Controlling fire is the main reason that humans have covered the earth. We began our journey living outdoors, and a fire pit was the main method for controlling that fire. Humanity has been tied to fire since the dawn of history. It has been essential for our survival. We have used it to cook, to keep us warm and to keep us safe. Until we learned to control it, we were at its mercy.
It is the “control” that enabled the march to civilization. Fires start naturally, from lightning strikes, lava flows, and other natural causes. Presumably, we carried the coals left from burning wood from place to place until we learned how to create it when we needed it. A fire pit kept it where we wanted it. And we learned to make them.
The earliest fire pits were very simple. An area was cleared of vegetation and other burnable material; some cultures had whole rituals involving the clearing and consecration of the fire pit. It was ringed with rocks, and the fire was lit. Whole clans gathered around the communal fire. When it was time to move on, the fire was put out, and often the cleared vegetation was returned to the place, to hide the fact that people were there.
As civilization advanced, so did the fire pit. The main characteristic of it was that it held the fire and the wood that burned. As humanity became settled, they became more elaborate, and more permanent. With increasing urbanization, the need for a fire pit became necessary. People living in close confines meant that houses made of wood were more vulnerable to fire. No longer could we just light a fire on any cleared space. Fires had to be controlled even more carefully.
The first fire pits were simple clay bowls. As metalworking became more common, metal-bowls became possible for use. Copper was the first metal worked, but soon iron became the norm. Fire pits of metal with elaborate designs began to appear. Screens could be added to help keep sparks and other material from being thrown into the air. Copper is still being used by many traditional metal-smiths
Now outdoor fire pits are available in many designs, and many styles, from traditional, to tribal to modern, laser cut custom-made options. The wood-burning pit is a staple of many urban patios, a way to have a cheerful fire and gather as we once did, enjoying company and warmth. They have come full circle.
Humans have been walking the earth for centuries. Our need for controlled fire is the reason that outdoor fire pits have been with us almost as long. Return to humanitys roots and in safety and comfort with a beautiful fire pit.