Do-Ashkaft Cave

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Do-Ashkaft cave
Do-Ashkaft cave Iran
Do-Ashkaft cave Iran
location in Iran
Location north of Kermanshah, western Iran
Region Kermanshah Province, Iranian Kurdistan
Coordinates 34°24′3.4″N 47°7′50″E / 34.400944°N 47.13056°E / 34.400944; 47.13056Coordinates: 34°24′3.4″N 47°7′50″E / 34.400944°N 47.13056°E / 34.400944; 47.13056
Type Cave
Part of Kermanshah Plain
Material limestone
Periods Middle Paleolithic
Associated with Neanderthals
Site notes
Excavation dates 1996
Archaeologists F. Biglari, S. Heydari
A reconstruction of a  male Neanderthal at the Zagros Paleolithic Museum.

The Do-Ashkaft Cave, being a Middle Paleolithic cave site, is located north of Kermanshah, near Taq-e Bostan, Iran about 1,600 m (5,200 ft) above sea level. Its entrance faces south of Meywala Mount, overlooking the national park of Kuhestan. The site was first visited in 1996 by Iranian researchers F. Biglari and S. Heydari-Guran[1] and during the following four years a series of surface surveys were made at one-month intervals, which resulted in a rich collection of Middle Paleolithic lithic artifacts.[2]

The main chamber of the cave is 23 m (75 ft) deep and 15 m (49 ft) wide. Large areas of Breccia sediments indicate lateral percolation of water into the cave sediments as a substantial amount of the cave sediments may have been washed away. The sediments at the entrance yielded numerous animal bones, charcoal and flint tools, Middle Paleolithic artifacts, such as side-scrapers and a Mousterian point. Animal bones show signs of human involvement in their accumulation during the Mousterian occupation. They include a fragment of a right mandible of an adult specimen and an upper third right molar of a sub-adult ruminant, both allocated to wild Caprinae.

In 1999 an area of about 7 km2 (2.7 sq mi) including 14 caves and rock-shelters was surveyed, where Upper Palaeolithic and later lithic assemblages came to light. Records and samples made by S. Heydari provide a paleo-environmental sequence for the region from the late Middle Pleistocene to the Holocene. The Neanderthal occupants of the cave made tools from local raw material outcrops around the cave, which classify as to be Mousterian.[3]


Cave entrance


  1. Fereidoun Biglari and Saman Heydari (2001) Do-Ashkaft: a recently discovered Mousterian cave site in the Kermanshah Plain, Iran, Antiquity, Vol 75, No: 289, Page: 487–488
  2. Biglari, F.(2007) Approvisionnement et utilisation des matières premières au Paléolithique moyen dans la plaine de Kermanshah Iran) : le cas de la Grotte Do-Ashkaft, M. H. Moncel, A. Moigne, M. Arzarello, C. Peretto (eds), Aires 'approvisionnement en matières premières et aires d'approvisionnement en resources alimentaires Approche intégrée des comportements, Workshop 23, XV Congrès UISPP, Lisbonne, Vol. 5, BAR International Series 172

External Links[edit]

  1. Kermanshah Cultural Heritage Organization web site
  2. Do-Ashkaft Cave
  3. Lithic raw material use in Do-Ashkaft