Chinese archaeologists said that parts of an instrument to make fire, dating back to 8,000 years ago, have been found in east China's Zhejiang Province.
The relics, made of bones and wood, were discovered at the Kuahuqiao Relics Site in Xiaoshan, Zhejiang Province, according to Qianjiang Evening News.
Liu Zhiqing, a retired professor from Zhejiang University, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the relics were part of an instrument to drill wood to get fire.
Some relics in strange shapes were unearthed at the Kuahuqiao Relics Site, which have attracted Chinese archaeologists to investigate their usage.
After studying the relics housed in Xiaoshan Museum, Liu said "Several pieces of the relics were the handle, body and bit of an ancient fire-making drill."
"There should have been a bow to draw the drill to rotate," said Liu.
His opinion was shared by Shi Jianong, curator of Xiaoshan Museum, and Shen Zhongrui, another professor with Zhejiang University, according to the newspaper.
The technology of drilling wood to make fire was acquired by the Upper Cave Man, a type of primitive man who lived at Zhoukoudian in western Beijing in the late Old Stone Age about 20,000 years ago, according to previous archaeological study. But ancient drill to make fire has never been found in China.
Similar drills have been discovered in Egypt and the Euphrates and Tigris Valleys, but they are some 2,000 years older than the drill at Kuahuqiao site, said Liu.
The Kuahuqiao ruins contain the most ancient neolithic culturalrelics in Zhejiang. Over the past decade, numerous pieces of precious pottery, stoneware and jade articles dating back 7,000 to 8,000 years have been discovered there.
(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2006)