The Wezmeh Cave is an archaeological site near Islamabad Gharb, western Iran, around 470 km (290 mi) southwest of the capital Tehran. The site was discovered in 1999 and excavated since 2001 by a team of Iranian archaeologists under the leadership of Dr. Kamyar Abdi.
Large numbers of animal fossil remains and several fragmented human bones and teeth have been discovered so far. The earliest and the latest dates obtained on animal bones are 70,000 years BP and 11,000 years BP, respectively. Erik Trinkaus and Bruno Maureille studied the human fossils and had them analyzed by non-destructive gamma spectrometry that resulted in a date of around 25,000 years BP (Upper Paleolithic).
The animal remains belong to red fox, spotted hyena, brown bear, wolf, lion, leopard, equids, rhinoceros, etc. The faunal remains were studied by Dr. Marjan Mashkour and her colleagues at the Natural History Museum in Paris and osteological department of National Museum of Iran.
A human metatarsal bone fragment has also been analyzed and dated to the Neolithic period, about 9000 years ago. The DNA from this bone fragment shows that it is from a distinct genetic group, which was not known to scientists before. He had brown eyes, relatively dark skin, and black hair, although Neolithic Iranians carried reduced pigmentation-associated alleles in several genes and derived allleles at 7 of the 12 loci, showing the strongest signatures of selection in ancient Eurasians. Isotopic analysis showed the man's diet included cereals, a sign that he had learned how to cultivate crops.
This cave site was sporadically used by later Chalcolithic groups of the region, who used it as pen for their herds.
This cave was listed as an archaeological and paleonthological site on the National Register of Historic Places (17843) in 2006.
Abdi, K., F. Biglari, S. Heydari,2002. Islamabad Project 2001. Test Excavations at Wezmeh Cave. Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan.34, 171-194.
- Broushaki, Farnaz; Thomas, Mark G.; Link, Vivian; López, Saioa; Van Dorp, Lucy; Kirsanow, Karola; Hofmanová, Zuzana; Diekmann, Yoan; Cassidy, Lara M.; Díez-Del-Molino, David; Kousathanas, Athanasios; Sell, Christian; Robson, Harry K.; Martiniano, Rui; Blöcher, Jens; Scheu, Amelie; Kreutzer, Susanne; Bollongino, Ruth; Bobo, Dean; Davoudi, Hossein; Munoz, Olivia; Currat, Mathias; Abdi, Kamyar; Biglari, Fereidoun; Craig, Oliver E.; Bradley, Daniel G.; Shennan, Stephen; Veeramah, Krishna R.; Mashkour, Marjan; et al. (2016). "Early Neolithic genomes from the eastern Fertile Crescent". Science. 353 (6298): 499–503. Bibcode:2016Sci...353..499B. doi:10.1126/science.aaf7943. PMID 27417496.
- Djamali, Morteza; Biglari, Fereidoun; Abdi, Kamyar; Andrieu-Ponel, Valérie; De Beaulieu, Jacques-Louis; Mashkour, Marjan; Ponel, Philippe (2011). "Pollen analysis of coprolites from a late Pleistocene–Holocene cave deposit (Wezmeh Cave, west Iran): Insights into the late Pleistocene and late Holocene vegetation and flora of the central Zagros Mountains". Journal of Archaeological Science. 38 (12): 3394–3401. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.08.001.
- Monchot, Hervé (2008). "Des hyènes tachetées au Pléistocène supérieur dans le Zagros (grotte Wezmeh, Iran)". Mom Éditions. 49 (1): 65–78.
- Trinkaus, E.; Biglari, F.; Mashkour, M.; Monchot, H.; Reyss, J. L.; Rougier, H.; Heydari, S.; Abdi, K. (2008). "Late Pleistocene human remains from Wezmeh Cave, western Iran". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 135 (4): 371–8. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20753. PMID 18000894.
- "Reimer Verlag :: Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan".
- Mashkour, M.; Monchot, H.; Trinkaus, E.; Reyss, J.-L.; Biglari, F.; Bailon, S.; Heydari, S.; Abdi, K. "Carnivores and their prey in the Wezmeh Cave (Kermanshah, Iran): a Late Pleistocene refuge in the Zagros". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. 19 (6): 678–694. doi:10.1002/oa.997. eISSN 1099-1212. ISSN 1047-482X.