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It is a long way from Kazakhstan to Kentucky, but the journey to the Derby may have started among a pastoral people on the Kazakh steppes who appear to have been the first to domesticate, bridle and perhaps ride horses — around 3500 B.C., a millennium earlier than previously thought.
The archaeologists wrote of uncovering ample horse bones and artifacts from which they derived “three independent lines of evidence demonstrating domestication” of horses by the semi-sedentary Botai culture, which occupied sites in northern Kazakhstan for six centuries, beginning around 3600 B.C.
The earliest known metal equestrian bit has been unearthed by archaeologists in Israel.
The bit was discovered in an equid burial site at Tel-Haror, and had probably been used on a donkey.
Archaeologists led by Professor Eliezer Oren, from Ben Gurion University, made the discovery in a layer of material dating from 1750 BC to 1650 BC, known as the Middle Bronze IIB Period.
It is among a growing number of sites in the Near East yielding the remains of horses and donkeys.
“Until the excavation at Tel Haror, archaeologists had only indirect evidence for the use of bits,” he said.
“An example of this indirect evidence is wear marks on equid teeth at the fortress of Buhen in contexts dating to the 20th century BC. “At Tel Haror, we retrieved the actual metal device.”
Other discoveries in recent years in the Near East have painted a picture revealing the extensive use of donkeys and horses in ancient cultures.
The Vulture Stele, in Mesopotamia, dating to 2600BC to 2350BC, known as the Early Dynastic III period, portrays an equid pulling a chariot-like vehicle.
Various Mesopotamian manuscripts dating to this period mention the horse, donkey, hemione and hybrids such as the mule.
From Sumeria, terracotta reliefs from the early second millennium BC show equids pulling a chariot and a human riding horseback.
Hittite art from the 13th century BC, in modern Turkey, show a larger species of equid, perhaps a horse, pulling a chariot with three soldiers, in contrast to smaller equids in Egyptian murals pulling chariots with only two men.
Horse bones were found at Tell el-’Ajjul, in Israel, in contexts dated to around 3400BC and, in Turkey, at Bogazkoy, from the 17th century BC.
Archaeologists excavated donkey remains at Tell Brak in Mesopotamia dating between 2580BC and 2455BC.
Egyptian donkey burials dating to 2000 BC to 1550 BC, known as the Middle Bronze II periods, include those found at Inshas, Tell el-Farasha, Tell el-Maskhuta, and Tell el-Dab’a.
From similar time periods in the Levant – the area including most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories – archaeologists have excavated donkeys at Tell el-’Ajjul and Jericho.
Scientists have in recent years unearthed startling evidence on the early domestication of the horse.
Scientists believe a simple thong-style bridle was the first used in domesticated horses
A thong bridle is simply a leather thong draped over the gap between the teeth of the lower jaw and knotted under the chin, with the trailing ends acting as the reins.
Plains Indians in the United States called this a war bridle or racing bridle and it most likely is the type of bridle that was developed first.
Evidence comes from research into the Botai culture in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest landlocked country, situated in Central Asia.
The research made headlines in 2009, with news that evidence uncovered suggested that horses in the region were both ridden and milked.
It was suggested the evidence pointed to the very beginnings of horse domestication, pushing it back to 5500 years ago.
“There is no question that there are similarities in the Plains Indian societies and some cultures on the Eurasian steppe that depended heavily on the horse, but we must take care in carrying that analogy too far,” Olsen said.
The discoveries in Al-Magar, in Saudi Arabia, are equally startling.
They not only push evidence of horse domestication back to about 9000 years ago, but may also point to the very roots of the Arabian horse breed.
Originally posted by Shane
I am looking for some specific information Hanslune.
It's part of something I started in 06, and keep looking for relevant finds to build a case.
It all revolves around Metal Working, Agriculture, Livestock Domestication, and some of our more Specific Bloodlines on the Planet going back to The Time Altantis was removed.
Thrace, and the Steppes Region is where it will be found to have picked up from the "Golden Age".
It will one day, all point to there.
The best thing is, I got about 20 to 30 Various threads that will be ONE at some point. At least thats the intent.
The black and white spotted horses found on cave paintings existed during the last ice age, some 25.000 years ago, according to a new research published by scientists from the University of York.
The ancient Dalmatian style painted horses have puzzled archaeologists and paleontologists for years now, as they were unable to figure out just what they described – horses seemed to be out of the question, and most believed they were actually abstract or symbolic drawings thought up by Stone Age artists.
However, new DNA analysis of bones and teeth from over 30 prehistoric wild horses has shown that some shared a gene that would have caused the unusual dotted patterns that have been witnessed on these murals.
That means ancient artists were drawing what they saw around them, and were not abstract or symbolic painters - a topic of much debate among archaeologists - said the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
By analysing bones and teeth from more than 30 horses in Siberia and Europe dating back as many as 35,000 years, researchers found that six shared a gene associated with a type of leopard spotting seen in modern horses.
Until now, scientists only had DNA evidence of monochrome horses, such as bay and black.
One prominent example that has generated significant debate over its inspiration is the 25,000-year-old painting, "The Dappled Horses of Pech-Merle" in France, showing white horses with black spots.
"The spotted horses are featured in a frieze which includes hand outlines and abstract patterns of spots," explained Terry O'Connor, a professor at the University of York's Department of Archaeology.
"The juxtaposition of elements has raised the question of whether the spotted pattern is in some way symbolic or abstract, especially since many researchers considered a spotted coat phenotype unlikely for Paleolithic horses," he said.
"However, our research removes the need for any symbolic explanation of the horses. People drew what they saw."