Here is a link to a village in Iran that is dated 10,000 BP
Zawi Chemi Shanidar
Zawi Chemi Shanidar is a unique archaeological site located in the Zagros Mountains by the Zab River of northern Iraq. Some anthropologists consider
it to be pre-pottery Neolithic. It was inhabited between 10,000-9,000 B.C.
This time period lies within both the Mesolithic era and the Neolithic era. The Mesolithic was known for Natufian Micro-flint blades. The beginnings
of sea travel, early agriculture, and cave/wall paintings are also characteristics of the Mesolithic and of Zawi Chemi Shanidar. The Neolithic is
known for “superior” agriculture, more trade and some of the earliest shrines. We see some of these characteristics within the Zawi Chemi Shanidar
site as well. This shows that Zawi Chemi Shanidar cannot be placed exclusively into the Mesolithic or the Neolithic time period because it has
characteristics of both.
This particular site is likely to have been a seasonal village/campsite. It is considered seasonal because the inhabitants moved to where food was
available on a seasonal basis. The people who inhabited the site were from the Karim Shahir Culture. This culture was seasonally nomadic, meaning they
were nomadic and somewhat sedentary. The season determined whether they would be sedentary or nomadic. Again, these characteristics are from two
different eras showing that Zawi Chemi Shanidar is Neolithic/Mesolithic.
The Shanidarians lived in round or dome-like huts. These huts were approximately 13 feet in diameter. Some people believe that the inhabitants lived
in subterranean houses, although the evidence for this type of house is somewhat scarce. They did have large storage pits dug into the ground, a
characteristic of a more sedentary life-style.
Their daily lives probably consisted of the normal hunter gatherer/sedentary tasks. The men hunted or herded animals. The archaeologists found
primitive mills for grain or wheat. There is not much evidence for whether the grain or wheat was wild or cultivated. They also found larger grinding
stones. The grinding activities was probably done by the women who also cared for the children.
Furthermore, with the prevalence of large underground storage pits, larger querns, and grinding stones, it is assumed that the Shanidarians overused
plants potentially affected the availability of these resource. This would further show that they could not inhabit Zawi Chemi Shanidar for extended
Along with grains in their diets, the people ate mostly wild game and sheep. There were a large number of young sheep bones found in the site. There
are two possible explanations. Possibly, they were not killing the young sheep when hunting, rather they were taken back to Zawi Chemi Shanidar and
herding them. Another interpretation is called “stock manipulation.”
Some of the other artifacts found at Zawi Chemi Shanidar were a large number of beads, some made of copper. This does not mean that they could shape
and mold copper, nor did they use copper for tools. There were also bird bone beads covered with intricate designs. This is interesting because this
shows the beginning of decoration on the body with objects, not just paint.
Along with the beads, there was obsidian found. This is not an indigenous rock, rather it is volcanic glass. The glass was believed to have come from
the Lake Van area of Anatolia indicating contact via trade. Another interesting thing found at the site was a large round stone building. It is
believed to have been a hut, probably for religious/ritualistic gatherings. There were 28 burials found at Zawi Chemi Shanidar. 26 of these burials
had a stone platform incorporated in the burial site.
[edit on 26-8-2007 by Hanslune]