I have found an excellent video presentation from the Penn Museum which provides deeper insight into the cultural trends leading through the Sredni-Stog culture to horse domestication at Botai, Kazakhstan and its intermediate role in the spread of the Yamnaya culture west to the Afanasevo culture in the Altai Mountains.
The earliest covered wagon artifacts in the world, facilitating Yamnaya expansion out of the river valleys and into the waterless steppes, date to Yamnaya sites. As Dr. David W. Anthony (author of my favorite reference on this subject: The Horse, the Wheel and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. 2007) says, “The wagon facilitated carrying the resources of the river valley: food, tents, firewood, water, tools and shelter, into the deep Steppes…They could have much larger herds, spread them across much larger pastures, exploiting the grasslands of the Steppes plateau, the majority of the landscape, and therefore domesticating the Eurasian Steppe.
“The Yamnaya people established their Kurgan cemeteries on the plateau…It is thought they lived in wagon camps throughout the year…(No archaeologists have found Yamnaya settlements east of the Don River, although there are Kurgan cemeteries)…using covered wagons pulled by oxen…riding on horseback…speaking an eastern dialect of Proto-Indo-European…making a real commitment to pastoralism as evidenced by their change from an Eneolithic (lower C13 and higher N15 to a Bronze Age diet (lower N15 and higher C13), as measured by isotopes. Botai faded away after 3,000 BC, probably after they had hunted out the wild horses.”
Here’s the video. Be sure to pause it as Dr. Anthony and his superb video overwhelm you with facts.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke