Culture of horsemanship. Botay. Taming a horse.

In 1980, an archaeological expedition led by Doctor of Historical Sciences Victor Seiber discovered a strange burial place in northern Kazakhstan. Over a week of work, more than 40 thousand artifacts were collected. Subsequently, their number increased to 300 thousand. It was now the world famous monument of the Paleolithic Botai.

Botay is a unique in the world settlement of early horse breeders of Eurasia. It covers an area of ​​15 hectares on the right bank of the Iman-Burluk River. On the surface, hollows from numerous dwellings are visible. The monument uncovered more than 10 thousand square meters. m., studied more than 100 homes, identified more than 300 thousand arfects. Dwellings are located throughout the settlement.
On Botay, a large number of farm buildings, foci, pits, bones, tools were discovered, since hides were processed in this area near the water. Dwellings were located mainly in the center of the settlement. In addition, they were engaged in hunting, fishing, processing bones, wood, stone, and made ceramics. Presumably, they knew the wheel. The first stage of the domestication of a horse relates precisely to this period. Settlements were formed at a distance of 150-200 km from each other due to the fact that each of them needed living space, where it was possible to control their herds.

The core of the Botayan economic systems was horse breeding. The very first findings, and then the results of the examination of the found animal bones, stunned the scientific world - they testified to the global focus of domestication of the horse. People first tamed a horse at least five and a half thousand years ago. The horse stands apart from the number of domesticated animals. Other cattle - goats, sheep, cows and pigs - people tied to themselves to eat their meat and drink their milk; this technology allowed us to move from hunting and gathering to agriculture. Having tamed the horse, the nomadic hunters were also able to switch to a settled lifestyle. But at the same time domestication of horses meant the first transport revolution. In fact, this was the first “globalization": people were able to move at an unprecedented speed, bring goods from previously inaccessible places, develop trade and exchange technologies created in different parts of the Old World, and fight in a completely new way. Scientists from the UK, Russia, Kazakhstan, the United States, and France, led by Alan Outram of Exeter University in Britain, have provided three evidence that horses, bones of which are found in large numbers in the excavations in Botay, were domestic. Among the authors is the Russian paleozoologist Alexei Kasparov from the St. Petersburg Institute of the History of Material Culture. The first evidence, which seems to be the most convincing in the eyes of a layman, is the traces of the harness on the teeth of horses. Kazakh archaeologist, Doctor of Historical Sciences Victor Seibert, and his American colleague Sandra Olsen from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (they are co-authors of the current work) first found such signs of wear on the second premolar of the lower jaw of the Botai horses back in the 90s of the last century. These are parallel grooves on the teeth, which are rubbed, sometimes up to dentin, by a bit of harness. To leave such marks on a very hard tooth enamel, the horse must walk in harnesses for several years. Traces of wear on the second pre-root tooth of the lower jaw of a horse from excavations in the village of Botai. According to the authors, among modern horses, such parallel strips are found only in animals that have been harnessed for a long time.  These horses were precisely led under the bridle; most likely they were ridden on horseback. Around 3500 BC e. horses have been in service with people for quite some time - maybe more than one century. Proof number 2 on the list of Outram and his colleagues is a significant anatomical difference between the Botai horses and their wild tribesmen. Whether this was a deliberate selection or, on the contrary, cohabitation with people to some extent eased the pressure on the horses of the natural selection of wild conditions, it is not clear, but wild and domestic horses are clearly different. Scientists measured a whole set of parameters of horse legs, such as their length and width, in different areas in bones from Botay, bones of wild horses hunted by Late Paleolithic people, and bones from European settlements of the Late Eneolithic, in which one hundred percent wild horses were found (with domestic animals they were buried and harness, and even carts). In the diagram that best separates wild and domestic populations, the Botai horses are clearly the latter; for example, they have more “slender” legs. Finally, the third evidence is traces of mare’s milk in clay pots of prehistoric botayans. Scientists have not found traces of ethyl alcohol on shards, but it is possible that the history of koumiss dates back more than five and a half thousand years. Analyzing the ratio of heavy isotopes of carbon and hydrogen in scrapings from ancient shards, the authors of the article in Science were able to not only distinguish the traces of fatty acids of mare’s milk from milk of other animals and subcutaneous fat of horses, but also to find out that this milk was milked in the summer! The relative content of deuterium (a heavy isotope of hydrogen) in the milk of mares obtained in winter and summer is quite noticeably different. The variety in the structure of the bones of the limbs and the growth at the withers of the Botai horse testified in favor of the hypothesis of a domesticated animal. Scientists compared the remains of Botay horses with the bones of domesticated horses of the Bronze Age, then the extinct ancestor of modern horses - the tarpan, finally, with Przhevalsky's horse and discovered something. So, according to the American scientist David Anthony, ten percent of all studied teeth of Botai horses have traces of bone and hair fishing rods. And the British specialist Alan Outram, pointing out that “the bone of the lower part of the front leg of a wild horse is shorter, wider, larger, and that of a prehistoric domestic horse is thinner and smaller”, concluded that the Botays were riding. This discovery is astonishing to this day: are the Botays really ahead of everyone by a whole millennium? After all, it was previously believed that a man tamed a horse around the second millennium BC. Thus, it can be argued that it was the tamed Botai Horse that became a powerful engine of the general progress of mankind from groups of isolates to a single community of people. It was the Botai Horse that became the means of active connections of the first civilizations. Ivy Owens, Geoarchaeologist at Cambridge University (UK):
“Botay is an important discovery not only for Kazakhstan, but for the whole world. Taming a horse is a real revolution for humanity. After all, all this time, until the appearance of the Botai man, people only hunted for a wild horse and did not use it for other purposes, except as a source of food. And here comes a turning point when people decide to use the horse for transportation and thereby open up the whole world to mankind. ”Taming the horse gave a tremendous impetus to the development of progress. When the walking humanity saddled the horse, the course of history received a giant acceleration. The time and space of human habitation began to rapidly decline. And the people themselves, who began to enter into close contact with each other, laid the foundation for a new civilization, a new world.

