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History of Cooking

There is no clear evidence as to when cooking was invented. Primatologist Richard Wrangham stated that cooking was invented as far back as 1.8 million to 2.3 million years ago. Other researchers believe that cooking was invented as late as 40,000 or 10,000 years ago.

Historical Oven cooking depicted in a painting by Jean-François MilletEvidence of fire is inconclusive, as wildfires started by lightning-strikes are still common in East Africa and other wild areas, and it is difficult to determine when fire was first used for cooking, as opposed to just being used for warmth or for keeping predators away. Some anthropologists posit that cooking fires began a quarter million years ago.

However, some Fire-cracked rock, such as that in Central Texas (United States) are burned rock middens, or enormous piles fire-damaged rock dated to c. 3,500 years ago. These may represent the remains of earth ovens used in cooking since they contain evidence of Dasylirion wheeleri bulbs and other plants.

In Great Britain similar Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age features exist, but are commonly called 'burnt mounds'.


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