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Archaeologists Unearth One of the World's Oldest Kitchens

Image credit: Warner Bros.

A team of Israeli scientists recently discovered a giant hearth just outside Tel Aviv that dates to about 300,000 years ago—smack-dab in the middle of the Paleolithic period—making it one of the oldest kitchens ever unearthed. But what were they cooking?

Perhaps Paleolithic Julia Child could prepare a braised sabertooth tiger stew for her club-wielding cohorts. Or maybe she went with medium-rare Mammoth steaks, or gigantic, Flintstones-style ribs?

We may never know. In a press release, excavation team member Dr. Ruth Shahack-Gross noted only that early humans used the hearth for “cooking meat,” which isn’t all that descriptive. Drat. Our glorious visions of a prehistoric Bobby Flay with a bearskin tunic flung over his shoulder are dashed.

But the discovery is still majorly cool. Shahack-Gross and her team found many layers of ash and charred bones, which suggests that the hearth was used repeatedly over a long period of time.

"These findings help us to fix an important turning point in the development of human culture, in which humans first began to regularly use fire both for cooking meat and as a focal point—a sort of campfire—for social gatherings," Shahack-Gross said. 

Social gatherings? Campfires? We’re into it. Quick, what’s the Paleolithic equivalent of s’mores?