Archaeologists Claim They Found Evidence Of Earliest Known Horseback Riders


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

An analysis published in early March of a 5,000-year-old human skeleton revealed the first direct evidence of horseback riding.

Did you know that scientific studies have previously found that humans kept horses for their milk sometime around 3500-3000 BCE? Me neither, but a recent study into the origins of horseback riding noted human’s extensive history with the equine world.

Equipment used by humans to ride horses (if there even was any) is elusive, as it is rarely preserved. The impact horseback riding has on the human body can be preserved though, which is precisely what the scientists used to suggest they have the earliest evidence of the practice.

“Alterations associated with riding in human skeletons therefore possibly provide the best source of information,” the study authors noted in the abstract of their paper. Analysis of five Yamnaya individuals who lived some time 3021 to 2501 BCE (4,500 to 5,000-years-ago) in Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary showed changes in their bone morphology and distinct pathology that is associated with horseback riding.

“You can read bones like biographies,” study co-author Martin Trautmann told The Associated Press. The researchers further noted that the domestication of horses happened over a significant period of time.

“There are no singular traits that indicate a certain occupation or behavior,” Trautmann said in a separate statement. “Only in their combination, as a syndrome, symptoms provide reliable insights to understand habitual activities of the past.” (RELATED: Eight New Types Of Ancient Human Discovered, Researchers Claim)

Initially, horses were probably not used in battle as they would have been too skittish, but may have seriously contributed to the spread of the Yamnaya people across Europe. These horses would have likely been different from those that we use today.