Discovery Suggests Horse Domesticated Early Than Thought
 By Winniefield Park   •   4th Oct 2016   •   922 views   •   0 comments
Discovery Suggests Horse Domesticated Early Than Thought

The earliest artwork depicting horses is thought to be over 20,000 years old. These paintings and sculptures were renditions of the wild animals hunted by early man. Representations of domestic horses come much later in our history. Generally, it's thought that horses were domesticated about 5000 to 6000 years ago. But, a new discovery suggests that horses and humans may have been living and working together much earlier than that.

Many of the earliest forms of horse paintings and sculptures have been found in Europe and western Asia. Kazakhstan has been the site of the oldest artifacts that indicate horse domestication. But itís been revealed that horses may have been domesticated even earlier than 6000 years ago.

We know that the Arabian is the worldís oldest breed. A discovery in Saudi Arabia has unearthed carvings of a horse that show it wearing what appears to be a bridle. Another sculpture, much larger than previous discoveries in Kazakhstan shows the head, neck and shoulders of an Arabian type horse. The sculptures clearly show evidence of harness or bridles. Nearby, a cave painting depicts a man riding a horse. Other artifacts suggest that the people that lived in the area before it became a desert were farmers who used sophisticated stone-age tools for hunting and agriculture in the Neolithic era.

Excavations of the remote area began after a local person began collecting artifacts that were scattered on the surface of the soil. The finds were reported and in 2010 the Saudi government initiated further exploration. The artifacts that were collected were dated using carbon dating in a specialized lab in the United States. Charred materials from the site were tested and proved to be about 9000 years old.

The largest of the horse statues is about 40 inches (1 meter) long. Itís the largest neolithic sculpture of a horse ever discovered. The narrow faces and long necks of the representations are strongly suggestive of a modern-day Arabian horse. This may shine a small light on the origins of the Arabian breed.

Will the discovery of similar sites push back the date of horse domestication even more? Itís possible. There are more sites even older near the Al-Magar site where these discoveries were made. Logically, for the civilization to have been advanced enough to develop bridles, horses must have been domesticated for some time before that. The site is near a major trade route. The culture of the people who lived on this site is thought to have been spread widely over the Arabian peninsula. It may be only a matter of time before we discover our close connection with horses is even older than we thought.

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