The Botai Monument is protected by UNESCO. It is recognized that Botay culture is of global importance for the development of the root problems of the ancient history of the steppe and forest-steppe belt of Eurasia.

Tasmolinsky finds (Pavlodar region, near Ekibastuz)

Horse equipment from the burials of Tasmolinskaya culture is represented by bits and psalms of various forms. Characteristic of Tasmolinskaya culture are the bit: with dagger endings and an additional hole; with stapes endings, but without an extra hole; with stapes-rectangular endings; ringed. Psalms are also diverse in form: three-hole horny and bone; two-hole hook-shaped; three-hole bronze, iron and with gold inlay; three-looped. The source of fishing rod and psalms, apparently, should be sought in Transcaucasia and Western Asia, where at the end of II - beginning of I millennium BC. e. there were a variety of types of equipment. On the earliest of them, made of bone, the bit and bitts formed a single whole. Acquaintance of the early nomads of Kazakhstan with this type of reins could occur in the VII century. BC e. during the campaign of the Scythian-Saka tribes in Asia Minor.

Bronze knives of two types: with a ring-shaped topping of the handle and without a dedicated handle. The second type has been known since the Bronze Age. Iron knives repeat the shape of bronze, but they appear only at the second stage of the Tasmola culture.

Round bronze mirrors are represented by several types: with a high rim along the edge of the disk and a loop in the middle; with a loop in the center of the disc; with curly handle; with a strongly protruding handle; with side hinge and rectangular protrusion. The first type is the earliest and occurs no later than the 6th century. BC e. Mirrors with a handle appear in the V century. BC e. Among dozens of specimens of typical mirrors, there are single ones. So, at the mirror from the cemetery Karamurun I, the handle ends with the image of the heads of two goats.

