FAQ: What exactly is a hearth?
The generally circular "beds" or arrangements of cooking rocks
that once formed the heating elements of individual earth ovens are known
to archeologists as hearths. Hearths typically range in size from
about two to six feet across and may be flat or basin-shaped in cross-section.
Not all hearths resulted from earth oven cooking; some were probably never
covered by earth and instead functioned as "griddles" and similar
cooking arrangements. A hearth field is an area where many hearths
occur. Typically, heath fields are the result of the repeated pattern
of building individual cooking hearths in one area over many generations
or even many centuries. Hearth fields sometimes extend over dozens or
even hundreds of acres in favorable places.