Geographical range Pakistan, India, Nepal
Period Lower Paleolithic
Dates 500,000 – 125,000 BP
Type site Soan River
Major sites Adiala, Chauntra, Khasala Kalan, Khasala Khurd, Sivalik Hills
Preceded by Acheulean
Followed by Mousterian

The Soanian is an archaeological culture of the Lower Paleolithic (ca. 500,000 to 125,000 BP) in Pakistan.[1] Contemporary to the Acheulean, it is named after the Soan Valley in Pakistan. Soanian sites are found along the Sivalik region in present-day India, Nepal and Pakistan.[2]


Map of the Indian subcontinent showing important sites of the Soanian culture (clickable map).

The term "Soan Culture" was first used by Hellmut De Terra in 1936,[3] but D. N. Wadia had identified the presence of these archaeological implements in 1928.[4] 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]

On Adiyala and Khasala, 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.

See also

The Paleolithic

Pliocene (before Homo)

Lower Paleolithic
(c. 3.3 Ma – 300 ka)

Middle Paleolithic
(300–45 ka)

Upper Paleolithic
(50–10 ka)

Stone Age


  1. 1 2 Lycett, Stephen J., Is the Soanian techno-complex a Mode 1 or Mode 3 phenomenon? A morphometric assessment.
  2. Distribution of Acheulian sites in the Siwalik region
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Further reading

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