Graduation

Fall 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Margaret Beck

Thesis Mentor

Matthew E. Hill


This research examines the possibility of unintentional percussion fire origins through stone tool creation. I hypothesize that accidental fires created from percussion in flintknapping are a viable possibility for humans’ shift from fire-control to fire-creation. This shift to the ability to create fire is not well understood, as there are few very old fire sites, and those are not firmly dated, and are not clearly determined as natural, controlled, or created. Better understanding this shift allows a greater understanding of the behavioral and evolutionary history of the human lineage. Methodology for this investigation included the use of Olduwan flint-knapping, the same technique used by early humans at the accepted time of first fire creation. The sparks created in this manner were graded on a four-point scale to quantitatively determine the likelihood of accidental fire creation during flint-knapping, with the results indicating that percussive origins were not likely.


fire, flintknapping, anthropology

Total Pages

31 pages


Copyright © 2017 Joann Pfeiffer