Kiaram Cave, Earliest Settlement in Gorgan

Kiaram Cave, Earliest Settlement in GorganKiaram Cave, Earliest Settlement in Gorgan

The first settlement on the Gorgan plains was in Kiaram Cave, Iran’s northern Golestan Province, said senior archaeologist of the provincial ICHHTO (Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization), Habib Rezaee, Mehr News reported.

Kiaram cave offers great insight into the lifestyle of Stone Age predecessors, and with better infrastructure such as a more convenient access road and a cave museum, the site can become a major tourism attraction for the province. The cave reveals Stone-Age information, including some facts about clothing, livelihood, rituals, and traditions, rezaee said.

Geological surveys have led to better understanding of the wide gap within the settlement timelines on the Gorgan plain. There are big question marks on settlements having taken place between the Stone Age and later instances of Tureng Tepe, 17 km northeast of Gorgan city, with the oldest remains dating back to Neolithic period or New Stone Age.


Kiaram cave is 4 km southeast of Farang village in the rural district of Farsian, Galikesh county. It was discovered by archaeologist Charles McBurney, professor of Quaternary Prehistory, being the most recent of the three periods of Cenozoic Era or Age of Mammals.

The discovery was made in 1963 during an expedition to review caves and rock shelters. Local guides from Kiaram village helped MacBurney discover the cave; thus the cave was named Kiaram, while it is also called Vasat-Deldel by locals.

Stone tools were discovered at the lowest settlement layer of the cave, belonging to the Middle Paleolithic period, a period between 125,000 to 40,000 years ago. In this period, tools of bone and wood are found other than stone tools.

Paleolithic settlements were often limited to caves, Rezaee noted. In this era, people made a living by hunting, a lifestyle supported by the favorable environment of Kiaram cave, with lush forests and rich fauna.

Paints and sprays are among the most common damages in caves and rock shelters. Either to show the right way, or to make names last longer, the paints deface the natural beauty of rock surfaces. They are also detrimental to some creatures living inside the caves.

Other factors harmful to caves are nearby excavations and road constructions; letting smoke inside; and noise pollution within and without the caves.