Horse Domestication Reconsidered

Findings from Krasnyi Yar, the Kazakh site inhabited by the Botai culture, suggest that domestication of horses occurred 1000 years earlier than previously thought.  Traces of milk and meat in unglazed pottery and evidence of bit use on jawbones date back 5500 years ago.

These new findings are cause for reexamining current theories on the spread of civilation.  As we know, horses bestow miliary, trade, and cultural prowess on their riders and communities. It is commonly accepted that the spread of bronze working throughout Europe and Asia is directly linked to the domestication of horses.  Ditto the spread of Indo-European languages.  With the date of horse domestication pushed 1000 sooner, new doors open in current sociological theories.

The evidence gives me pause for reflection.  Jawbones damaged by bit use.  The thought that actions taken to subjugate these early horses would cause damage on a skeletal level is revolting.  Even more distubing is that such evidence is common through time, and even into our modern age.  Ironic that horses sped the spread of civilization, yet remain the victims of barbarism.

What will our horses tell future researchers about our training methods?  Food for thought….

Click here for more research from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History on the Botai horse culture

Click here for yesterday’s BBC announcement