Fire pit
Fire pits have been in existence for a very long time and despite many technological advancements since the advent of man's use of fire, they have remained a popular item because of their versatility. A fire pit can physically vary from a pit dug into the ground to an elaborate gas burning compilation of stone, brick, and metal. The common feature of fire pits is that they are designed to contain a fire and prevent it from spreading.


Though a defining characteristic of fire pits is that they are designed to contain the components of the fire at all times, it is always most prudent to take safety measures in the event that very hot materials do escape from its confines. A safety measure that one can employ is placing a screen over the fire pit which not only contains sparks underneath it, but also reduces the wind's impact on potentially enlarging the fire.

Contemporary types

There are many methods of constructing fire pits, but basic options are described here:

Pre-made fire pits are the most common form of fire pits and can be purchased from a store. These are made mostly of metal and can be either wood or gas burning. Unlike traditional fire pits, these fire pits are portable.
Assembled fire pits are different from pre-made fire pits and because they are built according to an individual's wishes, these encompass a wider variety of styles and functions. Both stone and concrete fire pits are very heavy and are essentially locked in to wherever they are placed. Both gas and wood burning fire pits are seen as garden features these days. Whether you choose to purchase a pre-constructed fire pit; employ someone to build one in your garden, or make one yourself - all options present themselves to someone who desires a fire pit in their garden.

Essentially, to make a fire pit, all you have to do is create a suitable hole in order to safely contain a fire. This can be as simple as digging a hole in the ground, or as complex as hollowing out a brick or rock pillar.

Fire pits in history

With the discovery of fire, containing the fire is essential to prevent disaster. Historically, a fire-watcher would be appointed, to prevent the fire from going out, as well as to prevent the fire from theft or from spreading. Many cultures, particularly nomadic ones would cut the turf above the fire-pit in a turf cutting ceremony, replacing the turf afterwards to hide any evidence of the fire. Elements of this ceremony remain in traditional youth organisations such as the Woodcraft Folk.

Archaeological significance

Fire pits (or rather their remains) preserve a great deal of information about past cultures. Carbon dating from charcoal found in old fire pits can estimate when region's were first populated or when civilizations died out. Also, bones and seeds found in fire pits indicate the type of diet that civilizations ingested during the relevant time period.

In archaeological terms fire pits are referred to as features
Feature (archaeology)
Feature in archaeology and especially excavation has several different but allied meanings. A feature is a collection of one or more contexts representing some human non-portable activity that generally has a vertical characteristic to it in relation to site stratigraphy. Examples of features are...

because they can be seen and recorded as part of the site but cannot be moved without being destroyed.

External links

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