Ghar-i-Mar

Extinct_horses

Extinct prehistoric equids. Source: Heinrich Harder. Accessed from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Extinct_horses.jpg

Ghar-i-Mar is a hunting and gathering site in northern Afghanistan that is used to argue that herding may have begun in Central Asia during the early Holocene period.  Also called Snake Cave and Aq Kupruk I, Ghar-i-Mar was excavated in the 1950s.  Radio carbon dating puts site occupation from at least c.9000 – 7500 BC.  Some herding was done at this site.  Remnants of wild cattle, gazelle, red deer, and equid were found.  Horncore morphology and analysis of skeletal part size were used to argue for the presence of domesticated sheep and goats.  However, the strength of this argument in relatively weak since the material can no longer be studied and there is doubt on whether or not the sheep and goats were domesticated.  Nevertheless, local domestication cannot be ruled out.  Querns, pounders, stone bowls, and sickles were recovered from Ghar-i-Mar.  These tools have led archaeologists to presume that some plant processing was done by the people who lived at Ghar-i-Mar.  By the late seventh millennium BC, small-scale cereal cultivation may have been conducted at Ghar-i-Mar.  More stone technology, such as grinders, stone axes, pressure-flaked points, and simple pottery, was discovered.  In addition, unidentified charred cereal grains were found in the stone technology. (1)

(1) Barker, G. (2009). The agricultural revolution in prehistory: Why did foragers become farmers?. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 155-156.