Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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This compilation of faunal data has allowed the development of a chronology of the dispersal of domesticated horses from the Eurasian steppe into Southwest Asia. During the late Pleistocene horses were widespread throughout much of the Near East, however increasing aridifi cation led to their extinction from the region. Their presence within the archaeological record of the Late Holocene therefore suggests their spread as a human-controlled domesticate. Early domesticated horses are found at Botai, Kazakhstan, although faunal data indicates that Anatolia, Iran and the southern Levant contained surviving populations of wild horses during the mid-Holocene. If these remains from the Levant, western Iran and Anatolia do not belong to native wild progenitors, their presence in Late Chalcolithic deposits indicate an introduction of domesticated horses to this region much earlier than previously assumed. The Buhen horse is the oldest dated domesticated horse in Egypt and was assumed to be anachronistic given the lack of contemporaneous Levantine specimens. However horses were present in the Levant prior to and contemporary with the Buhen horse, illustrating a steady southward distribution from the Eurasian steppe over two millennia dating from the Late Chalcolithic to the Late Bronze Age; a spread likely hastened by the widespread adoption of chariot warfare in the early second millennium BCE.

About the Author

E. T. Shev
La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, 3086, Australia


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Shev E.T. THE INTRODUCTION OF THE DOMESTICATED HORSE IN SOUTHWEST ASIA. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2016;44(1):123-136.

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