Here are some notes I made recently:
The Ice Man Otzi.
Fire kit contained:
• Pyrite.(particles found on fungus, but no actual rock was found)
• Tinder fungus (Fomes Fomentarius & Piptoporus)
• Bark container blackened inside. Contained charcoal and birch leaves(carrying fire)
The moss was said to be used for carrying food.
Question: Why would he carry food in moss? Is it more likely that the moss was kindling for making fire?
Question: Could two flints have been used?
Flints too small.
The charcoal in the green leaves suggested to scientists that Otzi was carrying fire. But normally this is done by burying live coals/embers in ash to keep them alive. Just like banking a fire for the night. The ash and the embers would indeed be carried in a bark container.
Question: Could this charcoal have been in fact pieces of charred punk wood intended for use as tinder?
The fire-bag/fireworks does not look very big, but then it has been under the ice for a long time & size is difficult to tell under such conditions. To use pyrite & flint you need a decent chunk of both, something to hang on to whilst striking.
I think the scenarios for why Otzi was where he was are important, because at present it looks as though he was quite unprepared. When I am travelling I collect kindling as I go along & as chance presents itself. If Otzi knew that he would be camping in a place where wood & kindling was not available, he would have taken it with him.
Question: Was the site contaminated? Was there other items to be found that people missed?
I get the feeling that these scientists, though obviously very knowledgable, may not know enough about individual primitive skills.
Question: Was the fungus for medical use as they suggest, or was it simply spare tinder such as I carry in my pack?
I think that unless someone goes back to the Otzi site and searches further, we may never have all the answers.
Remnants of Otzi's fire bag.
Flint nodules I collected in England.
Two flint nodules like those above will create sparks if struck together, as will agate struck against flint, but the spark only occurs at the point of contact, it does not throw or project the sparks.