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4 January 2016
Remains of Stone Age hunters found in Western Iran

Excavations in Kurdistan at three sites along the Sirvan - a tributary of the Tigris - have led to the discovery of artefacts including stone tools, the bones of hunted animals, and the remains of hearths belonging to the middle, new, and post-Palaeolithic eras.
     According to Freydoun Biglari, head of the archaeological team, one of the key findings of the season was the identification and exploration of a rock shelter containing artefacts belonging to the middle Palaeolithic era, probably aged between 40,000 to more than 70,000 years - the earliest evidence of human presence in the province.
     "Given the fact that the human fossils from this period have been found in Bisitun and Shanidar caves, it is safe to assume that the residents of the area had most likely been from Neanderthal species that have become extinct about forty thousand years ago."
     With the extinction of the Neanderthals, Biglari says a new homo sapiens¬†entered this area, and the signs of their habitation have been discovered in two other locations there.
     Biglari says the finds suggest hunters inhabited the valley from 40,000 to 12,000 years ago, until the end of the last Ice Age, hunting mountain goats in the heights overlooking the valley.
     According to Iran's cultural heritage organisation, two other teams have found evidence including two important Iron Age sites, one of which consists of a large dome-shaped stone grave dating to about 3,000 years ago.

Edited from Tasnim News Agency (29 December 2015), Mehr News Agency (30 December 2015)

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