First Bio-Anthropological Evidence for Yamnaya Horsemanship.

Martin Trautmann, Alin Frinculeasa, Bianca Preda-Balanica, Marta Petruneac, Marin Focşaneanu, Stefan Alexandrov, Nadezhda Atanassova, Piotr Włodarczak, Michał Podsiadło, János Dani , Zsolt Bereczki, Tamás Hajdu, Radu Băjenaru, Adrian Ioniţă, Andrei Măgureanu, Despina Măgureanu, Anca-Diana Popescu, Dorin Sârbu, Gabriel Vasile, David AnthonyVolker Heyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The origins of horseback riding remain elusive. Scientific studies show that horses were kept for their milk similar to 3500 to 3000 BCE, widely accepted as indicating domestication. However, this does not confirm them to be ridden. Equipment used by early riders is rarely preserved, and the reliability of equine dental and mandibular pathol-ogies remains contested. However, horsemanship has two interacting components: the horse as mount and the human as rider. Alterations associated with riding in human skeletons therefore possibly provide the best source of information. Here, we report five Yamnaya individuals well-dated to 3021 to 2501 calibrated BCE from kurgans in Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, displaying changes in bone morphology and distinct pathologies associated with horseback riding. These are the oldest humans identified as riders so far.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereade2451
JournalScience Advances
Issue number9
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Entheseal changes
  • Horse
  • Patterns
  • Populations
  • Shape
  • Attachment
  • Mobility
  • Skeleton
  • Remains
  • Burial

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