Hearth and home in the middle pleistocene

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26 Scopus citations


The way in which humans organize their social and family lives is a defining feature of our species. Base camps, places to which food is carried and shared, and where many other activities occur, are central features in the lives of hunter-gatherers. Paleoanthropologists have been occupied with the search for base camps/home bases among early hominins for decades. Evidence now suggests that this essential feature of human life emerged in the Middle Pleistocene by around 400,000 years ago in the stem lineage that gave rise to Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans. Choices of where to live, the organization of stone tool making, butchery patterns, and widespread evidence of controlled use of fire around this time suggest a profound reorganization of the socioeconomics of daily life. These Middle Pleistocene campsites may not have functioned in exactly the same ways as those of more recent periods. They nonetheless set the stage for the evolution of many fundamental human tendencies and behavioral institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-327
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Anthropological Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Acheulo-Yabrudian
  • Fire
  • Home bases
  • Levant
  • Middle Pleistocene
  • Sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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