There are stone altars made of sandstone in the burials in the form of oval and round bowls on the legs.

One of the most common finds is clay vessels. Most of them have straight or slightly bent outward corollas, smoothly turning into a hemispherical body with a flat bottom. Without exception, all vessels are made by manual tape molding. Pounded granite and quartz sand were mixed into the clay mass. The high layering of the dough indicates a low quality of firing.

In the horse’s teeth, a bronze stapes bit was “clamped” with three-hole psalies. Remains of frenum belts and bronze beads, as well as plaques, were also found.

The main inventions of nomads
On the role of nomads in world civilization, L. N. Gumilyov wrote: “It is wrong to think that technological progress is impossible in a nomadic society. Nomads ... invented such objects that are now included in the everyday life of all mankind. " The steppe has always been considered a powerful innovative hub. How many useful things were invented by people who lived on these lands, today it is already difficult to calculate.

1. Yurt - Turkic innovation and the result of a mobile lifestyle, before that there were no collapsible dwellings in the form in which we understand the yurt (skeleton - kerege, uyky, cover felt). There were other structures - huts, primitive tents, but in such a way that it could serve even in winter, in harsh conditions, it was not. A yurt is a very healthy home. The round shape, good protection from the weather, convenience and coziness are very important signs of any dwelling of nomads.

2. Felting felting is considered to be the invention of nomads. The nomads of Eurasia made from felt not only coverings for a yurt and interior items, but also equipment, clothes, and utensils. In military affairs, felt was used as a substitute for chain mail, as a lining for a helmet. Felt was used in blacksmithing, in medicine (in the treatment of bone fractures), etc.

3. Nomads created a type of clothing like pants. In ancient times, people mostly wore flowing clothes that looked like long shirts or dresses. But in a dress riding a horse is uncomfortable.

4. Riding boots. Another nomad invention is leather riding boots. Boots are needed to protect the rider's legs from rubbing against the horse's skin. As well as stirrups, boots became widespread throughout the world.

Initially, shoes were made without heels. Because of this, the rider’s leg fell into the stirrup. To avoid this, before the appearance of the heel, stirrups were made with a toe for the foot.

Heel on shoes appeared in the late Middle Ages. In Russian, the word “heel” was first noted in written sources in 1509. The word “heel” is probably borrowed from the Turkic language, in which there was the word “kabluk”; The Turkic word “kabluk” comes from the Arabic word “kab” - “heel”, “heel”.

5. Fastener for belts. A very simple but completely brilliant invention!

6. The taming of the horse, which also belongs to the nomads, led to the invention of horse harness.

Stirrup - saddlery that helps the rider to ride a horse and maintain balance while riding. Invented in the II - IV centuries. nomads and quickly spread around the world. Thanks to the use of stirrups, riders have the opportunity to inflict saber attacks and more accurately hit the enemy from a bow. This allowed the nomads to change the tactics and strategy of military operations, to change weapons.

The bit - a detail of the reins. Appeared at the end of the Bronze Age, when the horse began to be used as a transport animal.

Saddle - a high saddle for combat. To this day, Kazakhs use a special type of saddle, it has a high front part to sit comfortably on a horse and you could use a bow, spear. This was invented and implemented by the Turks, which provided them with unprecedented power earlier. Curved sword - before the invention of stirrups, it was impossible to use a curved sword. Stirrups are an opportunity to stand up and, leaning on them, with maximum effort to chop a saber at the enemy. The force of impact increases many times.

7. Armor for a horse. They came up with the so-called lamellar armor, or protective armor for the horse and rider. These are the plates that protected them in battle, for that time the invention in importance was akin to the appearance of an atomic bomb.

8. The Turks were the first in Central Asia to begin to melt iron, this was their main secret. Thanks to the Juzhany Khanate, which was famous for its metallurgists, but was subjugated by the Turks and on the basis of which the Turkic Kaganate arose, the mass production of iron begins.

