Glaciers and Steppes & Tundra during Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) 26.5 kBP. Credit.
An important people group in my coming novel are the earliest horsemen from the Eurasian Steppes. It’s important to understand that the reason horse domestication first happened in the Steppes is that herds of horses roamed the Steppes for tens of thousand of years before man arrived there. Horses first appeared in North America, crossed the land bridge to thrive in the Eurasian Steppes, and died out in America.
Hunter gatherers in the Eurasian Steppes hunted horses among other major meat sources e.g. deer, cattle, moose, antelope, bear and earlier mammoths (pick your favorite meat from the lead picture above). These folks later domesticated mares as sources of milk protein, and (how could one stop children from trying?) finally someone survived intact after trying for centuries to ride them. Once riding was mastered, these discovered their advantage in herding cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. As rustling other folk’s livestock arose, these quickly realized their advantage over herdsmen on foot. A major use of the horse was also to pull carts and wagons, although oxen were also used for this in the Steppes. I’m sure most of us have ridden in a horse drawn vehicle, but few of us behind an ox.
At this moment, Botai in Kazakhstan is credited for the earliest domestication of the horse and of riding them. You can put “Botai” in the search bar in the upper right of the page (I did it for you), and examine the evidence I’ve previously found regarding excavations at Botai and elsewhere, and here’s the latest Wiki with more links.
Now, I want to dig a little deeper into those horsemen of the Steppes so I can make them come alive in the novel, and I’ll take you along in the sequence of videos below:
(1) A charming and memorable presentation of the expansion of the expansion of the Indo-European language from its beginning.
(2) An introduction to “Who were the these Proto-Indo-European (PIE_) horsemen?”
(4) Speculation and science indicating that PIE horsemen came from the Arctic Circle to the Steppes.
As I find other fresh material that puts flesh on the bones of the horsemen, I’ll share it with you.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke