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Provenance of prehistoric lithic materials in the Arsanjan area (south central Iran); a geoarchaeological study

The Arsanjan area is located in the middle of the Zagros thrust zone, south central Iran, and consists of a series of ranges and plains. The study area is situated in the east and southeast of the Arsanjan city, where several Paleolithic and late prehistoric cave sites have so far been recorded. One of the largest cave sites is Tang-e Eshkan that opens to the southwest and faces a large plain at the junction of two valleys. The cave has been archaeologically excavated in 3 seasons from which numerous Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic lithic materials have been unearthed.

One of the questions raised from the study of the archaeological lithic artifacts was the source of the huge amount of lithic materials recovered from the cave. In this regard, the major aim of this study was to search for the possible sources used by the Paleolithic people for manufacturing their lithic tools. For this purpose, the surrounding area of the cave was surveyed and sampled. The samples were then compared with the lithic artifacts exhumed from the cave from the viewpoint of their color and appearance as well as their petrographic and geochemical characteristics.

Based on the field and hand specimen observations and the petrographic and geochemical investigations, both high-silica materials from the riverbed and the surrounding rock outcrops could have been used by Paleolithic hunter-gatherers in the Arsanjan area.


Nima Nezafati1, Akira Tsuneki2, Fereidoun Biglari3
1Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Germany; 2University of Tsukuba, Japan; 3National Museum of Iran, Tehran, Iran
GeoMinKöln 2022