The Chinese at that time still used bronze weapons, which were weaker in strength. This invention was a competitive advantage for the local population.

9. It is believed that at the turn of the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, chariots were already used in the steppe. Their appearance made a splash, a revolution in military affairs. Obviously, in a population with no experience in using horses, such an invention simply could not have arisen. In general, the presence of a horse gave impetus to the appearance of so many useful things not only in battle. The steppe construction of the ancient carts was based on the same technologies as the yurt. The pole was poured with hot water and after heating it was bent into a circle - a shanyrak, this is a classic technology that was invented in the steppe. In the fifth Pazyryk mound (IV century BC), 4 types of carts were found. There is a lot of evidence on this subject in ancient written sources, in which I think this is a big sensation. the same Assyria, among the Egyptians, who apparently took the chariot along with the Hyksos, this was almost 500 years later than it appeared in the steppe.

By the way, now an interesting find has been found near Pavlodar.

The Kimak cart of the developed Middle Ages (XII century) with a yurt installed on it was first discovered.

The whole structure, thanks to the unique technology of the Crimea restorer Altynbekov, will soon be presented to the public. This is a unique case, because anywhere on the territory of the steppes of Eurasia yurts on wheels were not found. We only know that the medieval travelers Marco Polo, Guillaume de Rubruk wrote that the steppes put yurts on wheels, they were their mobile homes, but there were no material evidence before ...

9. Food products, also associated with mobility, are, of course, long-term food products, which made it possible not to depend on refrigerators, on cellars. They provided autonomy, absolute freedom in the boundless steppe, mobility, allowed to be independent from the herd, flocks, from nomadism.

Koumiss, kurt, zhaya are products of long-term storage, this competitive advantage allowed the inhabitants of the steppes to make long trips and provide food for caravans with goods.

Five thousand years ago, nomad shepherds filtered sour milk, dried the sediment, and obtained cheese for the first time. It is good because under the influence of temperature it does not lose its qualities, it contains vitamins, calcium and fats. Examining the remains of the horses of the Botai settlement, scientists discovered koumiss molecules.

1. The transport revolution. Development of communications and trade. The most famous transcontinental road in the history of Central Asia and Eurasia is, of course, IDT, and here the Turks came up with a lot of things. They created the first empire on the territory of Eurasia, which connected all the steppes and the largest centers of civilization that existed at the turn of the new era and in the first half of the 1st millennium.

The Türks were able to prove themselves for the first time in history by creating a huge empire. The Turkic empire was originally nomadic, because it united the peoples who moved in the steppes.

We sometimes forget that the basis of the civilization of Kazakhs and Turks is the steppe. The Turk empire is an example of how to build a successful state in the harsh climatic environment that connected the borders of China and the Black Sea, the Balkans, Southern Europe, where many trends of that time developed. The Turks did not just control the IDT, they came up with caravan cities - they were a kind of dry ports. There were repair shops, service warehouses, food, and provision for caravan owners. Imagine that such caravans earlier in the day could go no more than 30 kilometers. And all this created an empire of Turks who served and guarded the Silk Road. And it’s a big mistake to think that only camels walked along it, there were also trucks of that time on which goods were transported, and here the Turks also had great achievements. According to Chinese sources, the Turkic tribe of the black hunters, who knew how to make carts with large wheels, is known as the union of the Tele tribes, or tegrek, which formed before the Turkic Kaganate, part of it later entered the Kaganate.

They were famous as noble manufacturers of strong wagons on large wheels and showed themselves well in terms of creating the infrastructure of the repair base of wagons that were used at the IDT. All these innovations were useful at IDT for its functioning as an economic model for a vast territory that has historically existed for thousands of years and has become a model of progress, ongoing development in our time.

2.Creation of a new type of army, rearmament, heavy cavalry.

3. The creation of a nomadic civilization.


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