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is a Lower Paleolithic
The Lower Paleolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the...
site in the Gilan Province
Gilan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies along the Caspian Sea, just west of the province of Mazandaran, east of the province of Ardabil, north of the provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin....
in northern Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...
, located on the north side of a deep tributary canyon of the Siahrud River, a tributary of the Sefīd-Rūd River that flows into the Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...
The cave contains the first known evidence for Lower Paleolithic cave occupation in Iran. A collection of stone artifacts and animal remains was collected by a group of Iranian archaeologists from the Center for Paleolithic Research of the National Museum of Iran
The National Museum of Iran is a museum in Tehran, Iran. It is the combination of two museums, the old Muze-ye Irân-e Bâstân , and the modernistic white travertine National Arts Museum , inaugurated in 1972...
and ICHTO of Gilan. The site dates back to the late Middle Pleistocene
The Middle Pleistocene, more specifically referred to as the Ionian stage, is a period of geologic time from ca. 781 to 126 thousand years ago....
The presence of large numbers of cave bear
The cave bear was a species of bear that lived in Europe during the Pleistocene and became extinct at the beginning of the Last Glacial Maximum about 27,500 years ago....
and brown bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...
remains and sparse stone artifacts at the site indicates that Darband primarily represents a bear den. The co-occurrence of artifacts and bear bones does not imply human predation or scavenging. Because there are no clear cut marks, except a few burning signs on the bear bones, they probably accumulated through natural mortality.