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Fire Pits: A History

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Firepits A History

The discovery of fire was one of the most pivotal moments in human history. Though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this event happened, nearly all scientists agree that our pre-hominid cousins Homo erectus were controlling fire as far back as one million years ago. Let’s learn more with Firepit Outfitter.

Harnessing fire allowed our ancestors to stay warm, fend off predators and cook meat (thus increasing its nutritional value and potentially spurring the growth of the human brain). It also provided a light source for early humans to continue their activities past dusk.

The invention of the fire pit was a natural result of the discovery of fire. The earliest fire pits were merely holes dug in the ground and were most likely used to reduce the visibility of the flame to predators or rival tribes in the surrounding area. It’s also likely that a pit system was used to reduce the fire’s spreading potential, in the same way it’s used today.

Prehistoric fire pits not only provided these benefits to our ancestors, but they continue to provide clues into our species’ past through carbon dating. By carbon dating the charcoal remains of ancient fires, scientists can accurately estimate the time period during which the surrounding region was populated. Leftover seeds and bones found in these pits can indicate what type of diet the inhabitants of that site were on.

Nowadays, fire pits vary from holes in the ground to elegant, modern symbols of luxury that utilize an array of brick, stone, metal, glass and other materials. They can be fueled using natural wood, natural gas or propane, and with the latter two are far less likely to spread flames outside the designated burn area.

Most fire pits are premade and can be purchased as-is from a variety of sources. Other suppliers offer custom-made fire pits that are designed to exact consumer specifications. For the more frugal, less discerning enthusiast, even a simple tire ring can get the job done—although this isn’t always recommended.

Firepits have evolved from simple and practical tools to extravagant displays in our modern society. While an open flame is no longer a necessity to cook food, there is something rustic and timeless about a roaring fire—as long as it’s contained!