At www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0042213 … cylindrical objects of fired clay found in various parts of the Near East over the years, and going back to the early Holocene, have variously been ignored or interpreted by that one all designation, phallic. Basically, archaeologists didn't know what their function was – and if in doubt don't spout. It now emerges that they may have been fire drills – a pretty sophisticated version of the wooden fire drills used by hunter gatherers. Fire drills are generally not found on archaeological dig – because the wood does not survive the vagaries of nature unless it is unusually dry or submerged under water. However, the Egyptian heiroglyph for fire was a fire drill and we may assume they were widespread, one of those pieces of ancient technology that found its way around the world with human migration and movement.