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  The Paleolithic of the Iranian Plateau: hominin occupation history and implications for human dispersals across southern Asia

Shoaee, M. J., Vahdati Nasab, H., & Petraglia, M. D. (2021). The Paleolithic of the Iranian Plateau: hominin occupation history and implications for human dispersals across southern Asia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 62: 101292. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2021.101292.

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Shoaee, Mohammad Javad1, Author              
Vahdati Nasab, Hamed, Author
Petraglia, Michael D.1, Author              
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              


Free keywords: Pleistocene, Climate, Lithic Assemblages, Neanderthals,
 Abstract: The biological and cultural evolution of hominins in Asia is a central topic of paleoanthropology. Yet, the Paleolithic archaeology of key regions of Asia, including the Iranian plateau, have not been integrated into human evolutionary studies. Here, we examine the prehistory of the Iranian plateau with a focus on Iran, one of the largest and archaeologically best-known countries in the region. After approximately eight decades of professional fieldwork on the Paleolithic in Iran, a broad outline of the occupation history of the region has been achieved, though significant gaps remain in understanding the evolution and behavior of hominins in the region. Here we examine the history of Paleolithic investigations, synthesizing key archaeological information from the Lower Paleolithic to the EpiPaleolithic, placing emphasis on archaeological sites with stratified deposits and dated finds. We collect and summarize information on site locations, chronologies, rare hominin fossils, the more common lithic assemblages, and scarce worked items and symbolic objects. Our study documents considerable chronological and archaeological gaps in the Lower Paleolithic record, although Acheulean sites with characteristic lithics are present signaling the early colonization of the region by early hominin ancestors. The early Middle Paleolithic is poorly known owing to dating lacunae, although more abundant evidence is available from younger sites after 50,000 years ago (ka), spanning the late Middle Paleolithic, the Upper Paleolithic and the EpiPaleolithic. The fossil and archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Neanderthals in the Iranian plateau and later, Homo sapiens. The distribution of Lower to EpiPaleolithic sites are examined here, indicating both overlaps and divergences in the use of geographic areas, while pointing to large-scale research gaps in archaeological coverage. Key dispersal models are summarized, illustrating alternative views on the routes of human expansions in the Late Pleistocene, and how the Iranian plateau situates relative to the Levant, Arabia and Central Asia.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-03-212021-06
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: 1. Introduction
2. Research history and background
3. Geography and environment
4. The Pleistocene archaeological record
4.1. Lower Paleolithic
4.2. Middle Paleolithic
4.3. Upper Paleolithic
4.4. EpiPaleolithic
5. Discussion
5.1. Chronological gaps in the record and their meaning
5.2. The hominin fossil record
5.3. Patterns and trends in occupation history
5.4. Dispersal patterns within and across the Iranian plateau
6. Conclusions
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2021.101292
Other: shh2884
 Degree: -



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Title: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Amsterdam : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 62 Sequence Number: 101292 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0278-4165
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/0278-4165