--- In email@example.com
, george knysh <gknysh@...> wrote:
> 1. There is a difference between "pastoralism" and
> "nomadic pastoralism".
> 2. Horsemen or horse-riding warriors are not
> necessarily "nomads".
If it was not nomadic then it could not have spread langauges. There
were no horse riders in the steppes around 4500 BCE. Horses were eaten
"Trudy Kawami tkawami@...
Wed, 7 Jul 2004 12:18:36 -0400
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Archaeology of the Horse
"Although significantly altered from their original composition,
comparison of the isotopic and distributional data obtained for the
samples from Botai with data obtained for modern and prehistoric
reference horse fats have confirmed the archaeological residues all
derive from horse meat and/or fat. The Eneolithic pots thus functioned
as vessels for the processing (e.g. cooking) of horse meat or fat
recovery from tissue or bones with chemical evidence that they reached
temperatures in excess of 300 degree C. The lack of chemical markers
for leafy vegetables is also notable, indicating that the vessels were
not used for cooking such products (Dudd, Evershed, and Levine, 2003,
Dudd, Stephanie N., Evershed, Richard P. and Marsha Levine (2003),
"Organic Residue Analysis of Lipids in Potsherds from the Early
Neolithic Settlement of Botai, Kazakhstan," in Prehistoric Steppe
Adaptation and the Horse, pp. 45-53, Marsha Levine, Colin Renfrew,
and Kati Boyle (Eds.), pp. 45-53, Cambridge, UK: McDonald Institute
for Archaeological Research.
"During the 1960's and the 70s Bibikova's zoological argument for
horse domestication at Dereivka (Bibikova 1967; 1969) was widely
accepted, as was Telegin's (1973, 1986) dating of the site.
Bibikova's identification of the domesticated horses at Dereivka was
used by other archaeologists to support the hypothesis that
Indo-European-speakers on horseback migrated in several `waves' from
the Ukrainian steppes into eastern eastern and central Europe at the
end of the Eneolithic (Gimbutas 19970;1977; Bokonyi 1978). But the
archaeological evidence for domestication reported by Bibikova was not
compelling under close examination (Uerpmann 1990; Levine 1990;
Anthony 1991). The hypothesis of massive `Kurgan culture' invasions
into Central Europe was discredited (Hauser 1981; 1985; 1986; Anthony
1986; Renfrew 1987; Whittle 1996, 140-43), (Anthony and Brown 2003,
Anthony David W. and Brown, Dorcas R. (2003), "Eneolithic Horse
Rituals and Riding in the Steppes: New Evidence," in Prehistoric
Steppe Adaptation and the Horse, pp. 45-53, Marsha Levine, Colin
Renfrew, and Kati Boyle (Eds.), pp. 55-68, Cambridge, UK: McDonald
Institute for Archaeological Research.
"Evidence is building to support the hypothesis that the Botai were
equestrian horse-hunters who maintained at least some herds for riding
(Olsen 1996). Equestrian hunting could have served as one of the
primary motivations for domesticating this species. If so the larger
assemblage of slaughtered wild individuals might swamp the numbers of
domesticated horses , which once trained, would be kept for many years
(Olsen 2003, pp. 83-84)."
Olsen, Sandra L. (2003), "The Exploitation of Horses at Botai,
Kazakhstan," in Prehistoric Steppe Adaptation and the Horse, pp.
45-53, Marsha Levine, Colin Renfrew, and Kati Boyle (Eds.), pp.
83-103, Cambridge, UK: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
"The aim of this paper was to show the importance of the exploitation
of equids on the northern part of the Iranian Plateau. Regarding this
problem, the Iron Age upheavals in Iran are most commonly linked to
the migration theories of Indo-European peoples (e.g. Dyson 1973) and
its inseparable component-the domestic horse. In this respect, the
increase in horse remains at Sagzabad is noteworthy, but one must
still remain extremely cautious about the integration of such data in
socio-cultural analyses, for many of these theories are based, at
least in the northern part of Iran and Central Asia and especially for
the faunal material, on old studies under debate (i.e. Levine et. al.
1999). A more important fact is the new evidence for the presence of
the wild horse (equus ferus) as early as the Neolithic (Mashkour 2003,
"But at this point of the study, considering the restricted amount of
data, it is safer not to over-interpret the information. It should
only be stressed that a probably wild caballing equid was present in
the northern part of Iran in the Neolithic with the same or modified
status in the Chalcolithic.
An interesting question to be posed, relevant to the socio-economic
and political setting of the studied sites would be: is this gradual
diachronic increase in horse (Equus caballus) percentages in the
Qazvin Plain simultaneous to the general increase of equids, all
represented species considered, in the faunal assemblages from the
three site? Doe it, result from an internal endogenous dynamic or was
it the consequence of exogenous factors? (Mashkour 2003, p. 136)."
Mashkour, Marjan (2003), "Equids in the Northern Part of the Iranian
Central Plateau from the Neolithic to Iron Age: New Zoogeographic
Evidence," in Prehistoric Steppe Adaptation and the Horse, Marsha
Levine, Colin Renfrew, and Kati Boyle (Eds.), pp. 129-138, Cambridge,
UK: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
"How valid is the hypothesis concerning the formation of nomadism and
horseback riding in the steppes of the fourth millennium BC?
Undoubtedly, Eneolithic herdsmen had to control the herd and thus they
might ride a horse (a belt or rope halter is quite sufficient for
that). But the rider who shoots or fights with a spear needs a
confident seat that requires, in turn, bridles and cheek-pieces. Bone
artifacts with one or two holes found at Dereivka were interpreted by
Telegin as the earliest known cheek-pieces. This became the basis for
the hypothesis of the early spread of riding in the steppes of Eurasia
which was accepted by many scientists.
