Recent Research on the Iranian Paleolithic,

Special Issue of the Journal of Iranian Archaeology, Volume 1, No. 1 (2010), 

Edited by Fereidoun Biglari


Introductory Note 

Fereidoun Biglari (download)

Over the last three decades, fresh investigations on the paleolithic period by Iranian and joint expeditions has produced a large number of research papers and field reports that offer much new information. The time seems ripe to publish a collection of papers on recent paleolithic research in Iran. A section in the inaugural issue of the Journal is therefore devoted to this topic.

A Preliminary Report on the Investigations of the Lower Paleolithic site of Khaleseh in the Khoram Dareh Valley, Zanjan

Sajad Alibaigi, Kamal Aldin Niknami and  Shokouh Khosravi

Despite the significant geographical and cultural features of Zanjan province, only limited archeological investigation have been carried out in the region. Thus we know very little about early settlement in this region. Until now, no Paleolithic site has been identified in the region.  A recent archeological survey in the Abhar Rud basin has revealed the first evidence of Paleolithic occupation in Zanjan province at Khaleseh, south of Khoram Dareh on the southern bank of the Abhar River. During the initial survey and subsequent reinvestigation of an area of 400m2 a collection of 59 stone artifacts were collected and studied. The collection includes choppers, cores, chopper-cores, hammerstones, flakes, one heavy duty scraper and one cleaver-like item. Discovery of Khaleseh provides significant information about the existence of human ancestors in Pleistocene in the region.

Preliminary Report on the Discovery of a late Lower Paleolithic and Middle Paleolithic Site on the Island of Qeshm, Persian Gulf

Abdolreza Dashtizadeh

In 2009 a survey was conducted by the author in the Qeshm Island that led to discovery of a lithic surface scatter at Bam-e Qeshm. The site yielded a small collection of 168 lithic artifacts that are defined by core-choppers and clear evidence of the use of the Levallois technique. The site is the first known Paleolithic remains on the Iranian islands. Sea level analysis implies that Hormuz Strait could have been used as a pathway for Lower Paleolithic communities during the Lower-Middle Pleistocene periods.

 Paléolithique moyen récent de la grotte de Qaleh Bozi 2 (Esfahan, Iran), premiers résultats de la campagne 2008

Jacques Jaubert, Fereidoun Biglari, Rémy Crassard, Marjan Mashkour, William Rendu, et Sonia Shidrang

Located in southwest of central Iran, not far from Zagros range, the Middle Paleolithic sites of Qaleh Bozi produced a wealth of data that expands our knowledge beyond the lithic industries of the Middle Paleolithic of Central Iran. Here we report on new excavations in Qaleh Bozi 2, the richest cave in this site complex undertaken in 2008 that yielded new assemblages of lithic artifacts, well-preserved faunal remains and charcoal fragments from a stratified context. During this season we made two stratigraphic cuts of which the western one was opened earlier during 2005 excavations. A number of dosimeters were placed in the stratigraphic cuts at Qaleh Bozi 2 and Qaleh Bozi 3 in order to date the Middle Paleolithic occupations of the sites by means of TL and OSL methods. Two micromorphological samples also were taken from the sections, to clarify the nature and formation of the deposits and postdepositional events. A total number of 356 lithic artifacts were found during excavations, of which near 26% are retouched tools. The highest percentages of the tools are various types of side-scarper dominated by single forms, followed in quantity by points and notch-denticulates.

The mammalian remains can be divided into five categories: Large ungulates (Equids, Aurochs and Rhinoceros), Medium ungulates (Cervids and Suids), and Small ungulates (Goat, Sheep and Gazella). The anthropogenic activity can be detected on all the ungulate remains where important traces of impact, percussion and flaking together with burning and cutting mark the bones. The breakage patterns could be compatible with marrow extraction. The great majority of the identified remains belong to herbivores. The Equids are the dominant species within the large herbivores.

 Faunal remains from the Epi-Paleolithic site of Komishan Cave and its dating, preliminary results

Marjan Mashkour, Jawana Chahoud and Ali Mahforouzi (download)

The recent study of the faunal remains from the Komishan cave in Southeast of the Caspian Sea provided new insight to the final Pleistocene fauna of the region that could be compared to the previously known late Pleistocene faunal assemblages from Belt, Hotu and Ali Tappeh caves. This paper provides a comparative analysis of these remains as a sketch for the definition of faunal exploitation by the Epiplaeolithic populations of this region. The first plausible radiocarbon date indicates an occupation during the 12 millennium B.C. The fauna of Komishan Cave bears many similarities with the other adjacent sites, with the exploitation of gazelles, birds, and marine resources. A common Epiplaelolithic "faciés culturel" can therefore be outlined in the southeast of the Caspian.

 A Note on Recent Paleolithic Surveys in the Kuhdasht Region, the Lorestan Province, Iran

Babak Moradi and Fatemeh Bakhtiari (download)

Kuhdasht is one of the least explored regions in the central Zagros, especially for earlier periods of prehistory. Concerning Pleistocene occupation of the region, the only known site is the Houmian rockshelter excavated by McBurney in 1969 (Bewley 1985; McBurney 1969; McBurney 1970). Beyond this site, the region remains unexplored until recent surveys. In light of this absence of field work, the authors undertook a series of systematic surveys in the region during 2006-2007 that resulted in discovery of 55 caves, rockshelters and open-air sites at various locations in the Kuhdasht region.



Last updated: 5 January 2011