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Botkhane Cave: New Evidence from Nomadic and Semi-Sedentary Communities in the Central Zagros During the Late Chalcolithic Period and the Bronze Age: Kuhdasht, Luristan, Iran

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Years of investigation, of varying degrees, have been undertaken into the semi- sedentary communities in the Near East and especially central Zagros, encompassing ethnology, anthropology and ethno-archaeology. All this research provides useful information regarding the cultural structure of the semi-sedentary communities of central Zagros. However, due to the difficulties in identifying the sites related to this type of livelihood, reconstructing such cultural structures is problematic; thus special strategies are required in archaeological excavation and surveys. Meanwhile, caves and rock shelters preserve some evidence of ancient settlements and can enhance our knowledge about their livelihood patterns and cultural structures. Identifying these settlements is evidently easier than finding settlements in open spaces as they incurred less damage than open sites. Botkhane cave is one of this group of settlements, which reflects various aspects of the semi-sedentary communities' cultural structure in central Zagros.

This cave is located 21 kilometres southeast of Kuhdasht city and one kilometre east of Damchehr Qaralivand village in the west of Luristan province. Evidence of settlements from the fourth millennium bc into the historic period have been revealed in this cave during a threat mitigation plan in 2008. Numerous bone remains of humans, goats, horses, rabbits etc. have also been observed. Although the cultural materials in this cave have been displaced, making the stratigraphy process impossible, due to the importance of the discoveries and the strategic location of the cave, all the finds have been collected and documented. The present study aims to introduce the cave's cultural materials and the remains' relative chronology, along with an analytical overview of the cave's function, based on the existing evidence, from the second half of the fourth millennium bc to the end of the Bronze Age.
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Keywords: Botkhane Cave (Kuhdasht); Central Zagros; Middle and Late Bronze Age; Neo-Chalcolithic; Semi-Sedentary

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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