Horse domestication theories questioned in Al Magar

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- Monday March 4th, 2013 - 20:27 - Source: BBC News
Excavations at Al Magar resulted in around 300 stone objects of a previously unknown civilization, which might be the first culture to tame and domesticate horses. Initial evidence suggests the finds date back some 9,000 years to the Neolithic, with radiocarbon and DNA tests underway.

The finds, discovered during desert excavations in the remote site of Al Magar on the Arabian Peninsula, are a collection of stone tools, arrow heads, small scrapers and various animal statues of sheep, goats, and ostriches.

 

A large stone carving from Al Magar of what appears to be a horse-like animal with withers. Image by BBC

 

The most remarkable of the artifacts is a large carving of the head, muzzle, shoulders and whithers of an 'equid', an animal similar to a horse. The find, in combination with a few smaller horse-like sculptures with bands across their shoulders, has opened theories that the domestication of horses has its origin in the region of Al Magar.

 

"It could possibly be the birthplace of an advanced prehistoric civilisation that witnessed the domestication of animals, particularly the horse, for the first time during the Neolithic period," stated Ali bin Ibrahim Al Ghabban, vice-president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.

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