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The first riders were able to saddle even earlier than previously thought

The first riders were able to saddle even earlier than previously thought

About 5,300 years ago, the steppe peoples of present-day Russia and Ukraine very quickly invaded Eurasia. Within a few decades, members of the Yamnaya culture left their genetic mark everywhere from Central Europe to the Caspian Sea. Archaeologists also call them “eastern cowboys” because of their nomadic lifestyle based on cattle breeding.

However, the ride is still missing from this classic cowboy image. Although many bones of huge cattle and chariots have been found, almost no horse bones have been found. For this reason, most archaeologists believe that people of that time did not start riding horses until 1,000 years later.

However, according to a recent study, which prof Science advances Published in the scientific journal, horsemen can be found already in the Jamnaja culture. “Everyone focused on equine remains when trying to pinpoint the beginning of horse riding,” quotes the study’s co-author, an archaeologist from the University of Helsinki. Volker Hedit the Sciences. “However, we focused on people.”

Based on genetic and other evidence, horses have been domesticated since 3500 BC. However, the first records of its use as an apparel appear only 2,000 years later, long after the Yamnaya people had spread across the steppe.

Therefore, most archaeologists believe that eastern cowherds followed their herds on foot.

However, anthropologist Martin Trautmann and his colleagues examined more than 150 Helsinki skeletons, which were found in Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria—the westernmost places for the Jamnaya culture. They found that these people ate a high-protein diet, consistent with a nomadic herding lifestyle. However, significant scratches and injuries were found on the skeletons. These conditions include a compressed spine – caused by repetitive shaking while sitting – and thickened femurs from prolonged squatting.

In addition, injuries such as broken collarbones, shin bones, and a cracked spine were common—consistent with those that can be caused by a horse kick, or the type of injuries doctors encounter today in the case of people who fall from their horses.

Of the 150 Jamnaya skeletons examined, more than half were found to have such injuries. Of course, not all scientists believe that these finds are clear evidence of horseback riding.

william taylor, According to a zooarchaeologist at the University of Colorado (CU) in Boulder, it would be a stretch to establish facts based on such a pattern. According to him, it is not clear from the data taken from human bones that this was caused by riding or possibly by some other activity.

Although many chariots, yokes, and oxen have been recovered from the Yamnaya sites, the horse tools—such as bridles or saddles—are completely missing.

However, according to Trautmann, this does not mean anything, because it is possible to ride without special devices. In addition, such equipment can also be made of leather and fabric, which are worn out over the years.

He adds that additional specimens—including a horse’s bones with signs of riding, such as injuries from the saddle or spinal injuries from the rider’s weight—will help fortify the condition. Lauren Hosk, Archaeologist at the University of Colorado. In his opinion, the latest find is certainly interesting, but more work needs to be done to find the date of the first “horse lodging”.

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