May 4, 2011 report
Oldest Caspian Horse remains discovered in Iran
(PhysOrg.com) -- The Caspian Horse, also known as the "King's Horse" or the Mazandaran horse, is the oldest breed of horse still in existence. The newest discovery of remains makes it even older than originally believed. Caspian horses are much smaller than the typical race horse and are an average 11 hands. They had been believed to be extinct until 1965 when Louise Firouz, an American wife of an Iranian aristocrat, found a wild herd in the Iranian mountains just south of the Caspian Sea.
In a report from the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies, archaeologist Ali Mahforuzi discusses the findings at the Gohar Tappeh site located in the Mazandaran province of Iran between the cities of Neka and Behshahr.
In their eighth year at this site, they have discovered the remains of the Caspian in a cemetery which dates back to the late Bronze to early Iron Age or around 3400 BCE. The Caspian Horse was a status symbol in ancient Iran and routinely presented to kings and queens. They were used as a horse for chariot racing as well as in battle. It does not come as a surprise to the archaeologists that the Caspian was found within a cemetery. This was common in ancient burials and shows the importance and value that was put on these horses.
Mahforuzi and his team have discovered numerous architectural structures, as well as graves with various different burial methods, suggesting a continual life in this region for many generations. The oldest finding at the site currently dates back to the Neolithic age some 14,000 years ago.
© 2010 PhysOrg.com