The Soanian is a archaeological culture of the Lower Paleolithic in the Siwalik region of the Indian subcontinent.[1] Contemporary to the Acheulean, it is named after the Soan Valley in Pakistan.[2] Soanian sites are found along the Sivalik region in present-day India, Nepal and Pakistan.[3]

Geographical rangeIndia, Nepal, Pakistan
PeriodLower Paleolithic
Dates500,000 – 125,000 BP
Type siteSoan River
Major sitesAdiala, Chauntra, Khasala Kalan, Khasala Khurd, Sivalik Hills
Preceded byAcheulean
Followed byMousterian


Map of the Indian subcontinent showing important sites of the Soanian culture.

The term "Soan Culture" was first used by Hellmut De Terra in 1936,[4] but D. N. Wadia had identified the presence of these archaeological implements in 1928.[5] Further archaeological research was conducted by Stephen Lycett in order to determine the morphometric assessment of the Soanian techno-complex. The result of this experiment concluded that the Soanian techno-complex contains a Mode 3 Levallois technique core component.[1]

At Adiala and Khasala Kalan, about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Rawalpindi terrace on the bend of the river, hundreds of edged pebble tools were discovered. At Chauntra in Himachal Pradesh, hand axes and cleavers were found. Tools up to two million years old have been recovered. In the Soan River Gorge, many fossil bearing rocks are exposed on the surface. 14 million year old fossils of gazelle, rhinoceros, crocodile, giraffe and rodents have been found there. Some of these fossils are on display at the Pakistan Museum of Natural History in Islamabad.

Spread across Shivalik Hills region

The earliest Paleolithic hominin archaeological site in the Indian subcontinent at the Soan Sakaser Valley,[6] is part of Soanian, sites of are found in the Sivalik Hills across what are now India, Pakistan, and Nepal.[3][1]

See also

The Paleolithic
Pliocene (before Homo)


  1. Lycett, Stephen J. (2007). "Is the Soanian techno-complex a Mode 1 or Mode 3 phenomenon? A morphometric assessment" (PDF). Journal of Archaeological Science. 34 (9): 1434–1440. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2006.11.001.
  2. "Pakistan: The lesser-known histories of an ancient land".
  3. Chauhan, Parth R., An Overview of the Siwalik Acheulian & Reconsidering Its Chronological Relationship with the Soanian – A Theoretical Perspective.
  4. Hellmut De Terra (1969). George Grant MacCurdy (ed.). Early man: as depicted by leading authorities at the International symposium, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, March 1937. pp. 267–. ISBN 978-0-8369-1184-8. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  5. Kenneth Oakley (30 April 2007) [1964]. Frameworks for Dating Fossil Man. Transaction Publishers. pp. 224–. ISBN 978-0-202-30960-6. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  6. Rendell, H. R.; Dennell, R. W.; Halim, M. (1989). Pleistocene and Palaeolithic Investigations in the Soan Valley, Northern Pakistan. British Archaeological Reports International Series. Cambridge University Press. p. 364. ISBN 0-86054-691-8. OCLC 29222688.

Further reading

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