If Wishes Were Horses: Hunters and Amazons

The Ukok Plateau, uploaded by Kobsev at Wikipedia.ru

Here’s the Robin Hood Cave horse carving, safely at the British Museum.

I drew heavily on the work of a husband and wife archaeology team for the section on the early domestication of the horse: you can find out about David W Anthony and Dorcas Brown’s Institute for Ancient Equestrian Studies here. You can find more about the fascinating experiments they’ve done to establish that bits were used on Bronze Age horses.

Here’s a transcript of a PBS documentary about the Pazyryk priestess, and a photograph of her remains. Click through here to see some of the St Petersburg Hermitage’s collection of Pazyryk artifacts, including some incredible tattoos (the ice priestess’s most distinctive tatt is here, along with a modern interpretation. Yes, I’m tempted!). UPDATE: more detailed photos and a reconstruction here.

A year after I finished writing the book, Saudi Arabian archaeologists announced that they had found proof of far earlier horse domestication in the Arabian penninsula. There’s a long article on the subject at HorseTalk. Interestingly, they claim they have the one piece of evidence that the Botai researchers lack: what appear to be artistic representations of humans riding horses. They also claim that the artwork shows a distinctly “Arabian” horse.

The woman mentioned at the very end of the chapter was buried at Wetwang in east Yorkshire, and the British Museum has both some of the objects from her grave (including the hand mirror found behind her knees) and a reconstruction of her chariot here.

This post relates to a chapter of the book If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of an Equine Obsession. If you have any questions to ask about the content, please fire away in the comments. The main online index for the book is here.

Published by Susanna Forrest

Author of The Age of the Horse: an Equine Journey Through Human History and If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of Equine Obsession.

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