عنوان مقاله [English]
Here we present the results of 2005 field research in the Qaleh Bozi site complex located at south-southwest of Isfahan, close to the inner foothills of the Zagros range, on the south-western margin of the Central Iran. The sites include two rockshelters and a cave located at elevations of between 1750 and 1810 meters above sea level, on the southern face of a limestone cliff of lower Cretaceous age. These sites were studied by M. Yazdi, who excavated one of the sites, Qaleh Bozi 1, in 2004. In 2005, under the supervision of F. Biglari, a joint team conducted test excavations at the other two sites, Qaleh Bozi 2 and, Qaleh Bozi 3. A large sample of animal bones and lithics were recovered from these sites, the largest assemblages belonging to QB2 with abundant, well-preserved macro and micro-vertebrates remains and lithic artifacts. A large sample of faunal remains was recovered in these sites. The largest faunal assemblage belongs to Qaleh Bozi 2. A considerable number of shaft fragments of the limb bones were recovered in this cave. Some specimens show impacts and breakage patterns compatible with marrow extraction. The anthropogenic activity is also evidenced in a number of burnt and cut marked bones. The Macro mammalian remains belong in majority to large and medium sized herbivores. Besides the Caprini the gazelles are abundant in the assemblage. Among the large herbivores, the dominant species are the Equids. Aurochs was also identified with remains of horn cores and the presence of Rhinoceros is attested by few bones and teeth fragments. The lithic artifacts were made from small river worn pebbles. Chain operation took place entirely at the site as shown by the high percentages of cortical flakes, some intact and tested pebbles and cobbles and cores and small debris. Façonnage technology and core reduction are present in the industry. Both hard hammerstone and probably soft hammerstone were used. There are very few Levallois elements. Tools and flakes are predominant and making up three quarters of the assemblage. The remaining artifact types consist of cores, waste and debris. The tool group is dominated by various types of scrapers, followed by the retouched pieces, notch-denticulates, borers and bifacial tools. A number of pointed tools from Qaleh Bozi 3 were selected for use-wear analysis and some use-wear traces were found on two points. These tools show edge damage, polish and scarring which indicate they were used for butchery, most probably for cutting meat.
This preliminary analysis shows that a use-wear analysis of a larger sample may yield useful additional insights into the subsistence activities of human groups on the Iranian Plateau in the Middle Paleolithic.
The analysis of a number of charcoal fragments from Middle Paleolithic layers at Qaleh Bozi 2 has allowed the identification of two different taxa including Willow or Poplar and Pistachio. This analysis shows the presence around the site of two different plant formations: open steppe-forests and riverine formations.
AMS radiocarbon dates from charcoal samples collected during the 2005 excavations at Qaleh Bozi 2 refine the dating for the Middle Paleolithic occupation of this site to Late Middle Paleolithic (OIS 3). The diversity and the significant number of large species such as equids, Rhino and Aurochs, the relative absence of carnivores, the presence of thick ash lenses, and the presence of almost the entire chain operation in Qaleh Bozi 2, indicate a possible base camp function for QB 2, probably for a number of months on a yearly basis, during the Middle Paleolithic. But the evidence from Qaleh Bozi 3 indicates short-term stays probably related to hunting activities at the Qaleh Bozi Mountain and Zayandeh Rud plain. This is indicated by the dominance of bifacial and uinfacial points in the tool-kit and also the abundance of caprids and gazelles in identifiable faunal remains.
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