Sedentism and Resource Management in the Neolithic of the Central Zagros

The Central Zagros region of west Iran and east Iraq, part of the Fertile Crescent, is of great importance in one of the major episodes of transformation in human history and environment after the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago: the change from mobile hunting and gathering to more sedentary agriculture and animal husbandry. The Central Zagros is one of the key areas in which occur naturally the wild plants and animals that were later domesticated.

The aim of the Central Zagros Archaeological Project (CZAP) is to investigate the nature of neolithisation in this key zone during the Early Holocene, by fieldwork and research at sites in the higher and lower Zagros, including Sheikh-e Abad and Jani in Iran, and Zarzi, Bestansur and Shimshara in Iraq. The importance of these sites lies in their very early dates and long occupations, spanning ~9,800-6,000 cal BC, and their location on the most important route-ways through the Zagros mountains, including the later Silk Road, enabling study of movements of people, animals, materials, practices and ideas during this critical period of change. The sites are part of a cluster of important Neolithic sites in this region, including Asiab, Sarab, Ganj Dareh, and Abdul Hosein in Iran, and Karim Shahir and Jarmo in Iraq. The Central Zagros Project is a joint UK, Iran, Iraq Research Project.

Map of the CZAP sites