Pakistani History/Prehistory/Palaeolithic Age

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Lower Palaeolithic Age[edit]

Pakistan can trace its history all the way back to the Palaeolithic or the Old Stone Age. The most notable archaeological site is found at Riwat in Punjab where evidence of the earliest Homo migration and occupation outside Africa can be found. Also present in its vicinity, at the Soan Valley, are traces of one of the major Lower Palaeolithic techno-complexes from the Indian subcontinent.[1]

Riwat (ca. 1.9 million — 45,000 years ago)[edit]

Riwat (or Rawat) near Murree is a Lower Paleolithic site in Punjab, Pakistan. This site provides evidences of the earliest Homo occupation outside Africa and dates back to 1.9 million years ago. The site was discovered in 1983. The artefacts found at the site consist of flakes and cores made on quartzite. Another site at Riwat shows a later occupation dating back to around 45,000 years ago.

Soanian culture (ca. 500,000 — 125,000 years ago)[edit]

One of the many gorges of the Soan River where prehistoric fossils have been found and recorded.

The Soanian (also spelt Sohanian) culture is spread across sites that are found along the Sivalik region of the present-day Pakistan, India and Nepal.[2] The Sivalik region runs from Bhutan and Bangladesh in the east through southern Nepal, northern India and northern Pakistan at their western extremities, roughly parallel to the Himalayan range. The culture was first identified and named by Dr Hellmut de Terra in 1936.[3]

The ancient Soanian culture is characterised by the various edged pebble tools, like hand axes and cleavers, discovered in the Soan terrace between Adiala and Khasala, situated about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Rawalpindi. The Soanian culture is a contemporary of another Lower Palaeolithic culture, the Acheulean.

Tools dating back 2 million years have been recovered from the Soan terrace. Many fossil-bearing rocks are exposed at the surface in the Soan River gorges. Fossils of gazelles, rhinoceros, crocodiles, giraffes and rodents dating back 14 million years have also been found here. A sample of these fossils are displayed at the Pakistan Museum of Natural History in Islamabad.

References[edit]