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Discovery of 400,000-year-old Stone Tools in Gilan


24 January 2006



LONDON, (CAIS) -- The initial excavations in the west bank of Sefidrud River in Gilan province resulted in the discovery of some stone tools belonging to the Palaeolithic period, dated back to 400,000 years ago.

Gilan province, known as “paradise of human beings” for its green nature and dazzling beauty, has been a settlement area for over a hundred thousand years. Recent discoveries in the caves and also in Rostam Abad area in Gilan province are all proof of this claim. Latest scientific studies and fieldworks in the vicinity of Sefidrud River reveal the existence of a rich culture in this region some hundred thousand years ago.

“The discoveries in Gang-Par historical site near Rostam Abad in 2002 were followed by more excavations and studies in Gilan Province. Some stone tools belonging to the Ashuli civilization were discovered during these excavations. The most ancient Ashuli cultural evidences were discovered in east of Africa and Palestine which all date back to some one million to one and half million years ago,” said Fereydoun Biglari, curator of Paleolithic Department of Iran’s National Museum.

“Discovery of Ashuli stone instruments in Gilan province indicate that the Ashulies brought in this industry with themselves when they migrated to West Asia and north of Iran from Africa, around one and half to two million years ago,” added Biglari.

According to Biglari, the plain of Rostam Abad had a higher altitude in the ancient times, but that water stream gradually washed away the basins of Sefidrud River and moved the rocks and sediments down the river. This caused the river to widen and cut down deeper into the lower rocky layers. Geological studies on these layers indicate that they go back to the Ice Age, some two million years to 10,000 years ago. The newly found stone instruments were discovered in one of these layers left by the stream.

“Considering that the bed of the river corresponds to the most recent period in its history, we are performing our studies on the upper layers of Sefidrud River. It is supposed that with further scientific studies on the upper layers of the river, more ancient stone tools belonging to the people of the Paleolithic epoch would be discovered in Gilan province,” explained Biglari.

Basins of rivers had always been centers of human settlements in the course of history. Sefidrud, the most important river of Gilan, divided the province into two west and east sections. Due to this division, various cultures were formed on each side of the river in present-day Gilan province.

Ashuli culture is an ancient one dating back to some one and half million to 250 thousand years ago. It was formed in east of Africa and then was spread to Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Caucasian region, Armenia, Georgia, and the Indian Peninsula with the migration of Ashuli tribe. Archeologists believe that the discovered stone tools in the Sefidrud River bank belong to some 400,000 years ago during the time this tribe was living there.




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