In reality this hypothesis is based on a misunderstanding. In 1970
Kozhin published an article in which he proposed that horn objects
with holes, found at Siberian Afansevo culture sites, which resemble
Scynthian cheek-pieces to some extent, also served for horseback
riding. This proposition was rejected by Gryaznov (see 1997, 57,
figs. 32, 34, & 35), and Kozhin changed his mind. Danilenko & Shmagly
(1972) and Telegin (1973), however, have interpreted similar objects
from Dereivka as cheek-pieces and declared the steppe horse-breeders
to be nomadic riders who undertook distant military raids. Gimbutas
(1977), who studied in Heidelberg (Germany) under outstanding
pan-Germanic ideologists (as Hausler (1996) has discovered) gave this
issue a political character: in her interpretation savage
warrior-raiders, invading from the east, barbarously destroyed the
farming culture of Europe and brought Indo-European languages there.
This hypothesis has already been opposed (Kuzmina 1981; 1983; 1994a,b;
1996-97, 1999). Now the interpretation of `cheek-pieces' and
domestication are under serious criticism (Levine 1990; 1999;
Rassamakin 1994; 1999; Trifonov & Izbitser 1997). Judging from the
ethnographic and archaeological data, analyzed artifacts have a wide
range of formal analogies, from braiding tools (Chernysh 1969) and
horn mattocks of the Tripolye culture (Rassamakin 1999) to pastoral
staves (Gryaznov 1999) and implements for undoing knots in China.
Dietz (1992) has undertaken a study of similar objects in Europe which
are widespread within different cultures. She determined that that
they were multi-functional and appear in cultures of different
economic types-including those without horses. Such objects are
especially numerous on pile settlements in Switzerland where they
served for net-braiding. Thus, there are no serious arguments to
support horseback riding in the steppes. As for horse teeth evidence
for the use of cheek-pieces (Anthony and Brown 1991), that horse, as
already stated, does not belong to the Eneolithic (Anthony 1999).
Horse bones on Eneolithic sites on the Pontic Caspian steppes are
split which means that the horse was used as a meat animal. There is
evidence of neither nomadic herding nor distant migration, and we can
agree with Renfrew (1999, 10) when he says: `the notion of "kurgan
culture" mounted warriors around 3500 or 3000 BC as responsible for
carrying Indo-European speech from the steppe lands westward into
Central Europe should be definitively abandoned (Kuzmina 2003, pp.
Kuzmina, Elena E. (2003), "Origins of Pastoralism in the Eurasian
Steppes," in Prehistoric Steppe Adaptation and the Horse, Marsha
Levine, Colin Renfrew, and Kati Boyle (Eds.), pp. 203-232, Cambridge,
UK: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
"These data are believed to confirm the hypothesis that Yamnaya groups
migrated only within small local grassland areas. The absence of
large permanent settlements seems to indicate that such migrations,
even within such regions, were undertaken on a regular basis. No
direct evidence is available of large-scale migrations of Yamnaya
groups (Shishlina 2003, p. 360)."
"Therefore, I (Shishlina) suggest that, during the Yamnaya culture
period, horses played only a minimal role in the pastoral exploitation
of the Eurasian steppe. Herders could use them as draught animals and
for riding. Long-distance migrations were unnecessary. Pastoral
routes were small. In this economic cycle, the horse played a key
role among other domesticated animals, because it could be used to
break snow cover (Shishlina 2003, p. 362)."
"Thus, I (Shishlina) am in agreement with Levine: at present we do
not have any archaeological evidence to prove the existence of warrior
horse-raiders from the fourth and the first millennium BC (Levine
1999). Furthermore, I am in agreement with Rassamkin that `we cannot
interpret the Early Eneolithic as a period of nomadic horse-riding, or
even of developed pastoralism (Rassamakin 1999, 139), (Shishlina 2003,
Shishlina, Natalia I. (2003), "Yamnaya Culture Pastoral Explotation:
a Local Sequence," in Prehistoric Steppe Adaptation and the Horse,
Marsha Levine, Colin Renfrew, and Kati Boyle (Eds.), pp. 353-365,
Cambridge, UK: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
I shall try to expand my reading, squeezing it in between all the other
things that I get paid to do!
I think that the discussion has gotten a little off-track. I do not
that humans may have been riding equids (even horses)in the 4th (or even
5th) millennium BCE, but I do dispute that horses were used as military
cavalry (organized, choherent fighting forces) that early. I am well aware
of David Anthony's theories, and while I do like him as an individual,
not convinced because, among other things, the tooth wear that he observed
on one skull was not replicated in modern attempts, and no other examples
have been excavated.
As for the steppe peoples using horses in an organized military manner,
there is no archaeological evidence of that before the Iron Age.
effect of the horse in enabling the development of transhumant
in the steppe can be traced across the second millennium, and the rise
mounted warrior elite comes very late in this period. (I can't pass up the
opportunity to note that the cart came before the horse :-))
I would suggest as further reading:
ANCIENT INTERACTIONS: EAST & WEST IN EURASIA. eds. K. Boyle, C. Refrew
Levine, MacDonald Institue Monographs, Cambridge (UK) 2002; and
HORSES AND HUMANS: THE EVOLUTION OF THE HUMAN-EQUINE RELATIONSHIP, eds. S.
Olsen, L. Bartosiewicz & A. Choyke, BAR International Series, due out this
All of this is not to say that someone could not have hopped on his horse,
rode to the next settlement & beat up the headman. I'm sure that it
happened. But that use of the horse is not miliraty riding.
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