Programmes > Par auteur > Ghasidian Elham

Upper Palaeolithic cultural diversity in the Zagros Mountains and the expansion of modern humans into the Iranian Plateau
Elham Ghasidian  1, *@  
1 : Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies  (LCHES)
* : Auteur correspondant

Located in western Eurasia, at the crossroads of human migrations out of Africa during the Pleistocene, the Iranian Plateau stands at the centre of models of anatomically modern human (AMH) dispersals out of Africa. This paper aims to understand the cultural diversity among the first modern human populations in the area, and the implications of this diversity to evolutionary and ecological models of human dispersal through the Iranian Plateau, by re-examining four key UP lithic assemblages from the southern and west central Zagros Mountains of Iran.

The quantitative data and techno-typological attributes combined with physiogeographic data were used to capture and contextualise the variation in lithic artefacts from the sites of Warwasi, Yafteh, Pasangar and Ghār-e Boof Cave. Our results demonstrate that there is a significant degree of cultural diversity rather than homogeneity among the UP throughout the different Zagros habitat areas. The analysis shows that at least three cultural groups can be recognized in the Zagros Mountains, which can be interpreted as parallel developments following the initial occupation of the region as a result of the relative geo-topographical isolation of the different areas occupied favouring different ecological adaptations. The greater similarity of lithic traditions and modes of production observed in the later phases of the UP indicates greater inter-group contact among the UP population of the west central Zagros Mountains. Based on the chronological and geographical patterns of Zagros UP variability, we propose a model of an initial phase of localised and patchy development of the early UP in the region, with limited subsequent contact among these first UP groups. This has important implications for the origins of biological diversity in the early phases of modern human colonisation of Eurasia.


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