From: Mark Odegard
From: Piotr Gasiorowski
The evidence is archaeological. I do suspect the dates given by the
Times Atlas are somewhat conjectural. The Bronocice "wagon pot" is
dated at 3635-3370 cal. BC [med. 3404 BC] (or rather, some animal
bones found together with it are so dated; Milisauskas & Kruk 1982).
The dating fits what is known about the absolute chronology of the
archaeological phases of the Bronocice settlement and is regarded as
secure. The chalk wheel model found 1974 at Jebel Aruda (on the
middle Euphrates) has been radiocarbon-dated several times and the
calibrated results are in the range 3340-2900~3100 BC (Bakker & al.
1998). The Bronocice vessel is also ca. 200 yrs older than the famous
cart pictograms from the late Uruk phase (Piggot 1983), and if there
are any earlier dates for Mesopotamia (or the steppes, for that
matter), I'd appreciate a concrete reference. The very oldest
tangible evidence for the use of wheeled transport seems to come from
Flintbek (near Kiel), where a well-preserved cart track was found
under a megalithic tomb dated to ca. 3600-3500 BC (Zich 1994). There
is other evidence of using carts and wagons in the Funnel Beaker
culture. Of course it's more than likely that future research will
yield deeper dates for Mesopotamia, Central Europe, Ukraine or all
these regions; it's all rather tentative at the moment.
TRB data quoted after Kruk & Milisauskas (1999); same dates are given
by Maximilian Baldia on his TRB pages (we discussed them some time
The link I posted just before Piotr's post,gives dates 1000 years younger ('B.P.' = before present = before 1950).The topic of where and when wheeled vehicles are first attested needs an up-to-date relatively popular treatment. I think the archaeologists are afraid of sticking their necks out. But what I've read so far suggests a European origin is quite possibleOne issue I have not seen addressed anywhere is *how* one built a vehicle before the advent of bronze tools. I have difficulties seeing it done with stone tools -- tho' Flintbek did have lots and lots of local high-quality flint, and plenty of wood. The other main flint deposits were in Southern Poland and the northwest corner of Belarus.As is the case with much technology, the idea of a wheeled-vehicle seems to have occured before the practical development. A better question is probably when the *yoke* is first attested.Mark.