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Neanderthal Dwellings Discovered near Takht-e Soleiman Springs


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 20 October 2003



27 years ago archaeologist and expert of the Palaeolithic Age (750,000 to 15,000 years before) Ralph Solki headed to West Azarbaijan, hoping to find human settlements there. He dug some boring pits in the caves of the area, but did not find any Palaeolithic sites.

However, the studies by the Palaeolithic team of Iran's National Museum around the historical site of Takht-e Soleiman, 45 kilometers out of Takab in West Azarbaijan, led to the discovery of two open sites from the Mid Palaeolithic Age (100,000 to 40,000 years before).

According to one of the team members Saman Heidari, it is believed that the hot springs in the area of Takht-e Soleiman provided proper conditions for human settlement in the Palaeolithic Age, and fortunately the primary studies proved that despite the area's high altitudes, the springs encouraged the Palaeolithic communities to reside there during inter Ice Ages.

Chal Tapeh is one of the open Mid Palaeolithic sites, located in a plateau form area, overlooking Takht-e Soleiman springs, in which various unique stone tools, mostly scratchers, have been discovered. These tools are characteristics of the period when Neanderthal man came into being.

The other discovered area, Chakhmagh Lee, is considered a large tool making workshop, dating back to the Mid Palaeolithic Age. The area is located over a mine of flint stone, and all the tools are made out of such stone.

"The discovery of Palaeolithic sites in the area [Takab] shows that the northern parts of Zagros Mountains had settlers only in inter Ice Age during the Palaeolithic time due to the cold weather and lack of caves and rocky shelters," explained Heidari.



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