June 24, 2024

Bedouin riders: a saddle from a desert cemetery, the oldest in the world

“The liner had almost the function of wrapping the knee and thigh,” Wertman explains. Since there were no stirrups in China at that time, and they were used there only from the 4th century, the pads also served as a support: “The stirrups could use the pads to push themselves out of the saddle, for example to shoot an arrow,” explains the Zurich archaeologist.

© Patrick Wertmann / University of Zurich (details)

saddle top | The padded saddle can be filled with animal hair through two holes. It closed with a zig zag strap. In addition, the four ends, separated by leather straps, were lined.

One thing is certain: the Yanghai saddle has been widely used. In the middle, where the rider once sat, leather is worn more than the sides. The group of scholars concluded that she was a horsewoman from the fact that the saddle was found in the tomb of a woman who may have used a riding tool during her lifetime. This also indicates the state of the discovery: the deceased was lying on her side with her legs bent and the saddle resting on her buttocks. “The position of women is not uncommon in Yanghai,” says Wertman. “But what is interesting is the position of the saddle on her buttocks, as if she were riding a horse.” The woman, dressed in woolen breeches, boots and a mantle, was probably intended “to be buried as a horsewoman”.

© Patrick Wertmann / University of Zurich (details)

saddle bottom | Riding utensils are in the form of a pair of wings.

Archaeologists have been working in Yanghai since 2003. So far, they have unearthed 531 tombs dating from between 1300 and 200 BC. comes from. Parts of horse equipment such as bridles and bridles as well as a second saddle have been found in both old and small graves, but this one is in much worse condition. The researchers’ conclusion: »Archaeological finds from Yanghai indicate the existence of this [dort] There were knights in the first generation.

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