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Relations between climatic changes and prehistoric human migrations during Holocene between Gissar Range, Pamir, Hindu Kush and Kashmir : archaeological and ecological data

Abstract : In the beginning of the Holocene, hunter–gatherer populations settled in the Pamir plateau, especially in the tectonic depression of Markansu near the Kara Kul Lake (Osh Kona site, 4100 m, 9580 BP and 7145 BP). These populations were well adapted to high altitude life conditions in summer. They were using stone tools related to a cobble tool tradition that Ranov considered as the local continuation of an Asian Middle Palaeolithic (Ferghana, Darwaz or Punjab). However, they disappeared during the second half of the Holocene. As well, hunters–gatherers characterised by a tradition close to Markansu Culture, namely Hissar Culture, appeared during the Holocene in the northern mountains of the Tajik–Afghan depression (Amu Darya upper basin) occupying the middle altitude valleys (Gissar Range) when Neolithic populations began to develop at lower altitudes. For Ranov, origin and destiny of both Markansu and Hissar cultures were the most important questions to solve in this region. The Department of Prehistory, National Museum of Natural History (Paris) conducted field work in collaboration with the University of Peshawar between 1996 and 1998 in the northernmost valley of the Indus basin giving access to the Wakhan corridor. The upper Yarkhun valley (Chitral district, Pakistan), accessible only by foot, was surveyed from 2500 to 4000 m altitude. This allowed the discovery of 6 sites yielding lithic artefacts, among which half are cobble tools. They attest to human activity later than 5500 BP, suggesting population movements between the Amu Darya and Indus basins. The consequences of the Quaternary climate oscillations between South Asian monsoon and Northern hemisphere influences on the one hand, and the impact on biotopes of the increasing pastoral activity on the other hand, are discussed as probable causes for the disappearance of the mountainous nomadic hunters of Central Asia.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 16, 2010 - 10:40:20 AM
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Anne Dambricourt Malassé, Claire Gaillard. Relations between climatic changes and prehistoric human migrations during Holocene between Gissar Range, Pamir, Hindu Kush and Kashmir : archaeological and ecological data. Quaternary International, Elsevier, 2010, 30, pp.1-9. ⟨10.1016/j.quaint.2010.01.001⟩. ⟨hal-00502942⟩

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