Re: Zhoukoudian Fire
Wed, 22 Jul 1998 08:07:34 -0700

Glenn R. Morton wrote:
> There is a study out that disputes the use of fire at Zhou Kou Dian,
> Beijing. All I have seen is press reports such as:
> I am eager to see the original report.

Hi Glenn

I just saw the original report you mention above. Have you seen it
yet? It is in Science 281:251-253 (10 July 1998). There is also a
capsule summary of the article on page 165 of the same issue. I will
quote from this:

"They found no evidence of controlled use of fire: no hearths, no ashes,
and none of the unique chemical signatures expected from fires." Science

"In the lab they (Weiner, et al.) confirmed that a small number of bones
were burned. But the sediments contained no ash or siliceous
aggregates, soil-derived minerals that are cemented together in trees
and stay intaact after burning-and should be present at the site of
almost any wood fire. The thick layers aren't ash at all, but
accumulations of organic material, much of it laid down under water,
says Weiner." Science 281:166

The paper indicate the samples were taken directly from layers 10 and 4
of a sheer cliff while working atop a 10 story scaffold.

Blaine D. McArthur