Saudi find shows horses used 9,000 years ago

August 25, 2011
Archaeological artifacts are displayed during a news conference in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah on August 24. Saudi Arabia has found traces of a civilisation that was domesticating horses about 9,000 years ago, 4,000 years earlier than previously thought, the kingdom said.

Saudi Arabia has found traces of a civilisation that was domesticating horses about 9,000 years ago, 4,000 years earlier than previously thought, the kingdom said.

"This discovery shows that horses were domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula for the first time more than 9,000 years ago, whereas previous studies estimated the domestication of horses in Central Asia dating back 5,000 years, Ali al-Ghabban, vice-chairman of the Department of Museums and Antiquities, said at a news conference late Wednesday.

The remains of the civilisation were found close to Abha, in southwestern Asir province, an area known to antiquity as Arabia Felix.

The civilisation, given the name al-Maqari, used "methods of embalming that are totally different to known processes," Ghabban said.

Among the remains found at the site are statues of animals such as goats, dogs, hawks, and a metre-tall bust of a horse, Ghabban said.

"A statue of an animal of this dimension, dating back to that time, has never been found anywhere in the world," Ghabban said.

He added that archaeologists also found arrowheads, , weaving tools and mortars for pounding grain, reflecting the development of that .

The remains were found in a valley that was once a riverbed, at a time when the now-arid Arabian Peninsula was more humid and fertile, the official said.

An international team of published an article in January that suggested human beings could have been present on the about 125,000 years ago.

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1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
So what about this dig says that horses were "used"? Just because a bust was found doesn't mean they had domesticated the horse. Maybe more details would be helpful, but these people could have just revered the horse...
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
It's more surprising that they DIDN'T say the horse was worshiped. I've always wondered why almost every artifact is an idol or in some way represents a religious mindset.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
People put time and resources into things that matter to them the most - and religion did figure pretty highly in daily life for most ancient peoples (as it still is with a lot of people today). One had to have a pretty good reason to carve a meter tall statue (think of the time it must have taken to carve it, the skill and the cost in resources), but is it really evidence of domestication?
Sometimes a statue is just a statue.

But like you, I find it funny how almost everything they find is assumed to be religious in context.

not rated yet Aug 25, 2011
Yes InsaniD.. Like cows in India..
4 / 5 (4) Aug 25, 2011
Sigh. "horses were domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula for the first time more than 9,000 years ago"

NO. No archeological study can show when someething FIRST occurred. It can only show the earliest evidence we have found SO FAR.

I am sick to death of the gross mistatements and incorrect conclusions along the lines of 'the earliest dinosaur' or 'the first use of xyz' or 'was the first ever in.'

We can only say the first or earliest we have found so far.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2011

HHHmmm ,well looking at the photo above ,it sorta looks more like a CAMEL than a horse ,so go figure ,some guy was in love with his camel and made a statue of him .So how the hell do we get the domestication of horses from that .....did I miss something.
not rated yet Aug 27, 2011
It's possible, drawing from the evidence including statues of dogs, hawks & goats, all known to be used domestically, though they may have represented gods. I'd really like to see a more complete argument, & some better photos.

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