Document Type : Research Paper


Associate professor of Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran.


The Central Zagros received pioneering research on the emergence of early agricultural and village life by R. Braidwood in 1959-60. However, later shifts in research toward the Levant put the Central Zagros in shadow for several decades until recently, when investigations have once again highlighted its key place in the Neolithization processes in West Asia. Unlike the Levant, where a protracted change from the Epipaleolithic to the Neolithic is seen, the border line between these two periods is evidently sharp in the Central Zagros suggesting that unprecedented features appeared during the first two millennia of the Holocene, a foundational time that is poorly known in the region. In light of new evidence, this period is addressed here under the chronological term ‘Transitional Neolithic’ (ca. 9800-8000 BCE). Current datasets suggest that, following an environmental improvement at the end of the Younger Dryas, local communities engaged in short-term inhabitations, collective or communal ceremonies, and had an increasing reliance on the wild progenitors of early domestic plant and animal species. This time span’s close interactions with natural resources provided people with growing ecological knowledge. We may think of longer occupation in desirable places and thereby population increases in the 9th millennium BCE. This instead could have gradually resulted in an environmental depression, however, caused either by population growth or by possible unfavorable climatic events. Archaeological evidence shows that from the mid-9th millennium BCE on, a change happened in subsistence strategies toward low-level food production. In fact, this was an eco-cultural event that broadened the human diet. The central Zagros saw multiple creative behaviors during both the early and late phases of the Transitional Neolithic, providing people with a robust foundation for the succeeding truly Neolithic way of life that took shape during the 8th millennium BCE


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