Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Were there domestic horses in ancient India?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Indus valley civilization

Mains level : Not Much

A group of researchers has been able to collect bones and teeth samples of over 2,000 such ancient specimens from regions from where domestic horses could have originated.

Research on horse domestication

  • The research has studied fossils from the Iberian Peninsula in the southwestern corner of Europe, or the western-most edge of Eurasia (Spain and its neighbours), Anatolia (modern Turkey), and the steppes of Western Eurasia and Central Asia.
  • These collective data have led them to decide that until about 4200 BCE, many distinct horse populations inhabited various regions of Eurasia.

Key findings of the research

  • A similar genetic analysis has found that horses with the modern domestic DNA profile lived in the Western Eurasian Steppes, particularly the Volga-Don River region.
  • By around 2200–2000 BCE, these horses spread out to Bohemia (the Czech Republic of today and Ukraine), and Central Asia and Mongolia.
  • These horses were bred by breeders from these countries to sell them to countries that demanded them.
  • Riding on horses became popular in these nations by around 3300 BCE, and armies were built using them, for example, in Mesopotamia, Iran, Kuwait and the ‘Fertile Crescent’ or Palestine.
  • The first spoke-wheeled chariots emerged around 2000-1800 BC.

Indian story

  • Horses were never native to India.
  • The only animals native to India were the Asian elephant, snow leopard, rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, Sloth bear, Himalayan wolf, Gaur bison, red panda, crocodile, and the birds peacock and flamingo.
  • Thus, it seems clear from these sources that horse is not native to India.
  • Horses must have come into India through inter-regional trading between countries.
  • Indians might have traded their elephants, tigers, monkeys, birds to their neighbours and imported horses.

When did India get its horses?

  • Horse-related remains and artefacts have been found in Late Harappan sites (1900-1300 BCE).
  • Horses did not seem to have played an essential role in the Harappan civilization.
  • This is in contrast to the Vedic Period, which is a little later (1500-500 BCE).
  • The Sanskrit word for horse is Ashwa, which is mentioned in the Vedas and Hindu Scriptures.
  • These are roughly towards the end of the late Bronze Age.

Try this PYQ:

Q. With reference to the difference between the culture of Rigvedic Aryans and Indus Valley people, which of the following statements correct?

  1. Rigvedic Aryans used the coat of mail and helmet in warfare whereas the people of Indus Valley Civilization did not leave any evidence of using them.
  2. Rigvedic Aryans knew gold, silver and copper whereas Indus Valley people knew only copper and iron.
  3. Rigvedic Aryans had domesticated the horse whereas there is no evidence of Indus Valley people having been aware of this animal.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) Only 1

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Post your answers here.
5
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Vidya Konnagula
Vidya Konnagula
5 months ago
Post your answers here." Read more »

C

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
5 months ago
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C

Subhash Kumar
Subhash Kumar
5 months ago

C

singh.rajan402
singh.rajan402
5 months ago
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C

Ashish Anand
Ashish Anand
5 months ago
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c

aditya pandey
aditya pandey
5 months ago
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A

Tanuj
Tanuj
5 months ago

“a”- sarkotda is an indus valley site where bones of horses has been obtained recently