Ancient Persia: Paleolithic Era

  October 19, 2020   Read time 1 min
Ancient Persia: Paleolithic Era
Iranian plateau had been the major area of cultural and civilizational activities in the early dawn of history. There are countless evidence that endorse the presence of human communities in Iranian plateau even in Paleolithic era.

Enigmatic evidence of human presence on the Iranian plateau as early as Lower Paleolithic times comes from a surface find in the Bākhtarān valley. The first well-documented evidence of human habitation is in deposits from several excavated cave and rock-shelter sites, located mainly in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran and dated to Middle Paleolithic or Mousterian times (c. 100,000 BC). There is every reason to assume, however, that future excavations will reveal Lower Paleolithic habitation in Iran. The Mousterian flint tool industry found there is generally characterized by an absence of the Levalloisian technique of chipping flint and thus differs from the well-defined Middle Paleolithic industries known elsewhere in the Middle East. The economic and social level associated with this industry is that of fairly small, peripatetic hunting and gathering groups spread out over a thinly settled landscape.


Locally, the Mousterian is followed by an Upper Paleolithic flint industry called the Baradostian. Radiocarbon dates suggest that this is one of the earliest Upper Paleolithic complexes; it may have begun as early as 36,000 BC. Its relationship to neighbouring industries, however, remains unclear. Possibly, after some cultural and typological discontinuity, perhaps caused by the maximum cold of the last phase of the Würm glaciation, the Baradostian was replaced by a local Upper Paleolithic industry called the Zarzian. This tool tradition, probably dating to the period 12,000 to 10,000 BC, marks the end of the Iranian Paleolithic sequence.